Ditching massive career stress to become a travel blogger: How I stepped away from the edge and took back control of my life

I took the first steps in my new travel blogging adventure just a few days ago on May 1st 2017.  I’ve been in Mexico for about 3 whole days now and I thought it about time that I do some actual blogging!  Although I wrote a couple of articles about my snowboard accident in January this year, those were written whilst at home in the UK.  So I thought it was important that the first real blog post written during my travels should explain what my motivation was for starting this adventure in the first place!  Well…here we go, let’s take a little wander down memory lane.

It was all going so well, considering I’d spent 4 years travelling and snowboarding in my mid-twenties I still managed to secure a good job on my return to the UK in 2010, and after just 9 short months I was promoted to junior management, this ‘real life’ thing was gonna be easy, what was all the fuss about?

After saving hard and being a good little capitalist I even managed to get a mortgage and move out of my parents’ house just 6 months after my 30th birthday (though this was of course with help from the Bank of Mum and Dad, it’s impossible any other way these days right!?)  I had a shiny second-hand VW Golf, I bought a new sofa on credit, and I even went the whole hog and put down a deposit for a new full suspension mountain bike to keep my adrenaline-junkie side happy.  ‘Settling down’ in my new office job was going great, so what if it could be really stressful sometimes being on call 24 hrs a day, that’s part of being a responsible adult I kept telling myself, anyway I could handle it, everybody else does so why shouldn’t I?

Fast forward to 2015 and things start ramping up.  The unexpected takeover of a large player in the industry heralds another promotion, now we’re talking middle/senior management and the chance to really prove my worth as a workaholic‘Sometimes stressful’ quickly morphed into ‘constantly overloaded’ as everyone in the company juggled 5 job titles whilst pulling consistent 12 hour days to ‘make it happen’.  And you know what, for 6 months that was just about bearable, and actually the camaraderie and team spirit were amazing experiences during that time; but when every Sunday afternoon was spent working from home and the stress kept on building with no end in sight, that’s when the constant grind just wore me down.  (We won’t even mention that I was also studying for a Masters degree during all this).

A year of ‘constantly overloaded’ left me drinking red wine most nights to dull the pain.  12 hours in the office every day meant no social life besides the occasional Saturday meet up with friends, only for me to constantly moan about work and otherwise sit there feeling grey and drained of life.  Work was a nightmare, the word ‘anxious’ doesn’t quite do it justice, I was living on a hair trigger and wondering why the hell I dragged myself in there everyday only to be assaulted with another cannon-load of problems and complaints.  I was in a very dark place from which there seemed to be no escape.

Enough was enough, this was no kind of life, and so with the amazing support of my family and friends I began to make plans.  I could quit this hell, finish my Masters thesis over the summer and sell my property, then move home for a few months until heading off on my travels in 2017.  So that’s what I did.  I took back control of my life.

But what about your career? How will you support yourself? You can’t actually make money travel blogging can you? Come on, you’re nearly 35 years old, this isn’t a sensible thing to do.  What will people think of you? You’ve failed at this job so how will you succeed at being a blogger? Central and South America is a dangerous place! These were all the negative questions racing through my brain every day before and after I handed in my notice.  And although they have grown quieter with time, they still try and drag me down every now and again.

Yes it’s a leap of faith, and yes it’s kinda scary, but I’m doing it anyway. I’ve got enough funds to last me a year or so if I’m careful with my money, and I’m determined to make the most of this life doing the things I love; travel, writing, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking and scuba diving.

Volunteering is also going to be a big part of this, it’s not just some bloke being a hedonistic traveller, that’s why one of the first major plans involves volunteering for a children’s charity called Mision Mexico.  That’s also why I set up a crowdfunding campaign in December 2016 to try and raise $3,000 USD to buy new skateboards, shoes and t-shirts for each of the 25 kids currently housed at Mision Mexico.

So there you have it, that’s the beginning of the story about why I’m out here.  I hope you’ll stick around to find out how it all goes and what I get up to.  (Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them).