Quit Job, Spent ,000 Traveling: Mistake Realized

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**Embracing Fulfillment: A Transformative Sabbatical Journey Beyond Burnout and Ambition**

In the vibrant tapestry of our lives, there comes a time when we yearn for a break, a moment to step outside the relentless demands of everyday existence and rediscover the essence of our being. For me, this moment arrived in August 2022, when I decided to bid farewell to my dream job and embark on an extended sabbatical, seeking solace, rejuvenation, and a path to true happiness.

**Wonders Explored, Apathy Unveiled**

With newfound freedom and a spirit filled with anticipation, I set out to explore the wonders of South America and Asia, spending a substantial amount of my savings to fund my journey. I reveled in the pristine landscapes of Patagonia, trekking to snow-clad peaks and marveling at the icy embrace of glacial lakes. I immersed myself in the warm, inviting waters of Thailand, feeling a sense of tranquility wash over me.

However, as the months unfolded, a disconcerting realization began to dawn upon me. The thrill of ticking off bucket list destinations had quickly evaporated. Standing on the dramatic coastal bluffs of Jeju Island, Korea, I felt an inexplicable apathy. Roaming the bustling streets of Japan, I couldn’t help but envy those who worked amidst the lively ambience of Starbucks.

Beneath the veneer of my supposed dream, I had become increasingly burned out and emotionally drained. It was at that pivotal moment that the profound truth dawned upon me: I had merely changed my circumstances, not my state of mind. The relentless pursuit of success and prestige, which had plagued me in my professional life, had followed me on my sabbatical, casting a shadow over my well-being.

**The Crucial Mistake: Approaching My Sabbatical as a Workaholic**

As I delved deeper into my introspection, I recognized that I had fallen into the same trap that had ensnared me in my career. I had approached my sabbatical with the mentality of a workaholic, meticulously planning my itinerary and striving to maximize my experiences at the expense of my inner peace.

My life had become a constant race to check off destinations, each one seen as a trophy to validate my worthiness. I had harbored the misguided belief that accumulating travel experiences would elevate my life to the same level as the seemingly enviable travel influencers I had admired from afar.

**Transforming My Sabbatical: Key Insights**

In the face of my growing dissatisfaction, I resolved to change course and embark on a new path, one that would prioritize my well-being and foster a harmonious balance between ambition and fulfillment.

1. Cutting Back, Shifting Focus**

Lying in my Tokyo hotel room, feeling overwhelmed by the weight of my original sabbatical plan, I knew I had to make a drastic decision. I had initially intended to visit all 34 remaining countries on my bucket list during this extended break, believing it would allow me to fully immerse myself in travel and return home to focus solely on career and family.

However, I came to realize that this approach was simply perpetuating the burnout I had sought to escape. With newfound clarity, I halved my sabbatical bucket list, prioritizing quality over quantity. What was the point of visiting countless destinations if I wasn’t truly enjoying the experience?

I relinquished the desire to boast about having traveled to over 50 countries, accepting that I could continue to explore the world in the future, even if it meant less time dedicated to professional pursuits. Prioritizing my well-being meant letting go of societal standards and the external metrics that had come to define my self-worth. I began to measure my success by the moments I felt truly alive, at peace, and deeply connected to others, rather than the quantifiable accomplishments that enhance a resume or online presence.

2. Embracing the Notion of ‘Missing Out’**

In order to truly savor my sabbatical, I learned to embrace the concept of “missing out.” This meant ignoring the fear of missing out (FOMO) that often plagues travelers and prioritizing my own needs. Even if it meant forgoing popular and Instagram-worthy experiences, I found that I genuinely enjoyed everything more once I let go of the obligation to do what was deemed acceptable.

Instead of embarking on a two-hour journey to the backpacker haven of Pai, Thailand, I chose to relax in Chiang Mai, immersing myself in thought-provoking articles and documentaries from quaint cafes. Rather than joining an island-hopping tour from Cartagena, Colombia, I opted to indulge in a leisurely sleep-in after a night of dancing and laughter with new friends.

By choosing to pursue joy over the desire to do what everyone else was doing, I created a deeply fulfilling experience for myself.

3. Relinquishing the Need to Work and Make Money While Traveling**

During the initial phase of my sabbatical, I struggled to fully disconnect from work, believing that my self-esteem was intrinsically linked to my professional achievements. I would often stay up late formulating and pitching freelance story ideas, desperate

Data sourced from: cnbc.com