“That sounds terrifying.”
I couldn’t help but smile as the words fell out. This was coming from the main manager of my group, a man that I respect, as I was handing him my letter of resignation. He had just asked me what my future plans would entail.
His shock mimicked the reactions of others. Some were excited by what I was planning to do, feeling inspired by my choice to take a risk. Others were shocked, not expecting me to divert off the path that I had worked so hard to follow. A few were outright confused, trying and failing to comprehend the reasoning behind my choice. And then there were those who were worried sick that something bad might happen to me (I’m looking at you, close family).
How I Got Here
On paper, everything appeared to be great. It was clear from high school that I was going to do everything in my power to follow “the path to success”. I excelled in school, got into a great college, continued to thrive in my classes, landed a great engineering job, held that job for almost four years, got a Master’s degree part-time while working, and bought a house.
In reality, I could barely get out of bed for work every day. I was unable to take good care of myself. I asked what I was doing with my life every time I walked into the office. I had developed a poor diet after a lifetime of healthy eating. I no longer worked out after years of being a competitive athlete. I searched endlessly for new hobbies and habits and struggled to make any stick.
This isn’t to say that I didn’t have things to be thankful for. I have my health, a loving dog, financial stability, an amazing support network, a great house, and many other wonderful blessings in my life. These factors grant me the privilege to have so many choices, something I seriously do not take for granted. However, I was turning into someone that wouldn’t have made me proud. Not because of my accomplishments or choices but because of the toxic emotions that had become my reality. I felt like I was headed for a major burnout without knowing how to redirect. I was stuck.
Everyone has a different version of success. Some find fulfillment the path that I just left. For others, they may become their best selves by doing something that others may not understand. In some instances, the path may point one way and then suddenly change direction. I believed that I would find my passions on my old path and in many ways, I did at that point in my life. I am now discovering that my passions, and my path, lay somewhere else in the future. The best thing I can do is to be honest with myself.
Building My New Lifestyle
Instead of fighting the fact that I dreaded sitting at a desk all day, I tried to understand it. Accepting my negativity lead me to convert it into an unquenchable motivation to learn more about location independent lifestyles. I binged on podcasts, blogs, and articles. I started putting together a plan to transition out of my current lifestyle. I sold a bunch of my stuff, I started renting out my house full-time, I created a financial plan and budget, I saved money, and I moved in with my boyfriend (who might possibly be the most patient man on the planet). Before I knew it, it was my last day at work.
And here I am, on the road and (finally) kicking off this blog. Katie’s Hustle is a place to document my adventures, create resources to guide others, and give back to the communities that welcome me along the way. You will find stories, life lessons, trip roundups, travel resources, and personal experiences.
As with all risks, it’s going to be rewarding and challenging. I’m planning to write through everything that I encounter along the way.