Laid off? Go travel!
That’s not usually the advice that follows after losing your job. But for me, that’s just what I needed to fulfill my adult-lifelong dream.
After college, I chose the standard newbie route to travel for five weeks through Western Europe. I booked a tour and off I went by myself. I was not aware at the time that this would be the start of my travel journeys. Little by little, trip after trip, I’d get my feet wetter and wetter and take more adventurous journeys far across the world.
My trips prepared me for the BIG one. The trip that would be the best, the longest, the greatest trip of my time. I just kept getting sidetracked. Almost 5 years passed since I came up with a plan to just go. By this time, I was all talk. No one believed me anymore. I was starting to rethink things too. Maybe I would be okay with only the normal two-week vacations?
No, I needed more. However, three main things kept getting in my way: my job, life and love.
The job obstacle disappeared when I was laid off due to the economy. Everyone I knew was getting laid off, the job market in California was so bad. But that was exactly the ‘push’ that I needed and honestly, I wasn’t happy at my job anyway. I was unemployed for a little over a year. Since I was convinced this was the kicker that I needed, I spent this time researching, researching and researching. I have been brought up to save my money as much as I can and be thrifty, so luckily I wasn’t in a financial jam. I had plenty of savings to be unemployed before my big trip.
The life obstacle turned into greater strength and determination for me. The more I thought about my plan and laid it out, the more I wanted it. I also had a lot of support from family and friends.
And the love obstacle eventually turned into marriage. Just as I was getting the strength and determination to go, along came love and I just couldn’t pass that by, could I? Well, I was lucky enough to meet someone who didn’t shy away from my plan. He embraced it as much as I did.
We came up with a loose itinerary. He quit his job. We spent months downsizing our apartment. We sold the remainder of what we didn’t want at our two yard sales. What we wanted to keep, we moved into our families’ garages. We sold our car, got rid of our cell phone contracts, terminated utility bills and switched the rest of our bills to online payments.
We got married in November 2011, said our goodbyes for two weeks and then took off! So yes, this has been our ‘extended honeymoon.’ I feel grateful for sticking around for so long because now I get to experience this with my husband, my best friend.
I do worry about what this break in my resume will mean when I go back. However the spiritual and hands-on experience that I’ve gotten far outweighs a steady stream of work.
And here we are, we are about to embark on the next chapter in our lives. If all goes well, we’ll settle and start our new lives in Hong Kong. Sure, it took me many years of contemplation, but for a trip like this, sometimes you need that time to prepare and the extra wait can make it that much sweeter when you finally go.
So whatever kick you need, you’ll know it when it hits you – take it and go!
Teresa Yang lost her job due to the poor economy, but made the most of it by planning for her dream trip, getting married, and then taking off with her new husband on an extended honeymoon. So far they have been to Japan, South Korea, China, Taipei, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. You can find Teresa on Facebook and Flickr.
Dreaming of your own career break but not sure where to start?
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