Why I Quit My Job, Travelled The World and Moved to Nepal

Taking a leap of faith in life is something everyone believes they’ll do one day, but how many of us actually find the balls to do it? Over the past few months I have been incredibly inspired by a friend and now, fellow travel writer Louise Watsham, who decided to turn her life upside down by quitting her London office job, exploring the world as a solo female traveller and finally moving to Nepal.

Like many other U.K University Graduates, Louise followed the beaten path of moving to London, working a 9-6 job and drinking herself silly at the weekend. She did this for almost three years and she admits that “it got me nowhere, except in a lot of financial trouble”. She finally decided to cut down on the booze and the materialistic spending and saved herself enough money to wave goodbye to London for good. The unhappiness she felt in her current situation and the bravery she had to take a leap of faith is truly inspiring. Here’s her story…

“Let me set the somewhat melancholic scene. It’s Monday morning, the double hangover from the weekend was threatening my already fragile head, and it was heading into winter for my third year in London. It was 7:30am, the sun had not yet risen and I could see my breath as I climbed out of bed carefully avoiding touching the damp walls. This was not the life for me, this was beyond depressing. It was on this day that I handed in my notice and booked a one-way ticket to Nepal – talk about making a rash decision! I suppose I had always feared that taboo word; ‘change’ but this time around I was going to embrace it. Why did I fear it? Because change meant no longer conforming to the status quo, it would mean a huge modification to myself and the environment I had spent 3 years creating in London. I was fortunate enough to have an incredible support network – not one person doubted my ability or questioned my motives – except me. I have always reflected on my round-the-world-trip when I was 18 as ‘the happiest I’ve ever been’…the opportunities, the freedom and the endless choice, not to mention the sunshine, the beaches and life being one big party. I know travelling when you’re 18 is just the ‘done thing,’ you aren’t in search of anything and you can barely soak up the culture through your bleary eyes from the night before. However, this time I promised myself that it would be different. I didn’t want to make a plan (much to my parents’ lack of amusement), I wanted perspective and I sure as hell needed some time to myself to re-evaluate certain aspects of my life.

First Stop: Kathmandu

 An airport that makes my garden shed look like Chateau Marmont, the first culture shock struck pretty hard! Some lost luggage and a no show from the taxi driver, things were going terrifyingly badly and I was kicking myself for making the decision to go it alone. However, I soon learnt that in this situation I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. It isn’t necessarily the aesthetics of Nepal that do it justice, it’s the people.

I have never felt so welcome anywhere in my life, even though I had no bag and no driver. I’ve never seen so many genuine smiles or so much eagerness to help. They are proud of their country, and as long as they can get by, sometimes on happiness alone, that’s all that matters. I arrived during festival season and every Nepali from my Hotel Manager to my taxi driver (he eventually showed up!) wanted me to come to their homes to celebrate. At first I was, of course, mega reluctant but I gave it a go and what an experience! I travelled Nepal for two weeks and found the whole country both visually and mentally overwhelming and it certainly offered me the perspective I had been craving for so long, I fell totally in love.

Second Stop: Indonesia: Lombok/ Bali

Or should I say paradise. Three different destinations in nine days, the island of Gili Trawangan which is a Gap Year haven, cheap booze, 24-hour parties and the archetypal postcard beaches that stretch for miles.Then onto Seminyak with its great restaurants, perfect climate, incredible beach villas and trendy fashion and art boutiques.

Finally it was onto Ubud, where I lived deep in the jungle for three days surrounded by monkeys and other such wildlife. Ubud became overrun with tourists in 2010 as it is where part of Eat, Pray, Love is filmed but this certainly doesn’t spoil it. Overall Indonesia was a memorable experience and I learnt a great deal about myself. Every location was so diverse, the people are divine, there is plenty of culture to soak up and the food is to die for.

Third stop: Dubai. As I had been on my own for so long I decided that as I was so close to the Middle East I would stop off at Dubai and see some friends from University. I was also lucky enough to coincide dates with none other than Jess from The  Travelista, probably not wise that I divulge too much of what we got up to!

