On Friday’s we highlight women from the She Hit Refresh community who have courageously left a life of routine to start a life of travel. Today we’re featuring four inspiring women who have recently resigned from their jobs to hit refresh and take the path less traveled.
Candy Valentine – Resigned October 2017
My name is Candy Valentine I’m a 39 year-old seeker of freedom, love and happiness from Toronto. I’m currently still in Toronto but plotting and planning my way out. For the last five years I worked as BD Project Manager at a law firm. The job was fast paced, extremely stressful, unthankful and 100% not where I wanted to be.
I seriously was considering starting over about 2 years ago. In hindsight, my one regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I ignored my body and my gut. Ladies, never ignore your gut! I suffered a stroke like incident that baffled the medical community to this day. I didn’t have a stroke (thankfully) but for months I endured endless testing and eventually was deemed a medical mystery. I realize now, that this incident was triggered and still is triggered by stress. My job was literally killing me… but what did I do? I ignored my gut and went to work, suffered and thought how miserable I truly was. Sadly this was not the moment that drove me to quit.
That moment came 1.5 years later, while still suffering from my health ailment, on vacation in the middle of the Aegean Sea looking out at the most beautiful blue water and finally recognizing that I felt happy. It shocked me I hadn’t felt “happiness” in years. It was at that moment that I knew had to quit. I returned to work two days later and felt like I never left. My inbox was filled with demands, due dates, overdue timelines. Nothing was done while I was away and I had enough. My first day back and quit! Yes it was hard and my boss was shocked. She promised me the moon and stars to stay but… on October 6th I took my life back and hit refresh!
I had no job, no plan and some savings but I felt light and free, a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Of course everyone and their grandmother had an opinion and I was inundated with advice. The constant questions about what I was going to do or how I would live threw me head first into a self-doubt hole. To them it was ludicrous to give up a promising career and a life that would make me “make me happy”. They meant well but they all wanted me to live in the traditional box, a box I’ve yet to fit in.
And again I had to say enough! I stopped listening to the noise and start hearing my own voice and taking my own advice. I made list after list of things I didn’t want and now almost 6 months into my Refresh have I started to figure out what I do want. Right now, all paths lead to Paris – moving there is a dream I have to fulfill – even for 3 months. Every day, I eat, sleep, think, plan, plot and envision my life there. But until I get there I have a few trips planned but I’m not deviating from this dream.
Is it scary? Yes 100% but…I remind myself of three things:
1) You can ALWAYS go home (no matter where that is)
2) There is always a way to make money
3) You never know unless you try
My steps to refresh may not be for everyone but so far it has worked for me. I’m single, ready to chase my passions, find love and not play it safe. And most of all I am FREE.
Valerie Speare – Resigned February 2018
Up until 2 months ago, I was a VP at a financial firm in the US. I never intended to go into finance. It just sort of happened. And I was great at it, so I stayed…for 12 years…because I didn’t really know what else to do. Sometimes, I think we get pigeonholed into something that isn’t right for us…but we stick to it because we’re afraid that if we try something else, it won’t work out. We might be afraid that we’ll have to start from scratch, or that we’ll be the oldest ones at our level in a new industry. Or any number of things. That’s what I struggled with. But then, in January, someone two levels above me in my company said some really disrespectful things to me, and I thought, “I’m outta here.” So, I went home that night and bought a one way plane ticket to Madrid, departing one month later.
Doing something like this had always been in the back of my mind. I’ve read so many books, blogs, etc of women who had resigned from their jobs to go travel – yet it never actually sank in that I could be one of them. But, there was absolutely nothing holding me back. My lease in Miami ended in February, I’m single, no kids or pets…and I had decent savings from that career I hated. So there I was…33 years old, and unemployed and homeless by choice.
At the time this is published, I’ll be about six weeks into my journey. I’m going to be here in Spain for about 2 months, after which I’ll spend around a month in Thailand. After that, the plan isn’t really set…tentatively, it’ll involve Cambodia, India, Australia, Chile, and maybe Antarctica. I’ve thrown a lot of things around in my mind and while there are times that the uncertainty of my future freaks me out a bit, I don’t have any doubts that I made the right choice – because I know that I’m having an experience now that so many people would love to have, but never will. I’m getting to do so many amazing things…I’ll be fluent in another language, I got to run in the World Half Marathon Championships, I’ll have certifications to teach English as a foreign language, as well as yoga…and have new friends from all over the world. I never would have had the time (or idea) to do any of those things if I was working at my old career and going through my same old routine every day. Once I shed my preconceived notions that I wasn’t succeeding if I wasn’t 100% focused on climbing the corporate ladder, my life forever changed. The most important thing that I have realized, so far, is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you…it matters what YOU think about you. Don’t disappoint yourself.
If you are thinking of “taking the plunge”, the best advice that I can offer you is: know that your story is your own. What someone else did, might not work for you. A place that someone else fell in love with, you might want to get the heck out of after a day. Don’t chase the “perfect moment” that you have built up in your head – because if it doesn’t happen the way you had envisioned, you’ll be disappointed and might miss out on something else truly spectacular that was even beyond your imagination.
