Why “Quit Your Job to Travel” Is Absolutely Terrible Advice
It’s a timeless trope, a rite of passage, a seal of approval. Instagram influencers and travel bloggers alike tout it like a badge of honor as they post photos of ball gowns in exotic locations. It’s as simple as… “I quit my deadbeat 9-to-5 job to travel the world. And if I did it, you can too. ” And if you don’t, you’re a “tourist, not a traveler.”
Cue the eye roll.
For the rest of the general population, this is just crap advice. For many normal people, a “deadbeat 9-to-5 job” is the best way to make an income and afford the luxury of seeing the world. The “quit your job to travel” mentality suggests that you can’t have a job and travel. We’ve already proven that wrong.
So, then, you might think bloggers and influencers have perfect lives if they can just uproot and travel forever, drinking piña coladas on the beach with open laptops. What you don’t see behind those perfect Instagram shots is hours of grunt work, awful WiFi connections, and difficult financial decisions. The simple truth is that if you need money (everyone does), you need to work in some way.
I love travel more than anything else, but I still work full-time to pay the bills. With mounting student loans, at-home obligations, and a desire to travel slightly more comfortably (my super-cheap budget hostel days are long gone, sadly), I could never afford the trips I go on without having my regular salary. If the opportunity presents itself one day to quit my office job and work remotely, I’d probably take it, but I’ll never uproot without a long-term financial and career plan. I’m not alone in this – when I posted about this very topic on the Girls LOVE Travel Facebook group, over 1,700 people agreed.
This just isn’t practical advice unless you have a remote job lined up, or spent lots of time saving, or you are extremely privileged. So, when you see the next romanticized article on your News Feed about quitting your job to travel being easy and glamorous, down it with a glass of wine and the biggest grain of salt you can find.
It’s An Illusion
If you find a way to travel endlessly without working at all, please let me know so I can promptly do the same. Until then, there is literally no way to get by forever unless you a) have saved a lot of money and are taking a career break or b) are making money by working somehow.
Take your average travel blogger who describes in detail how they quit their job to travel. Most stories either start with a large bulk of savings (almost definitely earned through a full-time job) or with a person who is making money off of their website or some other remote work. Newsflash, y’all: running a website is HARD. WORK. There’s always more you can be doing to improve your site, and you need set time to sit down and write, edit photos/videos, schedule social media, and more. I could probably spend more time running this website each week than I do at my desk in my company’s office and STILL not get everything done. I’d almost consider it…*gasp*…a job.
Quitting a corporate job to run a blog or work remotely is not really “quitting your job,” it’s simply making a career choice. People who claim that they “travel full-time” most likely just shifted to a different career that still brings them steady income. This is not the same as quitting your job to gallivant around the globe all day every day without doing any work, despite what their Instagram posts might look like.
Travel Costs Money
Whether you’re living off of savings or working while traveling, travel isn’t free. Yes, there are areas of the world where traveling is cheaper than living at home, but it still costs money to go places and purchase basic human necessities. Everyone’s got to eat, right?
If you’re traveling full-time off of savings, you may not need to work while on the road, but you’re also probably going to run out of money eventually. Then what? I’m as guilty as everyone of traveling on long-term trips without spending time working, but they all had finite end dates. So in this case, “quitting your job to travel” actually means “taking a career break to travel and then finding another job.” There’s nothing wrong with this, but again, it shows that quitting work to travel forever doesn’t *actually* exist. Take this travel blogging couple who now scrubs toilets as a prime example.
On the other hand, if you are working and traveling, you have the luxury of being able to do your job anywhere you want. Of course, this lifestyle definitely is conducive to quitting a corporate job in favor of roaming the world. However, you still need to work largely full-time hours or else you’ll run out of options for funding.
To travel, you need money. If you quit having a job, you won’t continue to get money. It’s really that simple.
You Should Probably Have a Safety Net
When I was traveling long-term in Southeast Asia, my appendix decided to die. One long ambulance ride, one surgery, and five nights in the hospital later, I was released with a $2,200 bill (more than half of my budget for four month in Southeast Asia). Luckily I bought travel insurance, which covered everything, but if I hadn’t, I would have had to pay that money (more than half of my budget for the whole trip) out of pocket. This safety net saved my life.
