After quitting my job last summer, I somehow became the resident expert amongst all my friends who were thinking about quitting their jobs. Or at the very least, hated their jobs enough to threaten to quit.
I always listened attentively and offered my two cents. After all, most of these were problems I’d heard before. Then the conversation would come to this: “Maybe I’ll just quit my job and travel.” And that’s when I stopped the discussion.
The thing is, that’s exactly what I did…to some extent. I had reached a breaking point with my job and ultimately decided that I was going to “figure things out“. Newsflash: apparently nobody ever does. *facepalm*. I didn’t pack up my life and move across the world (although that thought has crossed my mind more than once), but instead settled for a 6-week solo trip to Europe.
If you Google “quit your job and travel”, I can guarantee that hundreds, if not thousands, of articles will show up in your Google search results. All will say something along the lines of “it’s easy to quit your job to travel if you just…sell all your stuff / become a digital nomad / become a flight attendant / move to Mexico.” Those articles are partially right. If your sole goal is to leave the Western world for an extended period of time (we’re talking months or years here), then it’s “easy” to quit your job and travel. You can pick up odd jobs, teaching jobs, and / or simply choose to travel through a region that won’t break the bank (I’m looking at you, Southeast Asia). But, if you’re looking for something else, I may well say “don’t quit your job and travel”, because in the long term it’s certainly not the easy option.
But why do I say “don’t quit your job and travel”?
The reality is, quitting your job is hard. So is long-term travel. It’s not as easy as our favorite travel bloggers make it look, and it’s definitely not a decision to be taken lightly. The harsh reality is, unless you are planning to say goodbye to the Western world for a while, or you’re really keen on embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, quitting your job to travel isn’t something that everyone can do. It’s hard. It’s uncertain. It may mean doing jobs you don’t really want to do so you don’t blow all your savings.
I’m sure that plenty of people wonder what I’m doing with my life. I wonder all the time, to be honest. I’ve spent more money and time on my blog than I’ve earned, I haven’t jetted off to many exotic locations, and I’m actively pursuing a job in social media or content marketing (someone hire me, please?).
But I have backup plans. And no debt. And savings. And a travel blog (maybe I’ll be able to live off of it one day!). But it was ultimately these backup plans and savings that have led me to be somewhat comfortable with my current state of (f)unemployment. The reality is, I’ll always answer with “don’t quit your job and travel”, because the uncertainty that it can bring is heart-wrenching. Unless you’re fully committed to a life abroad, or have incredibly supportive parents and a lot of savings, then quitting your job might not be the best thing for you. Looking for a new one is something I can get behind.
Yes, you can quit your job and travel. But you’ll never hear me tell you to do it. We all have our own unique set of circumstances, and I won’t pretend that if you work hard enough or do what the travel bloggers do that you’ll be able to do it too. Do what’s good for your circumstances, and know what you’re willing to sacrifice before making a big decision on a whim.
So, at the end of the day, if you really want to quit your job to travel, remember that long-term travel is hard work too. If you’re not up for the job, then maybe you’re simply overdue for a vacation – or a new job.
2020 Update: Nowadays, I’m a full-time travel blogger and freelancer. I have a couple of social media clients and spend the rest of my time running my blog full-time. It’s been quite the up and down ride and I do (occasionally) miss the days in an office. But to me, the flexibility to work from anywhere is still worth it.
What do you think? Do you agree when I say don’t quit your job and travel? What has or hasn’t stopped you?