Dream catcher

It’s been a long time coming.

Maybe I was putting everything away by the excuse of being responsible. But who’s it for?

Recurring question that has been in my head for the last two and a half years. Who’s it for? and What’s it for?

As some of you may know, I’ve been working as a Mechanical Engineer for last two and a half years at a big corporation. It wasn’t easy. Both working and reaching the solution. Finally, I made my mind. Maybe I can say, finally, I became brave to dig the truth that was hiding deep down underneath of the dirt of conventional life. Now I have enough courage to say it out loud,

No more Cubic Farm for me.

I don’t belong here. I believed that for over two and a half years but I guess I wanted to stay in line like a good kid. Because I was damn scared. Shame on me so called a brave backpacker. However, that was how I educated for my entire life. People I surrounded with are having the exactly same life. Get into a good school, study hard, no break, graduate, get a good job and work there forever and ever. And get married in between. That is what considered as a successful life in Korea. No one cares that you are unhappy. Though, I have done more than a half of the perfect scenario. I went to a relatively good school, I studied my ass off, got two degrees, and I got in one of the most famous companies in the country. In the theory, I should be happier than anybody else but I was not. Not at all.

But, I didn’t just give up on me. I’ve tried really hard to make adjustments in my life to be more happy with what I got. A big fat pay check by horrifying work hours let me travel whenever I had time, even though my longest break is just for 5 days including weekend. I got into the world of travel blog and really devoted myself to it. Friends I met through traveling and blogging became my asset. I found a new passion in jazz dancing. I gave my parents some money every month, and I bought nice things for them. I’ve tried to find another way out for this situation. Don’t say I’m throwing all this away by a spur of the moment. I’ve tried, I really have. I have tried to be grateful for what I got. Gratification that force to born, that only gave me more sadness. I am a happy person by nature. I cannot handle that most of my days are filled with sad and anger. I’ve known the solution all along. Better than anybody, I knew I don’t belong here. It’s a time to,

Stop being a coward.

I thought, why this is so hard to just admit and move on to my passion. It is because I consider myself that I’m not a quitter. Responsibility is really important. I believe if I can’t do one thing right, then I cannot do another thing good as well. Quit and move on is not the solution, I believe. That is why I’ve tried so hard to do a good job at work because I don’t want to be a pain in their ass for not doing my job right. However as time goes by, my patience and responsibility reached the limit. I realized I slowly became this little monster saying ‘I don’t care.’ That is not me. I want to like what I do, and I want to be good at what I do over 12hours a day. I’m always reliable, responsible, smart and mature human being in any group of people. I think this was the hardest part and the biggest push to make my decision. I don’t want to be irresponsible. To people who I work with and most of all, to myself. It’s not fair. And I’ve realized that this is not me being a quitter, this is me more responsible for my own life and start the new future. I ain’t no quitter.

Being responsible and positive take a lot of energy. If you are not standing on the stage of happiness, you have to make yourself happy to function, right? Same thing. All the people I am with in my life, personally and professionally, are hard to say happy. Happiness is not their priority in life. What is? you might ask. That, I don’t know. So many people consider happiness is something that you can get if you are extremely lucky. When I said this, most of the conversation went to ‘Who in the world do whatever they want? Nobody.’ So I said ‘No that’s not true and why can’t I try?’ and I got ‘…’. They don’t pursuit happiness, they pursuit.. whatever everyone else does. Being unique is not welcome. I don’t want to spend energy to be positive and happy. I don’t want to be the peculiar one. I just want to be happy and surrounded by happy people who appreciated happiness.

Because I deserve Happiness.

It takes some time to believe I am still who I am and no one could change that. Nothing is wrong with pursuit happiness in person’s life. And it is my life. You know when you hear the same thing so many times then you start to believe that? That happened to me as well. By getting over this speed bump, I’ve heard so many horrible things about who I am as a person, how ridiculous my dream is, criticism about my dear friends, how I am a quitter and a loser, and how selfish I am. That, all from my own family. It is really hard not to believe that once you hear that from your loved ones and over and over again. I was already broken by two and a half years of trying and fixing, and now I became this, the biggest loser in the entire universe who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about family.

This is exactly what I was scared of for the whole time. I wrote ‘It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you anymore’ by frustration at some point. I knew I will be going to listen to this. Did not expect this much worse but I was afraid of an encounter with my parents. Because I knew their belief is exactly the same with what others’. I was expecting a little bit of support, though, but that crashed right after I spill the truth out. Should I blame them? Well, maybe.

Just like my earlier post: When life gives you lemons..? I was devastated. But the solution was simple all along. It IS my life and I cannot change who I am, no matter what. I can fake and try but that’s not going to be me in any way. If someone wants me to be not-myself, those are who don’t deserve to be included in my life. It is my life. I will stand up for myself. Just like the song “Stand” by Rascal Flatt,

When push comes to shove,

You taste what you’re made of.

You might bend, till you break.

Cause its all you can take.

On your knees you look up.

Decide you’ve had enough

You get mad you get strong

Wipe your hands shake it off

Then you Stand.

I will go my way. It sounds selfish but whoever had similar experiences would understand what I said and I bet a lot of you do.

I’m a believer, dreamer and a do-er. I dream and I plan. I’m a happy person and I’m optimistic. I have dreamt so long about the same thing. Honestly, sometimes I cannot say what kept me this long. Now it’s time to focus on this moment rather than dream about long time in the future.

It is time to spill the bucket.

