A Farewell To Arms

After every trip, I used to go back home and dread coming back to my 9 to 5 job. It didn’t bother me at first. I knew I needed a job to fund my travels, of course and I genuinely loved what I did for work. But balancing both has been progressively difficult. My wanderlust took over me at a tremendous rate and fighting it was part of a daily struggle. I reached that point where I began to ask myself questions: What am I doing with my life? Is this what I really want to do? FOREVER? Is there something better out there for me? 

Yet, life has a funny way of answering your questions and giving you a shove when you need it the most. Ten years of hard work has put me on the path of great trajectory. I was encouraged and told to do so. Success was measured by how high up the ladder you climbed, or how big your salary was or how important your job title sounded. But the more I got deeper in its throes, the more far removed I was in the things that mattered the most.

When you no longer love going to work, when being chained to your desk is as good as being in prison, when you are stuck in a toxic environment with horrible bosses. When your beliefs were dismissed by changes forced upon you, it’s time get out.

I was too young to be burned out. My dreams are far bigger than the four corners of a small town job. Life is too short and time should not be wasted. This realization brought the  kind of freedom that came with a price. The career that I have invested years of hard work in has not given me the fulfillment and happiness I needed. Instead, it showed me the ugly realities of power, greed and corruptness.

Travel has become my escape. Admittedly,  I was using it to run away from a miserable reality. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. That’s not how my life is supposed to be. A toxic job has sullied the sacred purpose of traveling. It has turned me into a different person, an unpleasant, depressed person. During this period, I traveled to Japan and I saw myself again. The happy, cheerful, positive person that I once knew. But that was a short-term fix. When I got back, it got even worse. But travel has always been on my side. It kicked my ass and woke me up from a nightmare.

“Helloooo, what the fuck are you doing taking shit from dweebs? You are better than this provincial life. You have seen the world, now go live in it!” That was the spirit of Travel kicking my ass.

The moment I walked out of that door, my life found its purpose again. I was too afraid to take risks that I was missing out on all the amazing opportunities waiting for me. Change of scenery is always good for you. Surrounding yourself with people who uplift you is very important. Although I know it wasn’t the mundane 9-5 that irked me, it was the specific job itself and the world’s most horrible bosses.

Thank God those days are now over.

As I traded the farms of Connecticut to Chicago’s skyscrapers, I have never felt more excited. Sometimes I wish I did it sooner. I felt like I waited too long. Nevertheless, I did it. I changed my situation. It’s a good start.

There is so much to do. There are bigger dreams to follow. There are more amazing places to go and wonderful people to know. Don’t let a horrible boss ruin you. You may be traumatized for a few days, but life goes on. Karma will make sure it does its job. You get what you give. The best revenge is to live happily and fabulously!

IMG_6736

Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created Angel of Wanderlust as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.