The Things We Leave Behind

People ask us often what we carry in our backpacks, amazed that for the last three years, everything that we survive on fits into 130 litres of space combined. We will divulge of all the contents, and we both feel a sense of pride in their astonishment that we can be happy without all the things that we are expected to have: a house, cars, clothes without holes in them.

It wasn’t always that way. When we first sold our stuff, some of the feelings I had about it took me by surprise. I was no longer the person with the wardrobe full of Burberry shirts, I no longer drove the Toyota Highlander, or lived in that house with the big backyard at the corner of the cul-de-sac. I felt like I had lost some of my identity when I stripped away those “things”.

I felt a little naked, a little exposed without these things to surround myself with.

Pete in Chiloe Chile

That feeling did pass when I realized that there were things that could never be taken away from me, things that form my true identity. All the traits and even flaws that make up who I am: my sense of humor, my love for my family and friends, and even the years of school and training that shaped me into the professional that I was.

I believed that my education could never leave me. I was wrong.

I had worked hard to obtain my Certified Management Accountant designation. Not only was it six plus months of studying to even get into the program, it was also countless hours preparing assignments, giving presentations, and sacrificed time with Dalene to get those three letters “CMA” behind my name. After almost three years of hard work, I had earned it. At least, I thought I had.

Peter Heck - CMA certificate - 800x482

 

To remain in good standing with the association, there are several things required, one of them being an annual fee of $1,000. While I was working, my employer would pay for these fees and I would just have to worry about the other requirements (continuing education, etc). But, living the life I am now, $1,000 is a difficult sum. For the past few years, while we have been traveling, volunteering, and even beginning to build our own business, we have yet to entirely cover our costs of living despite being diligent about keeping them extremely low.

The CMA does give some reprieve for those with income difficulty, or for those retired and at the age of 55. For the first two years, I pleaded with various people in the organization, explaining how I was traveling and volunteering and was still keeping up on the professional development requirements, yet could not afford to pay the fees. After countless emails and requests, my fees were reduced in the first year and dismissed in the second.

In this third year, while we work hard to build our business on the road, I could not afford to pay the fees again. And this time, knowing the hard road ahead of me to convince them, I had lost the will to fight. Instead, I talked it over with Dalene and we decided that this year I would offer to resign my letters, with a full explanation as to why. It was not a decision we came to easy, knowing that once I did this, there would be no getting them back unless I completed the program all over again.

Then a letter came, with the following excerpt:

Accordingly, we expect your CMA certificate(s) to be returned to CMA Alberta within 30 days from the date of this letter. If your certificate is not retrieved in the time period prescribed, CMA Alberta will have no other alternative then to send out a process server to collect the certificate and/or proceed with legal action.

I was shook up, hurt, angry, disappointed, and even embarrassed. Here is an organization which I gave so much time to, and their answer made me feel like a common criminal. Instead of seeing me as a valuable member which whom they wanted to keep as part of their team, all I was to them was a guy who donated $1,000 each year. I felt embarrassed for having expected that maybe they had an ounce of understanding, that they could have at least initiated a conversation. That they could have acknowledged my almost one full year of volunteering with those less fortunate, and my current efforts to create a new business (which would have led to me paying their fees in due time).

But instead, just the letter, and with the threat of legal action, no less. The slap in the face of having to send back the certificate was almost comical.

deleteI have done as they asked; the certificate has been sent back. I will adhere to their requests and remove the letters “CMA” from behind my name. All I am to them now is a “Deleted Member”.

That is their choice. If I can’t play by their rules, then I have to accept their ruling.

In the end, it may never make a difference in my life. I don’t plan to sit behind a cubicle desk again, and hope to never have to work for a person or corporation that would ever care about that status. And after the sting of this has faded, it’s just another tangible thing that isn’t truly a part of who I am anyways. I am the same person I was before and I still carry the knowledge and confidence that the entire CMA program taught me.

I just don’t have proof of it. That certificate is yet another thing I’ve had to leave behind.