No more Bucket ‘List’. It is time for bucket living.

I’ll be out in the wild world if you need me. Adios muchachos!

sparkling eyes -- with plans!

*Main Photo credit : Incomplete Connections

145 thoughts on “It’s Time to Spill the Bucket”

  1. First of all… CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    I know that this is a very tough step to do! But you’ve just did the hardest one… The first one! All the others will just follow automatically… Believe me!

    You should know that you are not a quitter! You are starting something new… and something fantastic! The ones who are telling you, that you are a quitter just don’t know, as they have never done such a tough step like you are taking. But others have! I have as well and I can tell you, it’s another step in your personal development. A positive one!

    Others will find it hard to understand, but you will soon know that it was a tough and one of the best decisions of your life! Trust me & others who decided to do the same.

    You will always have the chance to go back to that “old” life, but trust me again… You won’t want to! This won’t make it easier for you, but if it would be easy, everyone would do it! 😉

    You are responsible! Responsible to find your own way in life… Just like everybody else! I’m sure you are prepared now! It always takes a while and for others, it takes forever. 😉 So don’t blame them.

    So go out & explore the world! You’ve deserved it & the happiness awaits you… Definitely at our home, any time! 😉

    I’m looking forward to read all your great stories in the next couple of weeks, months… years? 😉



    1. Melvin, thanks for comment and your words. Really, most parts of your words are what I have been thinking over two years now. You must know, you knew my thoughts and situation since the very beginning. And I’m grateful to have a friend like you!
      I am surrounded by so strict and conventional people, for such a long time, so it took quite a time to realize what I’m thinking now. Say no when everybody says Yes is not a wrong thing. By travel the world and being in this community also made me realize there are million other ways to live other than stuck in a cubic farm every single day and hate it every single day.
      Most of all, I’m really excited about the opportunities. My doors are wide open to everything. And I’m loving it.
      Thanks for all your support and really looking forward to share more stories and works with you!

  2. Wow! Good for you, Juno. I know what a huge step this is for Westerners, but I can’t imagine doing this kind of thing in Korea. It’s totally against the grain. Kudos to you for taking the chance & committing yourself to your own happiness. Feel free to come visit me in China!

    1. Thanks Sally. Yes indeed. I’m the only one leaving for ‘nothing’ apparently. Recently few people quit this company but only for Grad school or other position at same kind of company. There was a lot of barrier for sure, really. All the negativity made me weak and strong at the same time I think.
      China is on my list for sure, hope our paths will cross soon! 🙂

  3. The only person who can judge what makes you happy is you. And the only person who can act on that….is you.

    It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard to say “no” to the people you love when they try to change your mind. Sometimes it’s going to be awful.

    But you’re strong enough.
    We know it.
    You know it.

    It’s not a dream. A dream is something unreal. This isn’t a dream – it’s who you *are*.

    So get out there and be yourself. 😉

    1. It’s freakin hard to say no all the time and frankly it’s exhausting thing. To be ‘unique’ one everywhere. I’m enjoying it but it’s exhausting. So I’m going to surround myself to people who understand me and have similar mindset with me! So.. someday one day Chiang Mai tweetup, sir? 🙂
      Thanks, for your great words. I forgot how strong I am and had a hard time realized it back.
      It’s not dream anymore, it’s living now! 🙂

  4. Very nice Juno! Proud of you.. time to spend those FAT paychecks and travel travel travel.. WOOHOO! haha…

    Dedicate Gui Boratto’s “No Turning Back” to you.. it’s minimal techno.. very chill.. I so dig the stuff;)

    1. Thanks girl! It’s not so FAT anymore cause I traveled so many times with that check… hahahaha! But I”ll be fine. There are million other ways to live a life! And I’m sure I’ll be much happier from now on.
      Thanks for the music as well. No turning back for sure!! Yay for KL meet up! (I won’t ditch you when I go KL next… Promise!!!! 🙂 )

  5. Juno, Congrats! I’m proud of you for following your heart. You are pursuing your dream and I’m sure it will end up being an amazing adventure. I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see where you go next. Please come to NYC this summer so I can show you my town 🙂

    1. Thanks.. 🙂 After I post this, the word liberating would fit. I’m sure I’ll be happier than ever. There are always ups and downs with every choice I make, but this – happiness is in an order for sure.
      NYC tweetup is happening finally! It’s time to make ‘Juno-go-round tweetup’ true!! 🙂

  6. Brava chica!!! This is amazing news — congrats. I can’t wait to see where life takes you. I’ll be following your adventures closely. So happy for you!!

    1. Thanks Abby. It was one damn hard decision! But I know it’s not gonna be the last tough one. Thanks for following my steps. Hopefully one day our paths cross!

  7. Congrats, Juno! Having lived in Korea myself as an English teacher, I understand how you must have hesitated about this decision, one quiote unusual for a woman in your culture. All the more reason that you should be congratulated for your courage and spunkiness! Yes, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and as hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    You are off on a wonderful adventure, and I and so many others support you all the way. Hope our paths cross one day. In the meantime, with your creativity, passion for travel, and kind heart, I am sure you will experience great things throughout this planet we share.

    Happy travels and all the best for good health and many more friendships along the path of life.

    Ann Lombardi from @thetripchicks

    1. Thanks Ann!! Yes, you lived here before. It is pretty big thing. Still most of people around me are nagging me about what I’m going to do, why I’m going, what’s wrong with me, why I throw my life away. It’s really tiring thing to deal with every single day but not for long!!
      what a great saying. yes. do and fail is much better than not do. at least I know that at least I’ve tried, right?

