Four weeks ago I did something I never actually thought I would do. I quit my job and my position as a mathematician, which I had worked nearly seven years to achieve, without another job to go to. It was exciting and scary as most of the good things are and math will always be there when I need it.
Over the past ten months or so I have been planning, scheming, and saving to travel. I have always loved traveling. I was reawakened to childhood dreams of a vagabond life by hearing stories of another fortunate soul who just knew how to let go. I was inspired.
So I started getting my things together. I sold all of my belongings, the ones that didn’t mean much to me anyway. I made the most of my lucrative job by squirreling away every bit I could until I felt comfortable enough to let go myself. It was a decision to make and a goal to work towards and I just pushed on. The entire time I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off but I was hopeful as I sat in the floor of my furniture-less living room listening to Law and Order play in the background on my 19” TV and searched all the places I wanted to experience.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted my travels to be meaningful and not just meaningful to me. I wanted to do meaningful work for the community – local, national, global. I began searching out programs where I could volunteer my time towards environmental and animal welfare needs.
I found interesting programs in Peru, Italy, South Africa, Madagascar, and Thailand through two organizations: IVHQ and LoveVolunteers. So the planning continued as I became ever excited about learning what the world was facing in its efforts to save itself and its inhabitants.
These programs do cost a fee to participate. The funds go directly to the local organization, which offers all volunteers food and a place to stay while they’re working. So I put my marketing hat on and reached out to friends and family with a charitable fundraiser to help cover these fees. It really makes travel meaningful and affordable when you can help the community you’re visiting.
I also kept my eyes peeled for good travel deals. There is something to be said for the way your mind views money when you soon discover your income will be no more. I bought cheap airline tickets before I knew I could go for sure because I was afraid to miss out on a deal. And of course, as soon as you have a ticket booked… somewhere deep inside, you know you’re going whether you’ve admitted to yourself or not.
So I have given up my apartment, stored everything I owned, which is not much these days, with my parents, cut my monthly expenses to the bare minimum and in a week, I’m leaving on a one-way ticket to Peru.