Yup, I Quit My 9-5 Job Today!

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Yup, I Quit My 9-5 Job Today!

Photo by Nattu

Today, I officially left my 9-5 office job.

After spending 3 years in a corporate environment, at jobs that I didn’t feel connected to, I’ve decided to change how I spend my days and what I will spend my time doing.

For the next year, I will dedicate myself to pursuing my interests, self-directing my learning, living a healthier lifestyle, and working on projects I find fulfilling.

 

My goals for the year are:

  • Complete a diploma in web design
  • Build at least one web community
  • Travel solo for the first time, and
  • Create an income stream doing something I enjoy

Taking a year off work will use a chunk of my personal savings, but I see this as an investment in myself and my well-being.

It took courage to leave my job, but I have to believe things will come together if I do what feels right.

How I got to this spot

Since I was young I followed what I thought were the safest paths – I chose to study math instead of design, and worked in banking instead of non-profit.

At the age of 27, these choices led me to a well-paying job at a large financial institution with a good title and decent responsibilities.

My current (and past jobs) were adequate, but they never felt right for me. From the first time I stepped into a cubicle environment when I was 19, things didn’t feel correct. But over time I accepted not loving your job was normal because most people I knew felt the same way.

For a long time I didn’t know what to do about not loving my job, or that I could even do something about it.

Why I finally quit my job

I’ve daydreamed about leaving my day jobs before, but a few realizations made me follow-through this time:

  1. Time will pass no matter what I do. If I don’t leave my job now, I’ll still want to leave 6 months from now, and I would have let 6 months go by without making any progress in myself.
  2. If I pursue what I enjoy, I should attain at least the same level of success and income as I have doing what I don’t fully enjoy. By doing what I’m interested in, I will find ways to create and spot opportunities for myself.
  3. There will never be a good time to quit. The economy will always be uncertain, my workplace will always be short-staffed, I’ll always have expenses to fund, and I’ll always feel nervous about leaving behind a stable income.

    If there is never going to be a good time to quit, then the best time is now.

Common questions I’ve been asked

1. Wow, how are you paying for this? Why one year?

A year felt like the right amount of time – long enough for things to happen, but short enough to keep me focused on why I’m taking this time off, which is explore my interests and find an income stream from doing something I enjoy.

Also, a year of expenses was a reasonable amount for me to fund from my savings, this includes living costs, tuition fees and travel expenses. By having enough resources to comfortably fund my year off, I had no excuse to not do it. In total, I’ve budgeted about $25,000 dollars for the year (more about this later.)

Most likely, I will start generating income before the year is over by working on projects I’m interested in.

2. That’s a lot of money, don’t you have other uses for it?

When I looked at my financial resources, I saw two paths:

  • Use my savings towards a home and continue working my day job to pay my mortgage, or
  • Use some of the money to fund time off, and to see what can happen if give myself space to explore my interests

Choosing to explore for a year just felt right.

3. You wouldn’t be able to do this if you had kids

Whether you’re single or have dependents, your path will be not be exactly like mine. You might have more assets because you’ve been working longer, or you may have other responsibilities even if you don’t have kids.

Variations of taking a year off could be taking a half-year leave, working half-days instead of full days, or waiting until you accumulate more funds.

Kids or not, if taking time off from work is right for you, and you’re ready for it, you’ll find your own way of making it happen.

Practical tips

If you are thinking of quitting your job one day or taking extended time off, here are some ways to prepare yourself.

1. Have an emergency fund

Have enough funds to comfortably cover your expenses over the period you want to take off. Factor in living costs, education, travel and other expenses.

Even if you’re not planning to leave your job, you may still want to maintain an emergency fund large enough to cover a few months of expenses in case of any unexpected events.

An easy way to build your fund is to set up an automatic saving plan that saves a portion from each paycheque. For example, you can start with saving 10% of your after-tax pay, or an amount that works for you.

2. (Re)discover your interests

Do you want to quit because you hate your job, or do you want to quit because you want to pursue more fulfilling?

