At 23, I quit my job to travel across the country in my Camry.
Basically everyone thought I was crazy. But if I hadn't taken that leap, I wouldn't have the awesome life and jewelry business I have today. Here's how it all came together:
In 2015 I was working as a sales rep
for an industrial maintenance supply manufacturer. I was selling products to businesses like hotels, hospitals, and basically any building that existed in which I could find a surface to be cleaned.
I'll be honest, it was one of those jobs that paid the bills but I wasn't passionate about it at all, despite the fact that I was good at it. After a couple of mental breakdowns, I knew something had to change. I barely made it over a year at that job. I had to listen to my inner voice telling me that there's something fulfilling out there for me.
I have to point out, I had an amazing boss, and I learned a lot of skills that I still use today so overall I'm extremely grateful for my first "adult" job. But in the end, my restless soul was being called.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin
So wait, you just like... quit your job? And did what?
I know, I know: it sounds insane. Here's how I got to that point:
Knowing that I needed a lifestyle change, I began fantasizing about travel. I don't remember the moment when the idea of a road trip arose, but I eventually started planning and got pretty nerdy about it. I figured out exactly how much money I would need to survive 6 months on the road, and how I could reduce my costs (yes, I was a couchsurfer, I camped a ton, and I also traded work for accommodations, but I'm getting ahead of myself). I set a date of when I felt I could reasonably save up that amount, and decided that's when I would quit.
I firmly believe that the first steps in achieving a new, big goal are to 1) write it down and 2) talk about it to your trusted circle. These actions show the universe that you mean business, and help to keep you accountable. So, I started telling my friends and family about my plan. Cut to: lots of awkward dinner conversations.
A photo I took at one of my very first stops: Walden, CO.
See the thing is, when you want to do something unorthodox, sometimes the people in your life who love you and want to protect you unknowingly shower their fear all over you.
They can't see your vision, they don't feel the fire inside of you, and quite frankly: change is HARD. So when you want to change your life in a major way, be prepared to be met with a shitstorm of fear. You can't let that derail you. Remember that people love you and they mean well, but ultimately this is YOUR life.
Telling your family you're doing something big (like traveling alone for the first time to remote areas of the country for over 6 months when you've literally never even camped before, for example) is not for the faint of heart.
By the way, if this sounds like something you relate to, I suggest this book - it was basically my anti-fear bible during these months.
My Top 3 Life-Changing Takeaways:
1) Listen to your inner voice a.k.a. intuition
2) Take your big, lofty dream and write it down with achievable goals. SET A DATE!
3) Don't let anyone talk you out of it. Other people's fear is not yours to fix.
Caution: Major Transformation Ahead
I was committed to the change. I became obsessed with Jen Sincero and her idea of: "Go after your dreams like your life depends on it. Because it does."
I was desperate for change, and so I absolutely would not accept any other outcome, and I've learned that's what it takes when you really want something. I felt so lost in life, but somehow I knew that I deserved better. I didn't know how, but I knew I could feel purpose again if I allowed myself to actually breathe and not be weighed down by the societal pressures to keep the job, afford the lifestyle, and climb the conventional ladder. I wanted to go where my heart wanted without having to follow someone else's schedule.
In time, I got my family on board as best I could (not that they really had a choice) and when the day came, I quit that job. I sold some of my belongings, packed up what was important to me, and on August 11, 2015 I hit the 70 west towards Colorado. The first song on que: the Pursuit of Happiness.
If you'd like to continue reading the story, click here for part two! I'll let you in on how I discovered (actually, re-discovered) my passion for jewelry making while living on the road, and how the roots of Topaz & Pearl go back further than you think!
What's the crazy dream that you're holding back on? What could your life look like if you just went for it? If you need a cheerleader, I've got you. Find me on Instagram and let's start a conversation. I'm a 100% daydream supporter, and I'm here to cheer you on any way I can!
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