by Shawn on May 19, 2013 · 31 comments

I think about it on my early morning commute in the quiet, reflective indigo of dawn that promises nothing. Sometimes I think about it on the crowded and frenetic bus ride back home, remnants of an exhausted self, staring blankly out the window – the exact moment I announce to the boss I’m finally quitting the social work field after a cumulative span of thirteen years. I’ve thought of this scene before, especially after a particularly vicious day, but it was more of a hopeful daydream than this tangible, creeping finality. It’s coming…just one month away.


I approach his door slow and methodical, waving innocuously at him through the office window as he sits there, feet planted lazily on his cluttered desk. He casually motions me inside with a quick jerk of his hand. One of the first things I notice is the tilting wall calendar stuck on June, ‘08, for some unclear reason. “What’s up, Montgomery,” he says with paradoxical tones of nonchalance and impatience. “Well,” I sigh nervously, staring at the alarming number of pens scattered across his desk, “I wanted to give you the unofficial warning before I put my notice to HR.”

“No, no, not you too,” he mutters, me being the third counselor to quit in the last two months. I reply with an awkward shrug. “No, no, it’s a good thing,” I try reassuring him, “my wife and I have been planning this trip for a long time, actually.” Then I consider talking about our shared dreams and yen for travel, about the map on our bedroom wall decorated with gold stickers of all the places we want to visit, but instead I decide to just sit quietly and wait for a segue or veiled compliment. “I’m jealous, man, I wish I could travel nowadays,” he says finally, perhaps a story of “the one that got away” swirling around on his tongue, but he too becomes quiet, deciding to shake his head slowly with vague disbelief.

Sometimes I think about my last day too. Of walking away finally, the overhead oak branches waving congratulatory shadows as I hurry past the administration building and staff parking lot. My heart pounds as I near the bus stop one final time. Closer and closer. I like to think these things when it seems there’s nothing but the JOB crowding my mind. I like to daydream these moments when I begin to feel beaten down by the storm of anxiety that drops down around me. These thoughts keep me planning and dreaming, keep me motivated, forcing me to keep perspective when I need it most – feeling ready and downright giddy to do something far greater than the JOB and its subsequent tedious routines. These thoughts creep into my head like a favorite song or just remembered dream. Closer and closer. A smile creeps conspiratorially over my face.


{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah May 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Beautifully written Shawn – it took me right back to when I was in the same position last year. The anticipation was all that got me through those days, but now it seems like another lifetime ago. I guess it was. You are so close… enjoy these moments of looking forward. In many ways they are just as sweet as the adventures that await you 🙂


Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Thank you, Hannah. As always, I appreciate all you’ve done for Carmel and I, and your positive feedback and energy has done wonders with keeping perspective and focus to that “last day”. We’re going to celebrate by getting something out for dinner (which is a luxury at this stage in the game) on our last days! Downright giddy thinking about it! Thanks again, Hannah.


Amy May 19, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Shawn, I don’t know you, but I just want to say I’m really proud of you and your wife. I can’t imagine leaving a job after almost 7 years–all the relationships, the emotional ties, the routine you’ve built up in those years. I recently left my job, about two months ago, and I had been there for only six months. On my last day, sadness hit me out of nowhere. After the initial rush of “quitting my job” faded, I got home, sat on my couch and just felt…sad. Because I knew the next day I wouldn’t wake up and get to see the coworkers I’d gotten so close to. But that fades, and with your approaching trip, I’m sure you won’t have time to feel down.

Congratulations, and best of luck!
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for reading the post, Amy. I’ll miss certain routines, co-workers and some of the kids I work with, but I’m definitely ready for a change. Social work is hard and I’ve been within it for too many years. A change is a welcomed one, I think. Getting excited and the countdown continues…


Kellie May 20, 2013 at 1:11 am

I’m feeling exactly the same at the moment. I’d been playing the moment of telling my line manger over and over in my head for a while. However, I had to come clean about my travel plans last week, which was a lot earlier than I had expected and sent me into a slight panic. I’m relieved its out there now and I can finally share my dreams with my colleagues.
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Hello, Kellie….thanks for reading the post. I might have to let my manager know earlier than I planned too, as it turns out. He mentioned of making the “summer schedule” (June thru August) “sooner than later”. So, I might tell him as early as next week. I’ll keep you posted on how it worked out. Thanks again.


Corinne May 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

Shawn, I think you two are awesome for making the jump and living the dream. I can’t wait to read more!
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Thank you, Corinne. It’s been encouraging getting all this positive feedback at this stage in our lives. It’s humbling.


Peter Korchnak May 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for sharing. My last few days before giving notice were tense. But after I did it, I felt much better. Liberated, I’d say (it helped to be able to do it at happy hour over a pint). Today is my last Monday at work and that is special, too.