Before you leave your job, you should have an idea of how you’ll spend your days instead. It might be easy to know what you’d do the first few weeks or months (most people would probably travel), but what about afterwards?

Here are some of the questions I asked myself when I was figuring out what I’d pursue if I left my job. If you can’t answer these questions immediately, just let the questions simmer. It took me over six months to answer these questions with clarity.

  1. If money was no issue, what would your ideal day be? (Be as specific as possible – how do you feel, what would you feat, who would you see, what would you do?)
  2. What do you enjoy talking about? (List everything you can think of, from technology, art, philosophy, photography, etc. What are you good at explaining to people?)
  3. What do you want to learn more about and how would you learn it? (Do you want to know more about a topic, learn how to design or build things, how to interact with people? Would you take classes or an internship?).

There are no right or wrong answers, these questions will help you understanding what you’ll pursue when you have complete control over how you spend your days.

3. Set your last day and tell everyone

Writing down a date for your last day and start telling people about your goal. This gets the wheels in motion towards your dream, even if you don’t know how to get there yet.

Keep your date in sight
By having a date set and keeping it at the top of your mind, you will naturally start creating the path to get there.

It’s like if you’re running a marathon in a year, you may not know how to start, but you’ll know you have to train, change your diet, and find gear – with that big picture, you’ll be able to fill in the details.

The first time I seriously considered leaving my job was in August 2009. It was a crazy idea, but I put it in my calendar anyway and set August 2010 as my last day. Soon after, I started telling a few friends about my plan.

Tell as many people as possible
The more you talk about it like it’s a fact (“My last day is X, I’m taking a year off to pursue A, B, C”), the sooner it becomes reality and you also become accountable for your goal.

It’s scary to tell people at first. Even up to the week before my last day, I was nervous to tell people what I’d be doing with my time off.

After all, what if after a year I failed at all my goals? What if my web designs suck, I chicken out from travelling solo, or end up being a starving artist who has to go back to working in an office again?

However, the more I told people about my plans and what my goals were, the more liberated I felt and I ended up receiving a lot of support from friends and colleagues.

If leaving your day job is a serious goal for you, but you’re not ready to tell the world yet, start with telling just one friend. You can also tell strangers online by leaving a comment below or write to me about it, I love emails :)

 

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide

 

Are you thinking of leaving your job to pursue something else? Share your thoughts below.

Subscribe to Explore for a Year email updates, follow me on twitter.com/lilyleung, or join me on Facebook.com/ExploreforaYear.

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  • Jamie G

    This is so empowering to read.

    I am gaining strength to leave my 9 to 5. Hopefully to discover someone that never got to blossom.

  • http://www.miiockm.com/ Miiockm

    I know it’s old but I still really love this post. I can’t help but feel inspired to try something similar. Thank you.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      I can’t believe this blog post was from four years ago – it’s amazing how many adventures have happened since then; life definitely turned out more exciting than I had imagined, which is a good thing. Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Best wishes,
      – Lily

  • http://twitter.com/TheBlondtravels The Blond travels

    OMG girl! I’m so doing it! I’m just splitting with my husband of 10 years, which is really painful, but on the other hand it opened so many doors. I have so many things I want to do I didn’t have a courage for. Now, I’m going traveling at the end of the year and this keeps me going. Thank you for the post. Stories like that make me realise that I’m not alone :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Wow, sounds like lots of changes and exciting adventures ahead. I broke up with a partner a few months before my trip and that wasn’t easy, so I can’t even imagine how it’d feel like to part with someone of 10 years. Good for you for being brave and you’re never alone! Best wishes for your journey and keep us updated :)

      – Lily

  • Cindy

    Lily,
    I think most Asians somehow find themselves in similar situation. I studied Computer Science (a long the line with your Maths) and worked in a cubicle. When I got that first job sitting in a cubicle, I felt suffocated, quit and did something else but then returned to it and had the same feeling. very interesting how humans behave like that.