If you don’t plan ahead before quitting your job to travel, you may not be able to afford it when situations like this arise. Food sickness, robbery, and motorcycle accidents are just a few of the potential issues that may arise while traveling. Travel is unpredictable, so having a steady income or a substantial repository of savings is critical. Many people make it sound so easy to just walk into their boss’ offices, quit their jobs on a whim, and take off on a huge adventure. However, this mentality just isn’t practical for the majority of people.
What About Your Future Career?
If you’re not planning on being a travel blogger/web developer/remote worker/Instagram influencer/rich heir, you’ll probably need to continue your career in some way. If you quit your job cold turkey to travel without having anything else lined up, you might have some difficulty finding a new position when you get back.
No, I don’t think it’s a huge detractor to have a short gap in your resume. However, this is time you could be spending building skills that are relevant to your dream job. If your goal is to be in company leadership or to do anything that pertains to the corporate world in the future, then you should probably think long and hard before you burn a bridge by quitting your job out of nowhere. This is why you should think about your plan for the next step, whatever it may be.
It Will Get Old Eventually
Many fellow travel bloggers have left the grind of endless travel in favor of putting down roots somewhere. It seems that eventually the nonstop grind of traveling forever gets difficult to manage. It may look glamorous and enviable to the eye of the common corporate worker to quit your office job in favor of a more exciting adventure, but soon enough you may once again crave the routine and predictability of having a home. To have a home you need a job. So, in reality, no one simply “quits their job to travel forever,” they make choices and live within their means to have a lifestyle that they enjoy.
It’s Not About Running Away
The sentiment behind “quit your job to travel” is actually one of leaving behind your current life in favor of something more exciting and adventurous. If that’s what you’re looking for, by all means chase it. However, the assumption that people can just get up and leave their lives with no plan and no savings is quite often false. People who leave their office jobs behind typically do have a plan for how they’ll support themselves, and are simply pursuing this plan instead of running away from their current situation. If you’re considering taking the leap and traveling long-term, remember to do it because you have a financial plan, the experience of travel is something you enjoy, and the lifestyle is one you’re willing to adopt – NOT solely because you hate your workplace and feel desperate to leave.
If you operate under the philosophy of running toward new opportunities, a life and career on the road will be much more feasible and sustainable in the the long run. You might get lucky and find a job that enables you to travel full time while working remotely, making a steady paycheck and building your skill set at the same time. Or, you could take a career break and return home refreshed and ready to hit the ground running in a new position.
Or, you could be like most normal people, work a job you like back at home, pay your bills, and take your free time and disposable income to see the world when you want. You can enable travel to be a huge part of your life whether you have a full-time corporate job or not – but that’s for you to decide.
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Kay is a full-time working professional located in Washington DC who takes every spare vacation day to get outside and explore the world. When she travels, she loves visiting the most iconic and naturally beautiful destinations in the USA and abroad. You can typically find her wandering the streets of a city, running through a park, taking ridiculous self portraits, or hiking a mountain somewhere. Connect with Kay: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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Very spot on! That is why Sheila and I don’t adopt the “quit your job and travel” philosophy although we are avid adventurers and travelers. We have full-time jobs that we love, and we set aside some money to fund our trips. We schedule leaves, negotiate with our bosses if we need longer leaves, and make sure we spend our weekends off the office. We find doing these things more sensible than quitting a promising career to travel (you work to generate money. Always!).
Go you! That’s so awesome. It just goes to show that you CAN have both!
Very sound arguments! I agree that it is simply not feasible for most people to just quit their jobs and travel indefinitely. I, too, roll my eyes when I see another Instagram post about how someone quit their boring office job to run off and see the world. It just perpetuates an unrealistic, and even irresponsible, idea.
Agree with you 100%, Somto. Quitting a job to travel is just not that feasible or realistic for the majority of people! Even those who can’t drop everything to travel deserve to see the world, and it’s totally possible to have both.
Let me throw in some perspective as someone who has actually done both full-time travel and full-time traditional work.
Personally, I hope I’ve never pretended like quitting my job to travel was super easy and something that literally anyone could do with a snap of their fingers. But when sticking with a traditional 9-to-5 job is the norm — in fact, it’s so normal, it doesn’t even *occur* to many people that there is any alternative — the message that you *can* do something different if you want is a really powerful one.
