“For the sake of my personal development, I decided to quit my job, pack my bags and buy a one-way ticket to SE Asia.” How many times did you hear this in the last few years? I bet, just like me, you’ve heard it so many times that it’s now annoying, childish and unreasonable. Who quits their awesome job, packs their bags and leaves the country without a return ticket? And all in the name of self-discovery? Surely someone who is mad, immature and frankly quite irresponsible. This has become the stigma ever since the Eat, Pray, Love. When people come across a problem, their solving skills became as simple as 1,2, book a plane ticket and away they go.
But is leaving everything and everyone behind just an immature act, a cry for help or the new paved road to positive thinking? I am sure this could be debated for hours, but here’s what I really think. Over the years I belonged to the corporate world which transformed me into a insatiable consumerist office worker. I worked to live and lived to work. I woke up every morning, hating my job, but being incredibly grateful that I landed on my feet after acquiring £10,000 in university debt.
It’s nice to at least afford a flat, have a job and be able to buy new shoes every month. I lived in a world where bills ruled my life and shopping was my only relief. We all know that buying things gives you the right amount of serotonin, which in turns becomes an addictive habit. In a concrete jungle full of nothing but broken dreams, one must satisfy their desire for happiness somehow. We are bombarded with empty promises, failed relationships and lifestyle ideals which make us nothing but slaves of our own (unwanted) desires. I think it’s pretty tragic. But when life hits hard, and it’s bound to, sooner or later, sometimes a movie like Eat, Pray, Love seems like the only reasonable explanation. You have a puny amount of savings so you take the plunge. You buy that airline ticket and away you go. The prospect of freedom is the one that lures us and not the idea of escaping responsibilities. You are lacking self-confidence, but they say travelling the world transforms you. It’s hard to ignore the facts.
I too had enough one day and booked a one-way ticket. You could say I literally dropped everything and left. I quit my job, packed my back and left for Europe. The first two weeks were bliss. I was free, I was no longer the slave of the capitalist world which wanted me to be just the filler pawn which serves a much bigger picture. I was no longer interested in insignificant office gossip, politics or possible redundancies.
That was the time I bought a diary and walked for 8 hours a day, aimlessly, trying to find “it”. I had no idea what “it” was. But a friend once told me that if I could see 2 metres ahead of myself in the dark, it’s more than enough to make up the road. And so, my adventure of self-discovery began.
About one month into my Euro trip, things started becoming clearer. I figured how to tackle my existential problems and how to use money as a tool and not as the main goal. I became insatiable for knowledge, truth and discovery. I don’t mean it in a cliché way, I mean it strategically, logically, mathematically and astronomically. I became passionate about things which I would have never imagined I would like. All my life I had a keen interest in arts but a predisposition for mathematics. Finally, I figured out who to utilise the both of them by becoming a self-taught Web Designer. It took many sleepless nights, but curiosity and perseverance paid off eventually.
I decided to use the little amount of great credit score I had left and invested in a good camera. I wrote about my travels, adventures and started taking photographs which meant to keep my newly formed memories alive for years to come. Eventually, after a while of nomadic existence
I returned home, to Bristol. All my problems were there still, waiting for me to come back and solve them. That’s when I realised, packing your bags and leaving the country, doesn’t solve anything, just merely postpones it. It was the journey of self-discovery and personal development, however, which allowed me to understand how to best tackle my situation and make the most of what I’ve got.
So here I am, at the end of one journey and at the beginning of another. I’ve learned that Eat, Pray, Love is nothing but a mere metaphor which should be taken as such. If you are lacking motivation, positive thinking and self-confidence, maybe you too should quit, pack and buy that one-way plane ticket. Chances are, those three acts of bravery will turn out to be the three new amendments which everyone has to experience in order to understand oneself.
Travelling really helped me on my journey of self-discovery. I left for Europe the first time around. But ultimately it was Japan that changed my life forever. Where will your first one-way ticket take you? Tell me about your plans in the comments section below.