It was August when Jessica Ayun sent me a message, asking if I wanted to go on a sponsored trip to Indonesia. Without thinking twice, I said yes.
“But this is going to be a two-week trip. Will your boss allow you?” she asked.
I said, “I’ll see what I can do.”
She then told me to give her my confirmation before the 15th, because they needed to finalize the list.
I checked my VL credits. I had two available which, obviously, weren’t enough to cover my two-week trip. I emailed my boss to ask for permission. I told him that I couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity, hoping that he would allow me .
The 15th of August was fast approaching and I hadn’t heard from my boss yet. I sent several follow through, but it seemed that he had overlooked my emails. Maybe because his bucket was full.
I endured a couple of sleepless nights before the deadline. Should I join? I asked myself over and over.
What if my boss would not allow me? Should I resign? Should I decline the offer? But it might not happen again. It was a dilemma I had to face.
I consulted my friends and officemates. I asked them, “If you will be given a chance to travel to Indonesia for about two weeks, all expense paid with allowance equivalent to two months’ worth of your salary, will you go?”
They all gave me the same answer.
“Follow your heart. We all know that this would make you extremely happy. When opportunity knocks, don’t let fear hold you back.”
Honestly, I was fearful of one thing if I resigned. The lingering questions were, “What would happen next? Will my savings be enough to support my family?”
I didn’t worry about myself. I got worried that I couldn’t support my family if I decided to resign.
It was an internal struggle. But there was one thing I got to do: decide.
I took the risk and submitted my application to Ministry of Tourism-Indonesia without waiting for the approval from my supervisor. Come what may, I told myself. If I’d be chosen and my boss allowed me to take a leave, that would be awesome. If I’d be chosen and my boss disapproved my leave of absence, I’d resign. That was the thought running in my head when I hit the send button.
After few days, I received an email from Vesta saying that they would review my website and social media statistics. I was still waiting for my boss’s reply. I tried to seek the courage to talk to him personally, but I knew how busy and stressful he was during that month. I didn’t want to stress him more.
Then the best thing happened. I got an email saying that I was shortlisted and that I was endorsed by Vesta to Leya who would book my flight to Indonesia. I was surprised. I felt fortunate. This would be my first sponsored international trip.
One more requisite and I was good to go. Unfortunately, my boss had not responded to my request yet.
This opportunity to travel to Indonesia came for a reason. I strongly believed that it had a purpose. I sent another email to my boss. But this time, it was a letter of intent to resign.
A few moments later after sending the email, I received a reply from him.
“What time would you be available? Come to my office at 7:00 pm,” he said in his email.
At this point, I was hopeful that at the last minute, he would allow me to take a leave of absence.
In his office, I explained to him how I valued and loved my job. I’d been with the company for three years without receiving any disciplinary action. My boss knew how passionate I am about traveling. I also told him that the money that I would get from this trip was a big help to support my family.
I still remember the words he said which he conveyed in the calmest way.
“I’m sorry if I didn’t reply right away to your email. You know how busy I am these past few weeks with all these stuff. But it doesn’t mean that I ignore your request. I understand your passion for traveling but if you will be gone for that long, how about your work? Your job is more important. Who will pay the bills if you will just travel?”
There was a moment of silence. I still wanted to explain why I wanted to take this opportunity. There were things that I wanted to say to defend my leave. But at that point, it was clear to me that he would not allow me to travel.
He finally said, “So if you are sure that you want to resign, that’s okay. Anything else?”
With all the things in my head, I just answered, “That’s it, Sir.”
Everything happened so fast that it all seemed like a blur to me. In an instant, my boss let me go and in a few more weeks, I’d be flying to Indonesia. Since I had no job to return to, I decided to extend my stay in Indonesia.
As I cleaned my working station which served me well for three years, I honestly felt half-hearted. That office had been my home for quite a long time and my officemates became my family. But I was decided. I’d follow my passion. I would fly to Indonesia.
Fast forward to the present. It had been an awesome three weeks of travel around Indonesia. I met different bloggers from South East Asia, visited different awesome places, and experienced almost everything–from luxury hotels, great food, interesting culture, hospitable people, and breathtaking views.
While in Bali, I received an invite from Gaya Travel Magazine in Malaysia, so I extended for a week in Kuala Lumpur.
Blessings continued to pour when I landed in Manila. I received a travel invite from our tourism board!
I’m glad that I listened to what my heart really desires. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job, but my career couldn’t give me the kind of joy and fulfillment that I get whenever I travel.
Maybe, if I didn’t grab this opportunity that Indonesia offered, I would forever have a lot of what-if’s in my life. What if I go out of my comfort zone and travel? What if I listen to what my heart really wants? And many more questions. That’s something I’d like to avoid in my life–regrets. I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to grab every opportunity that will be given to me. We can’t say “maybe next time” to something that might not happen again.
Today, I’m a starting a new phase of my life as a full-time blogger, managing my website and accepting online jobs. If you want to see what I can do for you, please click on this link.
I will be forever grateful for the opportunity that MoT-Indonesia gave me. It helped me to stand on what I really want and get out of my comfort zone.
You are a blessing and a guide that helped me push myself to follow my passion and achieve my dream. You made me realize that life begins at the end of my comfort zone.
If the time comes that you will be torn between your career and travel, go for something you’re really passionate about. I don’t encourage people to leave their corporate job and just travel. But if there is an opportunity to earn while traveling, why not make traveling your career?