      I’m really excited about this opportunities I about to take. I will buy a big fat notepad and fill it with plans!

      Hope our paths cross someday Ann.

      1. Thought you might like this old Irish blessing, Juno:

        May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm on your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

        Happy globetrotting! Ann ~The Trip Chicks

  8. Congratulations on doing it. I think it must be an especially tough step to take coming from Korean culture. I don’t think you’ll look back, I don’t think you’ll have regrets and i’m pretty damn sure your parents will come round to your side. Well done, Juno.

    1. Thanks Theodora. It was tough, and it is tough every single day. But yes, I don’t think I will regret this decision. Ever since I really made my mind, I feel like become the person who I am more and more. It’s liberating.

  9. Wow! I’m so proud of you! From what I can gather, Korean culture is very similar to Chinese culture (where I am now) in what parents and society expect of you, of how a life is meant to progress. If you are breaking that custom and doing your own thing, you are brave and amazing. I wish my own students could follow their dreams too. I always hear from them about how their life paths have already been decided and I hear the resignation in their voices.

    You’ll be great. Well done indeed!

    1. Yes it is really similar and hard to tell which is worse 🙂
      Thanks for good words. It was certainly a hard decision to make, but I believe this is the best thing I’ve ever done so far. General opinion doesn’t matter, what I think matters.
      Hope your students will stand up for themselves when the time comes.

  10. I am on the cusp of making the same decision so these are wise and welcome words to me….

    I’m starting to realise that life is about having as few regrets as possible when the final whistle blows. You are doing right by you and that’s what matters.

    Go live your dream!

    Birdie x

    1. Good for you Birdie! Cheers to your decision as well.
      Yes, we all have regrets, that’s no escape from that but it’s just matter of standard I think. I will have doubts and regrets later but it will be small, I assume. This is what is right for me for now, and for good.
      Good luck with your future as well!!

  11. Powerful stuff Juno and well done on getting your thoughts together and acting on them – I’m sure it feels better already! I can’t add much more than the others have already written, but I have no doubt that just as you have been inspired by many travel bloggers, you are also serving as a big inspiration to many others (especially in Korea) who secretly have the same dreams but are still afraid to take such a big step.
    Onwards and upwards!

    1. Thanks Andy! I’ve been inspired by so many great people out there.. and yes, it would be great if I could be someone’s inspiration. There are so many things to see, so many things to do, and so many things to learn! Just world is so big to just sit in a cubicle.
      It’s really a nerve breaking for sure. I was really scared at some point of my decision but I’ve decided to trust my gut.
      Looking forward to meet you on the road!

  12. Congrats Juno! For being brave and following your dreams. You are not selfish nor are you irresponsible. You are living your life deliberately and to remain unhappy is irresponsible.

    Good luck in whatever paths your future takes you!

    1. Thanks for saying that Stephen! I need to believe that for my own good. It was really hard to get over, and I’m not sure I am over, but I’m really excited about all the opportunities.
      Can’t wait to see you on the road again! This time I will be the one on the road.

  13. That’s my girl! I am surprised you have had so much negativity thrown at you though. When I made my decision to leave people were surprised and didn’t completely understand, but I received a lot of support.

    One thing is for sure… you won’t regret it 🙂

    1. Yes, that was the worst day of my life so far. Can’t believe all the negativities as well. Really harsh. But, hope it will turn out okay. I’m still hurt from all the circumstances but, I”m sure I will be so happy! I am already happy about my future.
      Thanks chica!

  14. awwww, I am very happy for you. I think most of us that have been traveling for a long time all had this moment in our past. And you will be so much happier in a few months — promise.

    1. I bet. Can’t imagine how many people out there have the same experience. Not a pleasant thing but I think that made me stronger. 🙂
      Thanks Michael. Can’t wait to meet you on the road, wherever that is!

  15. IsabellesTravel

    Congratulations Juno!! It`s a tough decision, but you`ll get there, I know you will! And I for one can`t wait to see where your life and travels bring you… hopefully to Europe, so we can finally meet 🙂

    1. We’ll get there! Cheers for both of us Isa. I’m so excited for you as well. Hope to see your travel updates! Europe, or South Africa, we shall do the grand Traveldudes.org Tweetup!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jill!! I was scary, a lot. It made me doubt my decision at some point as well. But my friends helped me got over the fear. It was just a fear. That’s all. 🙂
      Thanks for good words, and hopefully we could meet up somewhere in this world!

  16. Yay! Congrats- I love your phrasing- time for bucket living! Totally agree and good luck, hopefully our paths will cross somewhere on this big planet!

    1. Yay!! Thanks Jade! I love the phrase as well.. bucket living. Dream becomes reality! Hopefully I will catch you somewhere in the world as well!! Talk to you on twitter! 🙂

  17. juno.. congratulations on “bucket living”… im excited for you… im having goosebumps as i read your post especially when i saw stand by rascall flatts, its also one of my fave songs… see you on the road then 🙂

    1. It’s a damn good song! When I had a hard time to get over the harsh stuff, the song was like speak my mind. I got angry at some point and I’ve decided I had enough. So true.
      Hope to see you on the road!

  18. Hey Juno – It IS your life and you definitely have the right to choose how you want to live it. As I mention quite often to those who question my decisions, “When this life comes to an end, I will be happy if I lived a life without regrets.”

