top of page

Why I'm quitting my job to travel the world

The word 'unemployed' stirs a lot of different responses in people... and none of them are good. Some hear the word and feel fear. They think how awful it must be to suddenly find yourself without a job, without a steady income. Others hear the word 'unemployed' and they feel anger, or resentment. They think of people lining up outside the social welfare office. They call forth images of people who are entirely able to work, but choose not to, opting to take money from the State instead.

Personally, I fall into the fear category. From a very young age, the importance of having a job was drilled into me. My mother, who was a single parent, worked herself to the bone so that she could afford to give me everything I ever wanted.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree, let me tell you. I got my first job when I was 16, working in a local shop in Kilkenny. When I moved to Limerick to go to University, I started working in a different shop up there. After graduation I was lucky enough to secure a job in a newspaper in Cork.

So, you see, being unemployed is not a category I ever fit into. It's one I hoped I never would be in, actually. And yet in just three short weeks, that's exactly where I'll be. Not only that, but I'll be there by choice.

Since I made the decision, a lot of people have asked me why. My standard response is something along the lines of: "I want to go travelling and if I don't do it now then I'll never do it".

More often than not, this response is enough. People will nod their heads and say good luck, and that will be that.

But, if I'm being honest, the real reason for this seemingly drastic move is a little bit more complex.


REASON NUMBER 1: Wanderlust

I'm aware that I have literally just said it's more complex than just wanting to travel, and it is, but it's still the main reason. It has to be.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved travelling and everything about it. As a child I would spend every summer going around Ireland with my grandparents visiting twenty million relatives. We'd also religiously go over to the UK each summer to visit my aunt in Cornwall and my uncle in Plymouth.

We weren't very well off though, so up until the age of 18 I hadn't been further than the UK. That's when the travel bug really set in. First stop Paris, for a week, second stop New York - for three whole months. I was poor as hell in the Big Apple, living in a one-bed basement with three other people and working in a moving company with ten or so large bouncer-like men, most of whom had been incarcerated at some point. There were ups and down but, for the most part, I was happy.

Over the course of the next ten years, I spent all my spare time, and money, on travelling. I lived in Scotland for a year, I spent three weeks bouncing around Europe, I visited Morocco, Mexico, Turkey, Vietnam... the list goes on. And it was never enough. I always wanted more.

REASON NUMBER 2: Office Jobs

There are two offshoots to this reason.

The first is that working in an office, and sitting down at a desk all day every day, was physically killing me. I'd been desk-based for about four years and it resulted in weight gain, back problems, and issues with the tendons in my right hand (from using a mouse).

The second offshoot is that I was working in an area I had a genuine passion for - news reporting. I loved talking to people, gathering stories, getting to a story first before it made the headlines anywhere else... and while it was very rewarding to have a career I was passionate about, it meant I would never let myself switch off. I was constantly checking the news bulletins, checking my email, replying to people out of hours, and even interviewing people and covering events in the evening, during the weekend, and, occasionally, while on holiday. I must stress, this was not the fault of the job - this was my own fault. I tried to manage my time more effectively, to tone down the passion, and it would never last. I would be back at full speed in no time, working myself into an early grave. It had to end.


The third reason why I decided to hand in my notice and go travelling, stems from a condition I was diagnosed with a few years ago. A hereditary disease called HHT. It's an uncommon disease, but it's not exactly rare. Though most people, and doctors for that matter, will not have heard about it.

I won't go into that whole story now (you can Google the condition if you want to know more about it) but I'll give you the highlights: it's a condition that basically means some of your veins don't work like they're supposed to. Sometimes the tiny ones burst, causing little red dots on the surface of the skin. This mostly happens on the hands and face - around the eyes and lips. It worsens with age so while my mom has a lot of these little red dots on her lips, for example, I have relatively few.

This is all largely cosmetic though. The problems occur when you have these little problem veins in important areas like the lungs, stomach, or brain.

To determine if you have them, you have to get various tests and scans. Thankfully, I only have them in one problem place - my lungs. They are small at the moment, but they may or may not grow. If they don't grow, happy days. If they do grow, they might burst and I might die.

In the middle, is a place where you cannot do certain things. Currently, the only thing I cannot do - scuba diving. I'll get over it. If the condition worsens, I may not be able to go on a plane ever again. As you can imagine, that wouldn't exactly tie in with the whole travel plans. So best to get the travelling out of the way now!


So that's it, really. I've handed in my notice, I've booked a number of flights, and there's no turning back.

How long will I be travelling for? No idea.

How many places will I go? No clue.

Will I eventually come back to Ireland and work in the media once more? Your guess is as good as mine.

But you know what? I'm ok with not having all the answers right now. And, for me, that's a little victory in and of itself.

- Kelly xxx

#Quitting #Job #Travelling #Media #Journalism #Destinations #Health #HHT #UK

You Might Also Like:
bottom of page