  • lulu

    Hiya!!! I just came across your blog after googling “women travelling solo”. First off, I want to say I’m so impressed by your courage to do this, it’s been a dream of mine to do the same for quite a while now, the only problem is, I’m 15 ahaha so it’s going to have to wait a few years besides I live in Chile so it’s faaaaaar away from Europe and Asia …well I just wanted to say that you’re definitely an inspiration (: 

  • Wilson Hong

    Dear Lily,

    Your post on “why i quit”, setting funds and goals is spot on! I am planning to move from IT to a career in library/archives management, and is taking a break for a year for full-time studies

    It is indeed remarkable for a gal to travel alone around the world. Did you encounter any incidents? Guess you have to be extra careful ;)

    Cheers
    Wilson

  • http://wanderingmist.com/ Wandering Mist

    I did it two years… still going strong.  Nice to see your blog.

  • Lucy-xu

    Heya I randomly stumbled on your site when googling “autumn inspirational quotes” (LOL) and i cannot agree with you more. i started a full time office job at 18 while studying commerce at uni as an accountant trainee. one and a half year down the track and my mind is set on quitting end of next month (June 30) to embark on a full student life with no employment worries….to do pretty much what you’ve done!! pursue an interest, start a blog, spend more time with family and friends and go on spontaneous road trips – like what youth is about!! you’ve inspired me and made me realise that my gut decision is often the right one. money may be an issue but hey, happy hour drinks can stretch a budget a looooong way!! 

    my philosophy is this: if you wake up every morning dreading the elevator ‘ding’ as it reaches your floor….it is…simply, time to change – while you still have the energy and lack of financial burden to do so!!! 

    and who knows?? i might return to an accounting office job. at least i can say that i’ve tried an alternative pathway and can stop pondering 

    good luck!! love love love your blog!! :) 

  • http://www.mayfieldinnedmonton.com/ Will

    Wow, inspiring post.. some people need to have the “perfect” conditoins in order to make the leap.. but it’s good that you posted some disclaimers and precautionary measures before setting off upon the world with no backup plan in mind.

    Thanks for writing

    – Will

  • Patty

    Oh I had exact same feeling like you did. And everyone else think it is normal to accept a job that you don’t like. I am a web designer and worked in a huge corporation. It was not the job that made me quit, it was boredom made me quit. I felt like I was wasting my time behind the desk. The work is slow and nothing gets exciting after a while especially in corporate world. So I saved and planned to leave to do my around the world trip. Except I set no return date, whenever my money runs out I come home :)

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  • Ian Figueroa

    Been reading your site for the last few days now, How did you go about putting in your resignation at work? I think this is the hard part for me, and I don’t know how to go about it. Did you just make an appointment with your boss? What was the reaction of your boss, your parents, family, and friends when you told them you wanted to do this? (were they supportive or not)

    lol i told my parents in october 2010 i was going to quit my job by Fall of 2011 to travel for a year (well that  never panned out because i just hate planning, i’m still working, but now i’ve set a goal for Sept 2012). however i learned on  my recent trip that i can travel without really planning as long as i have an idea of where i want to go and how to get there. my mom and dad weren’t very supportive, my mom was in a nervous wreck, disappointed. both of them were worried and again disappointed at my choice, and of what might happen to me on the road and no one will be there to help which is understandable.  and they  keep telling me the economic climate is really bad and its hard to get jobs. i understand all that, but in the end it’s really my choice, and i want to go for it.

    • Paul

      love this…I’m planning on doing the same thing…Sept 2012.  I’m a teacher – but just waiting for this year to close out…

  • Hamorgan1998

    hi lily
    thank you so much for this article as your story sounds very much like my own!  I’m very seriously considering doing something similar–leave a very stable career that doesn’t interest me to do something like teaching ESL in Korea b/c i want to travel and i don’t have anything holding me down and yearn for adventure.  Thank you for outlining how you did it–you were very logical!  This article is a gift and inspiration!

  • Melissa Boyd

    Awesome blog you have! We are working and planning on our year starting August 2014. My husband has the book “The 4 Hour Work Week.” I picked it up and read about a family who traveled for a year. So I started thinking and we will move to Hawaii for a year! I admit we are not adventurous enough to leave the country for a year but we are looking forward to exploring the islands!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Melissa,

      Wow, Hawaii sounds amazing! I haven’t been, but I’ve heard it’s got lush forests, great diving/snorkeling and good food. That’s great that you’re planning so far in advance, I’m really excited for you :) P.S. You don’t need to leave the country to have an adventure (plus Hawaii is so far from mainland USA, you might as well be leaving the country, ha!) 

