Last week marked my first full month back at work, after I quit my job to go cycling. In this time, I had a revelation. I’ve discovered that whilst everyone else is listening to music on their headphones, I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks. This led to a small splurge on adventure podcasts, particularly Tough Girl Challenges interviews.
Whilst I was listening to all these amazing women, I started to notice a theme. They were all getting into adventure for roughly the same reasons, many ringing a chord with me and the last time I left. So, if you need any justification, say yes to these 5 and hand in your resignation.
1. You’ve Spotted The Con
Life is more like the Matrix than you think. You’ve realised that the life we’re supposed to live is a shallow imitation of what it could be.
We are all expected to go to school then maybe university, get a “good” job, a nice house, a decent car, a partner/children/cat/dog, work work work and then retire. You get 1 or 2 weeks in the summer of zipping round foreign countries, or lying by the pool in the sun because you’re too exhausted to do better.
The image has been shattered. You know it’s a lie.
You can work hard and fit nicely into societies norms, but you’re left feeling unfulfilled and empty. Sure everyone else might be pleased with your sensible, rational, “good” decisions. But there’s something in your heart screaming out that there must be more to life than this!
2. You Recognise That Life’s Too Short To Be Unhappy
I worked out that I was going to die, in church, at the age of six. I remember it vividly.
Other people have moments where close friends or family die young. Maybe they have a near-miss accident or a life-changing injury. One of the interviews I listened to, Ness Knight told the story of how she found one of her university housemates dead in her bed after leaving early from a night out. The 999 telephone responder made her try to resuscitate, even though she was cold and stiff.
It’s easy to imagine we’ve got infinite time, but we don’t. When the end comes, that’s it. All the things you were meaning to do with them, say to them, all those experiences lined up for later are gone.
It puts things into perspective.
3. You Have Itchy Feet And PC Hating Eyes
Anna McNuff talks about getting a tangible itch to go travelling. Every time she received a Lonely Planet newsletter into her inbox, whilst she was still in a corporate job, she would feel driven to travel. Others talk about not wanting to waste their life sitting in front of a computer screen.
Personally, I’m not sure if it’s the sitting or the computer. Or the fact that you feel attached to both. You find yourself popping out of the office as often as you can find excuse for. I often find excuse to write things on paper instead of the computer, to stop my eyes from bleeding.
4. You’re Fed Up Of Living By Other People’s Standards
Who decides what the rules of life are anyway? Who decided that we had to follow this same uninteresting life pattern? Who decided what a “proper” job is and what a “good” life decision is?
You can tell by the quotation marks that it certainly wasn’t me.
Having quit a job to travel once already, I can tell you that you’ll reach a point where you’re sick of it all. You’ve seen the path to success and happiness set out by society isn’t for you, you don’t believe in the system anymore and you don’t want to waste any more time there. You need to run away (or in my case, cycle).
“I had placed my life, myself, in a set of limits that were completely defined by someone else.”
5. You Know That You Can Do Better
This is is what separates the dreamers from the adventurers. How many people have you heard say they don’t like their job, but it pays the bills? Or that it’s ok, it’s fine, it does? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life sounding like that.
I took a look around me and thought nah. How on earth did I end up here? I am so completely unsuited to wearing smart blouses and high heels every day. I want to do something better, something more important, something that people will remember. In short, I guess I want to change the world.
It doesn’t have to be in a big way, but if I can inspire even a few people or improve the life of just one more person, that’ll be a good thing.
When we’re younger, we’re encouraged to think big, to aim for the stars. But no sooner have we latched onto these incredible aspirations, the rest of the world starts bombarding you with that word the teachers hate so much: can’t.
Sadly, many people listen to them, bury their dreams and never see them fulfilled. There is, I think, nothing quite so sad as that. If you really mean it, you’ve got to start acting on it now. Stop saying “can’t” and start asking “how”. How can I make this a reality?
“A goal without a plan is just another dream…”
How many of these are you? Want to get support achieving those dreams ? Join the Intrepidess Facebook group.