 

97 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • November 19 2012

    “And after the sting of this has faded, it’s just another tangible thing that isn’t truly a part of who I am anyways. I am the same person I was before and I still carry the knowledge and confidence that the entire CMA program taught me.”

    True – it has no bearing on your identity, but it’s still stupid and frustrating. Our society is SO obsessed with those pieces of paper that we sacrifice so much to attain them. If anything, that piece of paper symbolizes your dedication to play the game.

    Before sending it back, I hope you “threw it on the ground”.

    I ain’t a part of your system!!
    Ter recently posted..Visual Weekend Story

    • Pete
      November 19 2012

      Thanks Ter. Before I sent it back, I almost let Katie and Grace have free reign for a finger painting project. I was so tempted πŸ˜‰

      • November 20 2012

        Ray would have totally added some nibbles to it, too.

  • Yup, the system is a bit of a joke, isn’t it? We did the same thing with our trade certificates. It wasn’t near $1,000 a year, but it was something we couldn’t justify paying especially if we have no plans to work in the field again.

    • Pete
      November 19 2012

      It is pretty comical, especially the sending back of the certificate. You can relate then what a difficult decision it was to give these up. Did you have to mail your certs back??

  • November 19 2012

    I’m sorry too Pete, it stinks that those ‘people’ (corporations) don’t see us for who we really are, they see us just another person to bring in the money for them. I know how that feels on a different level, having worked for a HUGE retail chain, and having morning meetings, and they talked about… literally, taking out all the ‘Mom and Pop’ stores in the area. I was so hurt that they could even say that, those Mom and Pop stores are the people who remember your name when you walk in, and care about what you are working on, Mom and Pop store owners are our friends, we are Mom and Pop people. And that was the finally push to get me out of retail, and out of brainwashing corporations and stand up for what I believe in. Real people, helping everyday people. On a different note, after meeting you and Dalene last week, I am for certain that you two are in a much better place, and are lighting the road for Andy and I and we can’t thank you enough for breaking off and doing what you what two love to do. Be yourselves and see the world! (Ps, sorry for rambling, the coffee is working!)
    Becki Orth recently posted..What’s Up With Andy & Becki?

    • Pete
      November 19 2012

      Becki, firstly thank you so much for your comment, I appreciate it so much. Dalene and I wanted to say thank you to you two for meeting last week. Seeing where you two are at in your journey reminds us of when we took that plunge years ago and it reminded us of some memories. If there is anything we can do to help out, just let us know. And same advice to you, just be true to yourself and your readers and the rest will fall into place. Plus keep that drinking coffee, it’s key! πŸ˜‰

  • November 19 2012

    The best skill of a long-term traveler is learning to adapt to the new and let go of the old. It’s not always easy, and this is the proof of it.

    I’m sorry to hear you had to give it up, Pete, but I’m betting every person with a CMA right now would trade their $1000 designation for one month of your life. πŸ™‚
    Betsy Talbot recently posted..Reverse Culture Shock: Food, Fat & Physical Activity

    • Pete
      November 19 2012

      Betsy, your comment made my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • November 19 2012

    Wow, we always believe we’re part of something important (and valued for it) until situations like this happen. Can’t believe that was the reply you received from the CMA.
    I gave up being part of the GTC (UK General Teachers’ Council) when we came to Turkey. It was’t as expensive as the fees you had but there are no reprieves for teachers in the UK and we all had to pay it from our own wages. I’m not allowed to teach again in the UK until I rejoin (and I’m not sure what that entails these days) but equally, I’m not planning to rejoin. Letting these things go is scary…until you let it go and you realise the world doesn’t cave in. Sure you’ll both be fine. Good luck with your business plans!! πŸ™‚
    Julia

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thanks Julia. You are right, as scary as the decision was and after I made it, I was relieved. The world didn’t cave in as you say above (although we sometimes think it might at the time). We’ll all be just fine, besides it sounds like we both are much happier now, right? It sounds like we’re heading back to Turkey in the spring, so we will have to meet up for some fine turkish food and drink πŸ™‚

  • November 19 2012

    Aww Pete, I feel so bad for you. It sucks when something you’ve worked so hard for can be taken away from you, especially when it’s something like education.

