How quitting my job and travelling to Europe helped me get over depression

How quitting my job and travelling to Europe helped me get over depression

As a 24 year old new University grad, I had a permanent full-time job at a great company. I also had more money than most of my friends. However, that wasn’t enough for me and I made the best decision of my life by quitting and travelling.

Full Disclaimer: I am not advocating for anyone to quit their job and travel. 

Unlike a majority of people, I did not have to look too hard after university to find a job in my field. I was already working there as a summer student for 3 years and the job was pretty much mine after I graduated. At first it was great. However, I was also suffering from depression and an existential crisis. I had tragically lost a family member (murder) and I had a hard time dealing with that. I always wanted to travel to expand on my photography and to experience other cultures. I made my mind up quite quickly that I was going to either continue down my dark hole of depression or travel to Europe (Paris, London, and Rome to be exact).

After logistically going over EVERYTHING including how I would pay my bills, what I would do to pass time, and how soon I would find another job. I decided to tell my circle. At first, everyone thought I was crazy. I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when I told her my plan. I lied and told her I was going back to school OR I would travel (knowing that I was going to do the latter). I gave in my two weeks notice and a month later I was on an overnight flight to Europe with a friend of mine. We arrived in Paris and I knew the first day that the risk I took would be rewarded soon enough.

In Paris, we did the typical tourist things including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Champs de Elysee, and various other tourist spots. In my mind, I was still thinking about what I was going to do for money for the next couple of months but that quickly went away when I immersed myself in taking photos. I slowly felt my depression fade after my first couple of days in Paris. Paris was everything I expected it to be and I plan on going back this summer.

Travelling takes your mind off the negative

Rome is a beautiful city with ancient history not found in Toronto. The food was AMAZING, the people were friendly, and the architecture is unparalleled. However, it rained every day, there was a bus strike, and a pigeon crash landed on my head in Naples (true story). My friend and I were both suffering colds and sacrificed two days of travelling to rest. While out and about, I did not once think about the death of my family member. This is important because for 6 months prior, I had thought about it on a daily basis; even if it was for 30 seconds.

Travelling gives you a new perspective on life

I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally got to London. This is because I only speak English and I suck and trying other languages. I felt great to be able to not have to rely on Google translation for reading restaurant menus. As I got here, I saw more people that looked how I looked and they were similar to me culturally. It felt good to talk to the locals and get their take on Brexit. Unfortunately, I was totally unprepared for London’s complex transit system and was running up my travelling budget just by using the transit (seriously LOWER YOUR FARES LONDON) or Uber. At this point in my trip (2 weeks after my first flight), my mood had seriously improved. I learned a lot about myself and I learned the buzz that travelling gives you cannot be duplicated. I learned that my view on life is shaped by my experiences and that to change that view, I would need new experiences.

After a total of 5 flights and 3 countries,  I came back to the arctic cold of Toronto, I felt like a different person. I was HAPPY. I was not happy for a long time and this all changed because I took a risk and did what I wanted to do. We live daily without actively thinking about and pursuing  our happiness and thats why so many of us are lost. I found myself in Europe and I brought this new attitude back home with me.

Sometimes, it does not hurt to reward yourself even if theres a huge risk.

2 Replies to “How quitting my job and travelling to Europe helped me get over depression”

  1. Congrats on your new experience! I am so glad you found it positive. I wanted to add that taking risks like the one you took, great risks, and coming out on the other side are HUGE life lessons. You will now be able to make best decisions during those moments later when those types of risks come up again. Without risk, there is not reward.

    1. Thank you Jeff! I completely agree with you. Sometimes it is okay to be a little selfish and do something that is good for yourself for a change. I appreciate you commenting. Have a great day!

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