Christie Peucker: I gave up my job to travel the world
Christie Peucker, 32, embarked on the adventure of a lifetime and a year of self discovery, traversing the globe as part of her 30 Days for 30 Years journey.
I’ve always put myself out there I guess. I’ve taken flying lessons, I’ve studied abroad, I’ve worked on a couple of US election campaigns. I like to try and do one thing a day that scares me or at the very least takes me out of my comfort zone.
Sometimes I achieve it and sometimes I fail miserably but I like the act of trying. I like going to bed with a little bit more knowledge on something than when I woke up in the morning. That to me is a day well spent.
It was while having lunch with some old friends one day that the idea for 30 Days for 30 Years was born. Part way through the meal, one of them said, ‘What on earth’s gotten into you? You’re usually so energetic. You’ve lost your spark.’ It was only then that I thought about how I was feeling and that I wasn’t happy.
I was working in a job where I was in the office at 7am and not leaving until 10pm. Everything that made me, me wasn’t there anymore. I had no hobbies, no life. I needed to dust off my get up and go spirit.
The big trip
I gave myself a short lead time of four months to start my adventure because I’m very much a believer that doing something intensely produces greater results.
I took off on April 26, 2011 – my 30th birthday – and spent exactly one year reclaiming my spirit. I embarked on a random project every 30 days in an effort to see whether there was greater happiness outside my corporate life.
Among other things, I ran the Great Wall of China Marathon; worked out on a pearl boat in the Kimberley; appeared semi-naked in a music video wrapped only in cling wrap; worked on a Norwegian reality TV show filmed in Malta; trained eagles in Mongolia; donned a wig and lived like Dolly Parton in her hometown in Tennessee for a month; rode a bicycle around Taiwan; sailed on a pirate ship from Seattle towards Mexico before hitting a storm and having to be rescued by theUS Coast Guard; and helped educate young girls in Kosovo who are banned from attending school because they wear headscarves.
There were a thousand instances where I thought, ‘what the hell am I doing?’ or ‘how on earth am I going to get myself out of this one?’ but never once did I think, ‘gee, I wish I was back sitting in the office’. Even when I was kicked out of Mongolia for not paying a bribe or hospitalised in Kosovo after collapsing on the side of a dusty road, I never felt like I wanted out of the experience. Yes, I wanted out of that particular situation, but never out of the journey itself.
I met such extraordinary people and was on the receiving end of such acts of kindness that the struggle was more than worth it.
Even now, writing a book about my adventure, it’s a big risk. It’s a risk financially; it’s a risk career wise because it means another year out of my core profession. But I don’t care. Even if it doesn’t get picked up by a publisher or no one outside my family reads it, I’m doing it because I want a physical representation of an extraordinary year.
I’m the poorest I’ve ever been in life financially, but I’m the richest person I know because I’m doing what it is that makes me happy. So many people say to me ‘I so love what you’re doing but I could never do it because I’ve got a mortgage or I’ve got kids’. I don’t subscribe to that. Being happy has zero to do with money or how many commitments you have.