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F*&# the Status Quo. I’m Quitting My Job, Selling My Stuff, and Traveling the World.

This is a straight line. It is fucking boring.

My life hasn’t been “normal” by any means.

I didn’t have a childhood – had to grow up fast.

My family were refugees of the Persian Gulf War.

I started working at a young age of nine, helping my family run a 24-hour convenience store.

I didn’t have the typical college experience – I worked two jobs to put myself through school.

I started a company a couple of years later that was later acquired in 2011.

All while I had limited opportunities as it took me 22 years of living in the U.S. to become a citizen.

Comparing my path against my friends since the sale has been the most ordinary my life has been. I have a 9 to 5 job with health insurance, a stable paycheck, and co-workers who have become like a second family. Despite running Girl Develop It Philly and everything else I’m involved in, I have more free time than ever – something that had been unattainable to me for decades. I’ve had time to think about going the predictable route – settling down, getting married, having kids, etc. and it’s something I’ve come to think is a possibility. At 31-years-old, things generally seem good.

However, I haven’t been able to become accustomed to the rut I fell into. I go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, get up and do it all over again. I’ve had this persistant gnawing feeling at the back of my mind that something wasn’t right but I was unable figure it out. A recent vacation to Costa Rica brought it to the forefront.

All I’ve known my whole life is hard work. I’ve struggled to attain everything I’ve achieved. And you know what? I’m damn tired. Burned out. Exhausted.

I used to quote the mantra “work hard now, play hard later” to justify my work ethic in college, at the first consulting company I was involved in, and later at 123LinkIt. My family and friends were in a constant battle for my attention and that chant would pull me through tough times. My perception of it now? Fuck that motto right in la culata. I want to go back in time and slap myself silly every time I contemplated that sentence.  While I was away, I was mesmerized by the climate, mountains, jungles, animals and most of all, the people in Costa Rica. They work to live, coveting relationships with loved ones over the daily grind. I realized that wanderlust and more meaningful relationships are what I want during this stage of my life. To put my career on the back burner for a change and discover who I am without my laptop.

It leads to the reason I’m traveling. I don’t do anything half-way, which is why it’s for a prolonged duration. I will be flying into Quito, Ecuador on May 30th where I’ll stay with a host family while immersing myself in the Spanish language and culture for the first 6 weeks. I move on to Colombia, maybe Venezuela, head down to Brazil, then Argentina and loop back around to Chile and Peru, where I’ll return right before Thanksgiving. I have an idea of where I want to go and what I want to do, but I haven’t made specific plans besides booking a trek on the Inca trail. It’s a solo trip, I don’t know a single person, and I’m hoping family and friends will visit along the way.

My life’s path has been restrictive due to circumstances beyond my control and for the first time in my life, I have the freedom to steer away and do what I CHOOSE rather than the limited scope I have been given. I’m looking forward to traveling towards undefined destinations and letting things happen as they may.

When I come back, I plan to tackle the Middle East and then who knows what else. All I do know is that it won’t be following the status quo.

T-10 days.

P.S. Recommended reading: “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” – A nurse outlines profound, common themes she witnesses among her ailing patients. The first two ring truest for me.

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  • Ed Callahan

    It’s great that you are taking advantage of your current circumstances to do things your former circumstances wouldn’t allow. I fear what I say next may sound sexist, but given you are a beautiful young woman, all I can say is be careful and travel safely. But enjoy yourself immensely!

  • Mo McElaney

    So freaking happy for you! I hope you plan to keep your blog rolling somehow… Because I want to see pictures!

  • Sarah J

    have fun!!! I can’t wait to hear about it after… stressing the “after” part. hope you get so caught up in it you don’t have time for Internet :)

  • CuriousGeorge

    1) How old are you?
    2) I understand you. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to just quit my job and move away. And, maybe I don’t want to. I do enjoy what I do, but to say that it doesn’t “exhaust” me would be a lie. Instead, I want more adventure in my normal life. Suggestions?

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  • Ken Keiter

    Yeah, I did the same thing. I’m still working, but I can code from anywhere — and right now, I’m doing it from the beach in Morocco. Didn’t sell a company and make a million dollars, but I’m about to release an amazing product with a team here, leave for a thousand mile hike across France and Spain, and release another product.

    Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t afford to just quit your job and go”; it’s all about what you trade, and what requirements are.

  • Juanelo

    Welcome to one of the best and most eye-opening travel of your life (so far!) You’ll realize that being slave of your work is not a must, that other people are really happy with a small fraction of what we have/aim to, and also will find lots of other people who decided the same; in Southamerica you won’t miss having travel mates ;) I found them everywhere and from every country.
    Learning the language is important though, as being spanish I could speak with anyone and make local friends, and it would be a pity if that hadn’t been possible.

  • Federico

    I also quit my job and plan to travel around the world. I start my trip in a month!

    I am also an immigrant, but comparing apples-to-apples, I had a somewhat easier path than yours… Still, life is only one, and true, the way of thinking for people coming from outside USA is “work hard now, so somebody (Your kids, parents, etc) enjoys it”. I also got fed up of working on a well-paid but soul-less job, so somewhat in the same boat…

    My personal suggestion is… SouthAmerica (well, Argentina for sure) is going to be cold(ish) if you go now! You should go to the North hemisphere now, and the South in Nov-Feb, to truly enjoy the trip.

    -Federico.

  • LaMarEstaba

    Have fun. I wish I had the courage to do what you’re doing. I love Quito and it’s a lot of fun to be there. Please remember to hit the party town of Montanita on the coast, near Guayaquil.

  • Kathy

    It was two years ago that I attended a WordPress workshop and heard you speak about your business and Girls Develop It. I was inspired about your journey as well as these next steps for you in the world of travel. Enjoy all of it!

  • Joy Cannon

    Very cool, have fun!

  • frank

    Be safe and enjoy!!!!

  • Riina Corrigan

    So happy for you Yasmine! You inspire me to follow my passions in life- we only get one and so let us all truly LIVE it. :-)

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