A fairy finds her castle – Neuschwanstein Castle in Munich, Germany

I quit my job to travel the world!

I know I’ve hinted many times that my 30s are going to rock. And that I have big, huge, monumental, fantastically awesome plans. And now that everything is starting to come together and is pretty much officially official I can now announce it to the universe.

I quit my job to travel the world!

OK, so really I gave four months notice at my job and am going to travel what actually works out to be a very small portion of the world. But “I quit my job to travel the world” sounds more bad ass. So we’ll go with it.

My plan is to take about a year or so to travel through Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the U.S. I’m starting in Berlin because after months of looking around I found the cheapest one-way, non-stop flight there. So it seemed as good of a starting point as any. I’m going to have a general idea of what I’m doing but hardly any set plans. I’m going to kind of just go until the money runs out.

I quit my job to travel the world! A fairy finds her castle – Neuschwanstein Castle in Munich, Germany
Me at Neuschwanstein Castle in 2006.


Last week I told my boss that I am leaving in July. Yes, I know to some of you that seems silly to give four months of notice at work. But, to me, it made sense. My coworker had already announced that he was leaving in July to concentrate on his own business. That left our entire web team (of two) leaving at about the same time. And since I am the only person at my work who knows my job backwards and forwards I wanted to make sure that they were prepared for me to go. So it was the right choice for me.

Luckily my boss took it well and while he’s sad I am leaving, and not too happy that he’s losing two of us at once, he is happy for me.

And now that a plane ticket is bought and my work knows and you know, so there’s no backing out now!

And that, my friends, is scary.

And when I get scared I start rethinking everything and searching Craigslist for condos. True story.

In all honesty I’m not sure how I will take to it. This whole thing is completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve quit my job to travel before. But that was just a 3-week stint around Europe. With friends. And it was all planned out (by people other than me).

I quit my job to travel the world!A gondola ride in Venice, Italy.
Me and my friends on a gondola in Venice, Italy in 2006.


This time I’ll be on my own, making my own decisions, my own itinerary, and playing it by ear. I have a general map in my head that I plan to follow but I am allowing myself to go with the flow and detour, figure out things as I go. Not have anything booked passed maybe the first week.

But I am also allowing myself to come home after a few months if I am really truly miserable and just can’t do it. And I will be OK with that. Because I will have tried.

I’ve been thinking of doing this for years but for many reasons kept putting it off and about a year ago I decided that this summer I would take the plunge. Originally I was just going to do Europe because even that feels far beyond what I feel comfortable tackling on my own. But after hearing so many wonderful stories at Meet, Plan, Go last year I started thinking “why can’t I do more?”

So my general plan is to start in Europe and then maybe India (because Sid got it in my head!) and then Southeast Asia and then Australia and then (if I have any money left and can find some others to join me) take an awesome road trip around the U.S. Or at least part of it. Or something.

Or come home crying in a month. One or the other.

Luckily I won’t be alone the entire time. I already have possible plans to meet up with Jaime and Ali in Spain for La Tomatina (a tomato throwing festival!). And Mat wants to come visit so I’m trying to convince him to do Paris and London in September. And, really, I’ve never had a hard time meeting people when traveling abroad.

I quit my job to travel the world!Ultimate Party Amsterdam bar crawl in Amsterdam.
I met some amazing friends at a bar crawl in Amsterdam in 2008!


So, there you have it. On July 6 I’m hopping on a plane from New York (where I will be for July 4, because is there really any better way to spend your last U.S. day in a while than at Coney Island watching people stuff their faces with hot dogs?) to Berlin with no set date to return. Everything just went from something I say I’m going to do to something I’m actually doing!

I quit my job to travel the world. And I’m scared. And nervous. And really, truly, excited.


Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Amanda
    February 28, 2011at4:25 pm

    Ahhhh, so exciting! It seems like everyone is getting inspired to take the plunge, quit their jobs, and travel these days. That’s awesome, and I’m glad you’re going to try it out, too!

  • Dan Collins
    February 28, 2011at5:40 pm

    We will 100% be meeting in Spain to throw tomato’s at each other! I’m in the UK at the moment too (Wales) so if you’re in the area, come say hey!

  • Kieron
    February 28, 2011at7:09 pm

    Hell yeah! So excited for you, this is great news.

    Really wish we could join y’all for La Tomatina but maybe somewhere else on the road we’ll cross paths!

  • Kim
    February 28, 2011at7:25 pm

    Good luck! If you road trip Virginia, let me know! Take care.

  • Peter
    February 28, 2011at7:34 pm

    Right on and congrats!!! It is scary to step outside of the comfort zone, but as soon as you get on that plane it just all feels right. We’ve been out of the work game since 2009 and haven’t looked back. Best of luck in all your travels!

  • Ali
    February 28, 2011at7:50 pm

    Thanks for the mention! So excited for you that you were able to turn in your notice already. I’ll see you in 6 months for tomatina!!

  • Maxine
    February 28, 2011at8:42 pm

    Well, Val, wow! After reading this, I, too, am so excited for you! Can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures, which I’m sure you will have plenty! Good for you!

  • Sadie
    March 1, 2011at5:44 am

    can’t wait to read all about it! You are going to have an amazing time 🙂

  • Michaela Potter
    March 1, 2011at10:26 am

    Big congrats Val! So happy that Meet, Plan, Go! was able to inspire you to realize your travel dreams and can’t wait to follow along. The next four months will also be an exciting time for you as your build up to your departure.

  • Spencer Spellman
    March 1, 2011at12:49 pm

    Oh I remember that day. It was a satisfying feeling, but not as satisfying as the day I hit the road. Excited for you!

  • Phil
    March 2, 2011at1:30 am

    Hey, I’ve been wanting to do a year on the road myself, but then decided to break it up into mini-month long regional type trips every year or so. Anyway, just got back from Mexico/Cuba, and will be doing another month in Eastern Europe, so if you’ll be around those parts around end of Summer, maybe we can meet up if the itineraries are the same. Also, I’ve driven cross country USA before, so let me know if you have any questions. Good luck with your trip!

    • Phil
      March 2, 2011at1:51 am

      Oh, for added inspiration, check out the guy below who quit his job sold everything and traveled the world for 5 straight years! lol It took me a few days just to read all of his entries.


  • Scott
    April 14, 2011at7:52 pm

    Ok, finally found it. Your plan sounds awesome. Some highlights of Europe that have been on all my plans for my 4 trips but I have never made it to are Halstatt, Austria, Plitvice Lakes NP in Croatia, and the Andechs Brewery/Monastery in Munich. Looking forward to following you!

  • Miftakhul Nurjannah
    March 30, 2017at12:33 am

    Your story really awesome. I hope one day I can travel around the world like you do.

  • Todd at Visit50
    June 14, 2020at7:29 pm

    Hi Val, catching up on your adventures. A 3 year ATW trip sounds incredible! My longest was a half year, in 2011, and it changed my life.

    I also recommend long term travel for people that want to see lots of the world. Now that I’ve visited 50+ countries, I’ve finally written down how I travel so much –

    and – a tomato throwing festival sounds amazing! Did you end up doing it?

  • Travel Center UK
    February 8, 2021at5:51 am

    Super article, Thanks for inspiring youngers like me 🙂 Looking forward to travel once this pandemic is over ;p

  • World Best Travel
    July 11, 2023at8:35 am

    That’s Great, Big congrats Val. You are going to have an amazing time. I am Also Excited to explore various destinations and love travelling

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