      Keep me updated, if you like!
      – Lily

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  • jzpd789

    I wish I had your guts. I have a plan of my own to leave my 9-5. I work as an engineer, and well, lets just say I enjoy the theory of it much more than the stuffy, monotonous, cramped cubicle world of real life. I have begun investing in rental properties and am hoping I can generate enough income to replace my salary. I have set a time table of 2 years. A little unrealistic, perhaps, but you have to keep your goals ambitious. Thanks for you article, it keeps those of us confined by the shackles of everyday job hope. – Take Care

  • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

    What a great post… I can’t wait to write a similar post myself… This WILL come sooner rather than later. =)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Gerard,

      I love your determination and passion in your comment. Can’t wait to hear more so keep us updated :D

      Best regards,
      – Lily

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  • http://twitter.com/jimshu2000 Jim McIntosh

    It can be done, and you will do it because you don’t have some airy-firy follow your dream idea but a thoroughly planned approach! Quit my corporate job 30 years ago and put into plan a way of becoming self-employed which now allows us to travel when we want to. But these days younger generations also have the benefit of location independant working with the internet. Wish I had it way back then….

  • Tugba H

    HI Lily,
    I’m 17 years old. I’ve been working as a data management intern for about 4 months. I know it’s not long at all, but the job has gotten me really stressed out. Commuting to work and back, and being at a job from 9 to 5 especially in the summer really stresses me out. I want to quit but I also don’t. I feel like I have a huge responsibility to stay, and if I quit I might ruin my future in getting another job (at least my aunt nags me about it). What should I do? (What’s the difference between ‘I hate my job’ and ‘I want to pursue other options’.)?

    • Tony_si

      Don’t stress too much, your only 17 :) And I’m 19 by the way. You won’t ruin your future getting another job, common! It’s only one job out of many that you will have. Grab a pen and paper and write down what your want to do for 8 hours of your day to survive. Get clear on this or else you’ll bounce around a lot of jobs trying to find one that you can live with :)

      I hate my job is your job doesn’t add value to your life beyond simply money. I want to pursue other options is you haven’t discovered the job that adds value to your life. That get’s you up every morning excited to take action in your profession.Hope that helps :)

  • http://migrationology.com Mark Wiens

    This is an incredible article Lily and it’s even greater to see that you are still doing what you love now!

    This particular line hit home for me, “If I pursue what I enjoy, I should attain at least the same
    level of success and income as I have doing what I don’t fully enjoy.” And in fact, accepting less money and stability but doing what you love is completely worth it as well!

    This is exciting and keep it up Lily!

  • http://www.marcpassiontravel.com Marc Passion

    Great quote about the Oceans. Nice post, put things in to great perspective. Well done to you!

  • elle

    Hi Lily,

    just a few days ago, I put in my 2 weeks notice at a job that paid well, but gave me stress and anxiety that you wouldn’t believe. I’m up and down about being happy that the nightmare is almost over, but worried about my future. I have no idea as to what I enjoy anymore. I’m only 23, and I know I have a lot of opportunities in my future. Thanks so much for letting me know that I’m not the only one going through this. Hope you’re having a blast. Keep us posted.

