Why I Quit My Job to Live in a Van (Er, Trailer)

Why I Quit My JOb

About a month ago, I quit my job. Or I should say, I gave notice at my job. I’m still working there until mid-July.

Lots of people think I’m crazy; heck, maybe MOST people think that I’m crazy. I’ve spent 11 years building my career and reputation at this company. My work is challenging and interesting and in my career path of choice. The salary and benefits are excellent. My boss is supportive and my co-workers are fun to be around. In short, there is every reason to stay.

Except that one big compelling reason to leave: following my dreams.

On my 23rd birthday, I went to the theater and saw Into the Wild. I’d read and liked the book, but for some reason, the movie really spoke to me. I didn’t want to become the next Alexander Supertramp—he died after all—but I did want to move into a van and go explore. But there was this this good paying job, and the pressure to be an adult, and my parents were proud of me. They wouldn’t be able to brag about their 20-something daughter living out of her car.

So, I sucked it up. I got married, had a kid, went to grad school, and bought a house. And none of those were BAD things. My husband is my rock; my son consumes every inch of my heart. Even my house feels like a home, a place where my introverted self can hide away. BUT despite all this, there was still a part of me that just wanted that van. That just isn’t happy in the world of cubicles and over-consumption and keeping up with the Jonses. My authentic self was always there whispering, not this. Anything but this.

Some days that voice gave up on whispering and started screaming. On the days that I worked nine hours, and sent my sick kid to preschool because I didn’t have any other choice, and got to see my husband for a full fifteen minutes before bed—on those days, I started planning an escape. After the kiddo was in bed, I’d lie awake scouring the internet, reading blogs about traveling families, and looking at Instagram photos of people who were leading unconventional lives.

God bless my husband, he was onboard! Quit our jobs, and rent out our house, and uproot our son from his happy life? Of course, lets do it!

So, here we are: a few months from leaving for a year of travel. Our agenda includes some of my favorite places and places I’ve never been—the Black Hills, Big Bend, and Banff. We’re going with a truck and a travel trailer—not my van, but close enough.

When I evaluate what I value in life, the answer is simple: my family, nature, adventure. This trip should bring me closer to all three. And yes, it may bring me further away from wealth, success, and security; but at least I’ll be true to myself. That seems pretty sane to me.