At a career crossroads? Take time out to travel

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Feel the career fear and do it anyway

It’s probably not a good a sign that after 12 years in an industry I once loved, I couldn’t stop thinking about retirement – but who retires at 30? Surely I wasn’t going to have to be doing this for 30 more years, I honestly couldn’t fathom the thought.

Sure, I loved my team, where I worked, the money. I just didn’t get any joy out of the actual work anymore. My motivation was gone so I took drastic action…. I quit my job.

Read more: Solo travel fuels this major happiness habit

Against everyone’s advice, and with a fear of what might happen, I decided that 30-something is still young enough to start again, to do something new, and discover a different path that will excite me for many years to come. After all, we spend most of our time at work, we may as well enjoy it. I was at a crossroads in life, and a change in career direction was exactly what I needed.

Although it was a huge decision and incredibly scary, I also had a feeling of bubbling excitement – what might happen next? I was lucky enough to be financially able to support myself and even travel a bit (a very wise person taught me to always save, a total godsend now).

On my first day waking up without a job to go to, what did I do? Why of course, in the spirit of spontaneity, I booked an adventure! Morocco had always been somewhere I wanted to travel to, but my travelling buddies had already been. So, with images of sunset camel rides and bustling street markets filling my brain, I took the plunge and booked Flash Pack’s Morocco group adventure.

Cold feet and Moroccan heat

However, on the morning of the trip I suddenly started feeling nervous. Who actually goes on group tours anymore? Who else would be joining me? Was this some sort of premature mid life crisis? With these thoughts swirling through my head, I touched down in Marrakech airport. Here I was met by a big Flash Pack sign welcoming me, and a friendly man who was to be my guide for the next few days. He introduced me to another Flashpacker who was even more nervous than me (phew).

Read more: How to make friends in your 30s and 40s

Then, as more people joined the group, my worries faded into total excitement for our upcoming adventure. Everyone on the trip was in their 30s and 40s, with busy careers and an eager sense of anticipation for what was to come. I may have just quit my own hectic job yet this didn’t matter, everyone understood how I was feeling and it was great to get a fresh perspective on different careers and choices. Over the next 9 days we bonded over biscuit wars, tinder tales and of course enjoyed plenty of red wine and beer evenings. We laughed at goats in trees, haggling attempts and trying to climb on walls for sunset pictures!

My adventure to Morocco was just the kind of routine shaking up escape I needed, it had the perfect balance of relaxation and activity. We did and saw so much with our short time away, yet I never felt rushed, or like I wanted more time in bed – we all need a few lie-ins, let’s be honest.

A new career and a new start

Since returning home, I’ve had lots to think about. I didn’t want to rush headfirst into looking for a new job so I spent time seeing friends I usually struggled to see, seeing my niece and nephew, gardening and exercising – all the things I didn’t have time to do when working long hours in London. This time was invaluable but the fear of the unknown and how I was going to pay my mortgage, once my savings were gone, was always there.

However, sometimes all you need in life is a little fear to push you forwards. I contacted a company I wanted to work for that was completely different to my last job. Then, whilst on a walk in the Lake District, my phone rang and I was offered a role with them. A junior role, but in an industry I was passionate about, finally!

It’s a difficult decision to reinvent yourself at 30, start a new job, to take a pay cut, to be at the bottom again, to not know as much as you once did at work, but a feeling of relief washed over me, something to get excited about again and throw myself into. My savings pool may disagree, yet I can honestly say this was the best decision I ever made. Having savings is one thing, having regrets is another.

Ready for an adventure of your own? Check out our group adventures for like-minded 30 & 40 somethings

Photos by Nicola Pottage

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