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5 Reasons I’m Leaving the Country to Travel

Pensively overlooking Cork, Ireland [Credit: Lindsay Steinmann]

No one has come out and told me I was crazy out loud, but I know someone has to be thinking it. So I’m ready to answer any questions you may have about my upcoming trip and why I’m leaving everything behind to travel. I hope that if you were on the fence about leaving your life to travel and start one elsewhere, these reasons may push you over the edge. [P.S. These pictures are irrelevant in every way possible, but I picked ones that made me laugh.]

1. There’s nothing holding me back.

I’m not saying I don’t like my life here. I have a great family, all within a few hours’ drive, and amazing friends who support me. I live in a city where I can find the best margaritas, museums and unique neighborhoods. But as a recent college graduate with no “real” job, I can’t stay here just because I’m scared of going elsewhere. Most of my friends who are in the same shoes as me are working a job they don’t like, just trying to survive until they figure out what they want to do. I know what I want. I want to be a full-time freelance writer. I want to be able to write articles on my laptop on the beach in Sydney or from a coffee shop in London or even in my room in Atlanta. So it’s time for me to start doing it.

Jumping for joy [Credit: Caroline King]

2. There’s no time like the present.

The most common response I got from telling people I was going to Australia is, “Now is the time to do it.” And they’re right. I’m young (and stupid) and there aren’t quite as many consequences if it all turns out to be a big mistake. At the end of the day, if I hate it, I can jump on a plane and be home the next day. I don’t have a career, a husband or kids. I have the flexibility to just take off. And let’s be honest: the job market and economy as a whole here in the United States pretty much sucks. I’m not naive enough to believe that Australia is the promised land, full of opportunities for broke backpackers and aspiring writers like myself, but it’s a good place to start over. I’ve heard a lot of concerns about traveling alone, but I’ve proven that I can handle it, having gone solo to Washington DC, New York and Croatia thus far. It’s not the being alone part that’s hard. It’s the reactions you get from it.

Birthday girl, NBD

3. I don’t want to be a career breaker.

Before you freak out, allow me to explain. For the last couple of years, I’ve been reading the blogs of people who found themselves hating their jobs at 30, longing to leave their high-paying careers, relationships, townhouses and friends to travel. The Lost Girls, Legal Nomads, Nomadic Matt, Ottsworld. The list could go on and on. I sat there at 19, thinking, “Why didn’t these people realize their dreams sooner? I’ve known since I was in middle school.” I didn’t want to quit my life to travel. I wanted to live the life I always wanted, whether it followed what was expected of me or not. As I listened to the stories of the career breakers at Meet Plan Go Atlanta, I didn’t know what to think. Did this event even apply to me since I don’t exactly have a career to take a break from? Then I realized: it’s a life break. I’m breaking away from expectations and towards my fears.

Who doesn’t love a random waterslide?

4. I don’t want to fall into a rut.

Lately, I’ve gotten so fed up with things here. Writing is a very discouraging career and is definitely not for those with thin skin. I get frustrated when I see people landing dream jobs when I feel like I’ve worked hard for a similar opportunity. I want to make a life change while I still like writing. Sometimes I wish I had gone to journalism school, moved to New York City and into a pathetic studio, and become an editorial assistant for a magazine, where I was essentially an intern with a better title. It’s the path a lot of people take, but I’m not ready to settle down. I prefer real-world experience to long days in a cubicle. And yes, I’m not sure how I feel about all my possessions fitting into a 60 L backpack (which is only partially true, since I still have stuff in storage and at my parents’ house), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to get rid of the clutter, the baggage, the crap that fills up my room and my head.

5. I want to see Australia.

This statement should be the most obvious, especially if you’ve read my State of the Oz post. Ever since my grandparents went there almost a decade ago, I’ve wanted to see what made it so special. There are animals and plants on this big island that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Some of the old mining towns remind me of America’s Wild West. Did I mention it’s summer there right now? This fact is especially important as I’m snowed into my house in Georgia, typing this post. I want to see everything, from the Sydney Opera House to Uluru to every funny-named town across the country. It’s difficult to explain to my friends and family here in the South what’s so great about Australia, but it’s like obscenity: I know it when I see it.

