What if I told you there are people in this world who quit their job and travel the world? I wouldn’t have believed it if I told myself that a couple months ago. But with the world being so vast in size, and with the amount of people that reside on it to date, there are, in fact, individuals who make traveling the world for a living their reality.
Meet Jill DeConti: the 25 year old self-starter who left her full time job in finance to pursue her passion of traveling the world with her boyfriend, Patrick.
Jill’s story is awesomely unique and has been featured on websites such as The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Business Insider to name a few. Jill and I went to the same university (The University of North Carolina at Wilmington) but never knew of each other until very recently through an introduction from a mutual friend who also attended the same school with us (thanks Rachel!).
So with a little help from social media, I gave Jill a shout over Facebook and fostered the new found friendship from there. For background purposes, it was tough at one point getting in contact with Jill because of the time difference overseas where she was at, and of course just how busy she is in general (as you can probably imagine). At the time I reached out she was initially in Bali. Now she is currently touched down in Barcelona, Spain, where we were able to continue to facilitate the interview.
What makes Jill’s story unique is that she had to mature herself at a young age, due to the fact that she lost her mother to the hands of cancer at age 14. “She was a single parent at the time and after she died, I had to become a “grown up” and worry about things that normal 14 year olds would never even think of. Part of the reason I felt so compelled to travel was because I had never gotten the chance to travel before, I always had a job and had to support myself financially & had also never traveled abroad in college. I wanted to see what was out there!” DeConti told me.
And she knew that her mom would have wanted her to follow through with this and have her spirit live vicariously through her. “I also know that my mom would have loved to see the world if her life wasn’t cut so short – so part of me wanted to make this leap of faith in memory of her. Life is way too short to put off the things you really want to do & I learned that up close and personal at a very young age.” said DeConti.
It was that realization that made her end up leaving her position with a notable financial company in North Carolina. “I actually LOVED my job. I was super lucky to land the job of my dreams after college. The turning point for me had nothing to do with my job, honestly. It had to do with feeling like there was more to the world that I hadn’t seen before. I felt a strong urge to travel and to fill my heart with experiences.” stated DeConti.
At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve interacted with a lot of amazing and diverse individuals. And with each new interaction and person I meet I am genuinely captivated as to why it is they’re doing the things they do. I continued on, asking Jill what is it that excites her the most about traveling.
“Getting to experience different cultures, languages and the history of each place is fascinating. I like to stay in places for at least 3+ weeks or longer when I can, so that I can really get a true sense of how things work and how people really live. Long term travel is very different than “vacation” traveling – because you have much more time to learn and reflect and don’t have to cram everything in a few short days!”
Jill does a great job of helping you visualize her circumstances in the countries she’s lived in. I brought up the question of the new types of foods she’s been exposed to, the cultures and fashion styles. “Food is the one thing I’m not so adventurous about – Haha… this is probably why I haven’t had food poisoning during any of my travels! But Thailand has the absolute best curries in this world – and mango sticky rice… oh my gosh, so good.
Cultures; it varies so much from place to place! Right now we are in Barcelona, Spain and one thing I’ve noticed is that EVERYONE sleeps in so late here. It seems like the city doesn’t wake up until well after 10am. (I wake up really early, so this is very different for me!) And they eat very late, around 9pm or 10pm. (… I feel like a granny here because I’m starving for dinner by about 7pm.)”
That’s probably a result of the late-night lifestyle that Barcelona highlights and takes pride of.
“Fashion styles; everyone in Paris has impeccable style. Men look like they’ve walked right out of GQ and the women out of Vogue. The style is pretty conservative + a mix between high runway fashion and upscale business-like attire” Jill told me.
The allure and urge to travel more keeps growing as I type this piece. Jill, where would you say has been your favorite country you’ve visited so far?”That’s such a tough question! Everywhere is so different! But when I sit and think about the place that made the biggest impact on me, it’s Bali, Indonesia. The Balinese are the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life. They smile from ear to ear and are always so happy. As soon as you come to their country, they immediately greet you with open arms and you instantly feel like you’re at home. Because of how genuinely warm & welcoming they are, you don’t feel like a “tourist” whatsoever. Of course, the amazing food + beautiful beaches + world class surf isn’t bad either! Bali will forever be my “soul home” and a place that I will always be returning to. It’s an absolute must for anyone!!”
I feel like when you travel, especially out of the country, you come back with a whole new perspective on your life. You’re more versed in cultural topics; you’re more empathetic to your surroundings; you start to understand the world! I asked Jill how she thinks she’s changed through this whole experience:
“Wow, this is a loaded question. I could write a book on that (but I’ll spare you!) I’m truly not the same person I was before I left. I look back at photos of myself before I left and think to myself, oh my God, who IS that girl? Before I left, I didn’t really know who I was. I thought I had everything figured out, but traveling and having this time has shown me a whole new side of myself – a side that I have gotten to develop without the influence of what I’m “supposed” to be like by other people or society’s standards. I’ve gotten much more confident talking to complete strangers, much more creative, and just a lot more genuinely happy. I took a contemporary dance class a few weeks ago and I have never danced a day in my life! Haha! I laugh at myself and am not afraid to try new things now.”
On a side note, I really enjoyed her answers to the questions I posed to her – because I felt like there was someone else out there that gets it. I haven’t traveled nearly as much as Jill has, but it’s so refreshing to hear these similar perspectives on self realization. It makes us feel like we’re not all alone when we look for something more out of our lives.”You know…. when you travel, you learn a LOT about the world, but you learn more about YOURSELF. You discover where you fit in the world. You shape your world around the things you experience. You take things from other cultures that you admire and implement them into your own lifestyle. You redefine your values and what is important to you. I think people should travel to challenge themselves and the things that are familiar to them. It’s absolutely life changing!” stated DeConti.
How does one combat the argument from people who have safety concerns with traveling, especially to the extent that you [Jill] do? “Before I left to travel, I had a ton of people telling me “BE careful!” and worrying up and down for my safety in other countries. I quickly learned that most of these people who are so afraid of the world, are the ones who have never left and who have never actually experienced it first hand. I think a lot of people sit and watch the television and make up their mind about the world by what they hear or by key phrases that they like to repeat because they’ve heard them a thousand times. But the honest truth is – is that the world is not such a scary place at all. In fact, most people are just like you and me – no matter what their background/language/culture/religion/etc. is. Everyone has the same basic needs and we are all human. There are more good people than bad in this world – you just have to step outside of your comfort zone and be open to embracing it.”
Not only is Jill visual in her descriptions of the places she’s traveled, but she also gives her followers a first hand look into her life through mediums like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and her blog that she manages,theluxetravelers.com. Jill has picked up quite the fan base with her inspiring lifestyle and drive to learn more about herself and people, totaling 17k+ followers and growing daily.
I’d personally like to end this off on a note saying that I’m inspired; I’m motivated. Our generation should realize that we are now the largest living generation to date, meaning that we can determine our fate. The generation that should steer the need for creators and innovators and ambitious individuals like Jill and Patrick. Make it a mission to achieve the ideas most valuable to you and know that it doesn’t happen over night.
Like all of the featured articles, I like to leave the readers with a piece of advice from the interviewee. For anyone looking or thinking about traveling Jill would like to relay this to you: “Stop spending your money on small + pointless things that you don’t need. Save as much as you can and make it a priority! Don’t wait for the “perfect timing” because it will never come. Do it now, while you’re healthy and alive!”
Follow Jill and Patrick on Instagram at:theluxetravelers
Her personal blog is: jilldeconti.com
Their travel blog is: theluxetravelers.com
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