How I seized the opportunity to leave my job to travel full-time

During the last two years I touched all seven continents as a solo female traveler, I saw the whales feeding in Antarctica and I jumped in 3 Celsius degrees cold water at Deception Island, I trekked beautiful places in Patagonia and I walked on a glacier, I saw the happiest people on Easter Island and the famous moai, I gazed at the clearest sky in Atacama desert and climbed an active volcano at 5600m altitude, I visited the surreal Uyuni salt flats and I rode a bike on the Dead Road in Bolivia, I flew with a hang glider over Rio de Janeiro, I jumped the highest bridge bungee in the world in South Africa, I visited villages in South East Asia, I was amazed in Japan, I jumped the highest swing in New Zealand after trekking for 8 days and much much more.

How I got the wanderlust bug (forever!)

By 23 years old I had never visited other countries except for Romania, I had a horrible job which I hated, and I was studying a Master in Applied Geophysics which was a complete disappointment and a waste of time. One day I wrote a friend of mine who was studying in Paris asking him to buy me a book I couldn’t find in Bucharest, L’ecume des jours by Boris Vian. After studying 11 years of french in school I’m at least able to read a book in french. But he said no, he doesn’t want to buy me the book, I should come there and buy it and so I can visit Paris too. And that was a good incentive for my first trip.

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From my little salary I bought a ticket with a low-cost company and I went to Paris, and as cliché as it sounds, I completely felt in love with the city and the experience of wandering alone in a foreign country. After Paris, I traveled to London to meet a someone I was in love with and visited Budapest to watch Roger Waters in concert. But my salary was too little to travel as often as I wanted. Until one day when I decided to quit and I applied for the job I was dreaming about in university.

Sailing the seven seas

At the beginning of 2012 I went to Geneva for the interview and I lived one month in Paris to be trained to use the software the company was using. I was going to work with a helicopter and I had to pass survival tests in order to do that. I was processing data on a seismic research vessel with projects around the world which got me on the beach in the Carribean, crossing Panama Canal, seeing wild reindeer in Norway, visiting the Faroe Islands and also seeing the Northern lights two years in the row. Also, I was working in five weeks rotations, meaning that after working hard for five weeks I had other five weeks for myself, for traveling. That’s when I went to Peru for three weeks and when I participated in a photography tour in India. Little by little I wanted to see more of the world and to spend more time visiting the places where I had the crew changes instead of just scratching the surface.

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This is not a story about quitting a job I hate, but about having a good job but wanting something else from life, about seizing the opportunities and following my dreams.

On the Labor Day in 2014, the vessel was anchored 1km far from the Bahamas in order to do the crew change with a small boat. I could see the beaches of Nassau and I imagined how wonderful would have been to be there. But although the vessel was taking me to amazing places sometimes I couldn’t even touch them. So I decided I have to see the world closer. Those days I was reading all sorts of articles and blogs about traveling and beautiful destinations around the world. And when the opportunity came to terminate the contract with the company I didn’t think twice. I took the salary package and I withdrew all my pension funds from Luxembourg and went traveling.

Freebird

“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”
― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Deciding to quit and go traveling was one of the most liberating things I ever did, now I could see the world on my terms. It was hard to pick the places to see and to set a budget so I decided not to make a very detailed plan and go with my feelings. Also, after checking few “round the world” tickets I decided not to buy one because that would restrict my freedom and I couldn’t change the places to visit. I wanted to start as soon as possible but first I visited my brother in Italy, my sister in Germany, I went to Moskow and broke up with my boyfriend and I participated in a photography tour in Prague. Finally, I decided for a place to start and I bought a one-way ticket to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, the place from where 90% of the trip to Antarctica take off. Also, I decided to travel alone, and that gave me even more freedom and challenge.

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Patagonia chilena

Antarctica to New Zealand

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I chose to travel from Antarctica to Alaska stopping in each and every country on my way there for as long as I had money left. I decided to go to Antarctica first because that was the most expensive part and also the most surreal one, although I didn’t plan it in advance and I took a last minute deal from Ushuaia.

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Mikkelson Bay in Antarctica
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Torres del Paine in Patagonia
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Hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro

After many months on the road and also a small break from travels when I went home for my friends weddings I decided to postpone the idea of Antarctica to Alaska and see other cultures from other continents although I hope one day I will continue from where I left. My travels took a different direction and for the next half year or so I traveled to South Africa, South East Asia, Japan and New Zealand.

Follow your heart and your dreams!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Before starting my travels I was getting passionate about photography and I was participating in photography tours in India and Europe in order to learn more and practice. During my travels, I became more and more passionate about it and I learned a lot. I like most to photograph people but also nightscapes and landscapes. I have now lots of stories, photographs, tips and pieces of advice ready to be put in front of those who are passionate about traveling and photography.

To wander is to be alive!

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” 
― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

There’s no better day than today to start making your dreams come true. To decide to do what makes you happiest. If you have a passion follow it! The world is big and is amazing so take your camera and backpack and go wandering!

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Bucegi mountains in Romania
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On top of Lascar Volcano in Atacama at 5600m altitude

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