This post is an extended version of the post that appeared in Huffington Post.I was fearless and thirsty for adventure. I was searching for something. I didn’t know then what that was, but my constant curiosity was moving me towards new ventures, new places, and new people. I was happy with what I have experienced and I enjoyed the little moments in life but continued to have this anxious feeling of excitement about the future. I sensed that there is much more to life than I have come to realize yet, so I quit my successful corporate career to travel the world for one year and find out what living life is really all about… I was born in Poland but my travel wanderlust took me all over the world and I came to call the USA my second home and the After graduating from college, I spent over a decade building my corporate career across IT, Aerospace and Financial industries. Very quickly, I found myself managing large international teams and seamlessly navigating through the corporate world. In my 30’s, I got to the corporate VP level. At that point, I worked about 60-80 hours a week and was in a process of completing my MBA. By most standards, I was very successful. I had an amazing career, home, and life. I also had absolutely no time to enjoy any of it. And that’s where I stopped to think. Didn’t I want this? Didn’t I want this amazing, successful career? Didn’t I want the financial security? Didn’t I want to become a CEO one day? So why am I having second thoughts now? For the first time in my life, I started looking around and paying attention to life. I was rushing to achieve so much and was getting close to my final goal only to realize that there is a serious cost associated with that accomplishment. The cost of life. I realized we have only one! Wow, what a revelation to this overachiever. We have only one life and there is no do-over. All the hours, months and years dedicated to my education and career, while very productive, were not used for truly living life to the fullest and following my heart and passion. Don’t get me wrong. I had a life. I fully used my standard 2 weeks time-off for an amazing vacation and I had dinners with friends. But with each accomplishment, there was less and less time for the simple pleasures in life. Feeling the wind in your hair, watching sunsets, trying new things, laughing so hard that it is difficult to catch your breath, feeling the warm sun on your skin… So I sat there one day and wondered: Is that all there is to life? Is it possible that I will spend the next 10 years achieving my goals only to realize that it is too late to begin living? Didn’t I want this? The problem was: yes, I did. Unfortunately, in my calculations for climbing to the top and accumulating wealth (um…stuff), I did not account for the loss of time. I took my time here for granted. I operated under the assumption that I will have plenty of time to focus on me after I finish everything else…after I retire. The question that lingered was: why am I postponing living life for retirement years instead of living now? The questions kept coming and I did not have all the answers yet, but I knew for sure that I needed to start living more. I wanted to do what I love the most: travel the world, meet people and truly live life while I still can! I wanted to try the things I have always been afraid of or simply did not have enough time to tackle. I wanted to learn how to make wine in Tuscany, and how to sail in the Mediterranean, how to ride on the scooter in Vietnam, climb base camp of Mount Everest, scuba dive in Bali, and every other thing you can imagine. The voice in my head kept telling me that all those things were normally reserved for retirement. But, when I listened to people in retirement, many of them didn’t have the energy or were not in a physical condition to do the things they have always wanted to do. They urged to live life to the fullest, live the life of no regrets while you still can. After all, there are no guarantees in life. You either do the best of it or not. No second chances. This was such a departure from my thinking thus far that I would question my decision over and over. But each time, I kept coming back to the memories from years past, when still in college I embarked on a summer-break trip around Europe. I had completely no money but figured out ways to travel all over Europe in my, what seemed like, a hundred years old used car that was barely able to make it through the Alpine mountain terrain of Switzerland, through Venice, Croatia, and Montenegro. I remember eating fresh peaches from the tree, meeting people, swimming in the sea, sleeping on the white sand, climbing mountains. I remember feeling that sense of wonder, excitement, possibility and I wanted to feel it again! But do I have to do it now? Is that the right time to take a break in my career? Do I have enough money? How about waiting another year…maybe two…maybe three? All very valid questions and I learned to rationalize answers to all of them. But each time I pushed my dream aside, I heard about a friend diagnosed with cancer, facing heart attack, stroke, accident…. From one day to another, without any warning life was cut short… I was realizing that there may not be the next year to give my dream a try…. I started understanding that quitting my job to follow my dream is not the riskiest decision. Staying in it and not giving my dream a chance is. So I decided to take a break. I dedicated so much to my work and my career and I decided to take one year for myself, to follow my passion and my dreams. One year now, while I still can, while I have it. I decided to quit my job to travel around the world. To explore and experience life. To do the things I have always wanted to do before it is too late. I wanted to make sure that one day when I am 60 or 70 years old and ready to retire – I feel like I fully lived. I figured I still have another 30-40 years of work ahead of me and once I complete my adventure, I can always come back and continue my career. Over 50 countries and 5 continents traveled, soaking sun in Santorini, diving on the Great Barrier Reef, soaring above the clouds on the hot air balloon in Turkey and hiking glaciers in New Zealand and sailing the Mediterranean is my life now. I am still learning to how to enjoy life without over-scheduling and over-planning for tomorrow. In those few months, I learned that you have only two choices in life. You either follow your dreams and make them happen or you will be fulfilling the dreams of others. I decided to do the first. I also learned that fear can stop you from accomplishing your goals only if you let it. And I don’t. Once you do that you will quickly find out that amazing things begin happening. Opportunities you have never even thought off or imagined are now fully available. The impossible becomes possible and the only thought left is: why didn’t I do it sooner! So, if you have a dream, big or small — give it a try. Worst case scenario, it may not work out and you can always go back to living your life as is and have no regrets. Best case scenario, you may just surprise yourself and fulfill your dream! So forget any excuses and give it a chance before it is too late.
