Taking A Career Gap Year

I didn’t like my job, and now I know why!

A recent Gallup study found that only 13% of people worldwide actually like their jobs, and I was definitely not a part of that statistic. I’m sure you’ve been in that boat at some point or maybe you are in it now. For me it was a gift, but only because I acted on my unhappiness. My travel journey was inspired in part by a job that I liked but was so stressful that I reached my breaking point. My health and happiness began to suffer, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve heard this same story from many travelers; feeling like there’s more to life than a demanding 9-to-5 is quite common. What isn’t as common is actually doing something about that feeling! I am sharing my story because putting that job on hold and giving in to the travel bug was actually a good thing for my career, and it could be for you too.

After quitting my job, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Do I just get another job? I will likely end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed again. Do I live off my savings until I figure it out? Eh, that could work but I didn’t love the thought of draining my savings account. That’s when travel came into my mind! Through my Couchsurfing experience, I had seen a lot of people living an alternative lifestyle of travel. I even had heard of programs where you could put your work experience to use while traveling and get your room and board provided for you, which really lowers your travel expenses. So with that as my inspiration, I decided to sell my car and possessions, move out of my apartment, and travel to exotic places with a lower cost of living than Los Angeles. This felt the best out of all my options—I mean, who can say no to travel, adventure, and excitement? Doing a blend of work trade and traveling, I spent the next nine months circling the globe on $22 per day—way less than my monthly rent payment had been in LA!

You’re probably thinking, “That’s great, but how does this do anything for my career?”

My temporary office during work trade in Hawaii

Well, I didn’t discover that until after I started traveling. Living a minimalistic travel lifestyle freed me of many distractions; for one, I no longer had an excess of material possessions taking up space in my life. Also, being released from the need to make a rent or car payment allowed me to think freely about how I truly wanted to contribute to society. It was amazing how I thought differently when I didn’t feel the pressure of how I was going to pay my bills. I thought less about money and more about my passion. Think for a moment: If money was no object for you, what would you do for work? What would make you happy? How would you contribute to the world? Maybe you have an idea to start your own business, but you’re too busy working two jobs to put any time into making that dream come true. Traveling can give you the time and space to decide with great clarity what you would like to do and how you would like to do it. However, it takes a clear mindset and intention to get there.

On my travels, I realized that learning what the world has to offer in the way of health could greatly benefit everyone back home in the states. I found myself in Asia, where they have some of the healthiest people in the world and some of the lowest rates of cancer diagnosis. Inspired by what I was experiencing, I decided to start my own company working with people on nutrition and providing the highest quality nutritional supplements I discover from my travels. Along the way in Malaysia, I found an amazing family-owned supplement manufacturer that changed my life!

I spent a month and a half working at the factory learning every step of the process that goes into making top-quality supplements straight from Mother Nature. My company, Oness Nutrition, partnered with the factory in Malaysia to bring pure, healing products to the USA. It has been an amazing journey for me and has inspired me to do more than I ever imagined. I did all the research to learn how to register and import products through the FDA and Customs, which was not easy. I taught myself through intense research all the FDA rules and regulations for a label on a nutritional supplement. I learned about natural, holistic nutrition and remedies. I even went back to school online to get Certified in Personal Nutrition while I was traveling.

I now have my own company and my Certification in Personal Nutrition. This career change would not have happened for me without traveling. Being free of bills, having a low cost of living, and experiencing new places and cultures that I wouldn’t at home are what inspired this next step on my journey. I can now come back to America and I don’t have to just go back to a demanding job where I’m stressed out and unhappy. I can return home having improved my life and career. I will be forever grateful for the changes that travel has brought to my life. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your job, give some thought to taking a “career gap year”. You don’t know what you’ll find until you expand your mind!