Quantcast

My Job Kept Declining My Vacation Requests -- So I Quit & Traveled On Savings

I was free to be anywhere and do anything I wanted. And what I wanted was to keep it going.

Travel

I planned the trip of a lifetime for my 40th birthday -- a solo trip to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. They were hosting the World Cup during my birthday week, so even though I don't follow soccer, it seemed like the perfect chance to party in South America with people from all over the world. I booked my flight and put in my vacation request at work. You already know what happened. They said, "No." Well, not exactly "no", but close enough.


They approved me for three vacation days (not consecutive, sigh) and said that if I wanted the rest of the time off, I'd have to find someone else to cover my shifts. I worked in a hospital pharmacy on the night shift. Nobody ever wanted to work my hours. I hardly even want to work my hours. So, I took matters into my own 40-year-old hands and called in sick from Brazil. I'd earned paid vacation as part of my compensation package, so why did I always have to beg to use it?

This was a long-time problem for me that repeated itself over and over again with every job I'd had. I made IVs for hospital patients. Sure, my job was an important part of providing patient care. But I needed time off. And so do you.

Everybody needs time to rest from work and replenish their mental energy.

Courtesy of Stephanie Perry

It turns out that during my wonderful trip to Brazil, I met two millennials from San Diego who put me on to a new work philosophy. They worked jobs that were always hiring. So, they worked and saved up their money to travel long-term. And then they'd quit and travel to places where their money stretched further than it would at home. When they ran out of money, they went back home and got new jobs. I knew immediately that this was what my near future would look like. At least for a year or two.

I went home to Delaware and back to my hospital job -- short a few sick days -- with a new mission. I needed to save up enough money to travel around Southeast Asia for a year.

Fifteen months later, I was on a plane headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I broke into a serious sweat the day I went in to give two weeks' notice at work. But I'd already paid for my flight, so there was no turning back. Once I took some deep breaths and told my supervisor September 15 would be my last day, it was smooth sailing.

Elephants in ThailandCourtesy of Stephanie Perry

For a year, I backpacked around SE Asia right alongside the 21-year-olds from the Netherlands who seem to be everywhere. I slept in dorm rooms in hostels and once volunteered on a cricket farm for free room and board. I had adventures that, at 41, I used to think were out of my reach. I bathed elephants in Thailand. I took a three-day motorbike tour in Vietnam. And I met people who showed me kindness and generosity like I'd never imagined.

The trip was both harder than I expected and more fulfilling. Sure, I got to check things off my bucket list. But I also learned how resilient and resourceful I can be.

And the sabbatical gave me time to dream.

Most days during that year, I set an alarm so I could drop what I was doing and watch the sunset. When I worked night shift, I often slept from sun up to sun down, especially in the wintertime. But that winter I was on a beach in the Philippines watching the sky put on a show like I couldn't believe.

A sunset in the PhilippinesCourtesy of Stephanie Perry

When we're always busy and always tired, our minds don't have a chance to play. We don't have the time to ask ourselves if we are who we want to be or set goals for our future that make our hands shake while we write them.

I quit my job just to see the world without someone else being in charge of whether or not I could go. But somewhere during the trip -- maybe while I was riding in a tuk-tuk in Cambodia on my way to see the Temples at Angkor Wat -- it became about more than travel.

I was free to BE anywhere and DO anything I wanted. And what I wanted was to keep it going.

I traveled from country to country until my money ran out -- exactly 52 weeks later. I went back home to Delaware and even got offered my old job back. But I knew that the next job I took wouldn't last long. I had to get back on the road. So, I took a different job for a few weeks while I set up my next adventure. I used that time to find better ways to stretch my newly earned money, and I found a few ways to support myself while I travel. And then I quit that job too.

I don't regret quitting two jobs to travel. And I don't regret taking time off of work to explore myself. And most importantly, I'm so glad I don't have to regret never taking the chance in the first place.

Featured image via Stephanie Perry/Instagram

Originally published on November 19, 2019

Honey & Spice Author Bolu Babalola’s Hopeful Romance
Some may see romantic comedies and dramas as a guilty pleasure. But author Bolu Babalola indulges in the genre with no apology.
Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
Saweetie Recalls Tough Conversation She Had With Her Parents About Her Childhood: ‘Lots Of Apologies’

Saweetie’s style and relatable personality have made her one of the most popular female rappers out right now. While she has used her social media to help cultivate her brand, she also gives her fans a glimpse at fun moments with her family and friends. From getting glammed up with her mom, who is a former model, to attending NBA games with her father, who female fans have been pining over, Saweetie seems to keep her family around often. However, she recently revealed that wasn’t always the case.

Keep reading...Show less
The Nail Trends To Try Before Hot Girl Summer Is Over

Are you 'Little Miss Never Knows What Design to Get'? It’s okay if you are because this is a safe space. We know that coming up with your next nail design can be as complicated as the Instagram algorithm these days. For me, getting my nails done and conjuring up a design has been a form of self-care and expression. With folks like Marsai Martin creating press-on nails that more than get the job done, the burden isn’t as heavy and there are some nail techs out here redefining what nail design means.

Keep reading...Show less
Karrueche Tran Talks Learning Mindfulness: ‘I Can’t Do Everything. I Can’t Be Everything And That’s Okay’

From stylist to model to Emmy award-winning actress, we have witnessed Karrueche Tran’s career continue to thrive and expand. And with such a demanding and competitive career, the Claws star has sometimes found herself neglecting her mental health in order to achieve her goals. Karrueche opened up about how she deals with career comparisons and working in wellness practices to her busy schedule.

Keep reading...Show less
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Born into the world of entertainment, Deja Riley is a star in her own right. And if her last name sounds familiar, it is because she is the daughter of legendary producer and King of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley. But rather than rely on her father's connections and last name, Deja chose to forge her own path into the entertainment industry. Going from dancing professionally with the likes of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and the queen herself, Beyoncé, to now becoming one of the most sought-after MIRROR home fitness trainers, a lululemon global ambassador, and the creator of her own fitness brand, the Sweaty Smiles Squad.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Adrienne Banfield-Norris & The Co-Creators Of 'Black Love' On What To Expect From The Final Season

Adrienne Banfield-Norris & The Co-Creators Of 'Black Love' On What To Expect From The Final Season

Couples share their love stories for a finale that inspires and empowers.

Latest Posts