It all started with wine. Because really, what major decision does not?
I was out celebrating the completion of my 11 year marathon of school (don’t get me started on that) and for the first time in my life I felt like there was nothing holding me back. No more “wait until you graduate” cloud following me around. Three girls at half-priced bottle of wine Thursdays at Original Joes, we completed an assessment of our lives and we all decided that this thing called being an adult was totally over rated. Work, sleep, repeat. I am bored already.
At that time, one of the girls confessed she had recently quit her job at the bank to go into carpentry. Seriously? I didn’t see that coming. Then I quickly jumped on the band wagon and announced that I was going to quit my job too and become totally irresponsible for a year. Leave my house and leave my job. Why not be 30 and work in a hostel? Worst things could happen – I could be 30 and single! Oh wait…. we’ll get to that later. The third girl jumped in that she hated her job and was going to quit too. This was great! I immediately invited her to join me – we were going to move to London!
Man I love cheap wine.
In the morning, I texted my new London roommate. She apparently hadn’t drunk as much as me, because she was having second thoughts. This was a little discouraging. But wait! As Matthew Wilder sang “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break Stride” I thought!
That morning I met some other friends to continue graduation celebrations over brunch. I shared my revelation from the night before and was faced with cheering and encouragement (this was more like it)! They then told me that their friend Pam was looking to travel the world in the next year as well. I had met Pam once before at the Price is Right Roadshow. Clearly anyone who attends that is awesome. Why not? I called her when I left brunch and headed straight to her house.
The conversation then went something like this:
Pam: “I want to travel the world for like 6 months. Where do you want to go?”
Me: “I have always wanted to go to Southeast Asia”
Pam: “Done. I want to go to Africa”
Me: “Seriously Africa? Yah – I could be down with Africa. I also want to do yoga teacher training in Costa Rica” (**)
Pam: “Sweet. That would be fun. We could head up to Honduras afterwards” (insert Pam googling whale sharks)
Tori: “Oh and I want to do Machu Picchu”!
Tori: “It’s going to be expensive”
Pam: “Yah that’s cool. It’s just money”
I had met my soul mate.
**We decided to settle on a one week yoga retreat instead of one month yoga teacher training. It sounded like a lot of work with text books and you couldn’t drink for a month. Not to mention that I only did yoga about once every couple of months and am not in quite my prime shape. It was a nice thought. I decided walking and tanning for 6 months would be much more enjoyable.
If it is one thing I have learned, everything happens for a reason. Good, bad, the ugly. I honestly believe that there is a plan in place for all of us. We need to keep our eye out for opportunities and not shy away from them because we are scared. I was scared about this adventure. Mostly scared about telling my grandparents I was leaving my job which had been extremely good to me and provided endless opportunities. I was also scared about telling work.
Here is the bottom line though: no one lays on their death bed and is like “I wish I worked more and didn’t see the world.”
I was totally going to throw that in my speech. That was gold.
Telling work was tricky. I had great intentions to tell them when I returned from Christmas break right before busy season started (I am a Chartered Accountant by designation…we will get more into that later..). Things didn’t go so well.
We had a crazy year and I was working, on average 65 hours a week for four months. Hard to find a good opportunity to bring up you are not planning on being there next year. I delayed sharing this information until the dust settled. Actually, the upcoming year’s budgets were due and I literally couldn’t submit my estimated hours of work for half of the year with 0 hours. That would definitely raise some questions.
So I did it. And it surprisingly went well. I was not forced to quit, they encouraged me taking this opportunity, and they confirmed that I would still likely get promoted (seriously? this was going amazing). Must have been my speech. Gold I tell you.
The reactions of me leaving from some were priceless. When a colleague found out I was leaving (without knowing the reason), her initial reactions was “well why? There is no way she could be pregnant.” I guess single and 30 now automatically means sterile. Does the use or loose it saying apply to conceiving? That could be concerning…
So the planning at that point really started to take off. One piece of advise is to get a rockstar travel agent to help you. We started throwing out ideas and dates and they pieced it together for us. Booked it for us. Cancelled and rebooked everything for us (that’s another long story). Anyway, it was for real.
This was happening.