Obviously 9-to-5s aren’t inherently bad. Some people truly love theirs, and that’s wonderful, but you have to admit that many people don’t like their day jobs and keep up with it because they assume they have to. There *are* alternative ways to make money, other styles of work, and a variety of ways to save money while traveling – many of which you’ve touched on in your post.
There is absolutely a lot of hard work that goes into traveling full-time. The way I see it, though, I quit my *job* to travel… that isn’t at all the same as expecting to never do any work again. “Job” and “work” and “career” all mean different things (and sometimes mean different things to different people). Quitting a job isn’t the same as quitting work forever or even abandoning a career. I traded my (extremely stressful, underpaying, irrelevant to my long-term goals) job for a very different kind of work that was much more fulfilling for me.
Yup, I spent a really long time saving for my RTW trip. (I was juggling multiple jobs to scrape together $20k a year when I started.) And I supported it with freelance work while I traveled. Travel *itself* takes a lot of hard work. And my RTW trip did end up being a career break, as I’ve taken good full-time opportunities since returning home. None of that makes my quitting that old job to travel any less valuable.
Nor did quitting that job ruin my career. My new full-time job is way better than the ones I held before traveling. It is significantly more relevant to my long-term goals. It pays twice what I used to make. And it actually uses skills I developed *while* traveling. That year wasn’t time wasted! Long-term travel improves organization and budgeting skills. In interviews, talking about my travels showed I’m diligent and determined. The experience made me more flexible and adaptable. And more specifically to my personal career, taking that time to work remotely for myself while traveling, meant significantly developing my writing, web development, social media marketing, etc. – all things I do on a daily basis in my current job. Many of these were skills I would not have developed as strongly while staying in a job I found draining and where I had to spend a lot of time on tasks that weren’t as relevant to my interests and long-term goals.
To be completely frank, when people hear about my experience and claim they’d like to do that but could never afford it or don’t want to ruin their careers, that’s what cues my internal eye roll. At the end of the day, that stuff isn’t completely insurmountable. If somebody doesn’t want to travel long-term, that’s totally cool! They can just say they don’t really want to. There’s no need for other excuses or reasons. It *is* a lot of work and it isn’t for everybody.
But I don’t regret my path in the slightest. Quitting *my* job to travel made me healthier, happier and more centered so that when I was ready to return home, I could put myself in a better situation. The whole process replaced the work I hated with work I find engaging and fulfilling. Had I never seen one of those glamorized “how to quit your job to travel” type posts, it never would have even occurred to me that there was an alternative.
All that said, Kay, I do really enjoy seeing your blog posts now that I’m back behind a (bigger, less stressful) desk, so I can continue enjoying travel! There are so many ways to go about it and none is universally better than the others.
10 Really Good Reasons Why NOT to Quit Your Job to Travel the World
Don’t Quit Your Job to Travel the World Until You Read This
So you want to quit your job to travel the world? Or more like you wish you could quit your job to travel the world, like all those travel bloggers you follow with envy. The idea of traveling non-stop for a year or more and experiencing what life has to offer beyond work and life is appealing to so many of us – especially when we are stressed out at work and overwhelmed by life.
Travel Bloggers Who Said I Quit
Are you likely to make the same life, family, and career decision?
The very fact that you found this blog post means you already know deep down it is not in your best interests to “jump ship” and worry about the consequences later.
Why Quitting before Retirement is a Bad Idea
The urge to leave your regular life behind and head to the airport for spontaneous adventure is both normal and healthy. Who wants to be stuck in a career path that doesn’t end until you hit age 65 (if you’re lucky!)? Life must have more to offer than year after year of work with a depressingly small amount of time off for family, travel, and enrichment.
If leaving your job responsibilities behind to travel full-time was such a good idea, more people would be doing it, right?
Yes, I wish wholeheartedly that our economic system would allow people to break free from this fixed pattern of school->work->retirement. Who wants to wait until they are much older to travel with no reservations? Perhaps one day society will allow people to work part-time and still earn a living or take a few years off without harming their career prospects and financial security. In the meantime, you have to learn how to travel as often as possible while working full-time.
