Why I left my high-paying job for a life of travel

Tom Rogers

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Why I left my high-paying job for a life of travel
Tom had a high-paying job at a startup in Manila – so why did he quit his job to lead a life of travel? He explains in this essay for Rappler

Despite coming from a different culture and background, I found myself settling in the Philippines very easily. I was working at a real estate tech startup company, heading business intelligence. I was making a decent amount of money and because it was in its start-up stage, I had shares that could one day possibly be worth millions. I was surrounded by people that I loved and respected, and knew that this job was a great opportunity to keep improving my skills in business.

I wasn’t your typical businessman though as I only ended up in the Philippines because I fell in love with my Filipina girlfriend who I met while traveling. Although I was meant to be traveling the world, I decided to stay because I had two reasons, the perfect girl and the perfect opportunity. (READ: Romance on the Road: A traveling couple’s love story)

HIS PERFECT GIRL. Tom with girlfriend Anna Faustino

After a couple of months working in the corporate world, Anna had just finished her Masters teaching degree and I was offered another job in another company, with an even bigger position and salary. Having experienced both worlds, Anna and I made the big decision to quit our jobs to sell everything that we owned to set off to travel again. (READ: How traveling as a couple changes your relationship forever)

At this point, some of you may think I am crazy for turning my back on an opportunity like that. I admit, I am lucky that I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have any financial responsibilities to tie me down. So why did I walk away from a great company to travel? I chose to do it because: 

I want to pursue a memorable life

A few weeks before I made the decision, Anna showed me a TedX talk by Dustin Garis. In his video, he asked one question that stuck with me. He asked if you can remember what you did two weeks ago. If that’s too hard, try to recall what you did three days ago. As I tried answering his question, my mind drew a blank.


I could tell you exactly what I was doing a year ago when I was traveling in China with no English speaking person in sight or 6 months ago when I was trekking through the jungles of Cambodia sleeping in a hammock.

The whole point of the video was that life passes us by, if we don’t make it a point to pursue living a memorable life. For others, a pursuit of a memorable life may be spending more time with their children and working less. To me, a memorable life is to travel and experience different cultures, food, and ways of life. 

I wanted to enrich my outlook in life to help me see things more clearly and hopefully make more out of this life that I have been given. A personal mantra of mine which I actually have tattooed on my right arm is “Carpe Diem” which means to seize the day.

ONE DAY'S VIEW. Viewing the temples of Bagan, Myanmar at sunrise

Prior to meeting Anna, when I left Wales for the first time, I distinctly remember sitting on top of a tower on the Great Wall of China, look past the wall as it snaked off into the distance over the mountains in front. I was blown away by what I was seeing and have been many times after this. From riding a motorbike through the jungles of Vietnam to diving with whale sharks here in the Philippines, traveling has brought me so many moments where I knew I was seizing the day. 

I know money cannot buy me happiness 

“The most dangerous risk of all is the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” This quote by Randy Komisar speaks largely of how I want to live my life. I don’t want to regret spending my life working in an office and putting my dreams of traveling on hold because I think one day, I will be rich enough to be able to do so.

As humans, it is natural to want. We want the latest gadgets, to eat in the newest restaurants, and even buy the latest clothing trends. I found myself falling into this trap of acquiring material possessions, when in reality, I didn’t need anything else but the things in my backpack. I know I will never regret choosing traveling over money and financial security because I know I want to live my life making memories instead of accumulating material possessions.

BUDDY. The motorbike names Phoenix, which I rode all over Vietnam covering more than 4000km

My partner Anna and I started our blog, Adventure in You, mainly because we want to inspire people to live the life they have always wanted. Whatever you want in life, pursue it relentlessly and live your life free of regrets of the things that you didn’t do.

Now that we’re traveling, we’ve never been poorer – in fact, Anna, my partner is the perfect example. She is a Filipina who has taken the plunge despite not having a lot of savings. We have both experienced how it is to be making good money, and both of us have realized that no amount of material possessions in this world could replace the happiness and life experiences that we can gain from traveling.

ADVENTURE TIME. Anna and I snorkeling in Koh Tao Thailand. We even saw a shark!

I do not want to live my life in fear 

Most of the time, as people, we live our lives in fear. Fear of going against the norms of society, fear of stepping out of your comfort zone, and more importantly, fear of failing. We only have one life on this planet, so why not explore it if you have the chance to do so. 

Despite falling into the routine of a regular 9-5 job, I chose to step out of my comfort zone to pursue something that I am passionate about. Although our blog advocates a lifestyle of travel, what we really want to do is to inspire people to pursue their dreams.

Whether it is finally working up the courage to leave that job you hate, or pursuing another career or business idea, whatever you want in life, do not let fear stop you from going for your dreams

Yes, we live on a day to day basis, and on most days we are saving and scrimping on money but, this is the lifestyle that we have chosen. We eat street food rather than in restaurants, we trade our online services for a night’s accommodation, we sleep in hostels, go camping, or even couchsurf in order to save money. 

We work along the road and find ways to make money online, and although this isn’t the easiest lifestyle, we have never been happier.

HOMETOWN. Enjoying our time exploring the many beautiful islands in Palawan

Even if we quit our jobs, we are both not just traveling aimlessly. We have begun transitioning ourselves to earning money on the road by building our respective skill sets. Every day we work on Adventure in You because we want it to grow as not just a blog but as a brand as well. (READ: Career or Travel – Why not both?)

The beauty of life on the road is that I am not bound by the confines of a cubicle, instead, I am free to explore my options, grow as a person and expand my knowledge in the areas which I think would help me. This lifestyle has also taught me how to think out of the box in terms of how I can make money.

Both Anna and I are not afraid to work for this lifestyle and if that means growing our blog, or working in a small café or hostel, we are both willing to make these sacrifices in order to pursue what we want in life. Our plan for the future is to be able to sustain long-term travel through our website and other future business endeavors that we plan on branching out to. All it took was that initial leap of faith and courage to let go of the life I was holding on to in order to pursue my passion.

DIRECTION. Me visiting the Gigantes Islands in the Philippines

In the end, I have realized that life is too short to be anything but happy. It is all about making lifestyle sacrifices and a conscious decision to live each day pursuing your dreams, no matter what it is. If traveling is what you want to do, I hope the reasons above have inspired you to take that first step towards doing it.

More than that though, watch us live our dreams as we explore this big beautiful world around us, one adventure at a time.

Tom and Anna are two travelers who met one fateful day on the sand dunes in Vietnam. Brought together by their love for silly dance moves, good food, and discovering new cultures, they’re on a mission to go have as many adventures around the world as they possibly can. They are wanderers and adventurers who want nothing else but to enjoy the little things in life while traveling the world. Follow their journey on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram as they deal with the struggles and challenges of supporting themselves through sustainable long-term travel.







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