Last Updated May, 2020
I have been thinking for a while to touch on the topic of quitting my job to travel the world. Somehow it keeps bothering me tremendously.
I keep meeting more and more people who are proclaiming this idea of leaving a 9 to 5 job in order to travel full-time for an uncertain period of time. Some of those people are bloggers, digital nomads, freelancers, or just travelers who quit their jobs in the name of travel and today encourage others to do the same. My Facebook and Instagram newsfeed are cluttered with articles, free courses, and webinars from ideologists who propagate the idea of quitting the “grind” in order to “pursue a better life.”
As if it is a panacea for all global problems. Ugh.
Their old life was miserable, exhausting, plain or you name it, and they were looking to make a change. So they did by leaving their careers, selling houses, trailers, cars, some clothes or anything else just to travel the world and be merry.
And you know what, travel made them happier, opened a door towards new opportunities, and fulfilled their life with purpose.
Yay, how awesome is that?
It is awesome. For some people. But it doesn’t suit everyone.
What, if You Are Loving Your Current Lifestyle?
And what, if you are personally enjoying working 9 to 5 (or any other type of schedule) and your office-home lifestyle? There is nothing wrong with loving your comfort, job, and the same day to day routine. Quite on the contrary, being content with where you are in life is a blessing. Even, if going to the office is not your thing, don’t succumb to the idea that leaving a traditional workforce will automatically make you free and happy. No, you gotta work for that and work much more than you did before.
Mark and I have quit our jobs last year too. But not with a goal just to wander through the world and see where our lifeboat would take us. The reason for that was a clear goal to move to a new country and work on our own online business. It didn’t work out right away and we actually ended up traveling the world for a little bit, but it was never an initial intention. Also, we had this vivid idea to study and work online while developing our online project and learning how to become location independent.
We didn’t leave just for the sake of travel. And, we didn’t quit to be able to wear pajamas all day long, sip juice by the pool, and do whatever we want. The goal was to change our lives through hard work and lots of sacrifices. (Read this article that highlights how we feel about remote work)
If you are currently in a thinking mode of “quitting my job” or not in order to go to travel the world, we want to encourage you to evaluate everything before making such a decision. Why? Here are our thoughts:
Ask Yourself: What is a True Reason for Quitting My Job to Go Travel?
Before responding to your emotions to make an abrupt decision to quit your job, try to find time to think over and analyze why you really want to quit. What is the true reason for your desire to leave your job?
Are you unhappy in your current workplace? Is it because you feel stuck and believe that life of travel is more fulfilling and purposeful? Do you think that quitting what you have now and starting full-time travel and backpacker’s lifestyle will help you solve some problems? Or, are you just craving to finally see the world?
Try to be honest in your answers and be careful with your emotions. Emotions are deceptive and they change quickly.
If you are simply unhappy with your current job, it is a good time to start changing it. Travel alone is not going to make you happier, solve problems, or help you land a dream job. Yes, it can distract you for some time but sooner or later you’ll bounce back to where you ended up. Quitting your job just to go to travel will not improve your life. It will change scenery but not quality.
Quitting a job with a specific goal or result-oriented idea will get you farther than just purposeless travel and hopes that life will work out by itself. No, it won’t. No matter how much you visualize or dream, it won’t improve unless you take some action and put some thought into your decisions.
Quitting My Job to Go Travel is Not the Only Option for Seeing the World
If the only reason why you want to quit your job is a desire to see the world then allow me to tell you that it’s not the only way. There are so many people in this world who are working full-time jobs, having families, going to school, living in one place but still finding time to explore the world around them.
The alternative to that would be finding a job that lets you travel or a job in one place but in another country. Moving to another part of the world (or even another part of your own country), settling there for some time, and starting to explore around will broaden your horizons and help you travel more.
Traveling and teaching is another option to see the world. It’s becoming more and more popular each year and more opportunities pop up on the job market.
That’s one of our favorite ways how to see the world qualitatively and with purpose. This is how we explored the United States, partially Asia and now exploring Europe. We worked like crazy but we traveled like crazy too.
For almost 10 years that we have been living and working in the States, we got to live in 5 states, visit 45 states and 5 provinces in Canada. We had also flown to Europe and the Caribbean. Our vacation time was too short (only one week per year) but there were days off and holidays. We still managed to see a lot because we set travel as a priority and made it happen.
Mark and I are strong believers that the best way to get to know the world comes actually through living in a different country. Not by hopping from one place to another and covering 10 countries in one month. There are so many opportunities today to move around and be able to live abroad.
Find alternative ways of how to travel while being employed. Or, how to find a job that will enable you to travel.
What is Your Long Term Goal for Traveling the World?
Alright, let’s imagine that you are one day away from telling your boss you are leaving and getting ready to depart soon. Let’s say that you have saved enough money for travels during a year (or even more), and plan on finding some work later along the way.
That’s great but what’s your plan (or at least an idea) for the next year or two years from now? Are you taking an extended vacation or a gap year and coming back to the same lifestyle? Do you plan to continue your education? Is your plan not to have any plan and see where life will take you?
Going with a flow feels great but it is counterproductive.
Visualization and law of attraction are definitely great but things don’t just flow into your life unless you do some work. Leaving to travel and not having any plan for the future is not going to get you far. You may be more disappointed and exhausted after some time of pointless travels than from working at your job.
Quitting your job just to travel the world will not improve the quality of your life unless you have a clear idea of what to do with this travel lifestyle. The euphoria from full-time travel sooner or later will pass and you’ll need to face life again.
What is a Backup Plan if Something Goes Not the Way You Thought?
I am an optimist who believes that no matter what, it’s gonna be alright. But at the same time, I am a realist who knows that sometimes things can go in the wrong direction.
By no means, something should have a negative outcome, no. But there is no guarantee that even planned events will go uninterrupted. You don’t want that situation to happen when you leave your job, sell your everything, set off to travel, and soon after realizing this lifestyle is not for you.
What, if you won’t be comfortable on the road and will start feeling homesick? How do you know that you won’t get tired of travel? Yes, that happens more often than you think. What, if you run out of money sooner than you estimate? Or what, if your desire to find a job on the road will not work out well? There are some things about quitting your job that you have to consider.
There is no way to find a solution for every possible event that may happen in your life. But having plan B in case plan A will not work is essential. You may never use this plan or may come up with another one. But having it just in case may help you if life takes a wrong turn.
I don’t encourage you not to travel. Very much the other way! This blog is aimed to inspire people like you to travel. But travel with purpose and quality. There is absolutely no need to quit my job to see the world. I have already seen a lot of it through the jobs I held before.
The reason I quit my job was not related to travel in the first place. It was tied to the idea to build something more meaningful for me personally.
Don’t burn bridges and make thoughtless decisions. Be wise. Don’t let pretty pictures and glossy articles induce you to do something that you may regret about later.