Why I quit my full-time job to travel full-time

I quit my full-time job on a Tuesday morning. The reality that I needed to quit my soul-sucking job didn’t hit me until 3 a.m. I was in a zombie state of mind. My eyes burned from being up for days and my body ached from exhaustion, running constantly to complete my workload.

On Monday, my last day, the workday hustle began at 4 a.m. with early morning editing and interviews. I didn’t stop working until 11 p.m. as I finished reviewing my school board story and notes. Tuesday’s hustle also began at 4 a.m., but I was at my breaking point.

Supposedly, I had a 9-to-5 job. But as a newspaper reporter in a small town, it felt like I was on the clock 24/7. I couldn’t go to the grocery store without being stopped for 45 minutes talking about the newspaper and a potential story. I had readers bombarding my personal social media and email at all hours of the day reminding me of stories and requesting interviews. My neighbors bothered me weekly about their newspaper subscriptions.

I felt trapped.

I couldn’t escape my job.

Being a newspaper reporter became my entire identity. Now, that’s not to say that I’m not a journalist at heart — I constantly look at the world through an eye keen on details and constantly question the world around me. But suddenly my name was “Newspaper Reporter in Small Town USA.” It was no longer Martha, a girl with attributes that make her a cutthroat reporter.

By taking on this job, I unknowingly adopted a new persona, one that would completely consume me.

My daily routine revolved around my job as a newspaper reporter. I lacked a social life because I didn’t have a spare moment to devote to anything other than my newspaper. I lived and breathed newspaper reporting. It was unhealthy.

The newspaper I worked for was understaffed and all the responsibility fell on me. I was the only person producing a 25-page newspaper, with little to no help from my superior. We lacked staff because of recent office turnover and struggled to find replacements worthy of working in our high-paced work environment. I was alone in this busy, chaotic and crushing position.

But it hadn’t always been this way.

At one time, we were fully staffed. I was able to have a social life and function. In my first three months working at the newspaper, I wrote award-winning stories that gained national attention. I was making substantial progress as a journalist and as a writer. I achieved career goals that I thought would take years. But after months of working alone and having no mentors or co-workers to spur on my ambition and challenge me, I started to hate what I do.

I also started to hate myself.

I despised that I didn’t have time for myself. I was confined to the small town that I covered, which was hard for a social, 22-year-old woman to cope with. I struggled to juggle my dating life, find time to reconnect with friends and family and manage to get a good night’s sleep. I hated feeling isolated from the rest of my life. I felt as if the only thing that was constant was the grueling job I dragged myself to every day.

That late Monday night/early Tuesday morning I told myself I couldn’t hate myself any longer. I could no longer use my job as a crutch for not being happy. I ached to feel fearless and become braver. I wanted to delve into something that ignited me with feeling, not something that left me feeling empty.

I craved freedom.

After that sleepless Monday night, I came to work the next morning with a resignation letter in hand. I handed it to my boss and left. There was nothing they could say to make me stay. I had had enough of this unhappy cycle. I needed to live again.

A month later I boarded a plane to Puerto Rico where I found that happiness again. The tropical sunshine and humid air chased away my blues. The only blues that I cared about were the blue-hued Caribbean lagoons and waterfalls I was bathing in.

That vacation returned my spunk. I started to write again and with more depth, grit and was relentlessly honest. I gained a new appreciation for honesty.

For months, I didn’t have a job. I dabbled in freelancing while I lived off my rainy day fund as I searched for other careers.

Every time I saw a notification of a new job posting, I sincerely wished that this one was my dream job, but each time I came up empty-handed. I was offered positions but turned them down because I didn’t want a job that just paid my bills. I wanted a job that made me proud of my immense work ethic and my endless determination.

I never found it.

After facing disappointment time and time again, I took another daring leap. I decided then that I would create a job from scratch, a position that I’ve always dreamed of. For weeks, I brainstormed what my new job could be and I kept returning to two major elements: a writing career and something that allowed me to travel often. The answer was so painfully obvious at the beginning, but it took me until June to launch Quirky Globetrotter, a travel blog that filled all the gaps that I experienced in life.

It was risky starting my own business. Again, I  faced with the reality that my travel blog wasn’t just a job, it was a lifestyle. This terrified me. I had just fled a depraved position that bled me dry of my ambition and self-esteem, I didn’t want that to happen again.

Being a business owner also meant giving up the “luxuries” that a typical 9-5 job offers. I was giving up being financially stable to live an exhilarating and adrenaline-filled life. At the end of the day, that didn’t matter to me. What I was creating has a lot more meaning to me than a lot of zeroes on my pay stub.

