Last week marked 6 months since leaving my 9-5 day job to pursue my interests for a year.
When I began my journey, I set the following goals for myself:
1. Learn about web design
2. Travel solo for the first time, and
3. Create an income stream doing something I enjoy
As a way of keeping myself on track, here’s my personal update on what I’ve done in the past months and my plans for the next 6 months.
Things I’ve Accomplished
- Completed a Certificate in web design
I was initially planning to take a college program, but through a random event I discovered a small studio downtown Toronto. From the time I stepped in for an initial tour, it felt more ‘right’ for me than a traditional academic program. My teacher turned out to be as much of a life teacher as he was a design teacher – he was knowledgeable, practical and zen-like. I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor at that stage of my learning.
- Began testing 2 ideas for web communities
I’ve had many ideas in the past for online communities, mostly inspired by not being able to find websites/resources for information I was searching for. In the past months, on a small scale, I’ve tested 2 ideas for adventure travel and education-related communities. I’ve started talking to a few other people about the ideas, so there may be more development on these ideas in the near future.
- Started designing websites for other people
On the web design front, I’ve re-designed the website for a Toronto hot yoga studio (currently in the process of being implemented), and submitted proposals to other small businesses for new or redesign of their websites. I plan on increasing the amount of work I do in this area.
What else has happened?
- Made a new friend this summer
In another coincidence, I made a new friend this summer who’s visiting from Spain and seemed to be making the same life changes as I have been. She too quit her bank job, travelled, was learning web design, ended a long-term relationship, and we even read some of the same books at the same time. When you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, it’s nice to be reminded there are other people who are experiencing life parallels.
- Discovered my ‘photography style’
I’ve been interested in photography for a few years, but never figured out what type of pictures I liked taking. After stitching together a few panoramas from my first camping at a Canadian national park, I was amazed at how much my panorama resembled like the landscape I saw in person. It was love at first sight.
Here’s one of my photos:
- Connected with freelancers and entrepreneurs
Through conferences and events I’ve found around the city, I’ve learned more about freelancing and entrepreneurship in the last few months than I have my entire life. Before, everyone I knew were employees, and now 95% of the people interact with on a daily basis are in business for themselves – I’ve slowly started to get used to this idea, so we will see how it plays out.
The plan for the next 6 months
- Travel solo to Asia and South Pacific
I’m planning an extended trip to Asia and the South Pacific. It’s my first time travelling solo, and it’s taken a while for me to work up the courage to go alone, mostly out of fear of feeling lonely, but now I feel as ready as I’ll ever be. I’m currently getting quotes for airfare with a departure of mid-November to early December. If you are interested in meeting up, or have travel tips for these areas, I’d love to hear from you!
I also have lots of items for sale, if you’re in the Toronto area.
The tentative itinerary is:
Toronto -> India (1 month)
India -> Thailand/Southeast Asia (1-2 months) and down to Singapore
Singapore -> Australia/New Zealand/Fiji (1 month)
Back to Toronto
- Learn more about web development
Now that I have more knowledge about creating front-ends of websites and content management, I want to learn more about the back-end. After a number of suggestions from developers, I’m planning to pick up a PHP/SQL book.
- Add to Explore for a year
I was inspired to start this blog when I resigned from my bank job after my colleagues and friends asked what I’d do during my time off and if I would blog about my adventure.
In the past months, I’ve had a lot of reader feedback about questioning the 9-5 cubicle lifestyle and the barriers that prevent people from switching careers or (re)discovering what they are passionate about. I understand the pain of not feeling connected to what you spend your days doing, so in hope of helping more people find clarity and courage, I want to add more articles about taking extended time off and stories from people who have transitioned from a cubicle-type job to something they feel connected to. .
If you, or someone you know, would like to share a story about escaping the cubicle or pursuing their passion, I’d love to hear from you.
The last 6 months has flown by and it’s been amazing to spend my time self-directing my days. The big focus in the next 6 months is going to be creating or finding income doing what I enjoy. I’m not sure if that means finding a job, freelancing or otherwise, but I look forward to what the upcoming months bring.
>> If you’d like to wish me well, have travel tips, or have ideas for articles on Explore for a Year, please do say hi below :) I wish you much joy and happiness.
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