It’s basically London-on-Sea, everything is super clean and westernised, the skyscrapers are something to behold and their idea of luxury is next level, the ultimate culture shock after travelling through some of the poorest countries in Asia. One thing I will note is that there is NO culture, Dubai is simply a modern show. It was out with the harem pants and on with the Kurt Geigers! After many days spent on the beach, I was lucky enough to attend the last Formula 1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi and spent the evening on a yacht sipping champagne with Prince Harry in my peripherals, it didn’t seem real, it still doesn’t.

After Dubai I spent a short time back in Nepal, in a place called Pokhara before returning home to the UK for Christmas. As predicted, nothing had changed, I was still hearing moans and groans about money, living arrangements and the fact that the temperature had dropped by 10 degrees in three days. So very festive!

If today you have complained about being underpaid, about the bad weather or you’re just generally unhappy, maybe – just maybe – it’s time for you to leave your comfort zone and make a change to your life. What better change to make than the opportunity of travel.  The art of non-conformity is now something I swear by and I wholeheartedly admire those who like living a little on the edge. There are a few pieces of advice that I learnt along the way which I will happily share:

  1. Exploration of art, culture and new countries is good for the soul
  2. To improve is to change – often to change is to improve – making change presents new opportunities, grab them
  3. And last but not least prioritise spending your money on meaningful experiences, you wont regret it

It has almost been seven months since I quit my nine to six (or seven, eight, nine) job and I feel I have achieved beyond my wildest dreams. I have jumped off a mountain with nothing but a small Nepali man and a parachute attached to my back! I have walked through a jungle on foot and come face-to-face with a family of angry black bears, I have trekked to 3,000 metres and seen views that I still find it hard to believe exist, I have met some of the most interesting people alive and heard some of the most inspiring stories. It all sounds rather clichéd but I still can’t quite believe that I did it. I now live in Pokhara, Nepal (my little Nirvana) and work as a travel writer; I have no idea what day of the week it is, and I like it that way. I have plans to travel further when the time is right, but for now I am extremely content with the way my change turned out.”

Our days are numbered and life is all we have, so make it a good one. Bon voyage mes amis!

What did you think of Louise’s story? Has this post inspired you to take your own leap of faith or have you had a similar experience? Please leave me (and Louise) a comment in the box below and let us know what you think! x 

Want to know more about Louise’s Nepal adventures? You can follow her at

Twitter: @lou_watsham Instagram: @lou_watsham Email: louisewatsham@gmail.com All images taken and provided by Louise Watsham

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


  • Ben Williams

    I understand that this post was a few years ago now but I wondered if anyone was around to give me some advice on this topic…
    I am 20 years old, about to graduate from UWE and have landed myself a job as an academic tutor at the British College in Kathmandu.
    This has been my dream, to travel and teach, but is Kathmandu the right place for me to start? I have been doing some research and the people seem lovely, and the food, and the weather and views. Are there other British people living in and around Kathmandu? Around my age?
    I think I’m just worried about going from a life of company at uni to a lonely liftestyle far away.
    Any reply would be greatly appreciated,

  • Came across this looking for some “personal experience” Info! I too went through the same monotony until I realized it was such b.s for a 23 year old to hate life tbh. I always wanted to go to Nepal so I thought stuff if I will. I leave my job in April to move to Nepal indefinitely. Do you have any traveling tips etc? Stoked I found this blog! Continues to convince me I’m doing the right thing haha!

  • Pingback: Why I quit my job, travelled the world and moved to Nepal – Gorgeous Nepal
  • So inspiring! 🙂 And i’m a total believer in buying experiences over goods too. Really enjoying your blog!

  • Is there a part where you maybe discuss dealing with the financial aspects of travelling? I think I speak for a fair few people when I say that sort of holds me back. Bali for example, looks so amazing but not the most affordable.

