Growing up in Asia, boys and girls are ‘brain-washed’ with the idea that you need to be one of the very few successful executives (who works in big companies) if you want to travel the world. Naturally, I ended up working with an international company. That job did bring me onboard a plane where I painstakingly spent an almost 24-hour before reaching the other part of the globe.
“I never said that life as a full time travel writer is easy”
The day before I was supposed to depart for my business trip, I was still at work until late afternoon. Since it was a morning flight, I was rest assured that I could have the whole evening packing and perhaps a little rest. Just as I was going through my checklist and stuff, then I heard a loud scream, “Fire!! Fire!!”
I tried my best to keep myself calm although I had all reasons to be panic. I quickly put everything in the luggage and ran outside the house. My house was not on fire, but unfortunately the raging fire engulfed the next-door house. Five hours of packing and resting were gone.
With no sleep and a brutal seven plus sixteen hours of flight, the moment I reached San Francisco airport, I realized how stressful business traveling can be. Despite of the excitement that I was finally in California, I could not help from consoling myself to try and enjoy that business trip.
That one-week meeting in California became a significant turning point for me, both professional- and personal-ly. I sat foot on the Golden Gate Bridge, saw the famous tram and the steep hills of San Francisco, ate lunch at the Pier 39 and sailed passed the notorious Alcatraz (it so happened that we arrived on the weekend after Thanksgiving). On a personal note, all the places and things I experienced during that business trip slightly had influenced the choice I made today. Unfortunately, the real story behind my actual decision to leave a promising career in that company had also begun during that first business trip to California.
In less than two years, my journey at that said company became a burden physically. I began to wonder if there is any logic behind people saying, “Oh, I am so jealous of your work. You get to travel and make so much money at the same time. You must be very happy.”
Psychologically, I was about to become a victim of my over-ambitious career. I was so obsessed with professional accomplishments that I had also become greed – I was famished of finding ‘happiness’. At about the same time, I came to a realization that it was too much pressure of trying to be someone else – thanks to the surrounding ‘support’.
The California business trip made me go back into writing. Every detail of that journey was jotted down in a journal. I found much satisfaction reading a story behind my travels since then. Writing was no longer my therapy; it (has always and) became been my passion.
“…so much of life ahead, I will find a place with room to grow..”
It took me another two years after California before I finally quit.
Albeit people blaming me for leaving a promising future in the so-called corporate world; I am now definitely happy.