Michelle Jacobson | July 18th, 2018
"Give me one good reason you shouldn't quit your job tomorrow" asked my friend over a casual catch-up dinner.
My mouth dropped, as well as my stomach. I sat there trying to digest the insanity that just came out of my friends' mouth, while frantically searching for the 'good reason' I was going to give him.
"Umm...I mean....money, obviously." I replied, trying to swallow my food and pretend like I wasn't shocked by the question.
"Michelle, you have more than enough money for this trip and you know it. Not a good enough reason."
(He was right - I had been saving for 10 months at this point.)
"Uh, I don't know...because...umm...I was going to work here for at least 2 years and leave in September."
"Okay so that was your tentative plan. Plans change. Not a good enough reason. For real, tell me why you shouldn't just go on this trip now."
"You can find a sublet in one week and you know it."
I sat there in silence, slightly shaking. I could not give Paul a legit reason why I should stay. More importantly, I couldn't give myself a reason to stay. I went home after dinner, did some preliminary flight searching and found a one way for $737. I happened to have EXACTLY $737 worth of miles on my credit card.
I walked into work the next day, pulled my manager aside, and put in my notice.
Was it the most insane thing I have ever done? Absolutely. Do I regret it for one second?
Absolutely not. I was terribly unhappy. I wasn't learning. I wasn't growing. I was living, saving and constantly dreaming of the day I could up & go on this trip that I had kept in my "someday" box for over 3 years. Backpacking through Southeast Asia, with no real plans, just me wandering around a part of the world that has intrigued me for years.
Within 12 hours of that conversation, I had put in notice at work. Within 48 hours, I had booked a one-way to Ho Chi Minh. Within 2 weeks, I had everything figured out from a sublet, to who was taking care of my cat (shoutout to the best roommates of all time), to where I was storing my car. Within 3.5 weeks, my entire room was packed and I was on a plane alone with nothing but a 55L backpack.
If you yearn to travel like this, f*cking do it. No excuse is a good excuse. Make travel a priority. Skip the mall run and the bottomless brunch. Save some money. Ditch your 9-5 that you feel trapped in. Go alone if you can't find the right travel partner (or go alone anyway!). Figure it out and make it work for you. This is your life, and if you don't go out there and grab it, "someday" might never come.
Michelle just recently returned from an awesome 3 months of solo backpacking in Southeast Asia. She's now hanging out in Denver and Chicago, and will be exploring again soon in a city near you.