On Career SOME THOUGHTS

Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World. (Hint: to work more)

I quit my job to travel the world! Oh gosh…another one?

Ok, I get it.

We’re tired of hearing millenials make headlines for quitting their jobs to globetrot the world. So groovy, so cool. And just this week I became one of them. I left my high paying job at a well-known tech company in San Francisco, sold my car and all my belongings, left everything behind in donation bins or the dumpster, said au revoir to friends and bounced the hell out of the states.

I’m the total modern day Eat, Pray, Love movie right? Escape reality to leave footprints on the beach of Bali. Take care of (not ride) elephants in Thailand. Dance around the fields of Africa. Some of my friends also predicted that I’ll return with a gigantic ring on my finger – or a sugar daddy. Maybe both.

In some way, yes, some of that will probably happen but here’s what I’m really going to do:

I’m going to work, a lot.

WOW, HOLD ON GIRL. Hustling and grinding is definitely not part of any indie travel movies out there. I don’t think it’s very fun to watch people sit in front of their computers sending pitch e-mails or working 80 hours a week to make less the amount of money they had than if they had stayed with their original job. That’s not glamorous at all. Can’t you just sit on some mountain top with a flowy white dress with the photo caption, “the world is a book, if you never travel you only read one page…”?

No, no I can’t.

The idea of not working stresses me out. It’s frightening to not have deadlines to meet, projects to do, or having a purpose to my day-to-day. I’m not quitting my job or leaving everything behind to go splurge abroad and become a mountain fairy. Nor did I do this to find myself.

I’ve found myself. I know exactly who I am. That’s why I’m traveling.

Let me explain.

staring out at toronto in bed

At age 9 I moved to the states and grew up with relatives, foster parents, just my brother, and then just myself. Through my teens I immersed myself into the arts and drew a ton of anime, wrote music, acted, and danced like everyone was watching. At age 15 I snagged leading roles at school plays and wanted to be a comedic actress. I wanted to be in front of an audience and bring smiles, laughter and unicorns in people’s bellies. But for some reason I felt like the world was telling me that wasn’t enough. That voice only got louder and louder.

So I became class president, president and board members of multiple clubs, and an honor student. At age 20 I forgoed the acting, unicorn crap due to major parental disapproval and tried to become a marketing genius because that’s financially stable and normal, right? At age 21, I landed a job at a top tech company to build a marketing program that now touches 40,000 students worldwide. It also came with a lot of stress crying in the bathroom stall. At 22, I co-founded a career consultancy hub because I wanted to help people and well, because there’s this huge pressure for us young folks to start something of our own. I also gave a TEDtalk about hurrying our asses up to do things we want to do because life is unpredictable.

And it really is.

That same year I lost my best friend.

quit my job to travel the world

So at 23 I knew.

I knew life is too short to sit on excuses, bring up maybes, say “I’ll do it later”, or be part of a legacy written by someone else.

So at 23, I’m quitting my corporate job to work for the TJ at 9 years old. The nomad, the emerging creative, the one on a mission to bring unicorns.

The TJ that’s not trying to sell a startup or rushing to become a manager at a young age. The TJ that doesn’t define impressive as attending a good school or having a job at a good company. The TJ that doesn’t believe success is just being bigger or better than everyone else.

I’m traveling to make a career and lifestyle change, not take an extended vacation.

I may be on a beach in Bali, but not laying around for hours sipping on martini. I’ll be writing, hacking, optimizing, growing, learning, making pennies until I can start making dollars. I’ll splash in the water for a bit then I’m back to pitching my work to travel companies, collaborating with brands, consulting, making videos, and seeing my creative talent grow with 10,000 hours of practice. Then I’m off to another destination with my laptop and camera in hand.

If you have a skill, whether it’s photography, search engine optimization, graphic design, community management, writing, or – well, you name it – then you can do it anywhere. Become a nomadic marketing consultant or a freelance developer. Learn yoga, become a bartender, or teach English. Bring value to the world while you’re traveling and see how the world embraces you back in kindness. Let’s learn to not just see the world, but to grow with it.

There’s life out there that does not follow the conventional narrative of a 9-5 office job. The only way for me to tell that story is to live it.

And I’m going to live it with 75 professionals around the world who believe in the same travel lifestyle. We’re heading to 12 countries across 3 continents, 1 month in each. Can you guess what we’ll be doing? Working our butts off, together.

exploring hobbitonI’m not vouching for people to drop everything and go travel, nor am I saying that that’s bad. What I’d like to bring to the table is the possibility of combining work and travel in a harmonious way. So that we don’t have to work 10 months before getting a taste of 10 days PTO. So that we don’t have to sit in front of our desk wondering, “when is my next adventure?” What if your work is part of the adventure?

