Quitting your job and selling everything you own to travel the world sounds incredibly brave, glamorous and adventurous when you see it on paper. But in actuality… it’s fucking terrifying. And we didn’t sail through the decision with flying colors, in fact it took us several months from the point where we quit our jobs and sold all our stuff to the point where we were traveling full time.
You see after deciding we would go for it we made arrangements to move back to the bay area for a few months. We both have living sets of grandparents there who we love dearly and Matt’s grandparents offered to let us live with them for a while during the transition to what is now full-time travel. This was a super special and awesome season of about 6 months that we loved. It gave us time with our Grandparents that we had been missing having lived in Portland Oregon for the past 5 years.
When we moved back to the Bay area we honestly didn’t have much of a plan… and for me (Sorcha) that was terrifying. We knew we wanted to “Go for it..” but we didn’t know what IT was.
A lot of people tend to think I am this free-spirited, funny, chill, easy-breezy person. And to an extent I am, and it is the person I really WANT to be all the time but the truth is I am incredibly controlled, calculated, well planned and pride myself on those traits. (Every person who’s ever worked with me is reading this and nodding their head.)
So literally quitting my job with no clear plan on HOW we would make money was like… my worst nightmare combined with my greatest dream.
I remember laying in our bed in Matt’s old bedroom at his grandparent’s house the first night we were there, staring at the ceiling thinking…. omg… I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, followed by, OMG… I don’t have a job… then quickly spiraling into an all-night panic attack.
Those feelings came and went over the following 6 months… and I thanked the gods for lorazepam.
Anywayyyyy… We decided to not completely abandon all our senses and take this time of being jobless with few financial responsibilities to improve our technical skills and figure out our next move. Matthew was in his final quarter of university and used the time of being jobless to dig into his studies and finish his degree strong. Simultaneously he signed up for and completed a software engineering Bootcamp through the Portland Tech Academy. He had been self-studying software engineering for years while working and going to school full-time and really wanted to hone his skills. The Bootcamp was a significant financial investment at nearly $7K but we thought what better time than the present?
Meantime I was trying to build my technical skills in photography and blogging.
We thought Matthew could get a job in San Francisco after completing his degree and software Bootcamp, with the idea that a software dev job in SF would pay more than enough for us to pay off his student loans rapidly while we lived rent-free at his Grandparents house. Then once we paid everything off we’d slowly transition to taking on our own projects and I’d get a remote-friendly position. Then we would hit the road a year later and travel full time once we were making enough money freelancing and or working remotely.
We were taking the safe route again.
But there were problems with this plan… the biggest one being our hearts weren’t in it.
Matt really wanted to start his OWN business that we would run together… and I really wanted to travel the world full-time and blog about it.
The weeks turned into months and we would regularly fight about how many job applications Matt had completed, whether or not I was blogging enough… we were at each other’s throats off and on.
I ended up getting a part-time job with United Airlines, partially to pay our few bills and partially because I wanted to learn the secrets of the airline industry. It was awful, the hours were terrible and my boss sucked. It did afford us the ability to go on a couple of international trips and for me to visit my family in Colorado for free… but we were falling back into the daily grind. The life we were trying to escape… we were getting further from our goals not closer to them.
Around March we decided to stop being chickens. We were honestly afraid of taking the leap and starting our own business… ok actually I WAS AFRAID.
You see my father owned his own company so I knew how hard it was to run a small business. I understood what stakes were involved. I had seen first hand what can happen if you own a small business and make a mistake, or a client isn’t happy with you. When you don’t have the safety net of HR, paid healthcare, a 401K matching plan… I was scared of having no safety net.
But I was also tired of working for other people. And Matt was REALLY tired of working for other people. He had ALWAYS dreamed of starting his own business. I had to take a hard look at myself and realize, I was holding him back from his dreams with my fear. And he deserved to be able to chase his dreams as much as I did.
So we started networking. We began making friends, finding clients, applying for freelance work… and we actually started to make money. Not LOTS of money, but enough that we realized we could actually support ourselves for once. That we didn’t have to live for a paycheck from some corporate entity who saw us as replaceable cogs in their machine. And more importantly that we could do it on our terms from anywhere we wanted.
(HUGE shoutout to our friends Chris Grimm and Lucy Fairweather, who shared their home, wine, friendship and expertise as entrepreneurs, showed us that working for yourself online was totally possible and that there was more to life than living for the weekend. And a massive thanks to my uncle Dr. Keith Porter for being our first paying client. You all helped us realize that this life of full-time travel as entrepreneurs was possible and we cannot thank you enough for believing in us.)
When we finally put fear behind us it became a fire to keep us moving forward, rather than a prison that kept us in one place. Fear was there, it still is, but it fuels our passion rather than suppressing it.
By the time we reached May we had enough clients and money coming in that we felt confident we could make it on the road.
So we began plans to leave the country and we started packing…