So for the responsible person in all of us, I present 10 really good reasons against handing in your resignation right now to be on permanent vacation.
1. You’ll jeopardize your earning potential
Your current salary has only one way to go – up! As you succeed at your job and gain new skills and experience, you’ll be rewarded with pay increases. Hopefully those will include inflation or cost of living increases, performance based pay increases, profit-sharing bonuses, and promotions that raise your base salary. In certain lines of work, salary increases are in line with your job level and the number of years of service at your company.
If you decide to quit your job to travel for a year or more you’ll lose not only actual earnings, but also compensation momentum at work. When you do return to the job market, will you be able to find a new job at the same level of salary as you would have been earning if you hadn’t taken an extended break?
You’ll have to explain to the recruiter or hiring manager why you left your job to travel the world when applying for a new position. You’ll also have to negotiate for a compensation and time-off benefits package that doesn’t put you back a level or two had you not temporarily given up on your career. Is it worth it?
2. You have a family to support
When you have a spouse and kids to think about, quitting your job to travel the world is probably impossible for many important reasons. Raising a family costs big money. Not to mention that your children can’t “quit” school the same way you can quit your own job. Homeschooling is always a possibility, but beyond that there are financial reasons to put family before travel.
We’re talking about home mortgages, car costs, school fees, extra-curricular activities, life and disability insurance, and the basics of clothing and feeding your entire family. You also need to save up for short-term emergencies including medical, natural disaster, or if you get laid off unexpectedly. Unless you have already saved up millions, family finance has to come before extreme travel.
By staying employed you can save up for your family’s needs now and at least until the kids have completed college. Traveling should be an important part of raising a family. However, giving up everything to travel full-time with them is not going to be realistic for the overwhelming majority of us.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be taking vacations with your family and traveling on the weekends, official school and work holidays, and during summer break to places both near and far. Travel is an essential part of every child’s education, so don’t skimp when it comes to vacations. There are so many lessons to be learned by exploring our own country and going abroad. Plus travel becomes a family bonding experience whose rewards people without children can only imagine.
Now what if you are single, have no family, and never plan to have a family? Well if you fall into that lifestyle this reason doesn’t apply to you. You are your own family so have don’t have to think about home, schooling, and supporting a family. For families, embracing the rewards of children likely means that you won’t feel secure quitting your job; at least until the kids are all grown up.
3. You won’t be able to retire on-time (or early)
Saving for retirement is a necessity for us all. We can’t rely on social security to pay for more than basic living expenses, so don’t expect it to fund your travel passion after retiring from work. Putting away as much money as you can afford into a retirement account is essential. The important fact you must take seriously is the power of compounding.
Your retirement investment account will be incredibly larger if you invest more in your 20’s and 30’s and not wait until your 40’s and 50’s. You’ve probably seen a similar eye-opening chart from a benefits presentation done by your HR department. It isn’t magic. Your account balance at retirement can be hundreds of thousands of dollars greater if you start early and keep investing.
401K Start Early, Retire Early Example
This example compares 2 employees who first start contributing to a 401K plan. The first is 28 and earning $40,000 per year while the second is age 35 and making a salary of $50,000 . Each contributes 10% of their salary (plus a partial employee match) and gets a raise of 3% per year. Assuming a 7% rate of return, at age 65 the 28-year-old could have $372K more in their 401K account simply by starting earlier. Wow, that’s a huge sum!
Try out the calculator yourself and see the massive difference it can make in your ability to afford to travel after retiring.
Source: BankRate.com 401(k) Savings Calculator
[Disclaimer: This example or calculator is not intended to provide investment advice and is for illustrative purposes only. ]
Also remember that there are tax incentives for contributing to a retirement fund while working. By contributing the maximum amount to your retirement fund in a year as regulated by the IRS, you’ll earn more in each paycheck. Finally a majority of companies that offer a 401K plan will match your contributions up to a specific limit. Unless you are taking full advantage of your 401(K) plan match, you are jeopardizing your ability to save enough for a retirement full of boundless travel.
4. You’ll lose vacation day benefits momentum
Quick! Take a look at the section of your HR benefits handbook that specifies paid time off. How many years do you need to work before you will automatically earn additional annual vacation days? Most companies start you off at a set number of vacation days per year like 10 days (2 weeks) or 15 days (3 weeks). In order to earn an extra vacation day or week of paid vacation, you usually have to be working at the same company for a number of years.
