From Uncareered to Unscared

Monday, May 09, 2011

From Uncareered to Unscared
Take the plunge!
Before we took the Great Plunge by quitting our jobs, traveling to exotic destinations and starting a career in vagabonding, we were really scared. We had nagging fears like:

                                   What if we ran out of money?
                                   Will we lose our sense of identity along with our jobs? 
                                   Is what we're doing pure selfishness?

These fears were paralyzing and we felt guilty every time we made progress with our travel plans. A lot of friends and family supported us although others were shocked and concerned about our daring decision. But last February, we took the plunge anyway. Now that we are almost halfway into our 6 month Asian backpacking trip, we've realized the upsides and downsides to our decision of exchanging our careers for the gypsy life:


Photo Credit: By .krish.Tipirneni.
Stop Waiting for the Weekend

Every time I logged on to Facebook on the weekend, I always see at least one status message : TGIF! We used to look forward to Fridays. Fridays meant Freedom. Not anymore. Living our dream of traveling full time means that time and date generally become irrelevant. No more waiting until the clock strikes 5 before we start enjoying life. Every day can be amazing!

Work Becomes Play

Traveling and writing for the blog are the main things that fill our days. There is no limit to the energy and creativity that we dedicate to this blog. We're constantly overwhelmed with a gazillion ideas about traveling and tinkering with the blog that we can't keep up. Why? Because we're in love. We're enamored with what we do. And this love affair ain't gonna end anytime soon. This 'job' of ours at Sole Sisters is something we can't stop doing. Even if we were paid to stop doing it!

Lose your Sense of Identity

At first, it was really difficult to leave a day job we enjoyed doing. Chichi and I had both worked in Training and Development. We met many interesting people, talked a lot (this is the main draw) and got to be part of employees' growth in the company. We each had invested at least 5 years into our careers- only to give it up for a life of traveling and writing? You can say it hurt to step off those platform heels and into those hiking boots. But we learned that losing your sense of self isn't so bad. It just means you can reinvent yourself, push your limits and learn so much in the process.


It's not a Quick Fix

If you're going on a journey as a means of escape, you'll realize that your backpack will be a heavy load. We learned this the hard way. We still carry the same problems and insecurities with us on the road. Sure, the streets of Hoi An and the temples of Angkor were are a nice distraction. But we still get confronted by the same worries. Fortunately, we have more time on our hands to reflect and deal with our issues.

sadness??? no, but tired!
Photo Credit: By *autumn leaf*
 You'll Have Critics

Think about the critics you interact with on a daily basis. Then multiply that number by 100. Putting our own lives online meant more people can observe how we choose to live. We've learned that a lot of people will rally behind our decision to choose an alternative lifestyle. But they will be the minority. The reality is that most people will still choose the same comfortable home, job and life they have. And they tend to feel that those who want different things are either foolish or deviant. But as long as you have a good sense of who you are, you have nothing to worry about.

Tough Stuff

When we first envisioned our life as full time travelers, we only saw the beauty and pleasure of it. We imagined riding a junk ship on Halong Bay, standing agape at the majesty of the Taj Mahal and seeing a postcard-perfect sunset over Angkor Wat. We failed to realize that traveling is a brutality. The research, planning and logistics that go into a long term trip can be daunting. Then factor in the actual toll on your health and finances while on the road.

Decision Point

There are always pros and cons to a decision. But we constantly ask ourselves this question: Is this what we really want? It's so easy to get caught up in an alternate lifestyle by reading books, following blogs like Chris Guillebeau's Art of Non-Conformity and seeing how other people's lives are played out. But we couldn't just use trailer hitches to latch on to their dreams. What mattered in the end was that we were true to ourselves. Knowing what you want is the first step in the goal of living the life of your dreams.


But our journey has only started. Can we say we have become fearless? Did we overcome all the negativity and insecurities we have had since embarking on this trip? Definitely not. It is a daily struggle that we face. We still wonder about what we're gonna do at the end of this adventure or when we run out of money. (Whichever comes first.) We ask ourselves if people see us as selfish or self-centered. But of all the fears we struggle with, it's the fear that maybe what we're doing is trivial and will eventually amount to nothing.