    There is so much to see, so much to accomplish, so many ideas in your head I’m sure…so now is as good a time as any to get out there and create the life that will bring you the most happiness.

    Congratulations on your decision and I’m looking forward to seeing where the new road takes you!

    1. Thanks for the good words Earl. I’ve inspired so many people out there in so many ways, and that helped me to figure out what I really want to do. Yes, like you said, there are just too much to see, too many to do, too much to accomplish. I’ve learn a lot about myself while I was on the road, and I can’t wait to figure out more about me.

      All the possibilities and opportunities make me so excited and nervous as well. Because I don’t know what’s in front of me from now on. But I’m sure, I won’t have any regret, in the end.
      Thanks, and looking forward to meet you on the road. !

    1. Oh, thanks! That’s really amazing thing to hear from someone. 🙂 It’s just matter of balance I think. My balance is just tilted to Happiness, more than anything.

  19. Congratulations Juno! U deserve a pat on your shoulder for taking the tough step towards your desired life. I could understand how u feel about travelling around the world when people surround you throw nasty comments and remarks about the idea. You know, typical and conventional Asians are not used to that kind of crazy idea of us. Only people with similar interest and passion would support and encourage u. U made the right decision to be only with the same-minded people. Best of luck in your travel adventure and I hope u see u when u are in Kuala Lumpur 🙂

  20. Congrats Juno for making the hardest decision! You know, we have the same tradition: School – Work – Family. But F it! It’s cool to go against the current, right? Follow your heart, Reach your dreams! But most of all, be happy! That’s the most important thing!

    We envy you for your courage and we hope someday we can also do what you did! Kudos to you Juno! Hit us up when you decide to visit The Philippines!


    1. Thanks girls!
      There’s nothing to do wrong with doing the same as tradition, if that suits u, in my opinion. But in my case, it’s not working. I’ve tried but it just didn’t work. I’m happy for people that having conventional life, and enjoying it. I’m just following my steps regardless what others do.
      Good luck with your futures, and I”m rooting for you. Hope to see you girls in the Philippines someday!

  21. Right ON! Yes, it’s a big leap and even bigger in your culture. But I still think family gets over these things. It’s a shock to them because they aren’t seeing the world with your eyes. And they may never see it that way. But eventually they will see you blossom and see how happy you are. That’s what will win them over. (though they may still worry and annoy you with opinions or advice.) That happened for me for YEARS and only recently have they stopped bugging me about their ideas of what I should be doing. I love that: spill the bucket! See you out here!

    1. RIGHT ON!! Hope they will, and I’m sure they will if they see me how happy I am. But for someone who is having conventional life for over 60 years, I think I am pretty weird. Well, hope they understand me better. And I’ll try understand them better.
      Hope to see you somewhere in the world other than Seoul and BBQ! Though, that’s pretty awesome too. 🙂

  22. You’re doing the right thing, Juno. You need to be happy. It is the most important thing.

    Try not to worry about your family. What you are doing is a new way of thinking. So it is hard for other people to understand.

    But you’re doing the right thing by quitting! I have so many Korean friends unhappy in their jobs. And they just keep working. It makes me so sad.

    What exactly are you doing now? Is it a RTW trip???

    1. Yes, I’m sure they will come around one way or another. Just be patient and be myself, that’s all I can do.
      I’m planning my next and very first trip. And some transition time needed for sure. 🙂
      Hope to see you on the road! When do you leave Korea, again?

  23. Juno, you are a talented person and you know yourself better than anyone else. You have proven your competence as a Mechanical Engineer and as a blogger. All I will say is forget about dreams, if you think that you will be happier doing something else other than Mechanical Engineering, then go for it. It is not a dream. That is what you do when sitting in front of a screen at work. Just like the marriage vows a decision to travel full time should be “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” but do not forsake your family and friends, who although they cannot understand your decision love you dearly.
    The talk of travel being about the journey not the destination is not entirely true. Mass travel started in the form of pilgrimages. You are embarking on a pilgrimage, not to a shrine but to find yourself and your place in the world. It is all about “to be” not “to have”.
    So don’t consider yourself to be selfish, as I’m sure you will be there for your friends and family when they really need you.
    I don’t know where your journey will lead you and I expect even you will be surprised where it leads. But I wish you ‘Bon voyage.’!

    1. Thanks John for the insightful comment. Yes, I thought at some point, I’m sick of dreaming. So, I’m now ‘doing’ it rather than dreaming. It’s real for me, not the dream anymore. The most exciting part of this new journey is to find and to understand myself better. I’ve learn so much about me during past travels, and can’t wait to learn more.
      Everyday will be challenging but I’m sure I will be happy with my decision. Hope to see you on the road someday John.

  24. Good for you! I hear so many people lately about how the conventional life just doesn’t do it for them. I think it’s personal, but at least everyone should be able to find their own way to happiness!

    You do inspire me to find my own way! 8)

    1. Thanks Roy! I don’t blame anything conventional, just it’s not working for me. And yes, I think everyone should find whatever makes them happy.
      Thanks for good words! So great to hear that I inspired you.. 🙂

  25. Congrats Juno!! Awesome decision. I know it was a hard choice to make & it sucks that your family isn’t being supportive but you have to do what’s right for you. Hopefully someday when they see how happy you are, they will be happy for you.

    1. Oh Thanks Ali!!! And cheers to our moving to Germany! Can’t wait to read new stories about that as well!!
      It was hard. I’ve been thinking about this too long. But I’m sure my family will come around after all. I mean, it’s blood, there’s nothing we could do, right? 🙂
      I will give you and Andy a shout when I hit Germany, finally!

