Oh wowsers, this is a difficult conversation. I never thought it would end this way. You’ve been so good to me. You’ve been there through the good times and the bad, you’ve been a shoulder to lean on.
Oh jeez, somebody get the Kleenex.
I haven’t always been the easiest person to work with. That’s not entirely true…I’m pretty easy to work with. If I had to grade how easy I am to work with, it would be an A- if I’m honest and a nice solid B if I’m being humble. In this scenario, being honest is better than being humble.
I’m also hilarious in team meetings, and if I’m being honest again with you, I feel that contribution wasn’t adequately reflected in my Christmas bonus.
Let’s not make this harder than it is. You’ve been great. No, really, you have. You’re a fantastic boss.
Oh my God. How do I say this?
It’s not you, it’s me. I hate to say this, but…
I have left my job at a Seattle-based tech company and I’m on my way to Guatemala! In fact, I’m already there by the time you’ve read this. No, this wasn’t an unplanned, drop of the hat decision. I’ve planned this for the past 7+ months.
I’m traveling for three months across Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua before flying to Peru. I may also visit El Salvador and Costa Rica. For once in my life, I’m not planning my vacation down to the day. I’m going with the flow and seeing where it takes me.
Technically, the first part of my trip is planned. I’m doing a 2-week Spanish immersion class at The Cooperativa Spanish School on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. I feel that knowing some Spanish will not only help me get around easier, but will allow me to have a more authentic travel experience and connect with locals versus other tourists exclusively.
Aren’t you married?
Yes, I am.
Shouldn’t she go with you?
We would both love for her to come with me, but we can only meet up in Peru for the last 2.5 weeks of the trip. Ashley enjoys her work and has the added responsibility of managing a team, so dropping everything for a 3-month trip would jeopardize her standing with her employer. In other words, she would lose her job and unable to return to an organization she sees herself at long-term.
We will miss each other terribly. I get choked up thinking about being gone for so long. I knew it would be difficult, but I thought we could both handle it. The reality is very different. I’m writing this two days before my departure and I’m doubting this entire endeavor.
No, not the decision to quit my job.
I’m doubting my decision to be away for so long. If you’re married, you know this, and if you’re single I’ll enlighten you. A life, and especially your marriage, is built. It is not a miracle that suddenly happens. POOF, you now have an amazing marriage! It doesn’t happen that way; it’s something you work at continuously.
How can I work at and build something if I’m not around? This is what troubles me about this journey. Plus, not having your best friend by your side for 2+ months is a big change when you’ve been together every day for 7+ years.
Then why are you doing this? Why are you quitting?
I have always wanted to make my living in the travel industry in some form or another. Over the past 2 years, I also discovered a passion for photography, filmmaking, and writing that I knew was always there, but never pursued.
This is my attempt to put it all together and use the final products of my labor — from my YouTube videos, the blog posts on this site, and the photos on my Instagram — to build a future in the travel sector and/or the photography and filmmaking industry.
I’m not entirely sure what this version of success looks like. Will it be my own popular YouTube channel? Will I get a writing or video gig with a physical or online publication? What about a job working for an actual travel TV show? Or how about a marketing and advertising gig that combines my business degree with my creative skills? This journey may take me anywhere and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Ashley and I are also renters and we don’t have any children (yet) and this may change in the next couple of years. I may not get another opportunity to give this a shot.
I usually roll my eyes at people who drop everything to travel. Let me clarify, I roll my eyes at people fresh out of college quitting their “jobs” to pursue their dreams of avoiding life and work for as long as possible. Then they have the audacity to ask for donations to fund their “work” around the world (aka posting photos on Instagram).
Yeah, I’ll pass on that. Sorry, kiddo, if you can’t afford your own vacation, then you probably shouldn’t go on one.
How much does all of this cost?
Fortunately for you, I’m not asking for donations and you’ll get to share these experiences with me for free. In fact, I’ve been saving money for a while now. I’ll be up front as I know a lot of people wonder how much things like this cost and how much they should save before taking the plunge.
I saved roughly $20,000 USD over the course of 7-8 months. If you’re young, you’re probably thinking you could travel for almost 2 years on such a large sum. I’m not young, but not old either at age 38, and I’m only traveling for 3 months.
What? Surely 3 months of travel across Central America and Peru isn’t that expensive!
It’s not. I’m estimating about $7,000 USD for the trip and then another $3,000 to pay my share of rent and utility expenses for the three months I’m away. The remaining $10,000 is for life when I return. I want to spend a few months editing my videos, writing articles, and looking for jobs that are a good match for my skill set and interests.
Finding a new job may take a while due to the competitive nature of the creative industries. I want to be able to pay my half of the bills and not be a financial burden on my wife who has already granted me a huge favor by saying yes to this crazy idea in the first place.
When will these videos and articles be published?
You can follow my journey right here on this site. I’ll post blog posts regularly on what I’m doing to keep you in the loop. This will include posts on activities like snorkeling or surfing and even restaurant reviews.
You can also watch my latest YouTube video on Kentucky and you’ll be able to watch a new Sri Lanka episode here on April 18. The first Central America episodes will be released in June or July. I’m not a daily vlogger and want to make sure I put my best foot forward with these new videos, so editing will take a little longer than the typical vlog.
To my old coworkers — it really wasn’t you, it was me.
HUGE thank you to my amazing wife for being supportive of this adventure. I know it’s tough and I love you mucho.