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      I completely understood them taking away my status as a member if I don’t pay the fees. The sending back of the certificate and the threat of legal action was what took me by surprise. Oh well, I’m sure they are hearing about it now πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for your support Laurel, it means a lot to me.

  • November 19 2012

    I know how you feel, I was in a similar industry and had my credentials stripped as well. However here is the reality, they can’t make you unlearn what you know. Just because the association, that only exists to suck money from their members, no longer allows you to use 3 letters behind your name does not mean that you have no knowledge of what it is to be a CMA.
    Rob recently posted..Perception Is Reality

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Totally agree Rob. They can’t take away the knowledge that I gained. It will still say on my CV that I ‘was’ a CMA or maybe I should put Deleted CMA πŸ™‚ If anyone asks, I can at least point them towards our post to read all about it πŸ˜‰ Thank you for your support.

  • November 19 2012

    This made me so sad! I wish they would have handled things differently for you.

    I think those kinds of things are the hardest to give up. But I guess there’s no turning back now – you’re on a new (and utterly exciting) path now!

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Gigi, I wish so much too. They teach us throughout the whole program how to handle situations and I feel like they have completely ignored it here. They threaten one of their own with legal action, smart right? Just disappointing really. Thank you so much for your comment and support, and you are so right about not turning back now πŸ™‚

  • November 19 2012

    Wow, that’s incredible! I officially “retired” from the Illinois Bar after several years of paying dues to stay active even though I wasn’t practicing law anymore and had no desire to. But when I did that, no one came after me for my Bar certificate and I would’ve been just as ticked off as you are over this if they did. You put the time, money and effort into it, it isn’t fair for them to take away the certificate to make it seem as though you were never a member.
    Katie recently posted..Saturday Scenes: Moscow at Night

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      You were allowed to keep your certificate? Hmmm, maybe CMA should take notes… You are right, I did pour a lot of time, dedication and money into it, and to ask for the certificate back was a slap in the face.

      It sounds like we are both headed in better directions for the decisions we made. Thank you for your comment Katie, I truly appreciate your support.

  • November 19 2012

    This is ridiculous. It just goes to show that the CMA isn’t in it for the benefit of its community at all and only in it for the money.

    I hope some people who are trying to decide whether to be with CA or CMA see this an example of how they could be treated.
    Ayngelina recently posted..A lesson in organics

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      I really hope so to Ayngelina, I have had a few members I went through the program personally and they are quite shocked how everything has been handled.

      Your support means a lot to me, and when we meet up in Europe, or wherever it might be there will be some drinks on me.

  • What Ayngelina said… It’s a shame that organizations like CMA Alberta treat you like this after years of being a loyal member and paying the fees… Too bad that at the end it’s all about the money and a standard letter signed by a computer!

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thanks Sebastian. I was quite taken back by the whole thing, but they have shown their true colors and I am better off with this behind me. What I really hope is the folks at CMA will have a read of this and possibly think about their actions and the implications that they can have.

  • November 19 2012

    Craziness! This corporate attitude totally goes against their persona they show in their ads and promotional materials in recent years.
    You’re still the person that earned the certificate. Maybe they should put expiry dates on them and send out new ones each year you pay your ‘dues’.
    Enjoy the freedom of one less shackle…
    Red Hunt recently posted..A Treetop Skywalk in Borneo

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Interesting point Red. Yes, Dalene and I chuckle when we see their advertisements.

      Oh well, you are right, the shackle has been broken and I can continue down my new path. Thanks for the comment, I really do appreciate your support.

  • November 19 2012

    Shocking! And one more proof that one has to stay far away from such a horrid world…
    Simon recently posted..Peru Wild Landscape

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Simon, you rock. Thank you for your support and wine is on me when we meet up πŸ™‚

  • November 19 2012

    In BC, CA and CMA are now merging to create CPA. I wonder what new requirements will be required to maintain the new 3 little letters!

