Is this it!?

Why I decided to quit my job to travel the world!

Is this it?!

by | Feb 10, 2016 | Inspiration | 10 comments

The Thirty-Something Dilemma. You have everything but you’re not sure if this is it!? Am I where I want to be ? Did I made the most of all my chances and opportunities? Are there more opportunities? Do I want kids, or a career, or both? Or is there maybe something else I want? Is this it?! I was struggling with all those questions and decided to leave it all behind, no kids, no career. I choose freedom. Read here my story how I decided to quit my job to travel the world.


New Years Eve 2015-2016, Copacabana beach.

Three…. Two…. One…. The fireworks starts. Together with friends and two million other party-goers am I celebrating New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach. The whole beach is packed. Everyone is dressed in white. I’m standing in the water to have the best view. I don’t care that my white dress is getting wet and that my champagne is getting salty. The light show and the reflexion on the ocean is fantastic. I get goosebumps thinking back at that moment. That moment when I had the biggest smile on my face, just by being so happy that I was there, in the present and lucky that I once made the decision to live my dream, my life, my awesome life.


Before I left I had everything what I always wanted. I had a fantastic job managing projects in the IT, a comfortable salary, owned a house with my boyfriend, drove an Audi and was surrounded by the bestest friends… I can tell you, I joined the rat race, I’d conformed to society’s expectations, I was 28 years and all I had to do was live the rest of my life… Right!? Yet something kept coming to the forefront of my mind over and over again. After a couple of years of this lifestyle the routine had settled in and I started to think…IS THIS IT??


I had 10 hour work days in the name of a promotion or more stuff. I had dinner on the couch watching my favourite everyday show with still one eye on my laptop or phone. And went to bed. Day in, day out. Living for the weekend, where I was still working, but less… IS THIS IT?? I was asking myself this question all too frequently. Maybe I was just being selfish. I must just be going through an ungrateful phase and the appreciation will return, but it didn’t. I had the best time during my studies, after that I went travelling for 9 months and after that I was excited to join, what they call it “the real world”. You give away a bit of your freedom by having a fulltime job and in return you get money. With that money you can afford designer clothes, apple gadgets, eating out half the week, actually I could do whatever I wanted and live the dream.. But there was something, there was a doubt.. that maybe this ‘real world’ wasn’t the right direction for me, that this wasn’t MY dream..

Is this it!?


I decided I needed a break. I needed a break from this daily routine. I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to join me, but he didn’t, so I went alone. I bought extra vacation days because 3 weeks holiday for someone who really needs a break is just not enough. I was so into my work that it would take me at least 2 weeks to get out of that and 1 week break would do nothing. My boss gave me 6 and I immediately booked my flight ticket, alone. In the plane I was so happy, nothing could go wrong. There were two options, I either come back, appreciated what I had and live the rest of my life. Or I come back, knowing what I don’t like, and change it. I loved Costa Rica and Panama, I didn’t had to do anything, I had no worries, I had no-one to please except myself. For the first time I experienced the overwhelming sense of absolute freedom. I saw so many amazing places, made so many new friends, I partied a lot and everyone around me was so happy and relaxed all the time. On my last night I was chatting with a guy about our lives. We were sitting on top of the stairs of an old church in Casco Viejo, the old town of Panama City. It was maybe 4 o’clock in the morning, but who cared?! We didn’t had to do anything the next day… Oh wait. I had a flight to catch. A flight back home. A flight I didn’t wanted to take.


Seriously people who say that travellers only have shallow conversations, it’s not true! This conversation changed my life and the view I had on it. Here on these stairs I realised that I wanted to live my life the way I wanted and that was not in a job to make someone else rich, not in a house you’re still paying of 30 years later and not in a society where people expect you to marry and have your 2,5 kids. This was the moment I decided to break up with my boyfriend and quit my job to travel the world… Not because I wanted to sit around sipping caipirinhas all day. I wanted to see more of this amazing world and I wanted to feel alive again! Everyone can do this. It’s pretty easy and can be done by anyone of any age, kids don’t have to be an excuse either and nor is not having any money, ultimately the only thing holding you back from your dream of seeing the world is you, take the idea to travel long term seriously, it may be the best decision you’ll ever make.


So there I went,  almost 4 years ago, the 6th of April 2012. I was ready to board my flight to Cancun with, what I called, “a one way ticket to paradise.” At that time, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t come back for a very long time. I had no idea what to expect. Well, I was guessing that it would be amazing, but I didn’t know that this was the beginning of a new chapter. The best time of my life…..

Go travel the world and have the best time of your life! The journey is the destination.


  1. kelly

    super inspirerend en super gewaagd om te gaan. Ik durf nog niet.

    • Maartje

      Jawel joh… Doe het! Wat houd je tegen? 🙂

  2. Jim van der Snoek

    Beste Maartje….Groot respect voor alles wat je gedaan hebt!! Ik hoop je echt nog eens te ontmoeten!! Mijn aanbod van destijds staat ook nog steeds hoor…Maar dat ben je vast vergeten 🙂 Ook die duik/snorkelles wil ik ooit nog eens…..wens je megaveel succes met alles….en wie weet tot ziens op die eventuele reünie voor je volgers… ( ik kom zeker!!). Hartelijke groet van Jim.

    • Maartje

      Dankjewel Jim! Ik hou je op de hoogte! 🙂

  3. Zoë Lenaerts

    Ik krijg meer en meer zin om zelf ook te reizen!! Zo een leuk blog dat je hebt! Je bent een groot voorbeeld voor mij.

    • Maartje

      Dankjewel Zoë! 🙂

  4. Puck

    Echt respect dat je dit besluit hebt genomen en zo maximaal van je leven geniet! Ik zou willen dat ik genoeg lef had om alles achter me te laten en te gaan…

    • Maartje

      Doe het!!! 😉

  5. Ria

    Mooi geschreven Maartje!!

    • Maartje

      Thanks mam! 🙂


Leave a Comment

Hi! I’m Maartje, a Dutchie who left her home to explore the world slowly, thoroughly and never came back. I’m just a little obsessed with travelling, photography, scuba diving and enjoying life.

(read more about me)

People wait all week for Friday.
All year for summer
All life for happiness

I travel.

Read the other steps....

Or maybe you like these....!?

The Mongol Rally in pictures

1 crappy little car, no tools, no backup, no support, 20.000 kilometers, 17 countries, 23 breakdowns, 2 seas and 9 river crossings. The Mongol Rally! I'm still pretty proud we made it across mountains, deserts and the steppe of Europe and Asia in 33 days! Good...

read more

Make your layover in Dubai an exciting mini vacation!

What to do on a 16 hour layover in Dubai? Go explore the city and turn your layover into an exciting mini-vacation! At least... That's what I did. I booked my ticket to India and saw that I had a layover in Dubai. The first time in all my flying around, I was flying...

read more

The Rickshaw Run in pictures

This summer I was working in a bar in the Netherlands where my boss asked me what was left on my bucket list? I immediately replied with: "The Rickshaw Run". He knew where I was talking about and said "let's do it"! There were a couple of drinks involved and the next...

read more