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Category Archives: Travel

The Plan – Steps to My Career Break

So, here’s the loosely put together plan. It will be a lot more solid by the end of the month.

November 2012 – Start selling all large worldly possessions that can not fit into my childhood bedroom. (sofa, kitchen table, etc) and give whatever I can’t sell to ex-significant other for his new place. Announce the intended plans and the breakup to close friends?

December 2012 – Move back in with parents (if the world ends I’m going to be sooo miffed!), make sure all utilities and services in my name are cancelled or transferred appropriately. NOTE: Also, see midnight showing of The Hobbit to really psych myself for going to NZ!!

January 2013 – Adjust to commuting 25-30 minutes to work. Ramp up savings to reflect no rent, no utilities, and keep in mind that the higher cost of commuting to work. Pay off car loan.

February 2013 – Start getting together equipment: Backpack, new hiking boots, appropriate clothing, etc. Apply for New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

March 2013 – Settle on an insurance provider for both US coverage and International coverage. Decide on exact departure date and start seriously looking at purchasing a one way ticket. Get all necessary booster shots and a complete physical.

April 2013 – Be super nice and give employer 2 months notice? Announce to friends/family/everyone who doesn’t know that aren’t coworkers that I am leaving for New Zealand soonish.  Start selling off remaining items that can be sold (TV, TV stand, bed, computer desk, etc). Buy new laptop for trip! Weee!

May 2013 – See about getting 3 months worth of my prescription prescribed to help mitigate cost of medication for a couple of months after quitting in June. Get new national and international insurance  signed up for so there is not break in coverage. Last Day of Work and my 28th Birthday on the 31st!!

June 2013 – Originally I had thought to have my last day on the 1st of June because that was my 4 year anniversary with the company. But since May 31st is my birthday, plus it falls on Friday and June 1st is on a Saturday, what better way to ring in my birthday and quit my job then doing it all on a Friday? This month is going to be either very crazy or very relaxed, as I’m planning on going to Portland, OR at the end of the month for LeakyCon 2013. I will either fly out there or take a crazy road trip to it with a friend I met at the LC 2012 who wants to see more of the US. Also have to decide whether or not to sell my car.

July 2012/August 2012 – Flying to New Zealand to start a new phase in my life!

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Life, Travel

 

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Life is Hard – Change is Harder

The last month has been a rough battle of internal turmoil and decision making. I haven’t written here for fear of the wrong person seeing the stuff I wanted to spill out before I was ready to talk about it.

Last night I shared with my significant other my plans for the future and how they didn’t involve him. After nearly three years together, I told him I would be going my own way next year so that I can start out on my journey to see the world. It was a hard declaration to make.

The feeling of fear I woke up with this morning at the realization that I’ve begun ripping my tidy, safe world apart just so I can start moving towards my dreams is indescribable. I feel guilty for wanting to do this and for telling him it was time for us to start down this path of seperation. I feel guilty that our lease is up January 1st and he has to find a place to live in two months that he can afford, while I’m taking the easy route and moving back in with my parents. I feel scared that I’m making the wrong decision. I’m afraid that I’ll regret this.

Have I gone insane? What reasonable person would give up an agreeable living arrangement with one of the few decent human beings on the planet to wander off into the big unknown alone? What is wrong with me that I can’t just be happy with a nice guy, a good job, a lovely apartment, and two sweet cats?

Breathe.

I’m very sure I need to do this. Even if I fail in the end, I need to at least try. Even though I feel supremely selfish in my decision to chase after my own happiness over keeping him happy, I know that this is the right decision and that if I don’t do it now I will never do it and I will resent everyone involved. I need to learn to put myself first. To quit playing mom to everyone who is hurting at the expense of my own happiness and well being. I have to stop trying to squish myself into the mold society has selected for me when I, very obviously, don’t fit in it.

All this being said, the plan is to leave for New Zealand in July/August of 2013. I will be getting a working holiday visa and plan to travel and work there for 6-12 months. I then hope to hop over to Thailand for a bit, and then maybe visit some friends in Europe. This is all dependent upon cost, of course, and one of the reason’s I’m moving back in with my parents is so I can put the maximum amount of my money into savings over the next several months.

I know a lot of people will think I’m crazy for doing this. So far the people I have chosen to tell what’s going on have been very supportive and think it’s great that I’m going (except my parents who are terrified for me!) so that’s been helpful. Now it’s just a matter of getting through the next couple of months with my significant other and tying up all the loose ends. It’s going to be an emotional time, but I hope we’ll both come out the other end only lightly scathed.

