I had been suffering from a severe Quarter Life Crisis for the past year or so. I knew that nothing filled me with more inspiration or joy than traveling, and yet I hadn’t left the United States or its territories in three years. Obsessing over a spreadsheet detailing paid time off just wasn’t going to last for me. I had the Manifesto hanging in my apartment for some time and have always felt taunted by the two words that stand out more than any others: “TRAVEL OFTEN.” However, now I am happy to say that I’m writing this story from a café in St. Petersburg. A week ago was my last day in the office, and today I’m drinking tea in Russia. It may take a long time to line up your dominoes, but it is astounding how quickly things will change once you give your life that initial push toward what you need it to be. It isn’t easy, but the change can be drastic. This one trip accounts for more vacation days than I – or most Americans – would get off in an entire year. I didn’t quit my job because I didn’t like it. In fact, I loved most of it, and I learned leagues about areas of profession I am going to continue pursuing. I had some of the greatest coworkers imaginable, but it wasn’t my dream to be where I was. With an opportunity to immerse myself in a country that isn’t terribly high on most people’s To Visit lists I decided to take my own leap, pack up my things, and leave the country. I’m living my dream and, in photos and blogging, sharing my passion. I assure you this series of events sounds every bit as ludicrous to me as it might to you. There’s no shortage of looming questions about reliable income, insurance, student loan payments, and where to live. But this freedom that I have suddenly forced upon myself is also thrilling, and I have it because I was inspired to recognize that “THIS IS MY LIFE.” I can’t say for certain that my travels will leave me anything more than jobless and destitute, but I know from past global excursions that I will return to the States wiser, happier, and more excited than ever to pursue my passions. Newfound direction like that is the entire reason we put ourselves through these life crises, after all. But. It takes a great deal of courage to push yourself into situations where those realizations occur.

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