5 Reasons

**This post is a part of my homework for the 1000-1000 Challenge by Travel Blog Challenge. Are you interested in joining the challenge or learning more about the details? Read all about them here.**

38 Responses to 5 Reasons I’m Leaving the Country to Travel

  1. andrew January 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Awesome list! Hope you get to see more of the world and eventually can make it a full-time gig to write and travel. I’m still holding out for that job that will allow me to sit on a beach in Australia writing. For now I’ll settle on day trips to Rockaway Beach in New York.

    • carolineinthecityblog January 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks! Sounds like your gig isn’t too shabby either! I figure now is the time to figure it out!

  2. Angela January 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    AWESOME!! Go for it! When I was 19, there was no way I could afford to travel. You are lucky in that you discovered your passion (to travel) early in life. For the rest of us (or at least me), it came as I experienced life obtaining degrees, volunteering in my community, working, and maturing spiritually.

    I resigned my job 15 months ago at age 41 to live life to the fullest – not a career break, but a sabbatical. A sabbatical to design my life & time to do the things that I wanted more of(travel, mentoring,spend time w/family, get a doctorate, and all that good stuff). The ultimate freedom is flexibility.

    I am excited for your adventures!!

    ~Angie
    http://www.sabbaticalscapes.com/

    • carolineinthecityblog January 17, 2011 at 3:13 am #

      Congrats! I know I’ve never heard of anyone regretting travel!

  3. andiperullo January 17, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    I’m so excited for you!!! :)

  4. Nick Laborde January 17, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    I have to say that I am that 30 year old you wrote about in the number three reason. The way I see it is, it’s never too late to start.

    I wish I had the courage to do what you’re doing now when I was your age. I can’t turn back the clock at this point so I’ll start now.

    I commend you for making the leap and am looking forward to reading about your adventures. Believe me, it’s very easy to get trapped in a rut.

    • carolineinthecityblog January 17, 2011 at 4:48 am #

      I agree completely! My grandparents didn’t start traveling until their kids were off at college and they’ve been to every continent! There’s no bad time. Thanks for your support! I have loved getting to bounce ideas off my fellow bloggers/tweeters.

  5. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World January 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Sounds like plenty of good reasons to leave! Yay!

  6. Ryan January 17, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    Caroline-

    What a great list! You are so totally right that your time Is NOW. I am really excited that you are doing this, and I’m sure you will experience many wonderful things. Incidentally I have just taken the leap as well! :)

    Happy Traveling / Growing / Non-Stagnating!

    • carolineinthecityblog January 17, 2011 at 4:48 am #

      Congrats! Lemme know if your travels take you down under!

  7. Candice January 17, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    You and I are so alike! Pumped for ya!

    • carolineinthecityblog January 17, 2011 at 4:49 am #

      This is why we are travel soul sisters, lol. Come visit!

  8. Kristen January 17, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Hey Caroline,

    I’m so excited for you and for what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re crazy at all! I think you are among some of the most sane people on the planet with the insight to see your dreams and the courage to chase it with your whole heart! and good for you! :) If you make it to South Africa, let me know :)

    • carolineinthecityblog January 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks Kristen! I hope to at some point, but the travel list is super long!

  9. J January 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Girl, you have nothing to apologize for. You’re brave, you’re self-composed, and you know what you want.

    Anyone who tries to tell you you’re crazy is just pissed they don’t have the balls to do it too.

  10. Gray January 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    This is a great list of reasons, Caroline, and I’m behind you 100%. I wish I had done it when I was your age.

  11. Natasha January 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I think a big obstacle for most people is financial. If you have the means to do it, do it. I’ve been resentful for many years over my inability to fund a long escape, or a RTW trip, but I think the key to being happy in travel is working within your limits. Sometimes it feels like only an extreme vacation can break a rut, but sometimes all it takes is a weekend in another city, experiencing something new, making new friends. Still, if you can go big and fulfill your dreams, DO IT. DO IT DO IT DO IT and do not wait.

    I hope my great escape will be within my reach in 9 months. Till then, it’s weekend trips with friends :)

    • carolineinthecityblog January 18, 2011 at 1:07 am #

      I’ve never really had money for a RTW trip either. I usually work for a couple of months and then take a trip for 2 weeks then come back and work some more. I definitely don’t have enough money for this trip, but I’m learning to budget! Thanks for the comment!