Are you contemplating a step that will change your life in a big way but are afraid of what others may think? Are you struggling with the decision of following your passion and dealing with obligation? Are you in a place where you're constantly looking out the window to your freedom? Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

We invite you to share your story and struggles with us by leaving a comment below.

Sole Sister Lois
If you found this post helpful, do consider Supporting the Sole Sisters While We're on the Road. If you have any questions about the Sole Sisters and our adventures, post on our Facebook Page and we will compile a massive Q&A post every end of the month.

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37 sole trails

  1. Screw the critics! You're doing what you love and that all that matters :D

  2. being a 22-year-old woman, having a 2 year-old daughter and just starting a family, i have lots of things in my hand. but i know that one day i can also take that plunge. specially since is have conquered my fear of flying from our trip to SG recently! =)
    I don't think people should ever think that what you do is selfishness. I think it actually encourages people to travel, to learn and to discover not just the different places that you visit but also discover the 'travel junkie' in each and every one of us.

    So....i congratulate the two of you for inspiring me and every person who is following your adventures! =)

  3. Thanks for the boost Nina! We sure needed that. We were a bit hesitant to write this. But we felt a lot of other travelers at heart are in the same boat.

  4. Congratulations Marielle on your recent SG trip! You're right, we write about our adventures to encourage people to also explore and see the world. We're glad we inspired you and thanks for following our journey!

  5. There will always be the 'downside' but what you're doing right now, you're trailblazing a memorable path in your life that the "upside" far outweighs whatever downside to it. Looking back years from now, this 6 month backpacking trip of yours will be one of the highlights of your life. Beats climbing the corporate ladder anytime. Cheers to the SoleSisters, we'll always support you all the way.

  6. Love this post! I'm really happy you're living your dream and jealous I'm not there to live it with you. Someday. I will tag along one of your trips! Take lots of care and don't stop being happy! xox

  7. Traveling is never running away from life. In fact, I get closer to the fundamentals of living than when I am unhappily trudging on with the banalities of daily life. It is when traveling that I feel most alive, most open to new ideas, new experiences, different kind of people. So yeah, screw the critics, they just don't have the courage to do what you do and maybe secretly wishing they can take off too.

  8. Backpacking can indeed be brutal, particularly if you attempt to cover vast distances and visit many sites within a short time span. My friends and co-workers always give me looks of puzzlement when, upon returning from a backpacking adventure, I tell them that I need to take a vacation to recoverfr om my "vacation". But it is all worthwhile, n'est ce pas?

  9. You have no idea how nice it was to read this comment Marky. We absolutely appreciate your support! We know that this trip will be so worth the effort we put in. And one of the most fun things we've ever done so far. Glad you are one of those people who see our journey in a positive light!

  10. Don't be jealous boots, there's plenty of time for us to travel in the future, Maybe when Maya gets a bit older, sama din siya. Thanks for dropping by, I miss our long talks and emails. Thanks for being a friend though we are on other ends of the world!

  11. 'It is when traveling that I feel most alive, most open to new ideas, new experiences, different kind of people. '

    We couldn't agree with you more kim and mj. Traveling makes us feel most alive! It puts us in a heightened state of being as Iyer puts it. Maybe critics can be converts in the future? Don't you agree?

  12. You're right Jody, this kind of life and adventure is not for everyone. One thing that's necessary in backpacking is adaptability. Plus very low standards esp when it comes to cheap hostel rooms. In the end, it is worth while. absolutement!

  13. I looove reading all your blogs. They are very inspiring. I told my friend to read it as she's going on a two-week backpacking in Asia in August so she can get tips from the most stylish travel bloggers - Lois and Chichi! :D

  14. meron talagang mga taong di gets ang trip natin, pero kadalasan sila naman ang unang nagsasabing naiingit sila sa atin dahil nararating natin ang pangarap nilang lugar

  15. Glad you were inspired Vanessa. We intend for this blog to not just be a chronicle of our journey but an inspiration for travelers esp Pinoys to choose their own adventure. Thanks for the compliment pero si Chichi lang stylish ;-)

  16. May tama ka supertikoy. But how boring would life be without critics right?

  17. We dare to take the risk and achieve our dreams. Dapat kayong tularan. Actually, tayo. :P

  18. Oh yes, we're in the same boat Joel! But the dream doesn't end here. Choosing to live the life you want is a constant effort. Thanks for dropping by!

