“I learned that the world is smaller than we think, and full of people just like us. And also that there are fascinating differences that make all of us unique.” Read about Amy’s leap…
Please share your story… what was your leap?
In 2004, I quit my office job to travel around the world.
What inspired you to take this leap?
A conversation with some older cousins, who encouraged me to travel “while you still can.” I may have taken things further than they intended, but after that conversation I had a powerful gut feeling that I was meant to make a big change in my life.
What is it that made this a leap for you?
I worked in book publishing, and I’d often thought about quitting my job to work freelance, but let all the challenges keep me from ever making a move. For some reason, the urge to travel was much stronger (and the challenges irrelevant), and once the idea occurred to me, I was completely obsessed with making it happen.
How long would you say you thought about taking this leap before you did it?
I think I knew pretty much immediately that I was going to follow through with it, but I needed to save some money to fund my travels, so it actually took me two and a half years from original idea to quitting my job and getting on a plane to South America.
If you thought about it for a while first, what changed that allowed you to take action?
Having enough money in the bank. I looked at estimated travel costs and determined how much money I wanted in the bank, and made some sacrifices so I could save that money (sold my car, didn’t go out as much, etc.). As soon as the money was saved, I knew it was time to go.
What was the hardest part before you took the leap? Was anything challenging after you did it?
It was such a long process, there were certainly times where I got tired of thinking about it, tired of making the effort to save money, but I never gave up.
I wasn’t sure I was actually going to like traveling alone or traveling long-term, but I knew I had to give it a try. I also had relationship challenges; I was living with my boyfriend when I came up with the idea and he was originally on board but eventually changed his mind and we broke up. Then I met someone new while I was planning my departure, and it was really difficult getting ready to leave while also enjoying a new relationship. It was on again, off again the whole time I was gone. The most challenging part overall was knowing, as time went on, that I really didn’t want it to end! I knew I needed to find a way to continue the adventure instead of going back to an office.
How did you keep yourself motivated to stick with the change as it was happening?
I think it was the deep gut feeling that this was something I truly needed to do that kept me motivated to stick with it.
What was the best part of the experience?
Going to incredible places around the world that many people only dream of seeing; finally being out on the road, my dream realized; meeting interesting people from all over who had found unique ways to live life.
Looking back at the leap you made, is there anything you’d do differently if you were doing it again?
Not really, no. I might try to more neatly extricate myself from that complicated relationship before I left, but that’s easier said than done!
What did you learn about yourself from taking this leap? About the world around you, if anything?
I learned that I’m more determined than I thought, and more courageous than I thought.
I learned that pretty much anything is possible, if we just set our minds to it.
I learned that the world is smaller than we think, and full of people just like us. And also that there are fascinating differences that make all of us unique.
If you had to describe what making this leap has done for you in one sentence, what would you say?
It changed my life. (I know that sounds like a total cliché, but it’s true!)
Is there anything else you want to share about your experience?
This leap was just the beginning for me. As I said, I didn’t want to go back to an office after this trip, so after traveling for nine months I started my own freelance editing business, and I’ve been working for myself since 2005. In 2007, I moved to Argentina to gain a deeper cultural experience, and ended up meeting my husband there! We’re now back on the road, traveling and working from anywhere. Truly, none of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken that leap.