Hopefully now that I’ve started this phase of personal change I will be able to post a little more regularly again. I hope everyone is well and that everyone is in a less stressful place then I am at the moment!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Burn Out, Depression, Life, Stress, Travel

 

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Inspiration: MOVE

I have made my decision. I am going to take a career break to travel. So far, most of the people that know me have been very supportive of this idea and think it is just what I need. I haven’t decided how long the break will be, or all the specifics. I do have a few specific places in mind, and I’m going to give myself 6 – 9 months before I quit my job and leave. I also have to take into account finances and all that jazz.

I will be doing this solo for part, if not all of, the trip. I am excited and terrified at the the same time! Most of all, though, I’m happy about it. I’m happy I can finally make this decision for myself.

As I make more concrete plans and have more thoughts on the topic of long term travel I will be posting them here 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Travel

 

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What To Do – Travel, College, Career?

The problem with this quitting your job business is that you have to figure out what you want to do next.

It has become  very clear I can not stay at my current job. I told my therapist yesterday about all the reasons I wanted to quit. After listening to me she told me that it sounded like my company was taking advantage of me and my codependent nature (my newest label!) by paying me to little, not recognizing how important I am, and wanting me to take on managerial responsibilities without any of the perks. She has advised me to start searching for a new job or to make another plan for my future because it will be extremely difficult for me to continue to heal mentally if I stay in my current workplace.

This has made me feel a lot better about my feelings toward my job. I feel more justified in my frustrations and desire to quit. I feel less guilty about about giving up “such a good job” and moving on with my life.

I have come to the conclusion that I have three real options if I quit my current job:  Travel/Volunteer Bum, Nontraditional Student, or getting a New Job.

Travel/Volunteer Bum

My therapist seems to like my idea of going to volunteer in Thailand teaching computer skills to middle school students (through uvolunteer.org). I want to do this for at least two months so I can feel like I really had the experience of living there. This should also give me enough time to adapt and shake off a lot of my social anxiety about being in a strange place with new people and a completely different culture.

After that I would either move on to the Nontraditional Student path or see what opportunities I can find in the volunteer/travel field. If I could become a world travelling bum I’d very happy, I think. The thing is I’ve never traveled outside of North America so there is a chance I won’t like it. Plus, while I do have some money in the bank to support myself once I quit my job, travelling plus helping pay half the bills related to my significant other and I’s apartment would probably deplete them within a year easily. I would have to find away to make money while travelling, or find a job in the travel/volunteerism field back home.

Nontraditional Student

The last two years or so I’ve also been thinking about going back to school. Really, the only major that has really stuck out to me is one in Classics. For those of you that don’t know what that is, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or Classical Civilization) is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. AD 300–600); especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity (ca. BC 600 – AD 600). Initially, the study of the Classics (the period’s literature) was the principal study in the humanities.

It just sounds like it covers so much, and I am interested in ancient history and think it would be fun to learn Latin. Not to mention it’s the type of degree that teaches you thinking  and communication skills, which I believe are really lacking in today’s society.

But university costs money.. lots of money. Plus, chances are I would have to relocate to attend a university that has this as a major. While I would love to travel around the world, for some reason moving somewhere else bothers me. I like the idea of being able to come home and be in my home town, even if I’m overseas for months at a time. Moving away for college to live doesn’t sit well though. It’s very weird.

A New Job

Of course, I could always look for another job in my current field. Right now I’m an IT person and will have 5 years of experience in June 2013. I could probably get another job somewhere else fixing computers or doing help desk work. Plus, if I don’t jump on to the next job then my current skill set will very quickly become out of date. IT people have to stay current or risk falling behind and becoming obsolete in their career track.

However, IT people are notoriously used, abused and under paid. We work nights and weekends along with our 40 hour a week day shifts.  We are expected to know everything there is to know about all things computer related, when really it takes a team of several people who specialize in specific parts of IT to run a department effectively. Plus, end users are usually horrible people who think they know more than you and know you could get things fixed quicker if you were really doing your job. Overall it’s a lot of stress, very little reward, and completely mind numbing, unimaginative work.

Decisions

I know, at the very least, I will most likely take two months to go to Thailand to volunteer as a teacher. My therapist is very on board with this and it sounds like an amazing thing to me, if a little to much like a dream that can’t possibly happen (even though it easily could). Since I was a kid and started making friends with people from different countries on the internet my goal has always been to travel the world, so this seems like a logical step to take. I’m not sure what I will do after that, it probably just depends on how things go there and if any opportunities make themselves known in the months before, during, and after it. But it is a first step, which I’ve always heard is the hardest part of change.

What are your plans for the future?

