So many opinions exist on whether you should or should not quit your job to travel. With many, particularly the older generations, adamant that quitting the security of your hard-earned job is a RIDICULOUS and career-threatening decision.
But, come on…choosing to quit your job to travel is not going to be that dramatic. All it really comes down to is:
- Your personality
- What you want to do with your life
- Your personal circumstances
- What will make you most happy, and
- What you consider most important
If you freak out at the thought of leaving the security of your full-time job and a steady paycheck to venture into the unknown, you’re not alone. That’s normal for most of us. Quitting your job to travel is not for everyone, and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
But in saying that, there are those who feel a sense of thrill and excitement about leaving life’s norms to throw themselves into new adventures and experiences – regardless of the potential consequences it may bring.
(a.k.a ME!!!) And, I know I’m not the only one.
So, which one are you?
In my case, I chose to quit my job because doing so enabled me to have the freedom to travel for as long as I liked. I had also spent a lot of time planning in advance and saving a large sum of cash to help me along the way.
Sure, I could have just held my job and travelled for 4-6 weeks (like a normal person) – but what’s the fun in that! For my adventurous soul, that just didn’t cut it.
It also didn’t help that I significantly disliked my job and wanted an excuse to get the hell out of there…Saying “I’m going travelling for a year” was received much more graciously than “Cool guys, thanks and all, but I’m out of here.”
Up until then, I‘d always dreamed of backpacking the world. Being able to explore and go wherever I wanted without the limitations of time, money or being welcomed back with a large pile of paperwork and other “shit-ake” on my desk.
It’s your own choice about what you want to do.
Going against all that society and those around you tell you to do can be tough– but, I can reassure you, there’s no reason to be afraid.
Why Quitting Your Job Could be the Best Thing You Ever Do
After coming to the realisation that my job and all that came with it, was bringing me unhappiness I knew I had to make a change.
I was stressed, anxious and discontent with my life. I felt frustrated about having to get up in the morning to go to a job I didn’t enjoy. Something was missing and I’d lost the confidence in myself and my abilities that I once had.
Travel was a HUGEEEE step for me. And, now I can definitely say – it was a huge step in the right direction.
I got to truly see the world, for myself. Not by recollecting on other people’s travel stories, or based on what the media tells you, but through my own eyes. And, wow people underestimate how powerful that is.
Travelling solo around the world, especially as a 25 yo female, was tough at times and confronting. You also have to be very careful and streetwise to avoid disasters along the way.
Despite this, I got to experience amazing cultures, people, countries, natural wonders, cities, and attractions. AND there’s nothing like the great appreciation you start to feel about everyone and everything back home.
You become less naïve, especially when in less developed communities, less sheltered, unlike what you’d be within your little bubble back home and much stronger and resilient.
I left Melbourne, Australia because I felt something was missing from my life, and that there were greater things out there for me.
Yet, after a year travelling and spreading my wings in new horizons, I realised that life back home was actually pretty darn good! And, I started to appreciate and miss all that I had.
Why you should take the leap of faith in your 20’s
There are so many reasons why I would encourage those in their 20’s to get out there and go travelling – even if it’s just interstate.
There is power and exhilaration in putting yourself out there and trying something that you’ve never done before.
Travelling in your 20’s is great because you:
- Are old enough to have some maturity, sense and street smarts
- Are young enough that you’re in peak health
- Have less responsibility
- Don’t have much debt tying you down
- Have little to no dependants
- Are actually working so have the money to afford it
- Can travel cheaply (without worrying about breaking a hip or pulling your back out)
- Can easily meet other travellers your age
- You’re young enough to come back and re-start your career if you want to
By waiting until you retire to travel, you’re missing out. Who’s to say you’ll live to retirement anyway?
Even though I’d never wish it on anyone, what if you’re in a severe accident and get injured, or worst case – die. You’d have never taken the opportunity to travel to that one place you’d always wanted to go to.
I saw this first hand with my grandfather…
His whole life he’d wanted to travel to Canada. Despite the many opportunities he had to do so, he never did it.
After his wife passed away, he was adamant that he didn’t want to travel alone and wasn’t interested in cruises where he would have the chance to meet people. He continued to wait for someone he knew to go with him.
In 2018, my grandfather passed away. He never took the leap of faith… even in retirement.
So, what am I trying to tell you with this story? – If you really want to do something – Do it now!
If you have a burning desire to go somewhere, just do it! Start planning and taking action today to organise what you need in order to achieve it.
It’s amazing how quickly things move into place once you make a decision. The things you once worried about shift aside and it’s almost like the world starts you to make it happen.
I’m Not a Keen Traveller…
If travel aint your thang… something as simple as stepping outside of your comfort zone could do the trick.
Maybe you could try bungee jumping for the first time, skydiving, driving a rally car, walking across a tree canopy rope course – whatever else tickles your fancy.
It’s amazing the sense of joy and achievement these things can bring you.
What if I really don’t want to quit my job…
If you do want to travel, but love your job, then it’s simple – DON’T quit.
There are other options you can look into. Quitting a job you love to go travelling may only leave you with regret. Especially if you get home with little money left in your bank account, and discover that they have hired someone else to fill your place.
Instead of quitting your job to travel for a year, see if you can take 4-6 weeks of annual leave or if your boss would be open to holding your position for up to 3 months.
If you’re good at your job and add significant value to the company they’ll probably be happy to do it (especially if they have certainty that you’ll be back).
Starting your travel journey with a shorter overseas trip can be better.
Sticking one toe in as a test, rather than jumping in wholeheartedly, can help to ease you into travelling on your own.
It will also reveal very quickly whether you like it, whether you could hack it for a longer term and whether it would build your confidence or crush it.
In reality, everyone is different and therefore responds differently to solo travel. The best way to discover whether it’s an option for you is to give it a try.
In 2014, I started with a month traveling around Indonesia and Malaysia on my own. I used it as a test for my bigger trip that I was planning in the future. And guess what, I loved it! Following it with my big 1 year trip in 2016-2017.
Will I Find Work When I Get Back?
Many are concerned with the concept of “What if I quit my job and can’t get another?”
Well my friend, stop stressing! You can and you will… You just have to be open to new opportunities and be flexible with your options.
You may be clinging to the following excuses as reasons not to travel – I/ I’m:
- Stuck in a role and I can’t leave right now
- Can’t quit my job – I’m too busy
- Have no time to travel
- Don’t want to let people down at work
- Have too much responsibility to up and leave
- Have to attend my great aunt’s birthday party
Well, to be frank – you’re kidding yourself.
The only way I’d excuse you from not leaving a job you hated to travel, would be if you physically can not leave. That is, your boss has you physically shackled to your desk. However, if that is the case…then it’s definitely time for a trip down to HR and for you to pack your things and run!
If you really want to experience travelling for yourself, you have to make it happen, regardless of all possible excuses and consequences. There will never be a perfect time to travel.
Many people quit their jobs to seek better opportunities. It’s more common than you think. If you want to, you can do it too.
At the end of the day, you and you only, have complete control over your life. That also extends to what you decide to do in your 20’s.
As to whether you should quit your job to travel, all I can recommend is that you weigh up the pros and cons. If the pros of travelling outweigh the cons, then go for it! The experience, knowledge and wisdom you’ll gain from travelling will be 100% worth it.
Where to from here?
Well, that’s entirely up to you!
- Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World at 24yo - April 25, 2021
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