  • julecher03

    I decided to leave my job to pursue my dreams and so far I’ve failed. They offered me part time instead of my regular full time schedule so I agreed to try it out. It’s nice to know that they appreciate the quality of my work, but it feels like a set back in my plans. Having more income will be a great thing (though I have savings to get me by) but money is becoming less and less important to me.  I understand a person needs enough to support themselves, but after that- what more do you really need? I’m afraid leaving is the wrong decision just as I am afraid staying is the wrong decision. I guess there is only one way to find out though…

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jule,

      I don’t think you’ve failed at all. Somewhere between going from a full-time job to no job, there is a transition period and your part-time responsibilities sound like it fits the description of a transition ;) Being afraid before a change is normal (I was scared even the hour before my flight to start my round-the-world trip), but you can still move forward and be scared at the same time. Later, when you look back and digested what happened, you’ll know you’ve grown more into the person you’re meant to me. Good luck and keep me updated, if you like. :)

      – Lily

  • LostinSJ

    Oh, how I want to quit my job. I work in a call centre, stuck to the desk like a dog, every minute of my day available for scrutiny. I want to start my own business…..I’m soooo scared of failure. How to I get over the uncertainty of it all? I am so afraid that I’ll quit a very well paying job with benefits to pursue my dream and fail….then have no job, no benefits, no stability. I want the courage to do this….it would be so empowering to take that risk…..but isn’t it immature and irresponsible? The angel is on one of my shoulders and the devil is on the other. Any suggestions?

    • Carrask

      Fear of failure is not an option! There isn’t such a thing as a well paid job. All 9 to 5 jobs give you just leftovers, modern slavery it’s called.. I hope you did what your true self really wanted. Would you give up your dreams and aspirations for monthly peanuts?!

    • http://twitter.com/beyond_tips Ryan Ferrer

      Fear won’t go away; i say lean into action in spite of fear. every decision you make can be undone. you may go broke, experience stress you have not experienced before, but without action you will never know what is on the other side.

    • Reuben

      what about working part time to get things happening? more security and time to do other things??

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  • http://twitter.com/financialsamura Financial Samurai

    Hi Lily, nice to meet you!  I have a date in mind.  It’s the year 2017.  Is that weird it’s so far away?

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Not weird at all. A date further away gives you more time to plan and build resources for your adventure. Good luck and keep me updated on your preparations :)

      – Lily

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  • Flipnomad

    congratulations Lily on taking the step towards seeing the world and exploring your other interest.. ill definitely be reading your blog to learn more on how you sustain your travels and online entrepreneurship journey….

  • http://stophavingaboringlife.com Rob Bloggeries

    If you ever get burnout, go somewhere you like and buckle down for work. If not that year will just scream by. Working somewhere can be fun too, just have to stay focused or you wonder what you’re doing with your life living somewhere random and not getting as much done as you’d like.

    Enjoy following your stories.

  • Exp0sure

    Awesome article !! I just quit my job today as a software engineer and i’m 23 years of age working almost 3 years in the same company, started as a grad. I’m not sure whether i will regret it later on. I wanted to quit my job from last year but i stayed thinking quitting would be crazy. I decided to quit because I’m having higher ambitions than just working for people. But maybe this is crazy and i’m afraid i would regret this later. All my friends are currently working in a stable cooperate job and i’m afraid my decision would change what they think of me. However you article gave me an inspiration to be brave and if you were brave enough to risk the career that you built from 19, I guess I have less things to lose and I should have taken down that path last year.

  • Eurolauras

    That’s awesome! My husband and I are starting our own journey June 10th! Things are booked and we’ve been planning since last summer.

    I work in midtown manhattan with a long commute. I am turning 28 & decided it was time to step off the hamster wheel.

    I feel bad giving my resignation (resigning may 16th & last day is June 1st) but there’s never a good time.

    Congrats and further good luck to you!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Eurolauras,

      I wish you and your husband a wonderful adventure, that’s so exciting! Congratulations on taking this leap, because I know what you mean about there’s “never a good time”. I gave 6 weeks notice and was asked if I could stay for longer. I know someone else who gave 10 weeks notice and were also asked to give longer. Which means your two weeks sounds just as good at 10 weeks, ha!

      I wish you a wonderful journey, safe travels and do say hi again, sometime :)

      – Lily

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  • http://twitter.com/richardnadams Richard Adams

    Wow what an inspirational post! Just discovered this one on Twitter and what a treasure-trove of quality content you have here! Subscribed to your RSS feed and following you on Twitter now as a result. Hope we can connect more for mutual inspiration and thought-sharing.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I look forward to connecting as well.

      – Lily

  • http://twitter.com/sunpech Steven S.