    I had the same experience as you – well, not exactly – I made it to my final year for the ECMA certificate last year and then realized the “lifelong” commitment. I felt like the “relationship” was very one-sided and no longer wished to continue. It was a tough decision. I had invested a lot of time, energy and money. Family and friends said “but you’re so close, why not just finish it?”. I knew in my gut that it wasn’t for me. “Know when to fold ’em” I guess…
    The fact that my education is only viewed as valid if I pay my dues didn’t sit right with me, especially because I have no desire to crunch numbers for a living.
    Isn’t life interesting sometimes?
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks recently posted..Photo of the Week: Le Consulat in Montmartre, Paris

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Firstly Cam, thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. I love what you said above about the fact that education is only viewed as valid if the dues had been paid. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth doesn’t it? You made the decision which was best for you, and it sounds like it was the right one πŸ™‚

  • Gillian @OneGiantStep
    November 19 2012

    I’m sorry Pete. As I sell off the last of my things, and pack up what little is remaining, I know the hard decision of what to keep and what must be let go. Thankfully you are confident enough in your new life to be able to let this go, as difficult as it may be. A corporation is still just that and it’s probably best that you’re out.

    • Pete
      November 19 2012

      Gillian, thank you so much for your comment. It is definitely best that I am out. I am glad I at least gained confidence out of it. Best of luck with the rest of the packing πŸ™‚

  • November 19 2012

    This sounds like a painful decision followed by a more painful reaction. But feel confident in the path you’ve chosen… you’re living the life you were meant to live!
    Alex recently posted..Remembering Pearl Harbor

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thank you Alex. I know it was the right decision, and I truly do believe that we are living the life we were destined to. I just hope that this post sheds some light to other members, or even the organization itself, about their practices. Again your support is greatly appreciated. Cheers

  • November 19 2012

    Sorry to hear that you had to give up your certificate. While it’s probably very difficult to give up something you worked so hard for, you must remember that in the end you will be remembered by the impact you made on the world, not by some piece of paper. What you are doing is so much more valuable than an organization who simply cares about making more money.

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thank you Lindsay, such kind words. It was difficult to give it up, but you are right. It is the impact on the world that is important. I hope I am doing my part πŸ™‚

  • November 19 2012

    This is Absurd. They should be embarrassed.

    At least you have the life you dreamed of and created for yourself. There’s no certificate for that, and it’s also something that can’t be taken away from you.

    Their loss.

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Yeah! Their loss πŸ™‚ Thanks for your support Erik, it means a lot to me to hear this from you and all the other supporters here.

  • November 19 2012

    I love how honest this post is and truly admire how you have given up so much to pursue your dreams – so inspiring xx

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Hi Scarlett, such kind words, thank you. To be honest this post was very difficult for me to write considering so much emotion. I hope it can give some inspiration to those thinking of a similar life decision. Again, your support means a lot to me. xx

  • November 19 2012

    Wow, that is beyond ridiculous. It always hurts to think you were a valued part of an organization and then to have something like this happen that tells you otherwise. I am so sorry, Pete.
    Jennifer recently posted..Heidelberg Castle and the World’s Largest Wine Barrel and

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thanks Jennifer, I really appreciate the support πŸ™‚ It does sting, but writing this post has definitely helped me get some of my emotions out.

  • November 19 2012

    At least you still have the skills and experience. I’m sure the letters and certificate were helpful at some point, but best to move on and keep doing what you’re doing!
    Adam recently posted..5 indie bookstores in America that’ll make you pick up a book again

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Hi Adam, absolutely mate, nothing but forward πŸ™‚ I appreciate the support, thank you so much!

  • November 19 2012

    Sucks so bad! I’m sorry. To keep up my license is a pain in the butt too. But you’re moving on to better things in life for sure!

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Thanks Andi πŸ™‚ I truly appreciate your support and comment, it means a lot to me.

