First and foremost, let me say that I don’t mean everyone shouldn’t quit their job to travel. I’m personally coming from my own experience and how I’ve managed to make it work over a long period of time. Some people can take the opportunity to not work and have adventures, but most of us have to figure out how to make a living while doing it. I’ve mentioned before how I’ve made my travels work financially, but not how I think having a job has been beneficial to me while on the road.
Here are some reasons you shouldn’t quit your job when you choose to travel the world:
1. It’s romantic, but it’s not realistic
I love the idea of leaving everything behind and starting out on a journey. And many have done this and have not had a problem. However, the reality is that most of us (unless you have a massive trust fund) will come back and find that they have to adjust again to the “real world.” My boyfriend and I have been living in Spain for a few months and it’s been lovely to be able to go out on a regular basis over lower prices. We know that this won’t last and that at some point we will have to return home and make a living with higher prices.
2. Stalled career
Depending on your age, this might not be an issue. But if you are a twenty-something and you quit your job to travel, you are going to return and find yourself behind the competition. I’ve been working remotely and that has helped me to continually update my resume so I can show that I’ve had work experience—even if it isn’t within the country. The good news? There are a ton of remote positions available and it is becoming more and more common. Just because you aren’t in an office doesn’t mean you can’t work.
3. Working helps you feel productive
Traveling can be amazing—but it can also feel incredibly depressing at times. I’ve found working toward a goal career-wise justifies my travels and taking time to enjoy when I am abroad. Only traveling can feel like the longest vacation in the world, and not all aspects of vacationing are great. I also love the feeling of knowing that I have enough money in my bank account that it is not an issue to order another plate of the local cuisine. Working has made my travels feel like a reward rather than separation from reality.
4. There are ways to make it work while working
Remote work isn’t the only way you can travel while having a job. I know of many travel bloggers who have taught English, worked as nurses internationally, went back to school in a foreign country, or traveled during the weekends. There’s a right way to travel for everyone, and it doesn’t (but it can) have to include waiting until retirement. Lifestyle is something you make—and a lifestyle includes thinking ahead to the future.
I don’t regret any of my travels, and I definitely don’t regret not having a more “traditional” job. But I know I would worry more than enjoy my travels if I knew I was spending all of my money or racking up debt. Again, it is thinking about how you can make a lifestyle change rather than simply dropping everything. Eventually, you are going to have to things up again and you want to feel happy and successful while doing it.
Have any of you quit your job to travel? Disagree?