  26. Congratulations! I loved this post. I look forward to reading all about your travels!!! Time to cross everything off that bucket list!!

  27. Congratulations and good for you Juno. Life is too short to stay at something that doesn’t make you happy. Many people are not brave enough to pursue their dreams. Your not being irresponsible, you are taking control of your life and going for it. It is something that so many people seem to forget. We are put on this earth to enjoy ourselves and make the most out of life. Too many people think that if they are miserable, they are responsible. I disagree, life should be about the pursuit of Happiness. When we go for what we want, success will follow because we are willing to put every effort into making our dreams come true. I look forward to watching you pursue your dreams.

    1. Deb, thanks very much. You guys inspired me so much constantly, just so you know. 🙂
      I thought I was quite a brave person, because I do things that people near me normally don’t do. However I’ve realized that I also was playing chicken. I wanted to get out of the situation but also looked for safe options. I realized that’s just waste of time. I knew me too well to play around that decision.
      It was really hard. I don’t deny that. Going against the current flow is really not acceptable here, and I’m sure it’s just same in a lot of places. But I’m pretty happy with my decision and really looking forward to have the new steps.
      One day, hopefully I see you two on the road. And I know we will because we are out there! 🙂

  28. Congratulations, Juno!
    One more happy person in the world! I think following your dreams is never selfish, it is an expression of yourself and the ones you love will know you and in the end respect you better for it. Good for you getting into the world. No more limitations from Korean break times! From my time in Korea and my experiences with family I recognise how hard it is to make the decision to go the opposite to the ‘usual way’. It takes a lot of courage and I think if you have that, you are on your way to success no matter what.
    If your bucket list brings you to Australia, let me know! Happy travels and I bet you have all the luck you need.

    1. Thanks Frances! So you are in Australia now? I think I remember that.. you said you are going to go there for Grad school, no?
      I wil definitely give you a shout when I visit there.
      It is really odd culture. I love it dearly but I think I grow out too much. Nationality is not necessary the factor to determine who I am. I respect elders, this culture, and all the traditions but just don’t work for me. So I’ve decided to moving on.
      Thanks for your good words.

    1. Thanks Andrea! I really appreciate all your help about OZ visa. I”ve learned a lot and I will use the knowledge soon 🙂
      Hope your travels going well ( I know because I read your stories!! hehe ) Hopefully we can meet up somewhere in the world soon!

  29. Juno, as you know this is a post I can identify myself with. I have been going through the same thoughts and situations, and in a few months I will be doing exactly the same thing… spilling the bucket.

    Family and even friends don’t understand this dream we so much crave, and that’s why they can give us a hard time with their comments and reactions. What we have to do is be patient with them and try to help them understand.

    I love this post and as I was reading it I literally said, “this is exactly me”.

    I’m really glad you were brave enough to do this and you’ll see how happy you’ll be from now on. I will be following your bucket spilling step in a few months! 😉

    1. Same thing. When I read yours, I got chills. It’s amazing how many of us share this same dream regardless nationality, personality, occupation, gender and age. It’s just cravings and passion in life. Even though people who physically near me don’t understand me, it’s great that we have this amazing group of people out there share the same thing and support each other.
      It’s really amazing, have supportive feeling to have after all that negativity I got.
      Cheers to our future, dream, and good luck. Hope to see you out there Norbert!

  30. Congratulations on making the decision to quit and follow your heart 🙂 You only have one life, and its this one. No point in spending it on something you hate! Luckely most of the people around me sort of understand why I will quite my job and travel again, but that used to be different in the past. And it can definitely be very depressing if they people that you thought where going to support you, only keep trying to talk you out of it. Looking forward to read abour your adventures 🙂

    1. Thanks for your support Tijmen! Feels good.. along with a lot of scary and hurtful moments… but it feels great after all.
      Good for you, that your friends understand you well. I think the term of friend is changing as well. Physical proximity is not the priority anymore. History between us and time are also valuable, it’s really hard when we discover something in our lives and they don’t understand that.
      So I’m really grateful to have all these wonderful travel bloggers out there and travelers who understand me really well.
      See you out there!!

  31. Congratulations Juno! the love for freedom shines through every word of your post! you are brave and at the same time humble to show how difficult a life changing moment is! All the best for your future! Look forward to see you soon in Europe! 🙂

    1. Thanks Michela.. 🙂 Are you back to Italy from Australia?
      It was not a great time to work at the cubic farm but also I’ve learn how to appreciate what I got and how to pursuit my rights. This is freedom with reason and I’m expecting some hard time as well. But one thing for sure, I will be very happy. !! YAY
      Look forward to meet you on the road!

    1. Thanks Caz! I’m really excited. 🙂 You guys are very inspiring as well. Learned and felt a lot. It truly is time for bucket living. Can’t wait to took my the very first step as a self-employed!

  32. Congrats Juno! The world awaits you so live the dream after dreaming to live. Corporations make many people slaves to the grind and you managed to break that spell! Hope you make it to Malaysia one again and please let me and Mei know if you are stopping by.

    1. Thanks David. I already been to Malaysia twice but I really want to go back especially Northern mainland and east Malaysia. It’s amazing country.
      Can’t wait to go back. Meet you out there! 🙂

  33. Congrats Juno! This is definitely a big step to take and I am sure it is not one you will regret. The road ahead will not always be easy but I think you have put enough thought into this that you know you want it. Best of luck on your adventures and look forward to following along!