  • November 20 2012

    My time of working in large corporations taught me that whilst they like to project a cuddly, friendly image to their employees, with lots of nice talk about how everyone is part of one big family, when it comes to crunch time they are big mean places where profit comes second to none. The only reason they want your loyalty is to squeeze every working hour out of you πŸ™ Sounds like you did the work at your end, and the other end has failed you.

    Also, I learnt your middle name.

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Haha, yes the middle name squeaked out πŸ™‚ Thanks Laurence, the things we learn through life right? I appreciate your support brother.

  • November 20 2012

    UGH. That would kill me having to do that. I’m just really glad that you guys are happy where you are now. Cheers!

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Yes, we are most definitely in a better place. The sting will wear away as I know there are brighter paths ahead. Thanks for your support Erica!

  • November 20 2012

    That’s OK Pete! In my opinion associations are just rubber stamps and at the end of the day you are keeping your knowledge. Knowledge and experiences are worth more than any piece of paper.
    I decided not to renew my ASET designation when I originally left cubicle nation and I don’t regret it one bit.
    Jeff Cruz recently posted..100 Years 100 Faces of the Stampede | Day 1

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your support. You are very correct sir. I think we both made wise decisions. Did you have to mail your certificate back though? πŸ˜‰

  • lisa
    November 19 2012

    That is crazy, I hope everyone’s support brings you through this moment and on to what you really treasure.

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Lisa, the support from this post i have received has truly been overwhelming. And thank you, it means a lot to me.

  • November 20 2012

    Yikes! That sounds like a tough choice to make, but in the end it seems like the right decision for the life you’re trying to make for yourself.

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      It definitely was the right decision on my end πŸ™‚ Thank you for your support Audrey, I appreciate it a lot.

  • Nick 'met him in Boliva' Rees
    November 19 2012

    Pete,

    Burberry shirts, I think the CMA have done us all a favor/favour !

    Great piece Pete.

    But jokes aside, F.U.C.K. them.

    p.s. I still find me funnier and you have to continue to work on it at your end.

    Nick. c.h.u.m.p

    • Pete
      November 20 2012

      Ah Nick, I was waiting for somebody to make a comment about the Burberry shirts and how could I have guessed that it would be you πŸ™‚

      Thank you for all your support my friend. And I don’t think I will ever take away your crown no matter how hard I try. I might just have to hire you as my comedic consultant.

      I appreciate all your support sir, and beers on me when I get my ass back to Hamburg, which could be real soon (will send you a DM)

  • November 20 2012

    They threatened legal action to get back the certificate?! Honestly, if that is their approach, I would be happy to cut the cord with them. What a crock of horse manure. Pete, you’re better than this. Glad that you realize it, too.

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      I am happy to be moving forward. I hope they can see that maybe their ways are not the best approach. I truly appreciate your support Phil, it means a lot to me.

  • Joy
    November 20 2012

    For my first two years abroad I kept my memberships and even my stuff. This year I decided to stop paying those memberships and to sell all my stuff. It was nice to have my old life to fall back on if expat life didn’t work but I don’t need that crutch anymore. πŸ™‚ It’s actually a liberating feeling don’t you think??

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Congrats Joy on your decision to do so. Yes, quite liberating indeed. Thank you so much for your comment and support, it is greatly appreciated. Have a super day πŸ™‚

  • Michael McCarthy
    November 20 2012

    Ouch Pete. My gut is aching for you.

    In my experience, these “pushes”, while unpleasant, are often what I have needed to wake me up to a truer purpose. What I know of your life and how you choose to live it, this will be just another stone to stand on to see farther.

    “The origin of suffering is attachment”. You are much more than a set of letters!

    Warm regards,
    Mike

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Michael, thank you so much for your kind words. Despite these unpleasant pushes, they do give us fuel don’t they? I hope that we have a chance to meet up in the near future and share a pint or two. I’m assuming you are still in the ‘Peg and if you feel like venturing down to Wisconsin for a few days away, you are more than welcome my friend πŸ™‚

      • Michael McCarthy
        November 22 2012

        Yes, still in Winnipeg. A pint or two sounds great. I travel quite a bit for work so we may cross paths. I’ll keep my eye on you on FB.