I look forward to following your journey!
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Congratulations to you! I wish you luck in your journey as well! Thanks for reading.


Rika | Cubicle Throwdown May 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Well done and a great post! Reading that brought me back to the day I quit my job…. it’s a big step on your journey!
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Thanks! We appreciate having a “readership” this early into the journey. That last day at the Job is creeping closer. Downright antsy at this point! Thanks again for reading.


MAGGIE May 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Although we are strangers, I get a little glimpse of the people you are from your mom, Shawn. I wanted to thank you both for sharing your dream with us. You and Carmel are an inspiration to anyone who has even the slightest inclination to dare and make a dream of this magnitude come true. Kudos for making it happen. I wish you well and look forward to future posts of your glorious journey. What a beautiful experience for a young couple!


Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Thank you, Maggie. We’ve definitely been already humbled by this experience. Thanks for taking the time and reading our posts. We’re having a great time doing it.


eemusings May 21, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Congratulations! What an exciting time for you both. It’s going to be amazing 🙂

I can understand what you mean about deciding to sit in silence. It’s such a huge thing, extended travel – so much to say, yet so little.
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Shawn May 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Thanks for the encouraging words…the countdown to the last day has been ticking quite loudly this week so the positive feedback has been really appreciated. Thank you.


Barbara May 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Congratulations! Quitting is a very scary thing to do … before you quit. Afterwards you wonder why you wasted so much energy being afraid. It’s onward and upward from here — whoo hoo!
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Sarah Somewhere May 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Beautiful post Shawn! I love it. You’re on the home stretch now… 🙂
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Shawn May 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for reading the post…we’re both getting increasingly giddy with each “check post” that we encounter.


Brian May 27, 2013 at 3:45 am

Fantastically written, Shawn! You capture the mix of emotions of how I felt when I quit my job: excitement, anxiety, and guilt. Although, to be fair, I had only been at my job for 18 months when I quit my job. One step closer to traveling! Congrats, man.
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Shawn May 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for checking out the post, Brian! Definitely looking forward to that last day. Congrats to you and Kim on your Nepal conquest. It looked and sounded fantastic.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) May 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

Very nicely written. So there with you! Our trip is in 2015 so a while to go yet but I have that smile at times. My hubby Stefan will look at me and grin. We have this silent special message that crosses between us. We both know what we are thinking. No words are needed. We know. We know that we are there, on our sailboat with 6 months of adventure ahead of us on the Mediterranean. That first day when we will loosen the ropes and the boat will motor out into the sea. With luck there will be good winds – and we will hear that “Whoosh!” as the sails fill with air and the “slap slap slap” of the water moving quietly but quickly bellow our keel. It is coming. Closer …. every day.
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Shawn June 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Wow, sailing on the Mediterranean! That sounds awesome. Good luck with your travels. Yes, it’s getting closer. And then we’ll look around and be immersed with the Moment. And then the Next. Thanks for reading the post. Take Care


Kim May 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Shawn, now that you’ve put in the notice you’ll have to write another post letting us know how it went. Congrats!
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Shawn June 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Yeah, I was thinking of doing something, but it will be short (unless I embellish with creative licenses). When it was all said and done, it went relatively smoothly and in the end, he shifted focus to asking me questions about our trip to wondering when he was going to start interviewing my replacement. Sigh.


Brendon @ Nerd Travels May 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Really nicely written :). Letting your boss know that your leaving sounds like a pretty nerve racking experience I’ve been lucky that everything I have left everything to go travel I was the one getting laid off haha.

Best of luck on your travels and can’t wait to follow along 🙂
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Shawn June 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Hey there Brendon…thanks for reading the post. I let my boss know last week and it wasn’t too dramatic. Definitely glad I let them know when I did. Take Care.


Kristy June 3, 2013 at 12:44 am

nice post 🙂 I look forward to the day i get to tell my boss im leaving also. I think about how it will go in my head, but im still nervous about it! I look forward to reading more about your upcoming trip!
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Shawn June 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Thanks Kristy! I had to let my boss know last week actually. It was earlier than I planned in my head, but circumstantially it was the right time to let him know. When it was all said and done, it was a bit anticlimactic but I felt much better afterwards.


Jessica July 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Hello there! I just discovered your website and was reading some of your back posts. I hope that some day I can also have the courage to quit my job to travel. For now, we have to settle for once a year big trips, but hope to some day be able to do what you guys are doing. Congrats!
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Carmel July 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

You’ll do it when the time feels right to you. We’ve been thinking about this for so many years and it took us a long time to actually start a plan to do it. But once we did, it all just started falling into place. Thanks for stopping by!


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