Thoughts Travel Fulltime Travel Solo

I Quit My Full-Time Job to Travel (and Work)

In June of 2015, I bought a one-way ticket to Stockholm for May 30, 2016. I remember that day vividly. I spent the entire Sunday staring at my laptop screen, adding the plane ticket to my cart, looking at the checkout page, refraining from clicking the submit button, freaking out with my friend Heesun, closing my laptop, and coming back to it… I was a whirlwind of emotions and back-and-forth thoughts. The thought of leaving everything behind and traveling the world had been on my mind for weeks, maybe months. But was I brave enough to actually do it?

After much debate, I finally made the purchase and there was no turning back.

I told myself in the event that I didn’t have the balls to quit my job and live abroad, I could just use the ticket as a short 1-to-2 week vacation. But as months went by, my confidence in my decision increased.

Fast forward 11 months later, and I’ve now put in my 2 weeks notice for my full-time position and am preparing for the world travels that lie before me.

But first let me explain why I’m doing this (sharing my abridged version below).

I’m planning to join the growing community of digital nomads to create a lifestyle change for myself. 

I figured out what I really want in life: TIME. I want time to see the world, to create music, and to work on something meaningful. I want to have a discussion with someone in Nicaragua about their perspectives, or ask a Paris local about how they think life should be lived. I want to swim in the waters of the Maldives and bask in Earth’s beauty. I want to make music with people from all ends of the globe, and see the world from the rich to the poor and explore how I can help mitigate the economic disparity. I want to give people opportunities and inspire people to LIVE their dreams.

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Instead I’ve been trading time for money. I’ve been spending 45 hours a week working for the man, trying to accept that life is supposed to be this way. That 5-15 days of paid time off is sufficient.  I kept telling myself that my complaints are invalid and that I’m being ungrateful…that life requires us to work in an office for another 30 years.

But then I thought, what if there IS another way, and I just haven’t figured it out? 

For those who love what they’re doing and have no complaints – don’t listen to my crap.

But after my 2014 solo Europe trip my life and perspectives sort of changed.

I fully realized how fleeting life is and what I was missing out on, and I started asking myself…what am I doing?! I began wondering if I would be proud of the life I had lived if I were laying on my deathbed. Does my degree at Berkeley and experience at a coveted tech giant really matter? What IS success? Is success a superficial concept? What is the purpose of my existence?!

I think the only way for me to answer my lingering questions is to take a chance. If I stay complacent and comfortable, I will never be able to build a life I want, and I’ll always have to wonder “what if?”. I decided that in order to make this dream of TIME a reality I needed to work my ass off. I stopped giving a fuck, and I started giving more fucks about making it happen.

I studied a lot. I read over 20-30 digital nomad/marketing/entrepreneurship books, joined communities, talked to nomads, and learned about how to generate passive income.  Then, I began freelancing and working on multiple income streams. I was already racking up savings with 4 years of living at home, but I was now reducing expenses even more by spending my time working on projects instead of going out. 4-Hour Workweek, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and DigitalNomadWannabe were three resources that especially pushed me off my ass and made me realize that it’s all possible. I realized that location independence, and ultimately financial independence, are achievable through building online entities from ground up. As “Rich Dad Poor Dad” says, I needed to stop working for money and make money work for me. And what better way to figure it out while traveling the world?





Essentially quitting my job and living abroad as a digital nomad has one goal: maximizing my time on this planet Earth. Time and health are the main, most standard currencies over money. A $100 bill means different things to different people, but 100 years means the same thing for everyone: one lifetime. Life is short. Money can be made, but time cannot.

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So what will my life abroad look like?

I can’t say I won’t be having an occasional margarita on the beach, but I envision most of my time will be spent on my laptop, working. I plan to stay at Wi-Fi friendly destinations on a monthly basis and work longer than full-time hours to turn my dreams into reality. I want to figure out the perfect balance between work and travel and attempt to prove that they can co-exist harmoniously rather than separately.