I’m quitting my job and leaving everything behind to become a digital nomad. The world is now my office.


Thank you for reading my story. There are unknown adventures ahead and I’ll share everything from the good to the bad, from the grease to the glamour. Subscribe to my newsletter below and join me on this journey. Let’s be in touch.

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  • Joanne
    December 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    TJ! This is such a wonderful blog post. I’m so jealous that you have the guts and moxie (yes, I just used the word “moxie”) to do all this. I wish I could’ve done this when I was younger. Definitely excited to see all your photos and follow along with you.

    Good luck with everything! Don’t cause too much trouble. 😉

    • TJ
      December 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Joanne! Thank you SO much. I’ll only cause trouble if you come along with me :)!!

  • Nelson Luu
    December 19, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Hey TJ!
    Stumbled on your blog through Grazian and I’m starting out on a new chapter of my life too! Albeit not traveling. I definitely can feel a similar sense of excitement and trepidation in your post that I’ve been feeling recently too. Best of luck in your travels and I cannot WAIT to see where it takes you in the future.

    Bon Voyage!

    • TJ
      December 20, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Hi Nelson! I’m excited for you and your new chapter :). Hope all goes well…do keep me updated!

  • Sandy
    December 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I’m so glad to know you and that I can read about your amazing adventures 🙂 I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you!

    • TJ
      December 21, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Sandy!! Thank you for your support 🙂 I’m actively following your fashionventures as well! Hope all is well and let’s connect if I’m back in the States!

  • Christine
    December 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    You’re such a great writer! 🙂 Can’t wait to follow for all your adventures. Safe travels!

    • TJ
      December 21, 2015 at 3:03 am

      Hi Christine, thank you so much for your kind words. Yes please, catch you around :)!

  • Viswaprasath
    December 21, 2015 at 1:09 am

    This is awesome. Waiting to learn about your experience. Congrats for your journey

    • TJ
      December 21, 2015 at 3:03 am

      Thank you so much Vis! Maybe I’ll see you in India :)!

  • Ancon Paul
    December 26, 2015 at 11:39 am

    TJ! This is such a wonderful blog post.!!
    Bangladesh is a land of beauty… i am inviting you to my awesome country for passing some office time, because Whole world is your office . :p

    I really respect your idea !!!

    • TJ
      December 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Ancon this is such a sweet comment, thank you so much for your support. Means a lot! I appreciate it 🙂

  • Karthickeyan
    December 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Woww 😀 Have a fun-filled journey didi [ In Hindi it means sister spelled as dhee-dhee] 😀
    and you write soo well.. 🙂

    • TJ
      January 1, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Thank you Karthic <3 wish you the best year to come :)!

  • Sun
    January 2, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    This was very inspiring to read. I read your post on being a part of a legacy and I just wanted to cry. I hope you have a great journey and that it takes you many places. I also want to soon become a person that can inspire others and find something that I can create for the world and to build on a legacy that I love. I will follow my heart and work my hardest to achieve every dream. You are an inspiration dear!

    • TJ
      January 4, 2016 at 3:48 am

      Hi Sun, wow thank you so much for these kind words. Your words inspired me to keep going! Please let’s keep in touch, I wish you all the best in your endeavors as well <3.

  • Donna Belle @ SHESELLE
    January 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Hi!

    I stumbled across your blog through our mutual friends (I swear, i’m not a creeper! hahah) and just wanted to say how inspirational of a read this was. Good luck on this new journey of yours and I look forward to reading more about it along the way! 🙂

    • TJ
      January 5, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Hi Donna! A friend of friends…is a friend :)! Thank you for dropping by and reading. Appreciate it very, very much <3

  • Leye Odumuyiwa
    January 6, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    You are an inspiration to us all. 🙂
    I look forward to hearing about your adventure.
    Good luck and Bon Voyage!

    • TJ
      January 10, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      <3 Thank you, you are missed Leye!

  • Ley (empowa)
    January 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Hey! I came here from your youtube channel, and just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and wish you the best of luck! 🙂

    • TJ
      January 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Hi Ley, omg hello! So excited to meet you. Thank you for checking out my video and stopping by <3

  • Newton Mawira
    April 6, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Very inspiring post. All the best.