Cheryl Strayed had it right when she planned her summer long trek on the PCT. The solitude in a place with no distractions forces you to face all parts of yourself. I came on this trip to reset, explore, travel, and transform if only just a little bit.
What do I want to change? My views on life. I want to find the happiness in my life and leave the negativity behind. So often I think about how I could have more money, more popularity; more, more more. But I already have a lot. I have my health, my friends and family, and I have the luxury to go on vacations. I have the option to quit my job and be financially stable. I want to feel that what I have is enough, and that I am enough. All of that is just a state of mind. So instead of working for more to be happy, I’ve started letting go. Since the beginning of this year I have practiced letting go and finally I decided to quit my job – the source of most of my unhappiness.
It wasn’t a bad job. On the contrary, I could work from home 3 days a week, benefits were great, I had a retirement account and the company culture was positive and supportive. But the work wasn’t for me. My life didn’t light up at the thought of work, and I don’t regret leaving it behind. Quitting was probably the longest journey of my life. I don’t mean just quitting my job, but quitting this career – deciding that I will not go back no matter what. There have been a few moments of minor panic and realization in the past few days – “I don’t have a job.” “Will I be ok?” “What will I do next?” But I am putting my faith in myself and in the universe to know that I will definitely be ok.
The support from my friends has been enormous. My boss even told me that I would be successful in any career, and most everyone I tell has been congratulating me on this move. They understand. I have found so many people on this parallel path of letting go that it’s hard to feel lonely. Instead I feel that I have joined a movement. A movement where success is defined by the happiness and fulfillment in your life, rather than the money in your wallet.
Don’t get me wrong, you still need to live and pay the bills. It took me a lot of saving to feel financially secure enough quit my career. In life there will always be struggle. But now I am choosing a different one.
What have I learned so far on my trip?
- There’s hella mosquitoes in Yosemite right now.
- I can only comfortably handle 8 miles of backpacking per day. The rest is uncomfortable.
- Sleeping in my car at a campsite costs upwards of $20/night, but sleeping in my car in a quiet neighborhood is free.
- Loneliness is a state of mind.
- I have seen just as many solo female backpackers as solo male backpackers.
- I packed way too much food. It takes 1 too many trips to the bear bin to relieve my car of food.