When you quit your job you may have to start over on the path to more weeks of vacation time off from work. Is it worth it? Reaching 3, 4, or even 5 weeks of vacation days at your place of employment is a wonderful milestone. If you have a fulfilling and rewarding job, quitting it to travel the world could mean that when you return you’ll be able to take fewer vacations than before.
In the long run is it worth it? Do the vacation math using your own situation and benefits to help you decide.
5. The world isn’t going anywhere
Travel is not a competitive sport, so what’s the rush? It has never been easier to fly to almost any country in the world and there is no reason to believe this will change anytime soon. Yes, some destinations are at high risk from the effects of mass tourism, unrest, or environmental destruction. That is why you need to create a travel bucket list to prioritize your picks accordingly.
Venice for example experiences regular flooding and the problem may get worse (or will their massive seawall project improve things?). Islands in the South Pacific that are near sea level may not be as lucky in the coming years. So, if you are an island person, make plans to go island hopping before it is too late. As for mass tourism, there are strategies to avoid the increasing crowds at the Trevi Fountain in Rome or Time Square in New York City as prime examples. Simply time your visit to an off-peak period of the year to enjoy these iconic world destinations without elbowing your way in and out.
As for the rest of the world, you probably have decades of travel ahead of you. You don’t need to visit more countries than the next person to “win” at travel. Make a list of all the places you want to visit and take notes as you envision each ideal itinerary. You may choose to travel slowly to get to know a country inside and out or maximize every vacation day by combining multiple destinations in quick succession.
Whatever your travel style, there is plenty of time to plan, book, and travel the world one vacation-at-a-time for the rest of your life.
6. You honestly cannot afford to
Can you truly afford to quit your job to travel the world? Probably not despite what many travel bloggers tell you about the low cost of living in an exotic third-world country. Yes you can save up, quit your job, and earn a few bucks doing odd jobs while hopping from country to country. However that’s not all I’m talking about in this point. You may be able to afford to pay for your travels, but that is not the only cost to giving up your full-time job to become a globetrotter.
Think of all the financial responsibilities you have at home every month. Which can you give up and what are the risks? If you own a home you probably need to keep making mortgage payments, not to mention real estate taxes, insurance, and maintenance. Renting out your home may cover some of these costs if you’re lucky. Also think about the cost of keeping a health insurance plan (coverage lapses are not a good thing), life insurance, and the lost tax-free contributions to your retirement plan (see #3 above). What will you do with your car, memberships, and how about receiving mail and paying your bills while far away from home?
Remember that you won’t earn a salary as long as you don’t have a job. Upon your return home how long will it take to find a new job and make up that loss? So while you can probably afford to travel the world if you save up, the true cost to your long-term wealth is much much higher.
7. Travel is more enjoyable when you plan ahead
The idea of being on permanent vacation moving from country to country is thrilling. If it wasn’t you wouldn’t be having these fantasies. The reality is that you may not enjoy the hardships of non-stop travel. We aren’t talking about a packaged tour where a bus or cruise ship takes you from place to place and all you have to do is show up. Traveling around the world without a plan is a mentally and physically challenging endeavor that shouldn’t be taken on lightly.
I’m a planner in life and a planner when it comes to taking vacations with my amazing wife. While I research, optimize, book, and build the perfect trip itinerary, she photographs and documents our vacations over at SidewalkSafari.com. It is a perfect complement of talents. We know that we wouldn’t be as happy if we were traveling the world with no plan and without a home or job to return to.
Vacations are much more enjoyable when you know more about where you are going before you arrive. Not to mention that we all want to be smart with our vacation budget while traveling safely. Learning at least a few words of a foreign language and insights into local customs is also an essential element of planning ahead. Planning a trip includes booking the perfect hotel, getting tickets for a special event, knowing what not to miss, and at the same time getting the most value for your money. All this preparation makes each and every trip we take that much more enjoyable, rewarding, and amazing.
