As a traveling mama, I often wonder if I am ready to quit my job and commit myself to full-time travel. This guest post, by Matthew Sienna, gives wanderlusters some food for thought. Are you ready to go all in?
Should You Quit Your Job to Travel?
You have probably seen countless stories floating around the internet about people who quit their stable office job to travel the world, picking up odd jobs here and there, like waitressing and bartending jobs. This romanticized look at traveling the world probably does not work out to well in the real world, at least not in such a simplified way. Unless you win the lottery and suddenly have $10 million to play with, you will want some sort of steady income while traveling the world. And your life doesn’t just stop when you’re traveling, so whatever it is that you are running away from won’t be going anywhere. Here are some points to consider before you hop on that plane.
Going on a vacation and traveling are not the same…
When people go on a vacation, their real life is put on hold for a brief time. They get to relax, unwind and unplug for the duration of their trip. But the only reason why it is so amazing is because it is merely a break from the realities of their real world. When you travel, that is your real world and not everything is going to be joyful and perfect – maybe for the first month, but not so much after that. You can’t just hop on a plane and expect all of your problems to go away. They will be with you no matter where you are or who you are around, so manage your expectations and don’t try to run away from yourself.
Get ready for some alone time…
We are willing to bet that every single one of those travelers taunting you with their Instagram feeds get pretty darn lonely. Of course they are going to post the video of them leaping from a cliff off the coast of Greece and not the video of them crying the night before because they missed their friends and family so much. If you are the type of person who thrives from contact with your closest friends, spending months alone may not actually be your cup of tea. That’s a lot of time you will be spending by yourself, so get ready for some serious introspection.
Speaking of friends and family, odds are that if you are never around, you will fall behind when it comes to what is going on with the people you care for the most. Sure, you can chat on the phone, email and text (assuming you will have access to the internet), but a lot falls by the wayside when you don’t get to have actual face-to-face interactions. Deciding to travel for a long period of time means that you are also deciding to sacrifice personal relationships during that time. And be prepared for the possibility of some relationships never really bouncing back—even with weekly Skype chats.
Get remote work…
If you are dead-set on quitting your stable office job to go traveling the world, you should think about setting up some sort of freelance work before you buy those plane tickets. Depending on your skill set, there could be tons of remote work opportunities you can be exploring. Have a content creation background? Build up a portfolio of your work and put the time in to getting some reliable clients that need content for their website or even their clients. Do you do graphic design at your current job? Start up your own website to show what you can do and work with clients to better their own graphic designs. Many companies will hire web designers that work remotely. There are so many options out there to ensure you don’t have to fight for a bartending job in whatever country you are visiting that month.
Don’t fall behind on your career goals…
If you choose to work freelance while you travel, and as you should, you need to really take it seriously and actually factor in working five days a week no matter where you are. If you do not, the odds are pretty high that you will fall behind your career goals. You don’t want to be 40-years-old one day and realize that you have zero work experience. So take your work seriously and account for days when you will not be able to take off on another adventure because your client needs that work within the next five hours. If you can successfully be your own boss, this will work in your favor.
Are you ready to quit your job to travel? Or you a part-time traveler?
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Matt is a graduate of the University of Texas and calls Austin, Texas his “home base”. Along with proficiency in 5 languages, his passion for writing has allowed him to lead a travel-friendly life, and he is completing his goal of visiting every country in the world—currently only 53 to go.
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