Reflecting on one year of freedom

Date Posted: July 31, 2013
Posted in: Personal

One year ago, I left my cushy job in Washington, DC, and the city I had called home for four years. I left friends and family and more memorable moments than I could ever count. But mainly, I left a lot of questions unanswered. Most people could not possibly comprehend what exactly I was doing. WHY was the only constant I faced for a few months, from the day I gave my notice at work until the night before I actually boarded the plane to leave. It was the word that rolled so easily off of everyone’s tongue; it was the imploring eyes still searching mine after I offered my explanation; it was in the gesture as everyone eventually shrugged and turned away, still completely baffled, to face something more familiar and comforting instead of the anomaly that apparently was me.

With a toddler’s incessant need for more information everyone kept asking, “But why??”

So you really want to know why I quit my job that I was supposed to keep because it offered a nice salary, health insurance, a 401k, and “stability”? You really want to know why I would move far away from my family and friends and “home”?

Here’s why: because it makes me happy.

That’s it! That is the only reason you need to know. I’m sure you have a million reasons not to live abroad and move in with a total stranger and breathe underwater and job-hop without making enough money to live, forget about savings. You might not understand me and think I’m making bad decisions. But just remember: precisely because you have your reasons, I have mine. There is no right or wrong.

All I know is I’m extremely happy with my life and my decisions. I’m not counting down the days to retirement – I enjoy the “work” I’m doing. I’m not dreaming about another life somewhere else – I’m living in paradise. I’m not counting my pennies to save up for that 6-day vacation because most jobs in the States only offer 2 weeks’ paid vacation. No, I’m taking 6 weeks to travel around visiting friends and family. Why? Because it makes me happy. And you know what? If my job isn’t here for me when I get back, I’ll find another one. But those 6 weeks will sure as hell be worth it. When is the last time you heard someone say, “I really wish I hadn’t taken such a long vacation away from work” or “I really regret that time I spent with my favorite people”?

I left DC a year ago because while I was happy there, I also knew there was something else. The world is big! (Trust me, I have a degree in Geography. Seriously.) Seeing new places and meeting new people makes me happy. That’s why I left. Don’t take it personally, friends and family! I love you all and miss you tons. That’s why I keep FaceTime-stalking you guys and launching a blitzkrieg on your Facebook walls 😉

Moral of the story: I am happy with who I am and where I am. That’s the only answer to “why?” you should need.

I hope if you ask yourself the same question, you can give the same answer!

One year ago, I left my cushy job in Washington, DC, and the city I had called home for four years. I left friends and family and more memorable moments than I could ever count. But mainly, I left a lot of questions unanswered. Most people could not possibly comprehend what exactly I was doing. WHY was the only constant I faced for a few months, from the day I gave my notice at work until the night before I actually boarded the plane to leave. It was the word that rolled so easily off of everyone’s tongue; it was the imploring eyes still searching mine after I offered my explanation; it was in the gesture as everyone eventually shrugged and turned away, still completely baffled, to face something more familiar and comforting instead of the anomaly that apparently was me.

With a toddler’s incessant need for more information everyone kept asking, “But why??”

So you really want to know why I quit my job that I was supposed to keep because it offered a nice salary, health insurance, a 401k, and “stability”? You really want to know why I would move far away from my family and friends and “home”?

Here’s why: because it makes me happy.

That’s it! That is the only reason you need to know. I’m sure you have a million reasons not to live abroad and move in with a total stranger and breathe underwater and job-hop without making enough money to live, forget about savings. You might not understand me and think I’m making bad decisions. But just remember: precisely because you have your reasons, I have mine. There is no right or wrong.

All I know is I’m extremely happy with my life and my decisions. I’m not counting down the days to retirement – I enjoy the “work” I’m doing. I’m not dreaming about another life somewhere else – I’m living in paradise. I’m not counting my pennies to save up for that 6-day vacation because most jobs in the States only offer 2 weeks’ paid vacation. No, I’m taking 6 weeks to travel around visiting friends and family. Why? Because it makes me happy. And you know what? If my job isn’t here for me when I get back, I’ll find another one. But those 6 weeks will sure as hell be worth it. When is the last time you heard someone say, “I really wish I hadn’t taken such a long vacation away from work” or “I really regret that time I spent with my favorite people”?

I left DC a year ago because while I was happy there, I also knew there was something else. The world is big! (Trust me, I have a degree in Geography. Seriously.) Seeing new places and meeting new people makes me happy. That’s why I left. Don’t take it personally, friends and family! I love you all and miss you tons. That’s why I keep FaceTime-stalking you guys and launching a blitzkrieg on your Facebook walls 😉

Moral of the story: I am happy with who I am and where I am. That’s the only answer to “why?” you should need.

I hope if you ask yourself the same question, you can give the same answer!

About the author

Amanda Walkins

Serial expat Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer & blogger. She has lived in 7 countries, traveled to many more, and loves helping people explore the world through slow travel (like house and pet sitting!) and living overseas.