  • After six years on the road (and counting) we spend a lot of time trying to make that clear to people who think that long-term travel is achieved by some sort of magic. The reality is that it’s achieved by hard work and sometimes even harder sacrifices.

    There’s no such thing as a free trip.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Cliffs and Condors – Zion National Park, Utah

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Thank you Karen, I totally agree. There is definitely sacrifice involved with each decision we make. The reward to this point has certainly been worth it. Again, thanks for you comment and your support πŸ™‚

  • November 20 2012

    Ouch. It’s definitely true that living dreams requires sacrifice, and that the hardest is usually the sacrifice of who you were before you started on this path.

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      So agree. It’s been worth it so far though πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your words and support, every comment means a lot to me.

  • November 20 2012

    Hey Pete, I’m really sorry to hear about the way you were treated and I know it must have been a very tough decision.

    Hope to meet you someday soon.
    Nicole recently posted..11 Holiday Gift Ideas for Travel With A Baby

    • Pete
      November 21 2012

      Hi Nicole, thank you for your kind words. Yes, it was a tough decision. I’m sure it was for Cam as well. But it looks like we are definitely all heading down better paths. I think we’ll have the chance to all meet up at TBEX T.O. if you are planning on making the trip πŸ™‚

  • I think Betsy nailed it right on the head. You may not have CMA behind your name anymore, but thousands of CMAs do not have the rich experiences and bright future that you have.

    Where is the designation for living life to the fullest?

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      I love your last line, no designation for that! Hence why it was not really that difficult of a decision. Thank you so much Caanan!

  • November 21 2012

    Augh! After all of that work, to learn that you were only valued as a $1000 annual check to the organization is terrible. It seems like you’ve come out of the experience much stronger and more confident in who you are and the direction your lives are going in. Sorry to learn that you had to go through this painful experience.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..FUN FACTS: Thanksgiving History & Thanksgiving Around The World

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      Thank you Mary, to say the least I was quite disappointed with the CMA and their policy. But as so many have put, including yourself, we are stronger and confident in the direction our lives our leading. Thanks again for your support, it really means a lot to me.

  • November 21 2012

    That totally sucks. And when you don’t have money, $1K is a fairly large amount. Those rules are pretty stiff. If you really wanted to remain a member, then i'[m sure you could have somehow either came up with the money (maybe got a loan?) or spoke with them again. But you’re absolutely right, in that it was awful how they treated you with that letter. They just don’t care. I feel for you. Hopefully you will move on and never ever regret losing those 3 letters.

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      It was a large amount. It was nice when a company (like most) pay for these fees, but doing what we are doing, it was pretty tough to justify. That letter was just the icing on the cake, and thankfully I’m done with them now. No regrets at all. Thanks for your comment Paul, I appreciate it!

  • Emily in Chile
    November 21 2012

    Oh Pete, I’m so sorry about this. I understand that professional organizations have dues, but it seems crazy that they can strip you of an accreditation that you earned through study and hard work just because of money. Yes of course I want my accountant to have a proven track record and to keep up on industry developments, but I really don’t think voluntary “poverty” while you pursue your passion in any way takes away from your ability to help with a client’s finances!

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      Thanks Emily πŸ™‚ I have no problem with the dues, it’s the way they handled the whole situation. I am shocked they had not bothered to look at my file from previous years, or not even trying to contact me to inquire why I had not paid the fees. You would think they would want to try to keep me as a member?!?! Regardless, their team lost a member, and I hope that they can see that this was because of their policy. Probably not, but one can hope that somebody else in my same situation won’t be treated with the same disrespect. I appreciate your support, thank you for your comment πŸ™‚

      • Gunner
        September 30 2013

        Associations like the CMA and CGA have grown so much in the past years that they do not care about the individual member anymore.
        They lost you, but they gain hundreds of members every year. We have over 10,000 CGAs and over 6,000 CGA students in BC alone.