    Great post! I totally agree with your point on setting an end date. It was the best thing I did when I went on my travel journey in Thailand. It made me put things into perspective, time things better, and give myself a stop date for adventuring. Safe travels. :)

    -Steven

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Steven,

      Your comment just reminded me about the importance of setting dates.

      Thanks for this reminder. My time in Southeast Asia was unconstrained, which was initially important so that I could break out from my usual “militant planner” mentality. Now that I’ve explored the unorganized/spontaneous side of myself, I’m looking forward to taking a structured approach for the rest of my travels. Especially since I want to be productive at the same time. So, thanks!

      It was great crossing paths with you and I look forward to your future updates :)

      – Lily

  • Mike

    I read this after I left my sales and service job where I was employed for 5 years. This kept me motivated that I made the right decision in the biggest times of my life. I quit and was off for 5 months focusing on myself and my interests and I’m now doing something that I really enjoy in a field that I belong truly in.

    Thank you Lily for this wonderful article. I hope you are enjoying life as we all should be.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Mike,

      Finding the courage to leave my ‘comfortable’ corporate job was tough – but looking back at the opportunities I’ve had to experience and explore this past year, I can’t imagine having made a different decision. I’m so happy you found something you feel connected with. Spending your days pursuing what makes you feel alive makes a world of a difference!

      My warmest wishes,
      Lily

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  • wiizer

    I did the same. Pursing my dreams… and I just applied for a corporate job regretting it a bit.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Wiizer,

      The good thing about having a job is that you always have the option to leave it. :)

      – Lily

  • John

    Love it! I quit my job as a software engineer, the 31st January 2010 will be my last day working for someone else! I’ll continue to develop software but already I find myself in the position to pursue other opportunities I would be unable to grasp had I decided to stay on…
    If I fail miserably at least I will have tried and better yet awakened a hunger to do more with my life than waste it away in a cubicle.
    Remember: “Water seeks its own level”, so pat yourself on the back if you too decided to make the leap. Nothing but you can stand in your way!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi John,

      Congratulations on your leap. I completely agree with you – it’s better to try and fail (and learn from the experience) than to not try at all.

      – Lily

  • carlinf

    I like the way you made a plan and started living “as if” it were true. Living as if for me in past situations did the same thing. I moved to Germany for a while, moved to the NY area a couple of years ago from Texas and now living as if will help me accomplish some future goals and get me into the next place I want to be. Congrats on travelling for a year and following your bliss!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Carlinf,

      Thanks for your inspiring comment, your adventure sounds wonderful and reminds me to think about what I want later, while living in the moment at the same time. Thanks!

      – Lily

  • http://www.so-many-places.com Kim

    Lily, wow, I feel like you wrote this post for me. I am so inspired by your path and it gives me confidence as I walk down the same path… just a year or so behind you. I loved the questions that you posed. Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to think back to what you loved to do as a child when deciding on a career. As a child, you do what comes naturally and you do what gives you joy. I am putting myself back in my little-kid shoes and breaking away from cube-ville.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Kim,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’ve been following your round-the-world preparation on your blog and I’m so happy and excited for you. I particularly think you’re helping a lot of other people who want to do a RTW or just take time off by sharing your financial plan behind it. Money is a topic that’s touchy to talk about/disclose, yet necessary for almost any goal or dream. Bravo to you for that. I’m sure many future cubicle escapees will benefit from seeing your sample budget – I know I would have.

      – Lily

  • http://www.michaelgduhaney.com Michael G. Duhaney

    It is now December 18th. where are you now on your journey? I enjoy reading your story and wish you many, many moments of inspiration, meaningful conversations, self awareness, joy, laughter, hope and most of all deeper connect with self.

