I Quit My Job in Pursuit of a Bigger Life

On a cloudless Sunday morning in late 2015, I dropped the bomb I had been carelessly trying to hide and told my parents and my siblings that I would quit my job in 2017 to travel the world. I spoke not from the position of seeking approval but, rather, with a tone that sounded more like FYI. I am immensely blessed to have a family who encourages independent thinking and who trusts that our passions and potentials are guided by a deep sense of purpose. 

Two months ago, when I informed my senior manager about my intention to leave the company, this was what she said to me:

“You know, Rye, the first time you joined the team, I knew you wouldn’t last. You are special – too special, to be precise. You are so in touch with yourself. You’re much bigger than the four walls of this institution, and I can only wish that you grow your wings.”

I seldom explain myself because very few people understand me; however, when I left my previous job, I felt that I probably owed some people some explanation. I wanted to convince people that there were excellent reasons for why some individuals had chosen to walk the road less traveled and to plunge into the waters of uncertainty.

The road called me, so I must set sail. Travel is one of my life’s pillars. I have a recurring vision in my head of mountaintops, quiet East Asian villages, and midnight cafés in New York. I have lived in the US as an exchange student, represented the Philippines as a cultural delegate to India and Japan, and have traveled alone and with friends/family since 2013. However, my trips were limited to short-term stints, and I quickly burned out from wishing I could stay longer in one place and sit with my thoughts more mindfully.

I wish to explore the world of possibilities. For many people, they love their jobs not because they are genuinely passionate about them, but because they have limited experiences to simply dreaming of the endless stream of possibilities that awaits them. My job was great. It offered me the chance to speak Japanese and Spanish at work. But that’s what is sometimes ironically dangerous with a great job. Just because it is great does not mean it is great for me. Sometimes, a great job can keep us from living a big life.

Conventional, office-based jobs stunted my creativity. This time around I wish to own my life, to take more risks, and to gift myself the opportunity to work more independently. I want my life to be a metaphor of ruthless self-expression and self-discovery. For the longest time, I had been afraid of myself because I cared too much about what the world expected from me. When I handed in my resignation letter, I told myself I would build my life around travel and learning, walk to my own tune, and write stories that will inspire people to put their best foot forward.

The status quo is overrated. People waste their time doing the things that do not add value to their lives. Instead of taking the time to explore and discover their genuine passions, they jump from one company to another, forever cross-pollinating the world with their unsure selves. Some stay in one place because their religion is that of fear and risk aversion. Responsibilities, such as family and finances, have become a scapegoat to justify inaction and the inability to identify the parts of their lives they have control over. In place of taking small concrete steps to breathe life into their dreams, they invest their money on a daily cup of overpriced coffee and restaurant dinners they may very well create at home. Then they blame the world for the mistakes they themselves have freely chosen. My decision to travel long-term shall be a reflection of my nonconformist values.

Most people’s lives have been detrimentally made linear. In this day and age, people finish high school, go to college/university, get a job, work overtime, marry, buy a house and a car, render more overtime work, save up, retire, and spend the rest of their lives wishing they could turn back the clock so they could do the things they have always wanted to do with the people they cared about the most. Some people have linear lives that work out amazingly well. But for most people, life has become a series of choosing fear over courage, blind conformity over informed conscience, and comfort over the possibility of having a beautiful life. Most of us have ordered our lives to march like overly disciplined little soldiers. Creative detours are discouraged. We choose to dwell in the comfort of certainty even if it means regretting our choices later in life.  Don’t take my word for it. Ask any retiree about his/her regrets and I am certain these are something you would hear:

“I wish I had written a book.”

“I wish I had spent more time with my family.”

“I wish I had learned Spanish.”

“I wish I had built a business.”

“I wish I had volunteered in a camp in Kenya.”

Time will come and all we will ever remember are our regrets – the gifts we had never used, the time we had wasted, the life that we failed to hold on to. Today is the day that I choose to create more margin in my life for things that truly matter.

I want to bless the world with generosity. Everyone has a gift, but such gift is only worthwhile if we develop it and use it as a force for positive change. I care deeply about the world that I feel so much pain at the mere sight of an individual wasting his talents and gifts for a cup of shallow gratification and hedonistic pursuits. I want to fight for this world, because it deserves a lot of love and because it’s the same world that nourishes my life. To be a vessel of inspiration is what I desire to become.

But most of all, I quit my job because I am on a quest to expand beyond my limits. Life, for me, is about pushing the envelope of love, creativity, freedom, and autonomy. There is a big life awaiting us only if we are willing to take the smallest step toward the direction of our dreams. In this culture drunk with materialistic consumerism, I shall strive to BE more instead of having more – to build my life around genuine human connections through travel, to learn more foreign languages, to tread the earth more intentionally, and to approach life with more enthusiasm.

See you in Thailand! 🙂

Did you quit your job to travel, or are you thinking of quitting to make room for what you truly value? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂




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21 Replies to “I Quit My Job in Pursuit of a Bigger Life”

  1. You’re such an inspiration. Thank you! God bless you on your long-term travel. I’ll definitely see you in Thailand. Just like you, I also quit my job.😊

    1. Thanks, Lucky! I’m blessed because you are my travel buddy for a week. I shall keep myself safe. 🙂

  2. Ryaaaan!!! Loooooove how this entry was written!!! I was smiling while reading this knowing that you are now pursuing the life of travel that you’ve always wanted. In a matter of days, your long term travel starts!! I feel sad that I’ve only just met you about a month ago and now you’re leaving the country 🙁 But I know how it feels to be curious of what is out there, it can give us sleepless nights for days, months or maybe years… so go ahead and explore the world!!! I’d have to agree with your senior manager, you really are special. I admire you for taking the leap and hate you for knowing so many languages!!!! Kidding!! I’ll work on learning Spanish! HAHAHA

    Cheers Ryan!! Who knows maybe we’ll see each other next time on the road!