  19. As they say, life wouldn't be so challenging without the doubters and the detractors. To hell with them! As long as you both are living the lives you love and the path you chose to conquer, heads up and savor the experience!

  20. Wow, this is something girls. The post leaves me thinking for a while. I wanna be like the both of you, but since I have a 3yo kiddo, theres a lot of things I need to consider. But someday, I will take that plunge too...

    For now, I will be contented waiting for the weekend and for that clock to hit 5pm :)

    Goodluck gurls, till next post!

  21. "As long as you both are living the lives you love and the path you chose to conquer, heads up and savor the experience!"

    We will do exactly that Pia and Kris. Thanks to people like you who believe in what we're doing.

  22. Hey Tina, I feel for you. If I were in your situation I would put my child first. But consider yourself very blessed you have a child. Thanks for following our journey and we hope to inspire you to have your own adventures in the near future!

  23. lois and chichi,

    time flies so fast, i remember when you were still writing about your plans and now you're writing about your learnings on the road... backpacking is indeed brutality to our physical forms but the elixir to our souls...

    may this trip lead you to a happier life :-)

  24. Awww na senti naman kami dito Flip, Time really flies fast. Can you believe we are halfway through? And we don't want it to end yet, Who knows? baka we'll follow you in China ;-) The journey is not always happy, not always easy but well worth it. Thanks for your soothing words.

  25. Those who criticize you are just envious of your lifestyle. You know why? Because you lead a life they can only dream of. Go girls!!!!

  26. There's more to life than work!
    Sana magawa ko rin yang ginawa ninyo. =)

  27. Thanks for the boost Paris. We definitely need like minded people like you to encourage us as we continue our journey.

  28. Absolutely agree Christian! I'm sure you can do the same. We would love for more people to travel and see the world. Our goal is to change the way others think about travel. It's great to 'meet' travelers who share the same goals.

  29. I know what you mean about date and time becoming irrelevant.  After a few weeks in Southeast Asia, I was amazed one day when I realized that I had no idea what day it was.  Up until that point, it just didn't really seem to matter.

    And you can consider me one of those that rallies around you.  I think it's great that you're doing something this amazing.

  30.  We totally feel that Steve. Especially now in Pai, Thailand where time just stands still. Thanks for being one of the people we look up to and who supports us. We need more and more people like you who see things in the same way. That makes us smile...

  31. pursuing the life you want to live each day as travel bloggers and sharing it to us is one gift you are both given. I love the decision you both took and journey on in such delight for what is out there, exploring everything and places your footprints to places not many of us are lucky enough to take the trail. Nonetheless, your inspiration has rubbed me in such particular fashion that I too dreams that one day, I will liberate myself from the enslaving work habits, take on my backpack and travel no matter what, on a string budget but where my heart is happiest. 

    Not to mention, I love the video you had! I will see you on the road Chichi and Lois! 

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  34. hi lois..i saw you on tv yesterday but i had my doubts if you were the same lois, my classmate in one of the PolSci classes in college.. to confirm, i started to search your name without realising that i have spent almost two hours reading your blogs.. it is very nice to know that you are having the blast of your life and share your adventures with others.. your blogs has inspired me to start writing my own adventures or better yet with my better half..i will be moving to japan in a few months.. let me know if you have plans of going to tokyo..i would be happy to tour you around without spending too much yen...

  35. The last few lines struck me the most. I'm currently a second year college student and unmotivated with my course and my life right now. I'm struggling everyday thinking about what I really want to do. I want to leave school for a couple of months and search for my passion (which I think I already know but I'm just not so confident about it) but it also means leaving school for a couple of months. I want to take a risk but at the same time I'm kinda scared. 

  36. Hey Cza, it already takes a lot of guts to listen to your heart and not your head. Don't worry that you still haven't found your passions in life. A lot of people at 40 or even older still haven't discovered theirs. I run passion play retreats and you may want to join us for a weekend of discovery to find what you love. Here's the link:


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