September 19, 2017

From High Heels to Hiking Boots – How I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel the World






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I think most people can relate to the feeling. It’s Monday morning… again. The iPhone alarm is blaring in my ear, my next vacation is a whole three months away and I already have 10 e-mails in my inbox that need “urgent attention.”

Then I’m running to catch the subway for my morning commute pushed up against 2,000 of my closest New York City neighbors on the downtown J train. Clutching my coffee and day dreaming about what I’m going to do the minute I can escape the office later that evening… and I haven’t even reached my stop yet.

Those days got me thinking. Why am I wasting my life waiting for the proverbial “bell” at the end of each day – the moment where I can clock out and get my life started after a full day of just going through the motions? If I added up all those hours on those five days a week year after year, that’s a whole lot of my precious, short life I’m essentially pressing the delete button on. And for what?

It started innocently enough. I started following every female location-independent entrepreneur I could find on Instagram or Facebook. Suddenly I was e-mailing old business school professors and talking to friends that were running their own companies. Each day a new travel, business or motivational book popped up on my door step after another late-night binge session with Amazon Prime.

My fascination with the idea of starting my own business and traveling the world, sipping cider in a London pub or eating noodles on a Thailand street corner, quickly became an obsession.

I stopped noticing the shoves from angry impatient commuters pushing their way through the platform on Monday morning because I was listening to podcasts and audible books, taking notes in the leather-bound journal I kept in my handbag.

And before I could even drop my laptop at the door of my apartment I was watching TED Talks and scheduling Skype calls with potential new clients or business partners. The bug had bit me and I knew there was no coming back from this. I was officially an entrepreneur.

The more I listened to the success stories of people once like me, looking for an escape from the 9-to-5 to run their life on their own terms and see corners of the world I’d only dreamed of, the more I thought – “what’s stopping me from doing that?”

I was just as educated, smart and scrappy. If they can do it, so can I, right?

And as I write this from my Airbnb in sunny Portugal in my yoga pants without a high heel or suit in sight, I can tell you for certain. You can do it, too.

There’s no greater feeling than knowing you are in the driver’s seat of your life. If I’m feeling inspired and want to work until 5am, go watch the sunrise over Florence, stop for an espresso and then stroll back to my apartment to sleep all day – well, I can do just that. The only person in charge of me and my business is me. And no promotion, raise, paycheck or pat on the back from a superior can give me that.

Have you thought about starting a business to trade in your briefcase for a backpack? I share more about being an entrepreneur while solo traveling across the world in my blog, Anna Out of Office.


Anna Lee Grymes is the Founder of Spare Marketer LLC, a full-service marketing company specializing in the real estate industry. Her life’s passion is travel and she has built her business around doing just that. While working in the demanding finance industry on Wall Street in NYC she realized she was going to need a lot more than three weeks of vacation to see the world. So, Anna built her business around location-independent living, quit her corporate job, and can be found running her company anywhere from a hammock in Bali to a pub in Dublin. And she blogs about it all on www.annaoutofoffice.comAnna is a Jacksonville, Florida native and graduated with an MBA from the University of Florida. Learn more about her life on the road less traveled on Instagram and Facebook.

The comments +

  1. Vic Smits says:

    My wife and I met you through my son. You were always a smiling face in the group. We have been following your picture’s and adventures with envy. Keep it going and don’t forget your friends & stop in next time you’re in town. Vic & Sharon Smits.

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