A year ago, I floated the idea to my loved ones and started saving money. Three months ago, I started working strategically with my boss on an exit plan. Two months ago I started packing and moving out. Three weeks ago I turned in my resignation letter. And Thursday night, I left work with my personal belongings from my cubicle packed into a cardboard box, along with a bottle of celebratory wine from my boss and a really sweet card signed by all my coworkers.
And now I’ve actually done it, I’ve quit my job to travel. I have business plans and a couple of really good leads on part time work to help sustain this venture. I have my savings and a few padded frequent flyer accounts. I have travel bowls for Lucy. It’s actually happening, which should feel weirder than it does. Instead, it feels very matter-of-fact. Logical. Which it really isn’t, in most respects. It’s probably crazy. But the right kind of crazy.
Long-term, I don’t know what to expect. Short term, it’s already been a rollercoaster of insane emotions. I want to explain what happened in the last 72 (well, 75 hours), because it was effing NUTS.
Thursday night, I left work jittery and dazed and happy. I had one last farewell dinner with a friend. When I got home around 10pm, I was done with my life in Philadelphia one day earlier than I expected. Since my hard and fast plans weren’t supposed to start until Saturday, I thought it would be good to lazily head out Friday.
I woke up Friday at 8, and I couldn’t move. My veins were lead. I had pounding headache. I was having trouble seeing. Every item on my short to-do list (re-orgainze the stuff in my car, pack up what was left inside the house, shower, get dressed, drop off a cable modem, head out of dodge) was overwheming. Not in an emotional way, but a practical one. If it takes me twenty minutes to sit up in bed, how long would it take me to actually do my hair? A lifetime?
I cut every unnecessary movement. I packed the way a slug might. I might as well have been crawling on the pavement, I moved so slowly. By the time I flung myself into the drivers seat, it was 1pm.
Oh, and my phone wouldn’t turn on. Which was kind of a problem since it’s also my GPS. (And my lifeline to Instagram, but that was less mission critical),
I went to the Sprint store, where they reset my phone (with immense pity, I assume). I finally made it out of the city at 3pm.
Around 7, I decided to find a hotel to crash at for the evening. My headache had not subsided, and now it was coupled with intense heartburn (much worse than I normally get) and nausea. In the hotel room, I started throwing up. Violently. I thought my stomach was abandoning me.
If someone had told me that my first day of traveling would be me battling against a universe of molasses to get out of the door, a massive headache, a broken cell phone, and wretching my guts out in a Motel6, I would have been horrified.
But, here’s the weird thing. After I threw up, all the various pieces fit together-the lethargy, the headache, the nasea. It was some kind of stress and anxiety hangover (not an alcohol-related one since I’d had one beer the night before). And not anxiety about leaving or traveling. More like, all of the stress and pressure that you take on working in a corporate job that you just deal with (even though you know, in the back of your mind, it’s unnatural and probably not healthy) it had all built up and up and up over the past decade. And instead of just being happy it was over for the foreseeable future, my body needed to process all the toxins and poison out. After I threw up the 2nd time, I started feeling better and by the time nine o’clock rolled around, I was practically on a cloud.
Yesterday, driving through upstate New York and into Canada, rocking the Hamilton soundtrack and a David Sedaris audiobook, I felt joy. Pure joy. So pure it was like I had taken a pill or found a new drug. If I new how to bottle it, I’d be a billionaire. That good.
I spent today going to Niagara Falls and lounging in an outrageously comfortable king size sleigh bed in a cute little cottage in the Ontario countryside. My pup is snuggled up next to me. I’m about to edit photos until I get sleepy. This is what I wanted my life to look like. My body just took an extra day to catch up.