Quitting your job and travelling the world, it turns out, takes some preparation. Who knew?
Okay, okay. I’m being flippant. I did, of course, know that some preparation would be required before I took off to, as my mother would say, who-knows-where doing who-knows-what. I didn’t anticipate, though, the actual volume of preparation needed.
So, let’s start at the beginning. I had an inkling that I might one day quit my job to travel full-time and figure out a way to make money on the fly. The inkling grew into an idea. The idea grew into a plan. Finally, “one day” became today.
Instead of starting a blog after I had already done all of this prep work, I decided to start the blog from the very moment my “new life” (as I’m calling it) began, so people could read about what exactly it takes to lose your mind and go aimlessly wandering around the world.
So, let’s skip through the actual logistics of the quitting process for now (more on that later – those conversations, especially when you have loved your job and your place of work, are always difficult) and get to the most grueling part (for me). Here, a revelation: I hate shopping. I despise it. I loathe it with the burning fire of a thousands suns. And I hate material possessions. Part of why I wanted to do this “quitting and traveling” thing was so that I could quit shopping for inane things like “work pumps” and seriously pare down my material possessions.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. While I have begun the processing of selling or donating most of my things (more on that later), the first thing I realized I needed to do was decide what was coming on the road with me so that I could keep and organize all of that stuff.
Enter: the travel bag.
I realized that I wanted to give myself some time to travel around the United States first, both so that I could learn how to do this travel thing safely, and also so that I could establish some processes for myself for working on the road. After that, I planned to head to South America and then Europe and then Asia and then who-knows-where. But still, even just for the States, I didn’t want a lot of stuff I didn’t need.
I figured that I would want one, big, sturdy bag instead of a bunch of little duffels and things, so that I could easily (1) throw it in a car, (2) take it on a plane or train, (3) walk with it, (4) camp with it, (5) do anything else unforeseeable that needed to be done quickly and easily with it.
So, I decided one of those big hiking bags that people take all over Europe was a good start.
No, no it wasn’t.
As I might have mentioned already, I hate shopping. And this, an experience in a store that I knew nothing about shopping for a bag that I knew nothing about to go on an adventure that I (so far) knew nothing about was the very worst of shopping. How the fuck do people actually LIKE this activity?
Suffice it to say, I struggled. Finally, I recruited a friend who (thank whatever God I happened to believe in that day) was more than happy to not only go along with me to the physical stores, but also help me do some internet research. (Side note: I don’t know what the fuck I did to deserve a friend like that, but I’ll take it!)
Here’s the decision I came to about the bag: ….
No, seriously. What I learned from my first significant excursion to prep for this new life is that these things take time. Sure, that could be some kind of trite life lesson but I mean it exclusively in the context of purchasing new items for world travel. Prior to this, I would have taken my giant associate attorney salary into the store, breezed around for two minutes, lost patience, and then purchased the first thing that I didn’t completely hate. But gut check: I can’t do that shit anymore. I now not only need this to be a good that lasts a long, long time and is sturdy and durable, but I also need to watch every single cent I’m spending because in two and a half months, I won’t know whether any money will be coming in that day until I wake up in the morning.
Who knew? Living a life without plans takes making a few plans.
Welcome to The LITMO Life, I hope you’ll follow my journey and send me your thoughts along the way.
PS: If anyone has any good hiking bag recommendations, I’ll all ears!