Cheesy to say, but I’m living my dream.

Ironically, I also started Quirky Globetrotter on a Tuesday. But on this Tuesday, I was fueled by excitement, not nervousness. I finally found a calling that would push me further than any other career had in the past.

Travel blogging has made me question my sanity, and at other times, makes me wheel at how incredibly blessed I am to call something my own that I nurture day in and day out. Not only that, but I’m my own killer boss slaying it and feeling more accomplished than at my 9-to-5 job.

There have been times where I’ve sat in an airport and cried out of frustration and desperately begged to have “normal” problems like everyone else. Yet, waking up at 4 a.m. to go photograph a sunset for my blog doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s exhilarating yet peaceful at the same time. There’s finally some harmony to my life.

What feels even more rewarding is that I’m not the only one. As a newspaper reporter, I felt stranded on a deserted island with no life preserver or way to signal SOS. Now, I feel content. There are other creatives and professionals online who are putting in long hours and can relate to my struggles, which means, you can do it too.

It’s going to be hard work, but you’ll feel inspired and passionate about the menial tasks you complete for your business. You’ll feel a greater sense of self-worth.

No, blogging or being an online entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. Yet, for me, it’s how I finally found my niche in the world.

About the Author

Quirky Globetrotter

Hi! I'm Martha! The mastermind behind Quirky Globetrotter a feminist travel blog. Quirky Globetrotter is devoted to telling narratives devoted to female solo travel and hidden gems worldwide with an emphasis on intersectional feminism and how that impacts travel on a global and local level.

24 thoughts on “Why I quit my full-time job to travel full-time

  1. Beautiful post and very brave that you decided to quite your job and start this amazing lifestyle! Well done! Good luck to you and im sure you’ll make a succes out of this blog. Thanks for sharing your story! 😊

  2. Really well done for taking a chance and living your dream! It’s so encouraging that you’re finding your way with your little travel business. I wish you all the best of luck, and would love to connect on social media 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I hope that my story is inspirational to others. Feel free to follow me and I’ll follow you back!

  3. Yes. This is an inspiration. At times, considering the finances can make one forever slave to a 9-5 job but it takes the strong and fierce to quit. What more can terrify one than that? You passed that stage, nothing would stop you anymore. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Way to take care of yourself despite all of the outside pressures that tell us to do the exact opposite. I am so glad you were able to find the most fulfilling path- it takes time but it tends to be worth it if we’re honest about our needs and wants. Congratulations on making such an important switch.

  5. I believe that we should all take risks and do what we feel is best for us. I have taken a break recently because I felt the burned out feeling and I couldn’t feel myself anymore. I started to hate myself as well. So I went traveling and that helped so much! Fortunately I do have a very understandable job and I can work from anywhere in the world as long as there is internet. But I do have my own business as well, my blog, which I love to bits. 🙂

    1. Travel is the best medicine 😉 And yes! Any career that allows you to be a digital nomad is the best! Happy travels to you.

  6. Gosh I crave that freedom too! Its our turn next year September to take the risk and do what we love too.. travel full time. I loved this post and can really relate, this was inspiring.

  7. You’ve taken a big step there by quitting your full time job. It sounded stressful with long hours, and if you felt like a zombie you’ll be healthier without it. I agree that getting up at 4 am to see a sunrise in a new location is never a choir!

    1. Yes, watching sunsets and getting paid for it is always a win! And I’m much happier being part of the living 😉

  8. I think it was really brave of you! Besides, it looked like quitting was just the only thing that could make you feel better. I wish you well in all your endeavors. Travel the world and leave your imprint on the sands of time! Go girl.

  9. Oh, how very exciting! This takes me right back to when we quit our jobs to travel–I left my job in March 2016 (same month we started our blog!) and we haven’t looked back since. I hope you find everything you’re looking for and have some incredible adventures on the road!

    1. The adventures I’ve experienced have been indescribable! I love this job more than anything! Congrats to you as well and happy travels. 🙂

  10. What an inspiring story. It’s not easy to leave your job and just decide to travelthe world. You are such a brave adventurous person. Great post and story thanks for sharing and for being an inspiration

  11. I went to college with a determination to graduate as quickly as possible and start out in my dream career of journalism. I rejected my mom’s idea that I study abroad, convinced that once I got to a position in magazines my “real life” would begin. Unfortunately I was very unhappy like you, stressed and finding little time for myself. Journalists do not get paid enough to work so many overtime hours! Thankfully, I have found a new career that makes me happy and allows me to travel. I’m glad you have as well!

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