    1. Thanks Jeremy!! I think this was really one of the hardest decision I’ve ever made. But I know there’s going to be harder, and more questions I have to answer. One thing for sure is that I will be happy to make all the choices, at least happier than before. That counts. 🙂
      Hope to meet you on the road one day my friend.

  34. With all this support from fellow travellers, one things for sure, you’re not alone 😉
    Follow your heart – your deep down instincts, which can’t be ruled by logistics always know best –
    And the possibilities you’re now opening yourself to ~
    Chance favours those who go out to meet it 🙂
    Happy travels!

    1. Amazing support for sure!!! I was really amazed by all the positive energy… 🙂 Thank you Linda, for your support as well.
      I’m really excited about all the possibilities I will have. Really, doors are wide open for me now!
      Hopefully our paths will cross on the road one day Linda.

  35. Congratulations! I remember that feeling well, even though it was a long time ago, when I quit my “good job” to travel the world. It was a heady mix of anxiety, fear, confidence and elation all in one big ball. To this day I have no regrets. Good luck with whatever comes next.

    1. Do you? God, it’s amazing,isn’t it? When I left the office door yesterday with my little cactus, I imagine it in my head saying “Adios muchacos!!!”. It was amazing.
      Yes, this is ‘good job’ by definition but if something doesn’t work for me, that’s not good for me at all.
      Good to hear that you have no regret. Hopefully I won’t either.

  36. Juno, one year from now whether you are still on the road or not you will be able to say,

    ‘I followed my heart. I did what I thought was right. I took the chance to life my dream. I was courageous.’

    Travel is life altering and it will make you even stronger than you are now. It won’t always be easy but that doesn’t matter. Life isn’t always easy at home either.

    And when you are 90 and sitting in your rocking chair you will have no regrets. You will be able to say, ‘I did it’ and you will smile. BIG.

    Good luck to you as you live your dream.

    1. You are so right Evelyn. Youth is just so precious to waste with something that I don’t really care about. Sometimes people got confused with obligation and responsible. A lot of people play guilty as their weapon and that’s not fair at all.
      I really wish that I can smile and say ‘I follow my heart, I did it.’ one day. I’m doing it now.. but sometime later, hopefully I will do the same thing with no regret.
      Thanks for your support Evelyn. Looking forward to meet you in person someday!

  37. Congrats, I’m really happy for you. I’ve been wanting to do this as well but the same fears and feelings of am-i-being-irresponsible-for-wanting-to-leave keep running through my head

    1. Thanks Anis. That FEAR! That horrible feeling.. it’s hard to get over. I don’t think I got over that yet. It’s still my sore spot.
      But, now, “this is my life” is bigger than my sore spot.
      I’m rooting for you!! Hope you can pursuit your happiness in your direction!

  38. Congratulations! Your story is truly inspiring! I can imagine that this is one tough decision to make. I wish I had the courage to do what you did. I am taking baby steps in that direction. Maybe someday I will be strong enough to let go of everything and go live and see the world.

    1. Thanks Natasha! Yes it was a hard decision for sure. Still struggling with the reality but I’m sure it will be better in some future.
      Can’t wait to my departure day. Sometimes it’s sad that I have to leave to take a break, but that’s reality. Hope someday, you can claim your life back in your direction. I’m rooting for you Natasha!

  39. Hi Juno,
    Wow! You did it! This is a huge step into the unknown but you’re going to love it. You’ve made the choice to follow your heart and if you stay true to yourself, you’ll be fine. As Buddha once said, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way”. Sounds like you’ve found the way! Congrats! 🙂

    Lots of hugs,

    1. Yes I did it!! Certainly, long time coming, isn’t it? Happiness is the way, Buddha is just so wise!
      Thanks for encouraging me so far, and looking forward to have more advises from you! 🙂
      I feel happy, finally. Thanks Keith!

  40. Hi Juno, this is an inspirational post! I’m on a year-long trip right now, but had a lot of internal turmoil while planning it. My family was actually surprisingly apathetic towards my decision to travel, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was being selfish and “throwing away” all their hard work and money to give me a good college education and quit a nice-paying, stable job. It’s the chinese side in me coming out, being raised with filial piety values. My parents never directly said anything to me, but maybe I just sensed it. But, like you, I ultimately decided that it was my life and went for it. Congrats on your decision and cheers to bucket living!

  41. I WILL spill my bucket too someday–building my muscles to do so! for now–shaking it violently 😉 I wrote about my take on this and the broken “American Dream” (as I call it):


    Same principle, different wording =) I came to the USA for that “Dream” and found myself escaping it. Ironic, eh?

  42. Hi Juno! I can relate a lot to what you said about turning into an monster who did not care anymore. I guess I’m in that stage already…and I’ve already been in my job for almost two years, hahaha! Talk about parallelisms. After reading your post, I am now more determined to pursue happiness and make it a goal in life. We only live once, so why waste your time being miserable, right? Also, I think your family will come around, with time. 🙂 good luck and godspeed on all your adventures!

  43. Amazing story Juno

    Another person who has successfully done the difficult thing of letting go of a past life to pursue a dream

    Good on you!


    1. Thanks Duncan, it was a hard decision, and it was totally worth it. I still am having problems with my family and friends, who don’t get my decision. But I’m sure they’ll come around. If they won’t, there’s nothing I can do.