Do you have a dream you have always wanted to give a try? What is holding you back? Are you on your way to make it happen? Please share! Your story could be that boost needed by somebody else!Save
Great story, very inspiring and uplifting! cant wait to follow your adventures. 🙂
Thanks so much John!
Thinking about doing the same. Will you please share how you did it? The process, money, etc
Definitely. I am just starting the blog but ins/outs of getting for that type of adventure will follow. Thanks for joining!
Great story. Felt exactely the same way in ny corp life. Glad u made it happen. Good luck! And let me know if you’re planning NYC
Thanks so much for joining. Please join me at FB at https://www.facebook.com/travelme.world. I will be posting all future destinations! 🙂
Cool to hear about somebody from Poland. Powodzenia w podrozy. I hope you can make it to Poland 🙂
Dziekuje bardzo!!! Zaczelismy cala wyprawe od Polski ale napewno wrocimy! Pozdrowka!!
I want to switch my field. I’m in accounting and hate it. I really want to go back to medical school but I’m in my 30s too and it is probably too late for me….Wish I was not afraid to do it. Glad you did it.
Hi Laura – it is never too late. I promise! Thanks for joining. Good luck!
omg! i needed it so much. I’ve been feelin like that for a while. tried to quit 3 times and still afraid…what if i fail…dont have money to pay my bills…but singing is my passion! will keep trying
Thanks Kat! Start small…don’t have to quit to follow your dreams. Start singing in events, shows, anywhere you would like even if for free. Once you get comfortable you can go for it then! Good luck girl!
Love your story and all the positive energy! So happy for both of you to be doing what so many dream of. Lovely blog!!!
Thanks so much Tara. This means a lot! I really appreciate your support. This is such a life changing experience. We will never be the same… in a good way 🙂
Great post, glad to see you are still enjoying the journey. Hope we bump into each other again somewhere around the world. We are setting off on another few months adventure in November. Keep posting the pictures. David
Thanks so much David! You and Joanne are our true supporters. Can’t wait to see you guys again and show you our diving skills:) ha ha! Besitos for Coco and Charlie!!!
Od serca i szczerze. Dziekuje. Bardzo inspirujace. Pozdrawiam i bede z przyjemnoscia czytac kolejne posty :)))))
Dzieki serdeczne!!!! Super fajnie miec to kogos z Polski. Gorace pozdrowienia i moze do spotkania gdzies na trasie ? 🙂 Magda
I like what you are doing. My father used to say the same. Retired at 50 and since they enjoying life and teaching me and my brother how to do it. Are you planning to come to Argentina?
Hi Luisa. Thanks so much for joining and so glad that you have an amazing father. I visited Argentina few years ago and loved it, so we will be definitely heading there next year. Please join us on https://www.facebook.com/travelme.world as we will be posting our future destinations. Cheers to adventure in life!
Woooow!!!!!! you are a very powerful girl ! Congratulations!!!!!! You are a great sample of living life to the fullest for the world!!!! Well, I see you are ready to write your “Living An Adventured Life” book!!!
I love you and will keep following your adventures….
Thanks a lot Gloria!!!! It has been a long journey to get to this point and this is just a beginning. Love your idea about book and the title too!!!! Love you too!