While I’m on this journey to pursue a lifestyle change for myself, I will never take my privileged life for granted. I’m really grateful that I’m in a position where I am safe, secure, and can dream of bigger opportunities. But in order for me to grow I believe I need to challenge myself and leave my comfort zone. Those who know me understand my motto has always been to “live, love, and inspire”. And in order for me to live out my motto I have to see this journey through.

Maybe I’ll come back to the Bay Area, California after a year and decide to take a day job. Maybe I’ll “fail” (but is there really such a thing?). Or maybe I will explore the world indefinitely and never look back. Who knows what’s going to happen?

But I can’t wait to find out. 🙂

 

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Luda Berdnyk
    May 17, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Sharon, this was so inspiring to read! I hope that you’ll have a blast in your nomadic adventures – I know you’ll succeed! (and in the meantime, keep us updated on your travels 😉 )

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      May 19, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      I will definitely keep you all updated – thank you so much! 🙂

  • Reply
    FI Fighter
    May 23, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Indeed, very inspiring! Thanks for all the support, now it’s your time to SHINE!

    Looking forward to blowing this post up tomorrow 😉

    You got this!

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      May 24, 2016 at 12:16 am

      Thank YOU for all the support! We are going to do great things 🙂 Let’s goooooo!

  • Reply
    Kimmy Hwang
    May 24, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I’m so excited to hear about your new adventure, Sharon!! I think it’s awesome that you’re working to be intentional with your life and do something meaningful 🙂 i wish you the best of luck!

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      May 24, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Ah thank you so much! 😀

  • Reply
    Financial Samurai
    May 24, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Hey Sharon!

    I resonate with this post! I left my corporate job in 2012 after 13 years and am just working online and traveling when I can as well. I’m here in Paris for the week after a week in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest whoo hoo!

    Yes, work your ass off. It’s totally worth it! Finance was hard, but it was worth it. Writing 3-4 posts a week on Financial Samurai since 2009 sometimes hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so darn worth it! Because making enough money online to work from wherever and be free is WORTH IT!

    Best,

    Sam

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      May 24, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Hi Sam!

      Thanks for your comment – I totally read Financial Samurai from time to time (thanks to FI Fighter)! 3-4 posts/week – wow, I hope I will get on your level while I’m abroad and hope that this journey works out for me as well 🙂 . It’s very inspiring what you and FI Fighter have accomplished! Thanks again!

      Best,
      Sharon

  • Reply
    Joanna Wheeler
    May 30, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Congratulations! What are you doing for work? Do you have a blog? Other resources? I would love to support you in this journey as I saw you wrote this post just a few weeks ago, and are in those early stages of really trying something new. I went to Africa for 6 months and realized traveling is my LIFE. Happy to support another woman leaving this INSANE world of 9-5 for something SO much more fulfilling 🙂

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      June 3, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Joanna! Your support means so much 🙂 Africa – wow that sounds awesome I need to go!

      In terms of resources, I’d check out smartpassiveincome.com and read up on people like Steve Scott, Pat Flynn, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ryan Diess and more. I also read this book when starting out (I’d grab the free kindle version) http://amzn.to/1TNYRoy. And it helped spark some ideas for me.

      I’m currently doing some part time marketing work. You can check out http://digitalnomadquest.com which is my other blog that I’m trying to showcase how I’m planning to achieve financial independence. I haven’t really shared this blog yet because I’m still in extremely early stages!

      Hope that helps 😉

  • Reply
    Angela
    June 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    This sounds amazing. Happy travels! 🙂

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      June 3, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Working Bee
    June 2, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    wow, very brave, very inspiring!
    While I am still suffering one more year syndrome, it’s wonderful to see you take steps and make it happen!

    • Sharon
      Reply
      Sharon
      June 3, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      I know that feeing…you should just buy the ticket 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  • Reply
    Mai
    May 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    You did it girl! I feel like I just travelled the world through your digital nomad lens 🙂
    I am so happy to see your journey and happy for you too.

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