  44. I know you wrote this over a year ago but this is the first time I am reading it! I have bookmarked it so that whenever I feel like I can’t do something, I can read this and it will give me a boost. Your story is so inspiring, you should be so proud of what you have accomplished and that you have the courage to take control of your life! You are such a special person, I can see why the Bugnos love you so much! 🙂

    1. Thanks Suzanne. Sorry for the late reply: I was wandering around Vietnam with two youngest Bugnos! 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed the article and got inspired; that means a lot to me. Still, my life is not so perfect but I’m working on it. At least I’m spending most of the time doing what I love and enjoy every bit of it. That’s the most important part. I’m sure people (including my family) will be around when they see me happy and realize there’s nothing they can do to control my life over my will.
      Looking forward to meet you in Philly soon. 🙂

  45. Those were exactly my own thoughts a year and a half ago. I had been working as a vet for more than four years… but I found that way of life rather depressing, you know working endless hours in something I disliked more and more each day, always stuck in a tiny hamlet with no young people to talk to or to spend my spare time with, with nothing to do but working from 9:30 am to 23:00 pm (at times even further)… I definetely didn’t want my life to be like that forever and ever. As my parents and family encouraged me to go on with what was making me so unhappy I couldn’t help feeling even worse. Until, as you say, I thought: IT’S MY LIFE, THEREFORE, I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE OVER IT!! I’M MY PARENT’S DAUGHTER, NOT THEIR PRISONER. On too many occasions I wondered if they wanted me to be happy or to be their great project of which be proud… It just turned out that I had a mind of my own, and their expectations for me were not the same as mine.

    I invite you to have a look at one of my first posts in which I commented precisely on this same issue. The one entitled something like Reaching burnout. http://ceraviejasachievements.blogspot.com

    Concerning being a quitter… I don’t go red in the face to admit to being one. I’m a quitter, any problem with that? Better being a quitter than an unhappy conformist, right? We are usually referred to as coward people, but we know that requires far more courage to follow your instinct than going with the flow.

    One good day I gave in my notice and my company car and started studying English while looking for a different kind of work and life. I haven’t foun any of them yet, but I keep trying! 🙂

  46. Juno I love it!
    Congratulations!! So many people will never have the courage to do what you have done: live life on your terms. I had the same problems with family and friends not wanting me to go away and live the life I wanted. I guess it is because they will miss you and maybe are a little jealous. I will be traveling most of next year, maybe I will see you out there somewhere in the big wide world 🙂

  47. What a great post it is dear Juno.

    It is not an easy decision especially for Asian people like us.

    I totally agree with you on pursuing what we want in our live and I quit my job as well to travel.

    Had the time of my life and no regrets at all with my decision.

    Cheers to more traveling!

    1. Great you had the time of your life! It always feels good to say about the experiences. It’s not so conventional in many Asian countries, but it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Cheers to your decision and hope you are keep having fun!

  48. Thank you so much for this post. I am finding it a bit late as I have only just been processing these very thoughts for my own life. It’s funny for me to read about your struggle and then to immediately be able to see how well you are doing a year and a half later. Looks like you made the right decision;)

    This post is so beautifully written, honest, and passionate. I felt compelled to tell you it inspired me and I thank you so much for following your heart and sharing it with the world.

    1. Thanks Ashley. Glad to hear that you got some inspiration from this post. I am still struggling with a lot of realities, but I think I made the right decision. At the end, it’s important not to regret of the decision we made, I guess. Hope your path will be nice and happy for you.

      1. Juno, love your story, how old were you when you left your engineering job?

        would it be possible to do an interview with you on my website?

  49. Looking back it must seem like ages ago since you wrote that post. Life has been so full, rich and varied. I’m sure your outlook on life is very much the same, live the bucket list and have no regrets.

    Good for you and I hope you achieve everything you aspire to deep down inside.

    1. You’re right, it seems like ages ago when I Wrote this. But I still vividly remember how painful it was. I’m the same person but having a different point of view and way of life. Thanks for your good words.

  50. Bravo, Juno! I realize that I’m a little slow to find this post and your blog, but I just want to say that you are amazing. As an engineer myself (who has a couple prestigious degrees, etc, etc), I can truly appreciate the courage it took to make that big step to “bucket living” (btw, I love that term). It’s very admirable to be living a life of happiness rather than a life that others expect you to live. Myself, I just went halfway. I found an engineering-related job that requires me to only work 6-8 months of the year, so I have more time to travel than I did in a normal corporate engineering environment. However, after doing this for ten years, I’m starting to consider making another drastic jump and work for a corporation zero months of the year.

    Fight the norm, and live your life to the fullest!

  51. hi Juno,
    this is the first time i read your blog and you inspire me a lot..
    i’m also a astronomy enthusiaster like you and i believe, someday, somehow, i will be an astronaut (please don’t laugh)…
    currently, i’m studying petroleum engineering to be a driling engineer/petrophysicist…
    i chose this major because of the salary in oil & gas industry (it could be a big fat pay check like you said)…
    but now i realized and i’m pretty sure that this kind of job could ‘buy’ my life… and i’m starting to get worried…
    i’m very amazed with your life story and i hope i can have such a great life story like yours in my future…
    warmest regards from Indonesia

    1. Hi Yosua,

      thanks for your message. I understand your fear, but it’s important that you are realized what you want now. Working with a strong profession doesn’t mean that you will be lock inside. You can choose your own lifestyle with any kind of jobs out there. Listen to your heart, and think hard about what you want to be, and do. Good things will follow.