        A former CGA member

  • November 22 2012

    Pete, it stings just reading about this! Can’t believe they actually made you send that back! We love our life the way it is, and I have to agree with Betsy that people would trade a lot to live the life we do for even just a month. But I have been at a loss lately about identity and what forms it when you are a long-term traveler. I keep hoping that by shedding all of the external markers, I’ll know exactly who I am on the inside (and all that, yadda yadda πŸ™‚ ) but external definition by others is still a part of what makes up our identity – we live in a social world, not a vacuum. Anyway, yes, so we spend all time working to ‘become’ something and then it’s gone and what are we now? Not that I’m complaining. I’ll take ‘pursuer of freedom’ over ‘Publicity Assistant or English Teacher’ any day of the week! πŸ™‚
    Jess | GlobetrotterGirls recently posted..The capital is but a canvas | Street Art in Buenos Aires

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      I love that title, make sure to put that on a business card πŸ™‚

      I couldn’t believe they made me send it back either. So many people have said the same thing, that I am guessing it is not an “industry” standard.

      Anyway, onwards to better things. Thank you so much for your comment, it warms my heart the support I have received so far. xx

  • November 22 2012

    You don’t need ’em Pete!

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      Nope, just like apparently they don’t need me πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your support Andrea!

  • November 22 2012

    Wow, I can’t believe that they would treat you like that after you had worked so hard to earn the certification. That’s just crazy.

    • Pete
      November 23 2012

      Yep, I was kind of shocked too. I’m guessing if that’s the way they treat all of their members, I won’t be the last to leave. Here’s to hoping they change their ways.

      Thanks for your support on this Ashley, it means a lot to me.

  • November 24 2012

    Hi Pete: I went through the exact same thing regarding my real estate Broker’s license in North Carolina. Not only could I not afford the fee, I couldn’t do the continuing education since I’m traveling perpetually and was rarely in the U.S. It was a difficult decision, knowing that if I let it lapse I would likely never get it back. The requirements for licensing had become so much more stringent over the years that I would probably never be able to complete them. But then, I asked myself why I really cared. I never liked (much less loved) working in real estate. Frankly, I detested it. So, in the end, I let it lapse. It was scary and upsetting because I’d worked so hard for it but the truth is that I was never going to sell real estate again. I know now it was the right decision, and so will you at some point, but I can definitely understand your hurt and disappointment. Hang in there – in a few months you’ll look back on this and wonder what took you so long. Hugs to you both.

  • Hi Pete,

    As a former CPA, which I believe is the equivalent in the US, I feel your pain. However, I hadn’t used it in years when I decided to change my life. Hopefully yours will be something you eventually don’t need either. In the interim, maybe you can put DM after your name.

    Cheers,

    Michael
    Michael @ Changes In Longitude recently posted..Free things to do in Seville

    • November 28 2012

      I think we should just be able to make up whatever letters we want to go after our names. πŸ™‚

  • November 25 2012

    Lots of people with similar stories or at least recognizable sentiments in regards to past lives. My past life was centered around a raising my family, building a lovely home in the Maine countryside and working as a principal of a large elementary school. All good stuff, but I couldn’t freeze it in time no matter how much I might have wanted to do so. Life changes with or without our help. I decided to retire really early…….that was scary, sell the family home and venture out into the world. It wasn’t an immediate clean break. I did retire, but ended up leaving the state for a year first by accepting another job running another school. This was my fear of letting go of the fierce identity and livelihood to which I had become so attached. Finally, a year later, I gave it up, my old familiar life, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. It wasn’t better than my former life. It was merely my life in the present. It has all been good. Living a life is never static. Embracing change has made me fearless.

    • November 28 2012

      The thing with us, is that without a doubt, our life now is definitely better than our former life. So, this really shouldn’t be that big of a deal deal as it is means to a better life anyways. It just stings Pete to be so disregarded by something he gave so much to. But, onwards and upwards… πŸ™‚

  • Lynn Chou
    November 27 2012

    Hello!