  12. Rebecca January 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    While I am technically of the “career breaker” family, I always knew I would spend some time overseas from the moment I finished college. I knew I would finish school, work for 2 years to save some money and quit and work and travel in NZ (and Australia) for as long as I could, always knowing I would come back and hopefully have “it” figured out.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been back for almost 2 years and I still have no idea what I am doing! But I enjoyed my time abroad a lot! No regrets, of course:-)

    See you this weekend! Hopefully this 80degree weather we have been having will keep!

  13. Neal Winfield January 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Sounds like a plan to me. Go for it, you have nothing to loose. I dropped everything and moved to Italy at 43, I so wish I’d done it at 23. Still at least I can say did it eventually.

  14. Amy P Eubanks January 17, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Your mom does not think you are crazy at all! In fact, I expect you to do great things while you travel – write, volunteer, bungee jump, see the Great Barrier Reef, and take lots of photos. Who knows, you might even write a book about your adventures! Go forth and conquer my child! Just be safe while you are doing it.

  15. Heather January 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    YES, go now!!! I thought about it at 22 and 23, didn’t have the money, and simply wasn’t ready. Even though I left my job at 30 to come here, it IS the perfect time *for me*.

    I am so excited for you. I have no doubt you’re going to fall in love with Australia. You’ll do heaps of things you’re planning to do and experience things and meet people you can’t even dream of right now :-)

    I see you’ll be at Travel Tribe next week — I know you’ll be insanely tired but please make it for at least a little bit. It’s my last day in Sydney before I head on out my road trip!! (Though I’ll be back for a few days whenever the road trip ends)

    • carolineinthecityblog January 18, 2011 at 1:08 am #

      Yes! I will definitely try to come! Can’t wait!

  16. Spencer Spellman January 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Some pretty damn good reasons. And glad to see “life break”. Thanks for linking me. I’m excited to follow your trip Caroline!

  17. Amanda January 18, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    You go girl! And if now is the right time for YOU to travel, then go for it! Anyone who calls you “crazy” is clearly just a hater, and should be ignored.

  18. Jaime January 18, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee <<– that is me at yelling it out loud. All of those are amazing reasons to leave the country and travel. Way to go girl!!! Your departure date is so sonn how fucking exciting!!!

    This is awesome we are living our dreams!!!!!!!!!

  19. Gipsy January 18, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    Go for it! I did the same when I was 18 and it was the very best thing I ever did … and that was back in 1970’s when girls just didn’t take off alone! Hope you like our great land down under – enjoy and travel safe.

  20. Sasha January 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I love your attitude!!! Many of the same reasons you have are what spurred me to start travelling and led me on the path to living in China where I am now. I say LIVE IT UP while your young! :)

  21. John in France January 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Love reading about young giving it a go, because most don’t!! I “gave it a go” over 25 years ago, and still doing it!!! Bon voyage!

  22. Christine January 19, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Totally agree with ALL of your points–it’s exactly why I’m leaving soon too! See you down under :)

  23. Teresa January 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    Good stuff! Any reason to travel is a good reason, but I agree with all of the above! Safe travels!

  24. gautamic July 12, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    hi caroline,

    i completly agree with u. U should nt regret abt nt doing it later. go live ur dream.btw i liked ur blog..

    Gautami

  25. Sam March 18, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    I love your blog seriously! I am 30 already unbelievably and have applied for Peace Corps twice under the new system, but been rejected despite having done Alternative Spring Breaks during college, NGO work in India after college, AmeriCorps afterwards and one summer of teaching children yoga and meditation and other work. I have always wanted to travel the globe and earn a living from such.

    Was wondering of alternatives to Peace Corps? Thanks!

  26. Sam October 20, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Awesome article truly! I am a huge advocate of traveling for fun and in earning a living from paid job in different countries.

    What are some secular programs you may know of besides competitive Peace Corps or UN, which even the most dedicated, sincere and interested candidates get turned down hurtfully from, and which are secular and pay a living allowance and stipend like Peace Corps or UN?

    Thanks! I feel the universal rule of one following one’s passion and truly earning money from it to survive applies to any field and especially if one wants to work abroad and do good as part of passion. One shouldn’t just have to volunteer and not get paid and rely on others as dependence when following passion.

    Thanks!

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