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Life, Mental Health, Travel, Work

 

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LeakyCon 2012: Welcome Home

LeakyCon is a Harry Potter convention. That is the generic answer to the often asked “What is?” question. This isn’t the whole truth. The whole truth is very hard to put into words for people who have never been passionate about something as simple as a book,  movie, or TV show. It’s hard to explain to people who fit in to the normal every day, who don’t know what it’s like to have a hard time finding other people who share in your love of fictional universes. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to just find people that accept your passion for fiction at all without ridicule.

LeakyCon is more than a Harry Potter convention. It’s a safe haven, a loving community, a bunch of people changing the world by being themselves and loving every minute of it. We make new friends, we sing silly songs, and we watch crazy productions put together by other fans. We raise money, we raise awareness, and we inspire people.

For me, someone who isn’t a huge Harry Potter fan, I only ever went because my sister wanted me to go with her. I was astounded to find a community of people who I fell in love with. A place where I felt more at home then I do in my own town and where I feel more comfortable being myself then I do with the people I hang out with on the weekends. A place where my social anxieties lessened and I feel comfortable letting my inner child run amok and telling strangers how awesome they were for doing the same.

LeakyCon, to me, has become way more than just a convention about Harry Potter. It’s the place I go to remind myself that it’s OK to be me, and that there are many, many other people out there who are struggling to be true to themselves in this world too. The sad fact of the matter is as the last day rolls around you hear people who are genuinely heart broken at the thought of leaving. Not because they will miss the parties and stalking celebrities, but because they will miss each other and that feeling of safety and acceptance. The days after the conference are followed by realizing again that it’s not socially acceptable to talk to strangers while waiting in line at the check out or to break out into song whenever you feel like it.  It’s not OK to wear a witches hat or be passionate about something other then politics or a major crisis. We are reminded that we should yell at each other instead of listening,  think of ourselves before others, and suppress what makes us individuals so we better function with the mass organism that is humanity.  Our convention is called stupid, a waste of time, and we are given funny looks and made to feel bad for taking a few days out of our lives to enjoy ourselves like we never could back in the “real world”.

This brief instance in time that seems to exist in a completely different universe is one of the most amazing things I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. You will find very few other places in the world  where love and acceptance are the main themes, where you can hug a stranger and feel good about it, and where you can make a new life long friend in a day.

It’s not about Harry Potter, or the actors, or the shows and panels. It’s about all the strangers who come together, accept and love each other the moment they set foot in the convention halls, and that desire to make the world feel more like home. That’s what makes this convention great and that’s what will carry it into the years to come. I can only hope that someday I can be a part of creating something that has such a profound and positive effect on people’s lives as LeakyCon does.

See you in Portland in 2013, LeakyCon. I’ll be there with my wand raised, hugs ready to be shared, and an open heart and mind.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Conventions, Social Anxiety, Travel

 

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Good Vibes

My schedule was all sorts of fail last week, so I apologize for my absence!  This week I will be leaving on Wednesday to go to LeakyCon in Chicago, and I won’t be back until Sunday night. I really hope to make a post or two from the convention, but no guarantees!

I wanted to at least make some sort of attempt at a post today, so I thought I’d share a positive. Last weekend (not the one we just got through, but the one before) I went out with a coworker for dinner to chat. She is one of the very few people at my work place that I’d consider a friend, and she is very quickly transitioning from “friend from work” to “close friend”. While we were out, I spilled to her the fact that I was going to therapy, what had been going on at work, and that I really wasn’t happy with my life. She was very supportive and listened, and shared some of her own experiences with depression and stories of friends that dealt with anxiety.

This most recently past Friday, a week after we had dinner and gabbed until 12:30 in the morning (really late for both of us!), I received a card from her through the company mail system. Inside she had wrote me some very encouraging words, and I really wanted to share them here:

Card

I am very grateful to have stumbled into my current job if only because it has led me to meet such a wonderful and supportive person at a time in my life when I need friends who really believe in me and support me in making major life changes for my own well being.

In other news, I go to my first Yoga class tonight! Eek! My stomach is a mess already. I’ve never done any sort of organized work out class because of my anxiety, but Amy has told me Yoga will help a lot with my breathing and with my stress/anxiety levels, so I’m going to give it a shot!  She also recommend this particular Yoga instructor, as she is the instructor she had when she started doing Yoga! I’m only going once a week, on Monday nights, because that is what currently works with my schedule. I hope to bump that up at time goes on, though!

So, yes, convention this week, so I’m going to be a busy, anxious, exhausted mess most of the week! I can’t wait though, conventions always rock and are such a great way to get out of the norm of every day life!  Hoping to come home feeling recharged and ready to face life with a fresh and positive perspective ^_^

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

 

 

 

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