  • Thank you for such a brilliantly written and inspiring guest post. I have been an expat for a year and a half now and despite the hard times and missing friends and family, I haven’t once looked back. The decision to up sticks and move to the other side of the world is for the gutsy and I admire anyone who has ever done it! Hats off to you Louise.

    As an aside, I work as a programme coordinator for a youth sport for development programme called Generation Amazing and one of our projects is based out in Pokhara! Hoping to visit at some point later in the year so I would really appreciate any tips if I do!

    Polly xx

  • Lovely story and beautiful pictures.
    I agree with the Dubai comments, it’s such a fantasy that place.


  • Sarah@Travelcake

    Great story. I loved Pokhara too and I too may be moving there soon.

  • This is awesome. I love hearing about people who quit their jobs to work towards their passions. I retired from finance at the wonderful age of 30 and have been FUNemployed for 9 months. I will be traveling to Bali and am raising funds to make it to Brazil & Africa. My story: http://www.MaryYourSoul.com

  • it really inspired me. i also have a wish to travel around the world. i’m a Nepali &i’m in my late teens so i need to earn travel expenses first and then go wild like the way you did. 🙂

  • Very inspiring! Id love to follow… I’m
    Not much of a writer tho… And u can say don’t worry about the money… But how do you do it???!! Even on a meager budget, (flights aside), meals out, parachuting, and drinks will add up… $500 a week?? Even if it’s $200, where does it come from?? Suggestions? How do you do it?

    • I have the same worries. Can you really earn so much money by writing about your travels to live that kind of life?

  • Brilliant post. Sounds like such an amazing experience and to go it alone – so brave. I’m feeling very inspired!

  • Lulu how amazing I really admire you and look forward to hearing more. Iona has just arrived in Borneo for 10 weeks with Raleigh and then travelling in Asia and Izzy is off to Australia and NZ. I love travel and will get out there again soon love Karen xx

  • Felt really good reading this story and some of ur blogs too jess’
    Have you got any plans of visiting Nepal any soon? I guess u do’
    Well keep the blog running as You now have a new follower’



    • Hi Dilan, thanks so much for your kind comment! So pleased you enjoyed Louise’s story and that I have gained another lovely follower! Please keep reading and come back and visit soon 🙂 Jess

  • Wow! What an inspiring story louise. I like to travel a lot as well. I am quite inspired by what you did. Thanks!

  • Thank you for sharing a such lovely story

  • Puru adhikari

    Inspiring 🙂
    Thank you for your wonderful blog about our country !! Hope you enjoyed Nepal.

    • You’re very welcome Puru. A beautiful story about a beautiful country! I am hoping to come out and visit Louise later this year! Please stop by the blog again soon for more inspiring travel stories. Jess

  • This is a lovely story that makes me want to follow in Louise’s footsteps. Very inspiring 🙂 xx

    • Hi Katrina, thanks for your comment! This is exactly why I wanted to publish the post, to inspire others like you to go for it too! Happy Travels 🙂 Jess x

  • Thanks for sharing such an encouragement, Annie and for creating that trail for us all Lou. This comes about time when I’m not yet sure to choose between Sydney and Pokhara myself. I might very soon be in the lap of Annapurna and Machhapuchhre. Happy stay, Lou.

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Fantastic to hear stories like this of taking a big plunge to pursue a dream & never looking back! I fell in love with Bali too – there was something about the culture of the place & the warmth of the people that I found so moving.

    • Thanks Shikha, I totally agree! I know Louise personally from when we were at Uni together and when we met up in Dubai I heard all about her travels – I said you MUST write an article for me! I am yet to go to Bali but hoping 2015 will be the year! xx

  • A wonderful story beautifully told. I want to do the same

  • Rob Watsham

    What a hideous typo I have just made! Sorry . . . . .

  • Rob Watsham

    From a very proud Dad who probably did suggest that you made a plan . . . . . Well, you’re plan to see what happened has come true now, so truly enjoy it!

  • Fantastic, very inspiring!

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