I Quit My Job To Travel the World!

By Angela M. Petitt

“Are you crazy?”
“How can you afford that?”
“What do you mean you want to quit?”
“We are in a recession!!”
“Did you win the lottery?”
“That is a bold move!!” 
"Do you really have the guts and finances to do that?”
“Can you live without a paycheck?  Do you really want to?”

Those were the reactions I got when I mentioned my plans to quit my job during the throes of the recession to my family and friends.  Although they meant well, I just felt that there was more to life than a winning corporate existence.  Moreover, life is just too short to not do what you want to do.  So, my response to them was “If not now, when?” I knew that even with a successful career in information technology and an MBA, I wanted more…I wanted freedom!

Wheels up!!
Hello…My name is Angela Petitt and I am a 44 year old native Houstonian.  During the recession in August 2009, I took a bold step of faith - I quit my corporate IT job to travel the world.  In spite of the concerns and economic climate, I knew I had to make a bold move in order to make change to see my dreams come true. Yes, I know that this is something that Europeans or young adult backpackers do...not an established over 40 professional with a winning corporate resume.  But in the words of author Jim Rohn, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

Making the decision to opt-out of corporate America for a while was the first step in my journey. The notion of quitting was several years in the making, being fueled more and more every time I went on vacation. When I came to the realization that I really wanted to see the world and was ready to move beyond the cubicle, I knew it was time to make a change.

As a single professional, I wanted my sabbatical to be different.  I did not want to sell anything to make it happen. So in my planning, I made sure I had enough to cover my mortgage, car, expenses for my teenage nephew, and other responsibilities.  I wanted my sabbatical to be a true rest from the ordinary and an escape to the extraordinary. For me, that meant living life to the fullest and making time to do the things that I enjoy.  Actually, when I made the final decision to quit and put in my resignation, I really had no clue as to what was next. But, a few days after my last day at work, I was on a plane going to Italy!  And, I haven’t looked back!  It seemed like once the decision was made, opportunities opened up!

Initially, my sabbatical was only going to be 6 months. Then, that turned into 10 months and now it has been 2 1/2 years and counting.  I have flown a Cessna airplane, learned (ok, learning) to play golf, attempted horseback riding - twice, joined day time bible studies, sharpened my photography skills, and have volunteered in my community.  I even returned to school and am pursuing my Doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

Beyond my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would embark on a different trip almost every month!!  It has been an amazing sabbatical!!  My travels have led me to awe inspiring destinations such as China, Siberia, Egypt, Israel, Colombia, Panama, Honduras and many other exciting places. I have zip lined in Cabo, narrowly escaped the earthquake in Japan, went cave diving in Punta Cana, played with monkeys in Roatan, glared into the mouth of a steamy volcano in Nicaragua, stared in amazement at the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, got caught in a downpour atop the Acropolis in Athens - twice, received a huge surprise bouquet of flowers from an admirer in Italy, and had many other awe inspiring experiences.  I visited the 30th country of my sabbatical on a Mediterranean cruise visiting Croatia for the first time.  By the way, Croatia is absolutely beautiful!!
In addition to my travel adventures, I was presented with the 2009 WHS Wall of Honor Service and Leadership award by my alma mater, recently featured in ESSENCE magazine as a "Power Player!", and was invited as aguest speaker for the national Meet Plan Go! Career BreakTravel conference that inspires others in their quest for sabbaticals and extended travel.

So yes, I learned to live without a paycheck and budget accordingly. Recently, I read that uncertainty isn’t a cost but a catalyst for creating a better future.  I can attest to the truth of that as it captures the heart of my journey.  Granted, it has indeed been scary at times and several unexpected things happened. But, it has been worth taking a chance on me rather than continuing on in the ordinary daily grind. I have no regrets.

Since starting my sabbatical journey, I have grown in courage, faith, confidence, and wisdom.  More importantly, I have come to understand my God given uniqueness and that life is truly precious and too short to waste. Furthermore, my time away has instilled in me the renewed desire not to merely survive, but to authentically thrive!

With hopes of inspiring other people to be bold and go for their dreams, I have been blogging (and speaking) about my experiences (good, bad, and otherwise) at http://www. One thing for sure - "with God ALL things are possible!"  Where will your dreams take you?

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step." - Martin Luther King Jr.
Now that is BOLD living!


Learn more about Angela's Journey in the following video!

Wonder & the Road Not Taken

"A recent study from Berkeley's Haas School of Business shows it's OK to wonder about the road not taken. The scientific term for what-iffing is 'counterfactual thinking,' and research suggests that those who think counterfactually aren't immobilized by regret: they may actually be more motivated.

In the Study, students wrote an essay on how they'd met a close friend. One group was told to stick to the facts; the other was asked to imagine that they hadn't met this friend and all the ways life would be different as a result. When people in the latter group considered that friend-less life, they viewed the friendship as more significant than people in the factual group did.

Counterfactual thinking may lead people to believe that everything happens for a reason, researchers surmise, and this sense of purpose might in turn lead to constructive thinking about the future. Which, to borrow from (Poet) Robert Frost*, might make all the difference."

- Taken from Body+Soul's May 2010 magazine, p. 44

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Challenge by Paulo Coelho - March 9, 2010

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” - Paulo Coelho

Destiny: How it Unraveled for Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall and Baby Flint

Jane Goodall, the famous scientist who has extensively studied chimpanzees and continues to share her findings with the world, in her autobiography Reason for Hope, tells the story of  how her destiny unraveled.

In her twenties, without a science degree, yet a profound love for animals and the natural world, she voiced her desire to the universe and her deepest wish became the driving force for her lifelong vocation:

Louis (the scientist that Goodall initially worked for) began to talk to me about his great interest in chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans...(he) was anxious to initiate a scientific study of (them). It would be difficult, he emphasized, for nothing was known; there were no guidelines for such a field of study; and the habitat was remote and rugged. Dangerous wild animals would be living there, and chimpanzees themselves were considered four times stronger than humans. I remember wondering what kind of scientist he would find for such a hurculean task.

Jane Goodall

When we returned to Nairobi from Olduvai, I continued working for Louis at the museum. But I wasn't really happy being surrounded by dead animals, or all the killing that went on in order to get specimens for the scientific collection...I understood that dedicated staff felt that it was important to create a permanent record of life-forms that might one day vanish all together. But why was it necessary to have so many specimens of the same species of bird or rodent or butterfly?

Louis still talked about the chimpanzees from time to time. If Only I could do something like that, I thought to myself...something that involved observing and learning, and not killing. One day I blurted out: 'Louis, I wish you wouldn't keep talking about it because that's just what I want to do."

'Jane,' he replied, his eyes twinkling. 'I've been waiting for you to tell me that. Why on earth did you think I talked about those chimpanzees to you?'

I had no training, no degree. In fact, he told me, he preferred that his chosen researcher should go into the field with a mind unbiased by scientific theory. What he had been looking for was someone with an open mind, with a passion for knowledge, with a love of animals, and with monumental patience...when he put it like that of course, I had to admit that I was the perfect choice!

And the rest is history...

All too often we fear that we will never arrive, only to find ourselves just where we need to be, at the right time.

May your dreams not lay hidden in the recesses of your mind -- speak them!  And you may be amazed at what transpires.

-Team Project BeBold