The 2 aha moments that led me to quit everything and travel solo in South America for 4 months

I quit everything when I was 27 in 2015 to travel solo in South America for 4 months.

It didn’t happen overnight of course.

It was a difficult road where few people would support me in my decision.

Anyway, I still found the strength to overcome my many fears and follow my heart.

Here is how it happened:

1. The moment I realized I stopped following my dreams

On December 2014, I met a friend I haven’t seen for 2 years. Meeting him again was definitely the trigger of all the changes I did in 2015.

He reminded me that the Shyrwyn from 2 years ago had a dream: work and live abroad. And at that time, well, I was still working in my office in La Défense and I had settled down with my boyfriend in Paris.

How could I possibly forget about my dream?

So, when I came back to work after Christmas Holidays, the first thing I did was to ask to my Director if there were opportunities to work abroad.

And yes, there were!

I remember I was so excited with the idea of working abroad. I was one step closer to reach my dream!

Yet, few months later, I realized it would be the same boring job I was doing, but in a different place in UK (and not even a good one!).

I couldn’t see myself anymore in La Défense, nor living in UK either.

So, did it mean that I had to quit?

I was so confused and afraid. I was not prepared for this option. It was not what I had planned earlier in the year and yet it seemed inevitable.

2. The moment I realized I stopped being myself

On May 2015, I went to Japan for the first time in my life with two other friends.

What’s interesting is my meeting with my now good friend from Australia. She’s 22 and was (and still is!) so happy all the time (kind of like Joy in the Inside-Out movie ^^).

I remember asking to myself:

– How the hell is she doing this?
– How could she be so enthusiastic all the time without a break?

Suddenly, it hits me:

I realized that my 22 years old self was the same. I was like her 5 years ago.

What could possibly have happened within these 5 years?

How did I turn out into a bitter person?

And it was crystal clear to me that my job had changed me to a person I didn’t recognize anymore.

I was disgusted with myself.

I was so lost.

When I came back in Paris, I was still in shock.

I would go to work crying and then come back home crying again. I knew my time in that company was over. Yet, it was difficult for me to admit it.

What would I do after?

Deep down, my first choice was to travel for a few months.


I was worrying too much about what other people would think.

So, I started to think about my ideal job. I wanted to find the same job but in a smaller company, like a startup!

But when I passed the interviews, I realized that I was not in a good mindset. I was excited with the idea of quitting my job instead of being excited to join another company.

Then, for my last interview on August, I remember telling myself:

– Even if they hire me, I would say no. I want to travel to figure out what I truly want in my life. I don’t want to settle down for a new job and get miserable after few months.

And on September 2015, I gave my resignation letter to my manager. My last day was set on November 30th 2015.

I remember I was so scared of that moment, because I was saying goodbye to a comfortable situation and saying hello to something risky and unknown.

But you know what?

When I gave that letter, I felt so relieved! I knew I made the right decision. I didn’t know what to expect of that 4 months trip but I knew deep down that I was finally on the right track to reach my dream.

What followed that decision was beyond anything I could have ever imagined:

  • I made new friends from all around the world;
  • I spent Christmas with a Brazilian/Canadian family;
  • I spent New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach;
  • I ride a horse for the first time;
  • I got crazy about açai;
  • I got mocked by a parrot;
  • I worked in a farm in Brazil and Argentina;
  • I fled from the Argentinian farm and hitchhiked for my first time;
  • I hitchhiked more than 2000km through 2 states in Brazil;
  • I slept one night in a truck;
  • I survived the Soroche in Cusco (altitude sickness);
  • I got hundreds of mosquito bites all over my body (but none from Zika).

But most importantly :

And all of this happened because last year, I decided to quit everything that wasn’t making me happy.


Shyrwyn Clemente on FacebookShyrwyn Clemente on GoogleShyrwyn Clemente on InstagramShyrwyn Clemente on Pinterest
Storyteller on the road. Read Shyrwyn’s articles on her travel blog and on Medium.

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