Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Quit Your Job & Travel the World in 3 Steps

On May 7, 2014, I quit my job as a brand manager at a very large advertising firm. Two days later, my husband and I were on a plane bound for Bangkok with no return ticket. We spent seven months traveling around eight different countries in South and Southeast Asia before returning to America to start a family and pursue some entrepreneurial opportunities.

The experiences we had while traveling added value, richness, and strength to our lives. We have seen the far-reaching beauty of this earth, marveled at man's greatest achievements, endured long, hot, sticky, crowded train rides, witnessed pure devotion and humility, watched heartbreaking and inspiring acts of service and love, grown to understand each other on an entirely deeper level, and grown to understand the vast expanses and far-reaching differences of the human experience.

We received many different reactions when we told people we were quitting our jobs to travel with no definite plan for the future. Many were negative. Some were positive. A few asked,

"How can I do that?"

Step 1: Work hard at your job

The biggest factor holding people back from gifting themselves the experience of prolonged world travel is fear of life after you return. The question of life after you return is both the beauty and the angst of travel. To make this question more beautiful and less anxiety-ridden, it's best to set yourself up for as many options as possible after you return.

If you work hard at your job now, maintain positive relationships with co-workers, and develop a strong professional reputation, then doors will open for you upon your return and you'll feel more peace and calm about creating a gap in your resume. If you slack off and keep an attitude of "I'm out of here in a year, why give a hoot?", then you'll experience a lot more anxiety before, during, and after your travels.

Step 2: Save money

Decide how much you need to save and give yourself a reasonable timeframe to save that amount. Then, do it. The amount you decide to save will be depend on how long you want to travel, where you want to travel, and how much you want to have in your bank account when you return. I will tell you that it's possible for two people to travel through South and Southeast Asia for 7 months on $10,000 (we did it). Here is a great resource that gives the real costs of 11 different trips around the world to help you get a sense of travel costs.

Once you decide how much to save, then SAVE IT! Cook at home instead of eating out, read books (from the library) and invite friends over to your place instead of going out, spend time working hard at your job (step 1), and watch the number in your bank account go up. Once you've saved enough, save a little more, then move on to step 3.

Step 3: Buy the ticket 

This is the most important piece of advice in the whole process so pay attention.

Buy the ticket before you tell anyone about your plans.

And make sure your ticket is non-refundable.

Once you start telling people about your plans, the opinions will start flowing like chocolate at Willy Wonka's factory. Some will be polite, some will be blunt, almost all will in some form or another ask

"Why?"

and

"What will you do when you get back?".

You won't have all the answers to these questions and that's okay (if you've already bought the ticket). People may make you doubt yourself and your decision. And that's okay (if you've bought the ticket). Because once you've bought the ticket, your adventure has already begun. 

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. Inspiring and concise! I'll be referencing this for my future hiatus for sure.

-Ralph

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William Braylen said...

Give a hoot, and let yourself go, your direction. Simply ahead and get in my direction, my way, today, on the off chance that you please! Thank's a powerful bounty, you peace-creator, no adoration faker, no affection faker, great wellbeing producer! Jesse James, would have said the same. Along these lines, give a hoot, and not only a, shoot in the back. It gives a hoot