Never one to prioritize work above leisure and life’s other priorities, I could always see myself taking off on another extended trip. I have incessant wanderlust. For the last 5 years of work I’ve been able to travel several times a year, including 1-2 international trips annually, all while maintaining and growing in my job. This time around it was a bit different. I wanted to travel bigger than before – live abroad even. My wife and I looked into a couple options. Ultimately, we didn’t move forward with plans for living abroad, but I knew that it was about time I checked out the destinations I’ve been merely talking about for the past couple years. I haven’t visited Europe for 4 years. The last trip was to Spain and Portugal where my wife and I got engaged. Since then, our travels have brought us to different continents.
But I had always heard great things about Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. After looking into it more, I came across additional destinations I just had to visit. Tapping into a network of independent travellers on Twitter led me to great stories and photos of places I would have excluded from my travel plans otherwise; places like Croatia and Slovenia. One example is the blog Never Ending Footsteps. Check out the pictures of pristine lakes and castle views and you’ll be yearning for Eastern Europe, too!
The decision was made. I wanted to do it up a little bigger, and the numerous destinations I was set on made it necessary to take an extended trip. (When I say ‘extended’ keep in mind this is relative to norms in the USA. I fully realize this trip would be normal or even short to many travelers from the rest of the globe. Very sad, I know.) So, I needed a leave of absence from work. I knew what my priority was, but if it could work out with work, then great… In the end, it didn’t work out. As part of a bureaucratic organization for many years, I wasn’t surprised. It didn’t matter who was on your side or if everyone would benefit. Policy is policy, right? So that was that. No hard feelings. As I mentioned, my decision was already made.
In line with how I’ve lived my life thus far: if work can’t fit into the picture, then it’s time to move on. Leaving is always a complicated decision. And I can’t honestly say it boiled down to one decision. Ultimately, you have to do work that’s in line with your passions and personal goals – don’t let the comforts and conveniences string you along too much. Time won’t wait and experiences will pass you by. A little admission: i read AARP Magazine and their bulletins – yes, it’s for older people – and I can’t even count the number of times these wiser folks try to communicate that, looking back, they wish they hadn’t allowed work to dictate so much of their lives. I guess I’m trying to nip it in the bud, you could say. I can’t run away from work, but sometimes a break is OK – a chance to refresh and refocus on the priorities. In my case, it’s even the impetus for a ‘vocational adjustment’. When I return I want to get into something I genuinely care about; where work doesn’t feel so much like someone else’s, well, work. And no, I don’t know what I’m “going to do next”. Wish me luck! |GO|