I Just Quit My Life – As I’ve Known It

I’ve grown up accepting that the 9 to 5 is just how things are done.  I never imagined that there could be another option.  Sure, there’s the entrepreneurial track, but that’s just a different role in the same machine.

But times have changed, and there are completely new paths available.  I have taken the leap, and I am leaving behind everything I’ve ever known.


Am I a Millennial?

I come from a very interesting generation.  I joke about “kids these days,” and I’ve never associated myself with millennials.  I was a child of the 90s, well before the millennium.

I grew up with wired phones and TV Guides.  I know what a stamp is and how to use a rotary phone, I blew in game cartridges to make them work, and I know a floppy disk is more than just a “save” icon.  I witnessed the birth of the internet, laughed at all the Y2K worriers, and I was old enough to understand the ramifications of 9/11.

I was also raised to go to school, get a good job, and save up as much as I can for retirement.

But times changed

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

However, halfway through that plan came the millennial revolution.  This idea of content creators, YouTubers, and Instagram influencers.  The concept of actually making money from blogging or passive income streams.  And a whole new world opened up in front of me.

Suddenly, I no longer have to subscribe to the idea that I must be chained to a desk for 40 hours a week in order to live.  I can choose when I work and for whom – and from where!  Full-time travel can be a reality.

But I also have my feet grounded in the stability of office work.  I understand completely what that life offers and the holes leaving it would force me to fill on my own.

And perhaps it’s because of this knowledge that this is such a scary change for me.

Despite that, I’ve pulled the trigger.  I’ve officially let go of all I’ve known to be safe and reliable, and I’m not looking back.

I’ve quit my life.

I am now jobless

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Sure, I’ve been without a job before, but it was never really by choice.  I’ve been fired and laid off.  I have quit, too, but only because circumstances forced me to, and always with getting a new job as quickly as possible forefront in my mind.

Now, I haven’t left my job in order to seek another.  I don’t have resumes and cover letters and interviews ahead of me (and for that I’m glad).  I’m not in a mad panic over how to cover bills and where I’ll be accepted next.

However, I also no longer have a paycheck.  That’s the tough one to swallow.  I no longer have health insurance, life insurance, or any of the other benefits that come with working for a corporation.  We have to figure all of that out on our own – pay for it all on our own.

And that’s terrifying.

Even when I’ve been without a job in the past, I’ve almost always had some other insurance to cover medical expenses – COBRA, parents’, etc.  Now, we’re truly on our own.

We’ve fortunately saved up for this trip, so money isn’t as scary… yet.  We’re working on that part.

I will soon be homeless

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

This part is terrifying, too!!

As a military brat, I’m no stranger to moving.  I get what it takes to downsize, pack, move… but there’s usually another half to that: signing a new lease, moving in, unpacking, setting up.

To not have a place we can call our own goes against everything I’ve ever known.  I’ve only been an official member of the workforce for about half of my life.

I’ve never not had a home.

Granted, we’re fortunate to have a bit of a crutch here.  My parents live close-by, so we can stay with them to wrap up the remaining loose ends, and we have a permanent address we can use while abroad.

But we’re still getting rid of far more of our belongings than we would with a typical move, and we’re being as brutal as we can.

Almost none of the furniture is surviving.  We just sold our dresser, even, so we’re officially living out of our suitcases!  We had a big garage sale to clear out some of our stuff, but we still have so much more to purge.

It’s sad to see some of these things go after a decade or more of having them, but at the same time, it’s refreshingly cleansing to rid ourselves of excess stuff.

We are leaving Portland

Portland Inverted

This one’s tough.  I love living in the Pacific Northwest, and I love this town.  My military-brat legs are itching for a bit of change, but it’s hard to leave a place of which I’ve grown so fond.

This city has changed dramatically in the past 12 years I’ve been here (wow, has it really been that long??), but I’m still happy here.  I love the hiking and photography opportunities, skiing, camping, beaches, etc.  The area is verdant and beautiful, and it has an eclectic culture.  I’m certainly going to miss it.

