So I Quit My Job & Moved Abroad: Now What?

I’ve been obsessed with comedy since I was twelve years old. After graduating from university at twenty one, I moved back home to Los Angeles and eagerly began working at a local comedy club. Granted, my position was in the office, but twelve-year-old Caroline was bursting with excitement from being in the same building where some of my comedic idols had once performed.

To be blunt, I made that desk job my bitch. I memorized the upcoming show calendar. I knew each headliner’s ticket price and showtime without even double-checking. In short, I was obsessed. I went above and beyond my administrative duties, and filled any gaps I saw that might help the club run smoothly.

Time did its thing, and the fog of “new job excitement” dissipated. I began to realize my role was smaller than I wanted it to be. Things that I campaigned for weren’t going to change overnight and that was frustrating. Here I was, finally working in a comedy club, but instead of being onstage with a microphone in hand, I was answering phones and selling tickets in the box office. I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

After a few months passed, I had to ask myself: Did I still see myself there in 5 years? Honestly, I didn’t see myself there in 5 more months. I’d come home after each shift feeling depressed, exhausted, and unmotivated to do anything but sit in bed and watch Netflix. Feeling that way forever wasn’t an option. I had to do things that made me happy.

Having the courage to voice these feelings proved it wasn’t all in my head and that a big change was necessary. My boyfriend definitely understood. At the time, he was two years into a job that he initially didn’t see himself at more than 6 months. Being almost five years my senior, he’s constantly urging me to take risks. Even at age 28, he was telling me, at 23, that he wished he’d traveled more “in his youth”.

Summer 2016 we made a time limit for ourselves-- April 2017 we were moving to Bali. In the meantime, I’d allocated at least 40% of each paycheck for savings. This would have been impossible without my roomies/parents providing rent-free room & board (you rock, Mom & Dad!). I was earning minimum wage; I couldn’t even afford to live on my own in the city in which I was employed. That depressing fact was the motivation I needed to get the hell out LA.

As I am typing this, my boyfriend and I have lived in Bali 42 days and it makes me slightly anxious to say that I’m still unemployed. It’s nerve wracking having no income, but when panic sets in I remember that I spent the last 10-ish months financially planning for this period of uncertainty. I couldn’t do this big move with just $20 in my pocket and hope for the best. I’ve been applying to freelance gigs online like it’s my job (lol) while updating my resume and working on my personal projects (like this website!).

This adjustment hasn’t been easy, but it’s proving to be worth it. With each new experience that’s terrified me, I’ve gained more confidence and respect for myself, things that I didn’t even know I was lacking. Moving in with my boyfriend has made me more conscious of all the negative self-talk I engage in. “You’re so hard on yourself,” he’ll say. And at first I didn’t believe him, but once I voiced my thoughts out loud and heard some of the unfair expectations I set for myself, I realized he is right.

Applying to jobs online can be disheartening, and without work to do my mind is left wandering. I’ve come to accept that maybe my real job here in Bali is bettering myself and figuring out WTF I want to do in my 20s. I came here to hurl myself into new experiences, and each day that I push myself toward the unknown is a job well done. Freelance work will come when it comes; I need to work full-time on my well-being. So while I’m still actively involved in the job hunt, my main occupation is simply being kind to Caroline.

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