Ashley Kelly

Why I decided to quit my job and travel.

Ashley Kelly

I had a good job at a growing tech company.

I was making good money.

I had a fantastic partner (I’m still with that partner btw, just for the record).

Friends.

A fun social life.

I finally got offered the promotion I was waiting for.

And then…

Not only did I turn it down…

I quit.

I know, the epic eat dirt story where I flipped off my boss would be cooler.

But it wasn’t like that.

Things were fine. Better than fine, good really.

I enjoyed the bubble of my comfort. It was pretty cushy.

I liked my job. I liked my life.

So, why would I leave that? Especially when things were good?

When my partner and I got together a couple of years ago, one of our first conversations was about how we both wanted to travel, live in different cities and explore different ways of living.

We were both on the same page.

We agreed one day, we’d leave home and our jobs and go do exactly that.

So when I finally got the promotion I was waiting for (and really wanted btw) the conversation about our lives and what we wanted the next chapter to look like came up.

You know, that question…

If not now, when?

Yeah, that.

I knew that if I said yes to the promotion, that would mean at least another year, most likely more, that I’d be putting in at the company.

Because, when I say yes to something, I go all in.

Don’t get me wrong, part of me really wanted to say yes. Part of me wanted to push off my dreams to someday.

And there it was.

The trap of the proverbial golden handcuffs stood before me welcoming me in with all the luxuries that comfort can buy.

It was tempting.

But the little voice in my head was saying:

And then one year becomes two, two becomes five, five becomes ten.

And before you know it, it’s 30 years later and I’m telling my kids that I wish I travelled and explored life when I was young.

As much as I wanted to say yes to the promotion, it would have been safe. It would have been comfortable.

And if I said yes, I wouldn’t have been saying yes to just a promotion.

I would have been saying yes to mediocrity.

And that’s why we ‘quit’ (my partner and I worked for the same company…so we both quit).

“Mediocrity doesn’t always mean underperforming — it’s a sliding scale and a state of mind. It means settling in and succumbing to stasis. Mediocrity comes from the Latin words medius, meaning middle, and ocris, meaning rugged mountain. Literally translated, it means to settle halfway to the summit of a difficult mountain. It’s a compromise of abilities and potential; a negotiation between the drive to excel and the biological urge to settle for the most comfortable option.” Die Empty, Todd Henry.

That’s what we were saying no to. That’s what we were leaving.

It’s easy not to push yourself. It’s easy to stay complacent.

It’s not so easy to shake up your comfort in exchange for continued growth. To choose to keep climbing to the summit knowing you’ll face uncertainty with each step.

That’s the path we decided to take when we quit.

We left good behind so we could fulfil a dream.

And now, we’re living that dream.

Isn’t that the great escape?

This post was originally published on Medium