We’ve also met so many wonderful people here, and we’re leaving them, too.  We trust they’ll continue to have amazing adventures without us, even if we can’t share in the stories afterwards.

We are leaving our kitties

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

Aw, but this one is even harder.  Our kitties are our kids, and they are spoiled absolutely rotten.  They know they have us wrapped around their little paws (me, especially), and we are happy to cater to their every mewling demand.

Fortunately, I know they will be in exceptional hands with my parents.  Where do you think I learned how to spoil kitties?

Our big worry is the stress this large of a change will have on them.  Not only is this a move (which is hard enough), but we’ll be moving into an already-established household with new people, another cat who’s already laid claim to the territory, and an excitable puppy who just wants to play with the little furry things.

On top of that, we’ll be leaving them behind.  That’ll be a lot of change over a short period, and I’m certain they won’t be very happy about it.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2012

Our Holee is also 17 years old.  We have to face the very real possibility that we’ll be saying our final farewells to her when we leave.  This absolutely breaks my heart to think about, and I can only hope for the best.  She’s very healthy now, but the upcoming stress could prove difficult for her.  On the other hand, she might be one of those 32-year-old cats, still purring away.  There’s no way to know.


We’re mitigating this separation somewhat by bringing a little bit of our kitties with us.  I had some of their fur spun into yarn, and I crocheted these adorable doppelgängers.  They’ll be traveling the world with us, and they even have their own Instagram account!  Find lots of cute fuzzy worldly pictures coming soon right here.

We are leaving our lifestyles

Everything that we have established as routine or “normal” will very quickly go away.  We won’t have regular smiley box shipments from Amazon.  We won’t (necessarily) have Friday night movies or Sunday morning shopping.  We won’t have all the luxuries of our home, and we’ll have to accommodate.  Laundry will be different; sleeping will be different; eating will be different.

© Brianna Shade 2014

We won’t be able to celebrate holidays with family as we’re used to.  We will miss our first Christmas ever.

And we’ll have to be extremely cautious with our cash.  Without income, every dollar saved is another day traveling, a slightly nicer lodging, or one more experience.  No more fancy nights on the town or splurging on yet another camera lens.  It’s a humbling adjustment.

But it will all be worth it


So why do it?  Because change is good, and it’s healthy for the soul.  Because the new experiences we’ll gain as a result will be invaluable.  Because this world is full of too many spectacular things to simply settle.

We love traveling, and this is taking it to the extreme!  We’ll meet new people and build brand new connections.  We will witness different cultures and internalize new ways to solve problems that we couldn’t have even fathomed before.  And we will see things that will completely change our outlook on life.

My dad thinks I actually am a millennial because I prize experiences over money and material things.  Because I want the freedom to choose my own path and shape my own future outside the confines of a cubicle.  Long-term travel isn’t for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with a dependable desk job.  But that’s not where I want to be right now.  Perhaps that does make me a millennial… it’s just taken me a long time to become one.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016

What big changes set your life on a new path?

I Just Quit My Life - As I've Known It | BIG tiny World Travel | A big change like uprooting our lives to travel the world is simply terrifying, but it'll all be worth it.  I've quit my life.  It's time for a new one.  Click to read all about it! | #longtermtravel #coupletravel #travel #fulltimetravel #earlyretirement

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20 thoughts on “I Just Quit My Life – As I’ve Known It

  1. Excellent plan. No looking back when you are old and grey and think I wish I had world longer. Gave up my business long ago and never regret missing all our travel adventures.

  2. Wonderful post. I love the idea of using your cats’ fur to make the little cat dolls. Those are sure to comfort you, along with the knowledge that they are well cared for by your parents.