    Travel we may, explore we may, search we may, yet, know within you hold the compass, the torch, the beacon to direct, light and remind you of the abundance that resides within. Wishing you joy over the holiday season.
    With love and gratitude,
    Cheers.
    Michael G. Duhaney

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your kind wishes for the holidays. I’m in Thailand now, which where I spent Christmas and New Years. It was actually my first time away from home for the holidays, so that was a new and positive experience to break tradition :)

      Happy New Year and keep in touch!
      – Lily

  • http://mydailycuppa.com Mdc

    It is so interesting that now I have made the decision to take some time to go off traveling, I am now discovering blogs from like minded people.
    It is wonderful.
    I say good luck to all. The 9 – 5 lifestyle does not have to be everyone’s reality at all. It is great to break the mold.

  • Funksoulbr

    Love the article and thank you for sharing. I did a similar thing in 2009. Was the best year of my life. After 15 yrs of corporate life, I feel that the time away gave me the opportunity to get to know myself – my true self.

    The strangest thing from my journey is that it actually took me months to shake off the stress and mindset of the corporation. It was a slow process, and it happened in phases.

    The best thing….there were so many.
    – I lost 20 lbs within 4 months as I was eating properly, did not NEED to drink coffee, and had time to lead an active lifestyle.
    – I learned the value of time. Its ironic that I would track how much of my “free time” I would spend on any task – especially if it made me money or saved me money
    – I had time to spend on what I was passionate about. I learned new skills that were aligned to a self-empowered me.
    – I studied people and the world around me. I drew inspiration from things I had overlooked in the past because I was too busy. I made new friends and rekindled neglected relationships.

    What I would do differently, I would recommend starting the time off in June/July. This is because you will minimize your tax burden. (my leave was for the calendar year). I would also plan to take 15 months (in order to enjoy 2 full summers).

    Th

  • http://www.DebtFreeAdventure.com Matt Jabs

    I love what you’ve done… I did the same thing about 2 weeks ago. Absolutely no regrets. Check out this verse II Corinthians 9:8. God is able to provide, there is no reason to fear.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily Leung

      Hi Matt, congratulations on leaving your “day” job! What are you transitioning to doing?

      Thanks for that great quote too. Sometimes it’s easy to default to a ‘scarcity’ mentality, but I agree with you that the world is abundant and joyful by nature, we just need to believe and embrace it.

  • Pingback: eagerexistence.com | Quit Your Job and Travel()

  • http://www.bookitnow.com Ralph

    This is one huge step you've taken and I only wish you the best with your decision. Happiness comes first and this seems makes you fulfilled. If you really are traveling alone, maybe you can hit us up on our site and you might find your very own Best Travel Deal.

    Oh, and since you have a lot of time in your hands and a million or so thoughts, share it with us at the World Wide Travel Blog Party, bring along your friends. Hit us up soon! Kudos to you my friend! :)

  • http://missiondrivenbrand.com Rob Pene

    "give myself space to explore my interests"

    This jumped out at me like a ton of bricks when I read it…very insightful, true to yourself, and simple…that's where its all at! Thanks for sharing that.

    Also,

    I like how you laid out very specifics on this blog post. Super nice job! Look forward to more posts!

    Twitter: @RobPene

  • http://www.idearella.com/about Bon Crowder

    Wow – that is so awesome!

    Because of finances and a new baby, this is not in the cards for me. Alas, I've decided to quit my job emotionally. I find that we put so much into the mental and emotional side of the corporate jobs that we have very little left to give to anything else. So now I go to work, smile, answer the boss's freak out emails with a condescending sigh and roll my eyes at the drama. This gives me the energy to stay up until 10 or 11 and still wake at 4 to blog, write iPhone apps and get my various income streams going.

    Thanks so much for being an inspiration!

  • http://www.footprintsdownunder.com.au Footprints

    Solo travel is not difficult at all, there is no need to be frightened or made uneasy for it. Thousands of young people solo travel the entire world every day.

    Get out there and see it all for yourself, although I am not sure if a year is anywhere long enough to do everything you have on your list.

  • http://Blog.pgvildys.com Paul

    Good luck!

    And yes, traveling alone is quite doable. I've done it several times for work, but you'd be surprised how much more you can do because everything you do is determined by you and no one else.

  • fez

    Travelling solo might be easier than you think. Try going to a movie or having dinner alone if you can already do those then try going out alone and don't leave until you've had an interesting conversation with someone.