When we have achieved all that we planned and hoped for on vacation, we can return to the comfort of our own home and reflect upon the experience. After spending so much time and money on travel, we want to ensure that every trip is memorable by blogging and sharing the stories with family and friends. While I think I’d want to be on the no-collar team like on the TV show Survivor, in reality I prefer the white-collar or blue-collar approach to work, life, and travel.
8. You can’t legally live anywhere you choose
With a U.S. passport you can visit a whopping 174 countries and territories around the world without a visa or by getting an automatic visa upon arrival. That’s incredible and it makes travel easier than ever. It’s not just U.S. citizens but also holders of passports from most European countries including the UK, Germany, Sweden, and Finland that rank at the top of the Visa Restrictions Index. However just because you can visit a place on vacation doesn’t mean you can live or work there legally.
There is an immigration issue to contend with if you plan on traveling around the world without doing your legal homework. The total number of days that you can remain in each country varies greatly. Visa-free travel is only for leisure and holiday purposes and it is against the law to overstay your visa or to engage in paid work without a visa. So your notion of renting a beach bungalow or city apartment and spending several months becoming a temporary local may not be permissible. Neither is getting a job at an expat bar or selling your web skills to local businesses.
You’ll have to review the immigration laws in advance and seek out the necessary visa or approval, not to mention dealing with the requisite bureaucracy that’s ever present. With normal vacation travel, you’ll rarely have to worry about visas and the risk of being denied permission to remain in any one country for a reasonable period.
9. Personal and family health care
For health reasons it may not be prudent to be traveling non-stop. You may have your own medical condition that requires doctors’ visits and regular follow-on care. Perhaps you have an ailing family member who you want to help and keep an eye on. It is much easier to come back early from a 2-week trip for health reasons than when you leave it all behind to travel the world.
If you do decide to quit your job despite health concerns, make sure to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy. The coverage can be for you and your family and pay for doctor visits and hospitalization when in a foreign country. Depending upon the length of your trip, a travel insurance policy could reimburse you to cut a trip short when a family member becomes ill or passes away. It can be very costly to seek treatment abroad or fly home to seek treatment for yourself or a family member, so global health insurance is essential if you ever quit your job to travel the world.
10. You already have more time off to travel than you think
VacationCounts readers will already know about #10. We all have more time off from work than we realize when we learn how to optimize our work-life-vacation balance. You’ll just have to adjust your mindset and travel the world country by country and vacation by vacation. Make a travel bucket list, save up to take more vacations each year, research destinations you wish to visit, and go!
Our blog is full of advice posts that help you to maximize your limited time off from work and life so you can travel more. You really can learn how to travel the world now and forever without quitting your day job. I think you’ll find this approach to travel to be a better fit for your work, life, and travel happiness goals.
Let us know why you decided NOT to quit your job, but still make the time to travel the world one vacation at a time (include your comment below). Also join the movement to take more vacation time off work and life by subscribing to our free blog email newsletter.
30 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Your Job to Travel
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It’s been a few years since we quit our jobs, hopped on a plane, and left for our year-long honeymoon. For years, all I wanted to do was leave my job in corporate America and go off an amazing journey, traveling all around the world and having incredible adventures.
I daydreamed all day long and planned all night (by that I mostly mean I spent a lot of time on Pinterest pinning travel inspiration). My search history was filled with questions like “how to quit your job and travel for a year” and “will I regret quitting my job to travel” .
Finally, I set a date to realize my dream: in five years, I told myself, I’m going to quit my job and travel.
And so for five very long years I waited and schemed and plotted and saved and met a cute guy and invited him along on my trip and then married him.
And then it was time. The date had arrived. We quit our jobs. We went traveling.
We spent a year navigating through foreign places together, attempting adventurous activities and totally falling on our faces time after time (lookin’ at you, waterfall rappelling catastrophe, Machu Picchu fail, and disastrous French road trip).
Through trial and error (OK … error and error), we learned that we weren’t the kind of travelers we WANTED to be at all.
Now that it’s really and truly over, we want to share some of our learnings. We’ve got a few pieces of information – some useful, some completely useless – to pass along to anyone considering quitting their jobs and taking a grown-up gap year to travel.
So without further ado, here’s all the stuff that nobody tells you about quitting your job to go travel!
