If you’re miserable in your job, your fears are probably stopping you from taking a leap towards something better. Adventurers, artists, travelers, entrepreneurs and dream chasers have one thing in common: they take risks. They’ve cashed in something huge for their passions. They’ve chosen freedom over security. Here’s a list of common excuses with examples of people who have fought to break free:
The waters will never part for you, my non-Biblical friend. Taking bold risks will always be hard, and if it’s not the economy it’ll be something else. Instead of focusing on your disadvantages, focus on what you’re lucky enough to have right now: Loving support? Your good health? Youth? Maturity? Savings? First-world opportunities? Fluent English? Being alive? Don’t wait for ‘the right time’ because it’s nothing but a fantasy. Every moment you postpone, more doors close. BANG!
Inspiration: Kim and Brian from So Many Places are saving pennies so they can quit their jobs and ‘jump off the hamster wheel’ for a RTW trip. The couple plan to take a leap of faith in January 2012.
Nothing new and shiny is worth decades of being shackled to misery. Maybe you’re attempting to fill your unhappiness hole with shiny objects, nights out, treats, distractions. But spending traps you in debt, making your unhappiness hole bigger. Every time you get out the credit card, remember that objects cost more than just money — they cost happiness. Take an extra job, sell all the things you don’t need, and work harder than you ever have to begin digging your way to freedom.
Inspiration: Adam Baker of Man Vs Debt is working to pay off his dues, sell his crap and do what he loves: travel.
If your life partner doesn’t support your decision to leave a job that makes you miserable, then you’re not in a loving relationship, you’re in a dictatorship. Nobody respects a whipped coward, especially not your spouse. But before you pawn your wedding ring, ask yourself if you’ve made it explicitly clear to your partner that you’re unhappy doing what you’re doing.
Inspiration: Ayngelina from Bacon Is Magic walked out on her job, apartment, friends and boyfriend in her mid-thirties for a solo escapade around South America.
Do your children need buckets full of toys? Do they need a big home? Is having a backyard with a slide and a sandpit more important for children than having happy and fulfilled role models? If you’re suffering through a miserable job for them, you may only be succeeding to set a mediocre standard for them to mimic. Imagine your children as adults: what do you want for them? Happiness? Freedom? Courage? Be that person for them now.
Inspiration: John and Nancy Vogel from Family On Bikes just completed an epic cycling journey from Alaska to Argentina living out of their tiny bike panniers for three years … with two kids in tow!
“My parents will be upset.”
Unless you’re five, this shouldn’t be prohibitive. Thank your wonderful parents for their love and support and tell them you need to take responsibility for your own happiness from now on. Ask them to gently release the grip on your choke chain. It’s time for them trust in you to run through the grass, leash free.
Inspiration: Leif from The Runaway Guide left home at 16 to travel the world on the smell of an oily rag, and while my advice is: Don’t do this at home kids!! and Please wait until you’re 18 kids!! his website shows what a truly determined person is capable of.
“It’s not sensible to quit a steady job.”
None of the good things in life are sensible. Sex. Adventure. Walking on the moon. Love. Chocolate. Having babies. Art. Learn to recalibrate your filters by remembering that ‘sensible’ is a bad, bad word. Start following pursuits that are ‘unreasonable.’ Don’t make choices that are practical, make choices that get your skin tingling. (Go easy on the chocolate, though.)
Inspiration: Forgeover chronicles the unfolding journey of a family who are “bucking convention, and flouting common sense” to embark on an major sailing trip.
Be careful of becoming a victim to your own circumstances. Life is your car and only you can take the driver’s seat. If you don’t grab the steering wheel and take control, you’re just careening blindly towards death with nobody manning the vehicle.
Inspiration: Lachlan Cotter from The Art Of Audacity dedicates his life to smashing his fears. He plans to motorcycle across Asia, despite a list of challenges that would put most people off.
What challenges are stopping you? Or, if you’ve broken free from a miserable place, what challenges did you fight against to find freedom?
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.