    1. Thank you. Yes, we will very much miss our little fuzzballs, and I hope to receive many pictures and updates while we’re away. But those little replicas make us smile so much, they’re sure to help us with the separation :3

  3. This is amazing! Just graduated college and currently don’t have a job but I do enjoy travelling and blogging about it. Not just about earning from it but this is definitely something I want to do and although it is terrifying but just like you said, it’s gonna be worth it 🙂 thanks for this!

    1. Thanks for reading! We were always envious of those who were able to go traveling straight out of college. I’m glad we’re able to make it happen now, and I hope you’re able to find a way to keep doing it and make some income doing so 🙂

  4. I have to admit, I dont know what a 9 to 5 job is as I have always worked shifts in the railway here in London. 😀 I would love to travel full time but I also want a secure future,so I travel when I can. I still get to do about 8 city breaks a year and 6 weeks on the road so I am happy with this. 🙂 But good luck with the future, all roads lead to somewhere 🙂

    1. Long-term travel isn’t for everyone 🙂 I’ve heard Europeans get a much more generous holiday and vacation deal than we do in the States, so I can see an endeavor like ours feeling less necessary. We’re just excited to escape for a while!

  5. I’m in the process of doing the same, 9 – 5 will never get you anywhere in life. We all have the potential to go places and travel the world. Being caught in a desk job consumed by the stressful lifestyle is a fast forward button to our grave.

    1. Couldn’t agree more! We just got so sick of waiting until 5pm… waiting until the weekend… waiting until the next holiday… waiting until the next vacation. Life shouldn’t be a series of waiting for days to be over.

  6. I’ve gone through changes in life as well, so I’d totally understand the nerves as well as the excitements. Although to be fair, I haven’t really thought about the possibility of traveling full time since it seems a little way too exhausting for me. 😛

    As a cat owner myself, I totally understand how it is for you. I had to leave my late cat Disco 10 years ago for the first time when I got a scholarship for a summer course in Turkey, and he got sick not so long after I departed. My mom was a wonderful petsitter herself, but still I got to the point that I felt like I shouldn’t have gone etc.

    I’ve moved around because of the jobs that got me relocated a few times, until a few years back when I decided to go back home for good. It took only around 2 years for me to get reunited with Disco until he passed away last year. I genuinely hope you could reunite with Holee and the other cat some time later. Stay safe, wherever you go! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the kind words! I’m sorry you had to say goodbye to your furbaby; even temporarily, it’s never easy. That sounds like an awesome opportunity, though! I hope you enjoyed your time in Turkey.

      I’m really glad you were able to see Disco again before he passed. That gives me hope. I also just saw a picture while scrolling on Instagram: a cat sitting with a sign, “I’m 20 today.” I take it as a good omen 🙂

  7. Congratulations on making a decision and taking the leap. I definitely think the hardest part for me would be leaving my animals. Good luck to you and on your journey.

    1. Thank you! Yes, our kitties are really hard to leave behind. How does one abandon those adorable faces?? I have every faith they’ll be thoroughly spoiled (perhaps more so) where they’re going, so that makes it a little easier.

  8. Amazing story! It’s so nice to hear someone with similar life path as mine. I’ve taken a similar route, just the difference is that I’m not on the road all the time and I work “regular jobs” from time to time. I’m stressed about finances more than I should definitely, but we just need to remember to have fun I guess. Also, we are the ones that can choose what our story is going to be! So kudos to our new chapters and the one that we are in at the moment!!

    1. Fun is vital to regular traveling! We’re also reviewing freelance options for possible income while we travel, but we hope to not need that too much 🙂

  9. I am totally for this! It’s hard, yes, a tough pill to swallow, certainly – but live your best life! This is so inspiring to read, I cannot wait to follow your journey and see where it takes you!

  10. What an exciting decision! You’ll have a blast and hopefully find your own path that works for you instead of the usual 9-5. I think the experiences you have travelling will be worth everything you leave behind, even the kitties!

    1. We couldn’t agree more! If we didn’t think it would be worth leaving the kitties for a while, we wouldn’t do it 🙂 We look forward to all the new experiences and lessons learned that await!

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