10 things I learned since I quit my job

The Cinque Terre is everything you imagine it to be. Photo / iStock
The Cinque Terre is everything you imagine it to be. Photo / iStock

On Tuesday March 15, 2016, I quit my job. I had been working as a news producer for one of the most-watched commercial television networks in Australia for 18 months, but suddenly I'd had enough.

I was on a plane to Rome just 12 days later.

The decision came as a shock, both to my employer and myself. I'm not the kind of person who does things like this. I worked hard to get my job, and harder still to keep it. It was high profile, high responsibility, and high stress - and I burnt out.

I'm currently 25. It's not old, but it's not young either. I thought by this point in life I'd be settled - working toward a promotion, saving for a house, and planning a wedding with the man of my dreams - but none of those things are on the cards.

Instead, I'm homeless and unemployed. I'm questioning my priorities. I'm re-evaluating my goals. But I'm also seizing opportunities. As I write, I'm sitting in a cosy cafe in Edinburgh, poaching free Wi-Fi as the sun streams through the window - and I have to admit I'm pretty happy with the way things are turning out.

Here are some things i've learned

1. The human body needs sleep

I committed everything to my job. I worked up to 10 days without a break: day shifts, night shifts, and sometimes both. I averaged about five hours of sleep a night, gained weight, became an emotional wreck, and lost the ability to think and make decisions. Health is a gift; it should be treasured.

2. Work to live, don't live to work

It's really important to keep your priorities straight. I said yes every time I was asked to do extra shifts or take on extra responsibilities. I'm not saying you shouldn't work hard and be committed to your job - but it needs to be part of a balanced lifestyle.

3. You will haemorrhage money in Britain

There's no two-ways about it. Be it England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales: all are expensive. Stay with friends. Eat in. Avoid souvenirs. It's not a cheap place - but it's beautiful, and definitely worth a visit.

4. Hostels aren't as bad as everyone says

Sure, sometimes your roommates spend the night in the same bed, and bedbugs are an ever-present concern. But as a general rule, they're great places to meet interesting people and swap cool travel stories.

5. Take friends' recommendations

Last night, I spent the evening at a pub called Hootananny in Inverness. I'd never have found it on my own - but it was warm and friendly, with great folk music and the chance to sample my first glass of whisky.

6. Plan ahead

Europe is much cheaper if you book a few weeks in advance. That goes for bus, train and plane tickets, many different kinds of accommodation, and even tours. Also, by doing a bit of research, you may be able to snap up some deals.

7. Friends are important

I haven't had much of a social life lately, but in the past month I've caught up with two childhood friends, an acquaintance, a former colleague, two friends of friends, and four trekking buddies. We don't keep in touch often, but there's been no shortage of laughs.

8. Italy is just as wonderful as you think it will be

It's topped my list of places to go for as long as I can remember. Trying all the food, marvelling at the sites, and wandering the quaint cobblestone streets made me so happy I skipped. Literally.

9. You can live without the internet

Having spent the past 18 months addicted to the news, it's a relief to detach. Don't get me wrong, I still care. But today, I checked the headlines for the first time in about a week - and the world kept spinning.

10. Slow down and smell the roses

Similar to the way I tackled my job, I've been racing through my list of places to visit in Europe, barely pausing to photograph the attractions. I realised today this makes absolutely no sense. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a new attitude, both to work and to travel, where I can learn to savour each experience as it comes.

- news.com.au

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