How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World

September 25, 2013
How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World

Roseanne Cash once said, “The key to change is to let go of fear.” Two years ago, I quit my job, a comfy tenured teaching position, sold my car, moved all of my possessions into storage, said goodbye to my family, and boarded a plane for the United Arab Emirates. I had never been more scared in my life. I knew in my heart that moving abroad was the right thing to do, but the fear of leaving my safety net was almost unbearable.

It had been a dream to teach abroad and travel the world since I graduated college. After a short stint studying abroad in Italy, I was hooked. However, as the years went by and the bills got bigger, the dream of teaching abroad slowly faded away. I settled down into a teaching position where my colleagues became family.

I jumped from apartment to apartment but never left my hometown of Chicago. A piece of my heart was aching for that adventure I felt in Italy so many years ago, but I was scared to make any changes in my life.

After months of researching and daydreaming I decided it was now or never. I was 28, single, and ready to see the world. Some people thought I was crazy. Some said, “You will never find a job when you get back home. Someone even said, “I think this is a stupid decision.” The negative comments added to my fears. Could I really leave all this behind? Little did I know that the next two years would change my life forever. My desire to travel was bigger than fear.

A piece of my heart was aching for that adventure I felt in Italy so many years ago, but I was scared to make any changes in my life.

How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World
These two years changed my life forever.

I lived and worked in Dubai but traveled every opportunity I got. The first few months were not easy, and I definitely experienced the normal cycle of culture shock. I was homesick, confused, and a little lost. Then slowly things started to change. I began settling into my job. I started going out more and exploring Dubai. In fact, I began making friends. These friends turned into sisters. Whether we were indulging in the glitz and glamor of Dubai or talking over coffee, as long as we were together, we were happy.

I took my first major solo backpacking trip in December 2011 to Thailand. I had my backpack and no major plan on how the next two weeks would go. And I met fellow backpackers, some who had been traveling for almost a year. It’s a funny thing when you meet other backpackers. Everyone connects instantly and everyone is in the same mindset: Carpe diem and travel as much as you can.

No explanation is needed as to why you are there. After two weeks of crazy adventures in Thailand, I was ready for more.

Over the course of the remaining next two years I traveled to Oman, Turkey, Kuwait, Nepal, London, India, and Sri Lanka. Some of my favorite adventures were walking to the Taj Mahal at sunrise, riding a public bus alone through the countryside of Sri Lanka, visiting a children’s home in Nepal, and partying until the sun came up on Christmas in Bangkok.

Suddenly something in my heart changed. When I was in Nepal, I witnessed the poorest circumstances I had ever seen. People were living in slums without a penny to their name.

After months of researching and daydreaming I decided it was now or never. I was 28, single, and ready to see the world.

How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World

 

Children ran in the streets barefoot beside piles of filth. But one thing everyone in Nepal had in common was the smile on their faces and a willingness to help a stranger without expecting anything in return. It became apparent to me that despite our differences everyone in the world seeks the same thing: to love and to be loved.

And it was in Nepal where I saw people capable of giving and receiving this love without any material items. Suddenly my problems did not seem so big. My heart began to open.

My last few months in Dubai were the best. As crazy as it sounds, Dubai started to feel like home. Truth be told, I did not want to leave but my two year contract was coming to an end. As excited as I was to see my family and friends, I was sad to leave Dubai.

Sitting in the taxi on the way to the airport, I did not feel like my adventure was over. I felt like it had only just begun. I’m not sure if it was Dubai I was not ready to say goodbye to or just the experience. I no longer ached for that sense of adventure I felt for so many years. I was finally living it. It was almost as if every country, every person I met, every statue, every monument, every bite of food, every new language filled my soul with a sense of wonder and completion. I felt complete.

I felt amazing. In fact, I felt like I could do anything. As I sit here in Chicago waiting for the next chapter of my life to unfold, I know this is a pause in my journey, but it is definitely not the end. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come. Travel now, travel big, travel often.

How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World
I don’t feel like my adventure is over.

How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World

Related Reading

Beginners’ Tips for Solo Travel

Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway: Traveling Solo

4 Empowering Tips for First-Time Solo Travelers

Why I Love Traveling Solo In Vietnam

Why Solo Women Should Travel to Norway

Have you traveled solo? How was your trip? Email us at [email protected]pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Photo credits for How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World by Lindsay Rosenzweig.

About Lindsay Rosenzweig

Lindsay RosenzweigLindsay quit her job as a tenured teacher in Chicago, and set off to travel the world. She currently lives in Dubai.

24 thoughts on “How I Quit My Job, Opened My Heart, Traveled the World

  1. Avatar
    September 26, 2014
    Reply

    Empowering! As every young woman. looks ahead, I pray their spirit beckons them beyond the status-quo into a matrix of self confidence, exploration passion to impact the world. The way you captured the wonder and amazing connections outside of our own backyards and city lights reminds me how essential travel truly is to our completeness.
    Thank you for stirring my next venture : GO! It just may free You- Mind Body&Soul.
    muchlove
    Diane
    @bodysecretsATL

    • Lindsay Rosenzweig
      Lindsay Rosenzweig
      August 22, 2015

      Thank you Diane! Your comment empowers me to keep going!

  2. Lindsay
    Lindsay
    June 1, 2014
    Reply

    Thank you Shalu and Trish! Amazing to still get comments on this almost one year letter. I am so happy to have inspired you and others through my story :). Trish, you are NEVER too old!

  3. Avatar
    Trish
    May 29, 2014
    Reply

    Great post! I have always wanted to do just what you did, but have never been brave enough….I’m afraid that I am too old now (I’m 40) and I let this opportunity pass me by. Your life’s journey sounds WONDERFUL, and I wish you the best in whatever you do. Our lives sometimes seems to “morph” into a new phase and sometimes you just have to “do it”. Congratulations! Enjoy alol you do!

    • Lindsay
      Lindsay
      April 4, 2016

      Thank you! I say you can still do it! 🙂

  4. Shalu Upadhyay
    Shalu Upadhyay
    April 3, 2014
    Reply

    Lovely article Lindsay!! Loved every bit of it. Your story is really inspiring!!! 🙂

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