2022 Travel Tip: Vaxed, boosted and feeling ready to travel again? YAY! Us too! But things can change quickly, so as soon as you buy your tickets, make sure to buy travel insurance in case you need to unexpectedly delay, cancel, or extend your trip. We recommend World Nomads and SafetyWing. For more details, head to our travel insurance guide!
Table of Contents
Wish you could quit your job & travel?
Listen: it’s time to stop dreaming and start planning. My best-selling book, How to Quit Your Job & Travel, is a practical, step-by-step guide to one of the most exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying things you’ll ever do.
You’ll learn how to tackle each of the challenges of long-term travel, from finances to fear to returning to reality – and all the nitty-gritty logistics along the way. Ready to get started?
Psst…Planning on quitting your job to travel? Here are some of our other posts that might be helpful!
Preparing for long-term travel is overwhelming. We’ve been there – and we want to help! We’ve created a printable Long Term Travel Checklist & Packing List to guide you through the process – and we’ll send you plenty of tips to help you plan (& soothe your anxiety).
Towards the end of our year-long honeymoon in Mexico City, Mexico, looking as put-together as we possibly could after a year of backpacking!
The Reality Of Quitting Your Job To Travel
Quitting my job to travel for a year was the scariest – and most exhilarating – thing I’ve ever done in my life. The year before I got on that plane and left was a whirlwind of trip planning, packing, coordinating logistics, and difficult conversations. (Also, I was planning a wedding at the same time – which I strongly recommend NOT doing.)
From figuring out how to pack my entire life into a backpack, to mentally preparing to leave my comfort zone & the life I’d spent years building, to the terrifying prospect of actually quitting my job – every single step was a milestone. And that was all BEFORE I actually got on the plane!
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect… and I made just about every rookie mistake. I over-planned parts of my trip, under planned entire months that we spent aimlessly wandering, signed us up for difficult (and expensive) multi-day treks that we weren’t physically prepared for, got miserably sick in almost every country we visited, filed several expensive claims with our travel insurance company (bless them), and a year later, we returned home to a handful of defaulted student loans and a jarring disconnect between the life we’d been leading for the past year and the reality we’d returned to.
But a few years later, I look back on that crazy, disastrous trip and truly say that it changed my life in so many wonderful, unexpectedly amazing ways. And I don’t regret any of it. Even the disasters!
And our lives post-trip? They look VERY different from our lives pre-trip.
We had an incredible year-long honeymoon, which was nothing like what we’d expected (here’s what happened). And when we came back, everything changed.
30 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Your Job to Go Travel
1. You won’t tell anyone that you plan to quit your job and go travel on the off-chance that saying it out loud will somehow jinx it.
You’ll hold onto it like a prized secret. It will be all you think about, but you won’t tell anyone until it’s TOO LATE to back out: until tickets are purchased, hotels are booked, and it’s really real.
You’ll smile pleasantly and nod at your co-workers when they tell you about their weekends, secretly doing mental cartwheels because you have this super exciting, all-consuming secret that you want to shout from the rooftops but can’t … yet. (Psst: here’s the post I wrote the day I quit my job!)
2. Your trip will be all you think about right up until the second you leave.
You will be a singularly-minded machine of focus, planning, and obsession. Nothing else will even cross your radar.
You might be having an important conversation or giving a presentation, but in your mind all that’s happening is a rotating mental Instagram stream of photos of yourself in various glamorous locations, lounging on caftans (whatever those are ) and wearing floaty pants and eating exotic fruits like ~mango~ or whatever and laughing with all of your cool new travel friends with perfect wind-blown travel hair, because that’s definitely what your next year is going to be like all of the time. Right.
Spoilers: ah … You know what, I don’t want to ruin this one for you. It’s gonna be JUST like that.
3. Don’t try to plan a wedding while you’re planning to quit your job and travel.
I speak from personal experience. What kind of idiot attempts to do both at the same time? Us. That’s who.
This is a universally terrible idea and we highly advise against it. If you choose to plan both at the same time, one will definitely take priority.
For us, it was the trip.
Our wedding vendors would be like “how long would you like the table runners be, 8 or 12 inches?” And I’d be like “HOW CAN YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT WHEN I AM LEAVING FOR COLOMBIA IN 5 MONTHS. WHO EVEN CARES, SUSAN?! JUST PICK SOMETHING.” Just don’t do it.
