A woman who left her job to travel the world at 35 explains what it was like to break free of the corporate world


Clelia Mattana - namibia

Courtesy of Clelia Mattana

Clelia Mattana in the Namibia, Africa.

In November 2012, Clelia Mattana quit her job to travel the world.

She had an established career as a sourcing coordinator at luxury fashion brand Burberry, a good salary, and her own apartment in London.

But it wasn't enough.

"All I could think of was visiting remote places, traveling to my favorite destinations, and exploring my passion for photography and writing," she told Business Insider in an email.

So, she decided to take the riskiest decision of her life and quit a secure job for the "big unknown."


It wasn't an easy choice, but once she decided on it, she got the ball rolling: She transferred $1,000 from her paycheck to her savings for three months, sold some belongings, welcomed a roommate, and dialed down her social life in order to save $16,000 in five months. She also did a lot of research and planning to minimize the cost of her long-term trip.

"Considering that I had already taken a huge risk in quitting my well-paid job at Burberry, I decided to try and minimize the impact of this decision as much as I could," she said.

In the beginning, she was living off her savings, so to spend as little as possible, Mattana lived in a remote part of Thailand with the most basic accommodations. She spent only $100 a month in Thailand for rent, transportation, food, and a little shopping, which was a steep drop from the $1,000 rent she'd paid in London.

"If you choose a more popular destination the prices obviously go up, but they are still not even close to the cost of living in the UK," Mattana said.


Only three months into her trip, she was already working as a ballet teacher in a remote village in Thailand in order  to live with the locals and keep her savings intact for my future adventures. During those those months she was able to pursue her passions more seriously and focus on her website, Keep Calm and Travel, which has become her main source of income. She also gets paid through partnerships, campaigns, and other freelance work.

"I'm now earning an average of £2,000-£3,000 (~$2,800-$4,300) per month," she says. "The earnings vary, but the website is growing very quickly and I've now have more than 100,000 visitors per month."

Four years and over 40 countries later, she might not have a lot of material things, but she gets paid to pursue her passions. And ultimately, she is able to truly be herself.

"I can certainly say that when I'm on the road I am 100% myself," she adds. "I don't have to conform to what society expects me to be. I can decide to change my plans last minute and wear whatever I want without worrying too much about what people think about me."