    When I read the subject line, I had no idea this was going to be such a heavy topic. While I’m sorry and disgusted for the way you were treated by the organization, I admire your courage and determination. Thanks for sharing the story! πŸ™‚

  • December 3 2012

    That really sucks. I’m sure it was difficult to have to write that letter, and then even more so to receive that awful response. I had an insurance license for several years at my old job, and I let it lapse once I moved to Germany. I have no intention of working in insurance again. It sucks to know you put time and effort into sometime just to have it taken away, but that piece of paper doesn’t say anything about YOU. Your life is so much better now than it was when you were working behind a desk, and they certainly can’t take your new wonderful life of travel away from you. Think of it as one less tie binding you to a life you don’t really want anymore.
    Ali recently posted..Travel Slow and See More

  • December 5 2012

    Funny I should stumble upon this today. I received my annual letter asking for my donation to remain registered as a teacher.

    It’s not due for another 6 weeks so I am going to sit on it, but I am pretty sure I won’t be giving the profession any more of my time. I feel so liberated. I think my uncertainty mostly comes from fear and the need to have a back up plan.

    You can’t fully commit to your dream if you don’t believe in it so I think it is time I got rid of the back up plan.

    I had a terrible time returning back to Australia and teaching again. My five years teaching around the world did not seem to count for much and they were going to take away my right to teach because they had changed the rules while I was gone. Bureaucracy sucks. Celebrate this gift you have been given to no longer have to be controlled by it.

    • December 6 2012

      I think part of the problem is that these institutions don’t quite know “what to do” with people like us. Which is sad, that they can’t see that the experiences we are having, and the contributions we are making to society through our travel is actually worth a LOT.

  • Paul Belli
    December 14 2012

    My take on this is that big faceless corporations and organisations care not one bit for the individual pieces which define them. Travel broadens the horizons. but as the people of the top of these structures don’t want us thinking for ourselves, travel is not allowed – they want the 9 to 5 commitment which we are trying to avoid.

    Cynical, perhaps. Realistic, definitely.

    Good luck on your travels.

  • August 14 2015

    Hi Pete, I’m just toiling with the same issue so this was great to read even if it was a few years after you wrote it (it seems like accountants who work so hard for these letters and then go off travelling the world instead of working 9-5 are rare).

    I will have the same tough choice too; pay up for expensive subs out of savings even on a “career break” membership to remain a CA or lose it along with that safety net of a well paid career to potentially fall back on. I hope I can take the brave option you did when the time comes soon. I hope by now you’re very comfortable with your choice!
    Matt recently posted..Snorkeling Between Tectonic Plates in Silfra, Iceland

  • Carter
    October 1 2015

    It seems I’m a little late to the party. (I only started reading Hektic Travels ~6 months ago!)

    This is one of the reasons I believe in firearms: pinned to a target in an appropriate area (read: a rifle range), they can help you make a statement that nothing else can. A ballistics pattern of the classic happy face, maybe, on their beloved CMA certificate??

    Your experience reminds me of something that was related to me when I was trying to decide whether to quit grad school at a smarty pants US school (rhymes with “Schmale”). Someone from my alma mater, who was successful in the industry I was in grad school for, counseled me on whether to drop out or not; I was coming completely unhinged trying to decide.

    She said to me, “Look, I think leaving YSD says as much as graduating YSD”.

    And couched that way, my head cracked open and I saw This Was Not the Path for Me. I got in, but I didn’t have to stay in. I did well while I was there, but I decided to leave them because they weren’t meeting my needs.

    And it’s held up in most convos where I’ve had to explain, yes, I attended a prestigious program, but no, I didn’t graduate. And yes, I’m now very happy about that fact.

    Here’s hoping three years later you’ve found a way to spin it that serves you, and that you feel lighter not carrying the (super crappy) baggage they tried to saddle you with.

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