You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and Instagram account and see fun photos of full-time travelers, while you’re stuck at your desk job. It’s easy to get jealous, it’s easy to want to say ‘screw it’, and walk out of the door. But before you start wondering whether this lifestyle is for you or not, you need to consider some things.
I think travel bloggers should stop encouraging all people to quit your job to travel, simply because that’s not reality. While you can make money blogging, think about it, if it was so easy then why isn’t everyone doing it?
WHY SHOULD everyone suddenly quit their job, leave their boyfriend/girlfriend, sell everything, and travel…?
Should you quit your job to travel?
Maybe you can simply adjust your regular holidays?
The biggest mistake many people make in corporate America is to cash out holiday time. People are stuck in a mindset that no one ever takes vacations, and if I take too much then I might be fired. Some even come in when sick. Just don’t do it! You deserve your time off and you should ask your employer for an annual leave.
If your regular annual leave doesn’t seem to be enough, ask for a possibility of an unpaid time off or an opportunity to work from home. You’d be surprised how many bosses agree to this. I actually used to work from home quite often.
If you’re still a student, or about to decide whether to go to college or not, you can consider various travel opportunities available by universities. READ MORE.
As a long-term traveler myself, I don’t think that quitting your job to travel is wrong per se. However, you should answer a few questions honestly, before making the final call. But if you think quitting your job to travel the world is all good, this post might have you thinking twice.
- Is long-term solo travel for me?
- Do I have enough money?
- Can my loved one go with me?
- Do I need to find a job on the way?
- In case things don’t work out, do I have a backup plan?
Long-term solo travel isn’t for everyone
First, let’s face the truth: traveling, especially solo, isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain personality to really hop around the world and if someone doesn’t do it, it doesn’t make him any less courageous. Sorry, but if you quit your job to travel full-time, it won’t be the same as your 10 day holiday to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, or a Caribbean cruise. It will often be tough.
These short-term holidays are luxury vacations and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, but that’s not how long-term travels look in reality. No one can afford these things all the time, and also you need to spend long hours researching where to go next, and even more time traveling between places.
Solo travel doesn’t mean that you’re totally on your own. You can be traveling solo with your partner or a friend. Solo means planning your activities on your own, figuring out how to get from one place to the other, without depending on a fixed schedule. It means depending on yourself only, not on your travel agency or guide.
Again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with traveling with an organized tour group. Especially if you’re a less experienced traveler, pre-arranged tours are great. BUT, they also cost like 3-4 times more than if you went on your own.
You need at least twice as much money as you think you need
Do you have enough money saved to travel the world? Even if you think you do, it might simply not be enough. Did you count all the visa costs, airport fees, spare attractions, and emergencies? While it’s definitely possible to travel on $1000-2000 a month, don’t think that it will be the same as if you go on a short holiday.
You’ll often have to balance your budget. You might have to decide whether you want to see a certain attraction or eat a great meal. You can’t just splurge on everything in one week, as your limited budget might need to go a long way.
Read some useful resources:
You’ll often be stressed on the road
Another issue with traveling solo is the problem of actually enjoying it. I was recently talking to my friend who left his job to travel the world with his wife. They had the money, they were excited about their adventures. However, after 6 months he admitted to me that the stress of traveling through new airports, hotels in different countries, eating new food, getting sick on the road, or dealing with visa issues every few days, not only made them both frustrated but also put their marriage to a test. And guess what? They’re back in NYC, happily working in finance and taking regular holidays. It wasn’t for them.
Traveling isn’t always as glamorous as your Instagram feed
My previous example leads to another thing: traveling isn’t always glamorous. It can be difficult, exhilarating and ugly. Did you know I had to sleep on airports’ floors many times due to delayed flights? Did you know I had some issues with hotel bookings and spent some nights in a shack with an entire family of spiders and roof falling on my bed at night, instead of my luxury bedroom? Or that time when an ATM ate my card and I ended up wasting a ton of money and time to rearrange all my plans? Those things can and will happen to many travelers.