  52. I can totally relate to what you went through Juno, even down to what you were working as. I have been going through a similar evaluation recently and I am on the verge of bucket living also. Hopefully it will happen before too long. It seems like it is working out wonderfully for you.

  53. After I read your whole story I came to the conclusion that the idea of a “perfect life” is the same in Korea as it is in Germany and as it is in most other countries on this planet. In my case the things my family, the teachers and the society told me: Go to a good school, study hard, get a job, get a wife at 30, buy a car, buy a house, retire at 65 and then die.

    When I still had my cubicle job I asked a good friend who was very successful, at least in terms of what society defines as successful, what he does with all of his money he earns. He was really unhappy with his job and said he buys nice stuff to compensate that. He listed an expensive car, designer clothes, a designer watch. When I asked him WHY he buys that stuff he couldn’t even give me an answer.

    Your story is really inspiring, especially when I consider that I will start my life of constant travel next year. A year ago I quit my boring job to study what I really like, I moved to London and after my studies I will head to Asia. I had a lot of fear to do this and to follow my passion, in terms of business and travel but when I think about it I can’t wait to start my journey…

  54. I just found your blog and to be honest, now I am in the same situation as you have before (minus the fat check though). And I have been thinking about the same thing for a few months. Just like you, I came from a very traditional family so you have to have the best grade at school, the best job, the highest salary and the best marriage. While what I feel I need is so different. The one thing that hold me behind is my parents and the lack of money. I hope that someday I can find the same courage and walk in my own path in life. This blog have give me the inspiration.

  55. Congratulations Juno!
    You really have the words to inspire others to pursue and find their own happiness in life. I wish you more luck and blessings. Happy travelling! 😀

  56. I have to say, I am extremely excited I located your website when I began looking up stuff for Iceland and you are simply an inspiration! I will continue to follow my heart and begin to travel the world. A great quote I learned recently was that “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough” and reading your blog has made me also realize I need to up the ante! Thank you for being you and sharing with the world.
    I am looking to travel to Iceland in November and am so excited after I read your post, however, I am slightly intimidated!

    Safe travels!

    1. Thanks for your sweet words Valerie! 🙂 It took me a while to realize them myself actually. Iceland, exciting! Don’t be intimidated! It’s a wonderful place. Let me know if you need any help planning your trip. Have fun!

      1. I’d actually love to ask you some questions regarding Iceland since I would only be there for 4 days. I don’t know anyone who has ever been but am looking to book a trip for November 2014. Is the weather really THAT bad?! I’ve never seen snow (being a Floridian all my life) and I read it’s bitter cold. I have this new found love for the northern lights and want to take the chance to possibly see them.

        I was also going to book a Golden Circle day tour because I would love to see and take some of the photos you did. It just looks wonderful!

        I’m also not a huge hot dog fan but I’d of course have to try the Icelandic hot dogs lol! I read the restaurants are more expensive but I always seem to find the budget locations 🙂
        I’m also not a huge fan of hostels so I’d have to look for a hotel of some sort but seems like there’s only a few so that may not be too difficult.

        One last question: have you ever gone to the blue lagoon? I’m debating that as well since I’d rather almost spend my time seeing the scenery. If it’s easier for me to email this I will gladly!



        1. Hey Valerie, as I said in this post, Iceland is actually not that cold in winter (https://runawayjuno.mystagingwebsite.com/runaway-tales/iceland-winter/) because of the Geo-thermal system. It’s a gifted place 🙂 But it all depends on the weather on the actual day.

          Golden Circle is certainly a great choice, especially you are going to be there only 4 days. It’s a good way to see some of the highlights in one tour.
          Restaurants can be expensive but there are more budget-friendly choices. I had the best lobster soup in Iceland! Also, check out the supermarket – so many great foods! Iceland is known for not importing a lot of food products. When I was there I ate a lot of meals out of supermarket food – salmon, cheese, yogurt, caviar, bread, cracker, etc. Highly recommend.
          I went to Blue Lagoon, but not in the pool. I dropped by to see the scenery during one of my road trips. It will be a good way to relax. But, I more recommend to visit hot pools in the city. There are many, and really cheap (5 Euros, more less). Several hot tubs, lap pool, etc. It’s how local Icelandic people relax. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  57. You had me with your Gilmore Girls post, and now, with this one! I hear you, I feel you, heck, I am you!! I read somewhere that this is not a rehearsal. This IS your life – we only get one chance at it. I am so happy you found the courage to start bucket living and are living YOUR life. You inspire me. I love your blog and thank the Universe for showing this to me today!

  58. HELLO Juno! 🙂
    I’ve stumbled upon your blog when I was working on a news about your visit to Outback Queensland.
    By the way, I’m from the Philippines!
    I must say, you are a very courageous person. Stepping out of the norms of the society (even your parents) was really a nerve-wracking decision. AND I ADMIRE YOU FOR THAT!
    I used to work as an English tutor for Korean students and this article has brought back some of my experiences interacting with them. I am sad that they are not happy and trapped between what they love and what they have to do. (I’m not suggesting that they should disrespect their parents though, just hoping that one day, love and understanding would prevail. )
    I hope that like you, my former students would have the courage to follow their heart.

    P.S. You should visit the Philippines! 😀

  59. Really happy for you that you took the bold decision for yourself and made happiness as your top priority. Thanks for this power pack motivational quote – No more Bucket ‘List’. It is time for bucket-living. I have noted it down in my notebook.

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