Leaving The Dream Job to Pursue The Dream Life

Leaving The Dream Job to Pursue The Dream Life

Now that I’m back at home and working on the golf course more regularly (we’ll get to that in a moment), my conversation with many of the regular golfers has generally gone something like this:

Golfer: Hey Gen! How’s the traveling going? Where are you off to next?

Me: As a matter of fact, I’m not in that job anymore, I left the company. Barcelona at the end of July was my last event.

Golfer: What?! But weren’t you getting to travel all over the world?

Me: I was.

Golfer: That must’ve been so amazing though!

Me: Actually, it wasn’t…

And it’s not just on the golf course I’ve been having this conversation. I’ve had this conversation with just about every person who is not an involved part of my life.

But back to the facts…yes, I have left my “dream job.” The same job I was so excited about earlier this year.

Of course, the big question from everyone has been WHY?

Well, that’s a somewhat multi-facetted answer.

Let’s start with the job itself. Almost everyone I’ve ever met thinks that traveling for a living is glamorous. And almost everyone I’ve ever met who travels for a living, if they’re being honest with you, will tell you that it is far from glamorous.

Everyone who has a commute to work greater than about 45 mins, raise your hand. Do you like commuting that far everyday, losing that much of your day to driving back and forth in your car? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Now imagine extending that commute by hours, sometimes as many as 14 or 15. And doing that frequently, sometimes as often as almost every day if you’re on a bus, every week if you’re on an airplane. That’s an awful lot of life spent “commuting.”

Add into that the stress on your physical well-being of being locked in one position for many hours at a time, breathing recycled/smog-filled/stale air, eating whatever mystery food is available on the buffet, and losing hours of sleep due to either jet lag or a demanding 16-hour day work schedule (you pick).

And finally, throw into that equation the fact that you are working non-stop, from the time you hit the ground to the time you depart again. All of those recommendations for Australia or Thailand from your friends? Yeah, there’s no time for that. The beautiful beach right out your hotel window? There’s no time for that either, you’re here to work, remember?

The reality is it’s not travel at all, it’s work. That’s it.

So certainly, traits of the job itself were a big factor in my decision.

But I’d also started to realize that some of the most important values for me had started to fall by the wayside. Case in point, my writing, which I love. My last personal post was in May and I was barely keeping my business afloat.

My health and fitness levels were rapidly declining. I found myself having to take extra supplements to ward off muscle aches and tension, anxiety, insomnia, and overall general stress and unhappiness.

In addition, I’m a woman who thoroughly enjoys food - not simply from the standpoint of eating, but I love to cook, and I love the process of making the decisions on who & what I support by choosing where my food is coming from. Yet I was rarely home to cook food or make those decisions on food purchases. Almost everything I was eating was on the go somehow, and when I actually was home I was so exhausted I couldn’t muster the energy to care much.

And finally, at the same time I was going through the realization that perhaps my “dream job” actually wasn’t, something else big changed in my life. I happened to cross paths with the person that, as much as I’ve never believed in soul mates, I was quite obviously meant to pair up with permanently. A friend became a date became a love became a life at a rapid pace, and I found my priorities shifting, some ever so slightly, some more dramatically.

The universe, as it has a way of doing, had delivered to me something I didn’t know I needed at precisely the time I needed it. Life had dropped into my lap someone I not only didn’t mind actually being still with, but, to my astonishment, I found I preferred it. Someone who helped me remember some of my passions, dreams, and goals, and then gave me not only the challenge to get them back on track but the support to to do so (I am definitely adding him to my list of real-life heroes).

At the same time life also delivered into my lap a professional opportunity that, although it was not my dream job, would at least allow me the breathing room to slow down for a minute and reboot everything, from my home life (I didn’t have one) to my health (which was declining) to my writing business (fading into nothingness).

Of course, now that I’m finally catching my breath, it’s time to start ramping things back up again!

I still love to travel and I still intend to travel, although likely at a fairly reduced pace in comparison to what I was doing. My blog, it will certainly still stay rogue, but readers may start to see a shift in focus. The same voice will remain, but the subject will broaden outside of travel to include more topics in my areas of knowledge & interest such as sustainability, preparedness, our changing global environment, and the (unfortunately) political concerns that go along with such subjects.

Along those lines, I should also mention that I’ve added a fantastic website called Ethical Traveler to my list of clients. Although my articles are written in a more journalistic capacity than what readers are used to here, I hope that if my readers have a minute they’ll browse on over and have a look.

Winter is coming (I am personally referring to Chicagoland, not Westeros), but I feel like I’m in a spring season, a time for rebirth and growth. I couldn't be more excited, not only to be in the present, but to see what’s around the next bend!

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Filed under: Everyday Life, Sparks

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