Please find me via any of the below! I would love to connect with you!
Nicole Sylvester – Resigned March 2018
I am Nicole from Detroit, Michigan. I am 31 years old and have lived in Colorado and Florida, and now am back home in Michigan.
My role for my (soon to be previous) company, which I have worked at for nearly 3 years, is a business analyst and software designer for a mortgage company. In July 2016, I was asked to take on a prestigious and important position to design software for my entire company (nearly a $1 million project) with only one other person. Six months into the project, I found that I was going on a different path than my company, but I had morally decided to complete the project before I would allow myself to leave.
Starting last fall, I was working 10-13 hour days and many weekends. I began to drop into depression due to the job load and some personal issues at work. I would come home from work at 10pm, sleep, wake at 7am and repeat. I stopped smiling, joking, hanging out with my friends, my body ached, and I had no energy. I had two commitments per week that I forced myself to and didn’t allow excuses: dance lessons and dinner with my cousin. I began seeing a life coach and read a life-changing book “You are a Badass.”
In January, the software was ready for launch and by the last week in February, I trained the entire company. I put in my resignation on March 9, 2018 for one month to allow transition and knowledge transfer for my replacement. The day before I was resigning, I broke down in my car having a panic attack. I called my mom and asked her if she will still be proud of me- of course she said yes. The day I resigned was full of anxiety and fear. I was afraid to tell my boss, what he and my team would think. At the end of the day, I mustered up the courage to type out and print a simple resignation letter. I walked into my boss’ office, set down my resignation letter and said “I am resigning. My last day is April 10.” He was surprised and asked why. I explained that I was starting my own business. He inquired more and said I will do great things. I expected to feel relieved the next two days but I felt confused and nauseous. Did I make the right choice? What will happen next? Will I ever figure life out?
The following week, many positive things began to surround me. I met a woman on a place on my way home from a dance competition and we struck up a conversation about the “You are a Badass” book. She needed help growing her business, so we exchanged information and she is now my first client for my own business consulting company. I signed up for Spanish school in Medellin, Colombia for 4 weeks, which I leave for on April 17. That same week, I had a FaceTime date with a girlfriend from Colorado who lives in Northern Ireland and she offered her extra bedroom to me for the summer- I accepted and bought a flight in June. Over the summer, I will focus on working with my client, building my business plan, writing a book and doing some dancing!
I have been surrounded by support and positivity as I take on this new journey. Positive energy attracts like energy. I live by this. Be strong, believe in yourself, believe in your goals- and you can make them come true!
Follow Nicole on Instagram.
Robyn North – Resigned March 2018
Farewell and Hello!
My world travel began in 1977 when my Mom and I had Eurail passes for 5 weeks and a
Frommer’s book. She ultimately left me in Germany with the family of the exchange student we had hosted 2 years before. I lived with them, learning enough German to work in a pub and a private hospital, actually making money so I could travel more at the end of my year.
Fast forward 39 years and a lot had happened. Nursing school, 4 kids raised, a solid marriage and our dream home built. Life was grand. We learned to scuba dive and backpack in our 50s staying as fit as anyone in America can stay. We traveled the world and I thought it would go on forever. And then cancer came calling. In 11 months, my travel/dive buddy would be gone. In the 2 years I have been widowed, I have traveled to London, Spain, Portugal and Palau solo. The Palau trip was a live aboard dive boat and I booked it before I even knew where Palau was! It was half off, too! And I always stay in hostels to contain costs and meet people.
I have worked at my hospital in Northern California for 36 years, the last 12 being in
Management. After Ritch died, I thought I could go back with my same passion but it was not to be. A few months ago my boss said she needed to know I was all in when I was at work. I paused and said I could not assure her of that and that I really knew it was time for me to retire. Yesterday was my last day. It was bittersweet with lots of hugs. But as I drove away from the hospital, I knew it was right.
Being almost 59, I have had time to put into retirement. We also bought a few rentals which I plan to live off of until I am at least 65. I also decided to share a house with my daughter, her wife and their first child. I hated living alone and it didn’t make any sense for us to each have our own home. It is a perfect situation. When I travel, I just close my door and go.
My first trip is scheduled for May-August. I am walking the Camino from Le Puy En Velay to Santiago. 850 miles. People always ask who I am going with and are dumbfounded when I say no one, just me. I knew I needed to walk, to think and contemplate, to find peace in my circumstances and listen to what the universe has to tell me. I want to stay open to options. I know I want to housesit to frugally continue traveling to places I haven’t been.
When Ritch was diagnosed, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to do. He replied that because we had traveled the world, he was content but he wished we had gone to Germany to see where I had lived. I made that trip happen 3 months before he died. It was an amazing time where he loved driving on the autobahn and riding on the Nurburgring at 160 mph. Our past influences our future. Ritch always encouraged me and I hear him still, cheering me on. I want to make him proud, even now.
Life is short. Live the life you want. Hold your people close even if it’s through WeChat or Skype. Travel the world. Experiences are waiting to be had. Go for it!