I think many people don’t think about as many influencers don’t want to post negative things on social media. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that not everyone wants to read that far into the story. They just want to see a quick Instagram capture and go traveling.
Not everyone will be happy for you
I’m not going to lie, even I thought that my friends and family will be happy for me when I started traveling. At first, everyone is excited for you, following your journey on social media and ask you questions about your life abroad. However, weeks and months pass and your friends’ lives go on. Therefore they’re slowly becoming less interested in your exciting adventures.
They won’t always ask you where are you off to next, or how did you like some places. Your travels are so far outside the realm of some peoples’ realities, they can’t comprehend what you’re telling them, let alone quiz you on the specifics. I mean, do you question your friends’ baby updates unless you have your own? I bet not.
Many people get frustrated over it, as it’s a hard thing to accept.
Experiences over possessions
Another slogan encouraging people to quit their job and travel is that experiences are more important than possessions. While I wholeheartedly agree with this theory and prefer to embark on another adventure than buying new clothes, you need a balance. Any travelers make it seem like they’ve been living out of a backpack.
Well, another spoiler alert: a lot of them don’t. And while they do for the first year or two, later on, one backpack changes into 3 suitcases full of equipment and other necessary things. They want to buy more.
At some point, you’ll also miss having some basic things. I mean, seriously speaking I’ve never seen anyone so excited about having a washing machine at the house like my boyfriend when we finally got an apartment after 5 years of his travels.
Traveling full-time can only last a certain amount of time
You’re probably scrolling through your Facebook feed to see what full-time traveler bloggers have been up to today? Their Snapchat stories are also exciting. But here’s my question: how long have these people been on the road? A year or two, maybe three at least. Some may last longer, but they stop here and there to stay in one place for a couple of months in order to work.
I always cringe a bit when I see another travel blogger announcing they’re going to travel full-time, followed by young followers screaming how great they are. They make it seem like they’re on top of the world. For social media purposes it’s obviously more exciting to be in a different place every day, but way too often a few months in I see them quitting. Why? Some ran out of money, others feel homesick, others only stick to press trips. Again, there’s nothing wrong with changing your plans but as a reader, you probably don’t notice it. You may think that the great life of travels continues forever and happily ever after…
After a long time you won’t be hopping from one country to the other on a weekly basis, but instead get a base somewhere to travel from. Traveling all the time is as exciting as exhausting.
You’ll miss your friends
You will meet a lot of people when you travel, particularly if you travel solo. But at some point, the small talks like ‘where are you from?’, ‘what do you do?’ or ‘where are you off to next?’ are going to get old and you’ll miss your friends. While you’ll make friends on the road, sometimes you won’t want to explain some basic facts about your life to strangers. You’ll want to talk someone who knows you. There also will be days that you just want to stay in bed watching new episodes of your favorite TV shows. And that’s totally cool.
I’m not here to destroy your dreams of traveling full-time, but make you see that grass isn’t always greener. I think long-term travel is great, but it isn’t for everyone and it shouldn’t be promoted like anyone can do it. There are many things to consider before (or if) quitting your job. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Many pro ‘quit your job’ type of articles will tell you that you’ll meet amazing people on the road, learn, and therefore find yourself. Logically, can this be done anywhere? There are many people who have found fulfilling jobs that take them everywhere they want to go – why should they quit it, or feel bad for not doing so? There are people who network with hundreds of new people every day, even living in the same city. There are also others out there who can speak 10 languages, yet do not quit their jobs to travel.
Here are some resources for finding a passion in life (which might, or might not be travel):
- The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding a Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life
- Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do
If someone is a boring person living in monotony, even quitting and traveling won’t be a rescue. Intelligent people can find new activities and interests wherever they are. They can travel, but they also don’t have to. It’s your choice whether to quit your job to travel or not, but the dynamics come from ourselves, not places we visit.