    1. Hola, Leah! Many many thanks! This week is starting to be more emotional than anticipated but, you’re right, I must look forward to the start of my trip. Thank you for this encouraging and very heartfelt message. Wish I could see you more often, though I have a feeling we’ll see each other in India or Nepal. Haha. Please do learn Spanish! It will give you a deeper sense of freedom as well as connection to the world. 🙂

  3. Since college, you have taught and challenged me to live a (nonconformist) life.

    You were the lone voice who told me to shift to philo, against all odds, against the opinions of the people around me, and even against myself. There are really times that your friends might know about you more, that real knowledge of self can only be possible through the other.

    You told me to quit.

    And then, in the words of Paulo Coelho, the universe conspired to make it happen. In terms of thermodynamics, there was a temporary suspension of entropy in my life. I needed that little, nagging push to make the reaction spontaneous.

    And I have never regretted that choice. That decision led me, in your words, to pursue a bigger life, a more livable life, a more life-giving life. (Then again, people close to me know that my current situation is a little complicated. Entropy is still very much present. But that shouldn’t limit or worry us. And my point should still stand. Haha!)

    So thanks for this, Rye!! I see that your thoughts and words have, like delicious wine or sweet fruit, matured and ripened over time. As such, they should be read and thought of slowly. And of course, they deserve to be shared.

    1. Hey there, Ajep! Thank you for dropping by and going out of your way to share your affirmations. I shall always be the best friend who pushes his friends to consider their visions of the future and not allow the “practical” to be the only choice. Embrace entropy. Acknowledge that it’s a natural part of life. It is because of disorder and challenges that we learn to sharpen the sword. In layman’s term, yes, they are blessings in disguise.

      Thank you for savoring the words I have written on my page. I hope to grow into a legendary human, and I will revel in all the opportunities to deepen my understanding of the world. Slowly, that is. 🙂

      1. Right! This is a point that I wanted to get across in a past conversation of ours:

        That the universe always tends to go towards greater disorder, following the Second Law of Thermodynamics, should not worry or limit us, as I’ve said. Hindi siya malagim na katotohanan! Science simply tells us that, what is given. It is up to us on how are we going to act on these facts. But all the same, accept and even embrace entropy!

        To push the analogy of entropy further, I read somewhere that even the definition (or in this case, connotation) of entropy as “disorder” can be misleading. And if we stick to what the Second Law actually tells us, entropy is not so much “disorder” as it is “freedom of motion.” Of course, the operative word there is “freedom,” very much related to what I’ve seen you advocate in your thoughts and in your life.

        And lastly, the molecular interpretation of entropy, as believed so passionately by Einstein and Maric in our favorite TV series Genius, gives us another life lesson: Entropy is also an embrace of more and more possibilities.

        See, chem is life and life is chem! 🙂

  4. You are such a great writer, Ryan, because you speak from your heart. I apologize I may be intruding. I was just curious knowing you better after our brief talk on the phone. You sound very confident and I could hear that you know what you want. Kudos to you and may you continue to live a life full of blessings.


    1. Hi, Rosalind! I was surprised to find your comment. I didn’t know you would come across my blog. Thank you very much for your sweet affirmations. Messages like this always make my heart glow. Stay blessed! 🙂

  5. Kuya Ry!

    I can totally understand you. My life isn’t moving anymore. I am not growing and not learning anything. I am definitely in a status quo. I wanted to see and live THE world too. I just have so many “what-if’s and I-think-I-can’t” thinking right now. I envy you for being brave to live the life you’ve always wanted. But I am so happy for you and as I always say, you’re one of my inspirations. I am planning to build a website, too! But I have so many but’s. Haha. Like, “…but I suck in writing.” 😂 Maybe soon I will be able to. I’ll just gather up my courage and knowledge.

    Please be safe and be happy always. Spread the awesomeness. Hihi. I’ll be your number two reader. ‘Cause I know your family will be the number one.

    God bless you.

    1. Unica, thank you very much for your well wishes. 🙂 I miss hanging out with you when we worked in the same building. Please know that being in your current phase is natural. Everybody goes through it – I included. It’s this restlessness that pushes us forward and makes us question our present situations. Sit with it and transform it into a source of creative energy. I’m a witness to your hardiness and your openness to life. Let the mountains continue to inspire you. I don’t believe that you’re not growing. Every time you say “yes” to your weekend hikes is a reflection of your courage to fight in the battle. Take your time and move at your own pace. You’re still very young. Please show the world more sunrises and sunsets! 🙂

      1. Aw. What an inspirational message, Kuya Rye! I will keep it in my mind and in my heart. See you out there, someday. 🙂

  6. Omg! So inspiring yet again! I am egar to explore this world more and I can only hope I have the guts to actually do it like you are doing now! Hope to see soon if ever! =)

  7. Sorry for the typo I mean *eager hahaha! I lot of of times I feel really trapped at home and I feel like I could do so much more if I expand my horizons by traveling as much places as I possibly can! 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot, Yrwin! I wish you were able to join us for our dinner last month. I am so certain you can go to Brazil this year or early next year! Haha. I stopped myself from booking a ticket to Japan because it’s expensive and it would throw my budget off-kilter. See you in Brazil? 😉

  8. Awesome blog site Rye. We are absolutely support you and look forward to your adventures. It is only in uncomfortable situations that we truly grow. Keep it going!

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