On a related side note, we haven’t even looked through our beautiful, expensive wedding photos yet. We are the actual worst people.
4. The day you quit your job will be the most exciting & scary day of your life .
Followed shortly by the day you actually leave for the airport to start your travels.
Months later, as a weathered, experienced traveler, you’ll back at that nervous, scared selfie you took at the airport and smile at how naive and carefree you were way back then .
How little you knew then. How young you were.
Exploring the narrow streets of Cartagena, Colombia, the first place we visited on our year-long honeymoon!
5. The minute your plane actually lands, excitement will give way to immediate terror and regret.
The chaos of landing in a new place, trying to navigate from the airport, suddenly being immersed in a foreign language: the unfamiliarity of it all will overwhelm you.
You’ll never feel more homesick on your travels than you will the first couple of days of your trip when the magnitude of what you’ve done finally hits you.
Did you just low-key ruin your own life?!
You can’t turn back. You can’t unpack all of your belongings. You can’t un-break your lease. Maybe you can get your job back? Hmmm …
Stick it out, though. It gets better, I promise!
Psst: we dealt with this feeling by binging on Netflix and crying. Read more about our first day on the road.
6. You’ll start to crave & miss familiarity.
Turns out that when everything is new and unfamiliar, even your most mundane routines can creep up on you with this rose-colored Instagram filter where everything you used to do seems a lot more exciting than it actually was.
We started to miss everything.
Like sitting on a couch. Or riding the train to work every morning. But our old couch had no legs, and my train commute was 2 hours long each way.
Who misses THAT?! Us, apparently.
But, do I regret quitting my job to travel? Hell no!
7. You’ll develop weird cravings for things from home.
The minute you realize you can’t have something, it will be ALL YOU WANT. Like, we developed this odd fixation on Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Sure, CT Crunch is the greatest cereal that exists – hands down, no question – but we would only eat it like, maybe once a year?
For some reason, as soon as we realized that we couldn’t get it in stores abroad – apparently sugary breakfast cereals are way more of a thing in the USA than anywhere else – we craved it like 2 pregnant ladies on a diet.
We dreamed about it. Every country we visited, we’d check for Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the grocery aisles.
And you want to know the stupidest part? Now that we’re back, we don’t even f**king want it anymore.
8. You’ll wish you could stick to a diet & exercise plan.
Seriously, if this post hasn’t yet convinced you that we’re the lamest people in the universe, this will do it. Who goes off on an adventure and then mopes about how they wish they could go on a diet and hit the gym?
Well, us, apparently.
Before we left for this trip, we felt strong and healthy. We cooked all of our own meals to fit whatever millennial diet obsession we were doing that year – gluten-free ! Paleo! Keto! Whole 30! – and we worked out 3x a week, at least.
Then we spent a year eating rice and potatoes in South America and baguettes and beer in Europe and not going to the gym and now we feel … icky.
We lost all of our hard-earned muscle, gained a bunch of weight, and started missing things like salads (you don’t want to eat raw veggies when you’re traveling abroad – just trust me).
Of course, if we REALLY wanted to stick to a diet and exercise plan, I’m sure we could have. But we’re naturally lazy people, and a morning yoga routine would require waking up and getting coffee before noon.
So instead of actually doing it, we just complained about our dwindling muscle and increasing waistlines while happily eating croissants for dinner. Judge away.
Mid-trip, we decided to cut our travels in South America early and take off to Europe to drink gluhwein at Christmas markets instead (here’s why).
9. You’ll miss the job you quit to go traveling.
I know, right? How lame is this sh*t?! It took us totally by surprise.
We had prepared ourselves to quit our jobs. We hadn’t prepared ourselves to MISS the jobs we quit.
Shortly after leaving, we found ourselves wistfully reminiscing about everything from our old desks to our old bosses to our old commutes ( Wtf? My commute was 2 hours long. Each way. I hated my commute ).
We missed checking things off of to-do lists and feeling productive and good about our accomplishments each day.
Gross! What’s wrong with us?! To be fair, your mileage may vary if you legit hate your job. We did not.
Something I realized about myself during our trip is that I actually enjoy working. I like having a project that I’m focused on, and being productive each day makes me feel good.
Idle time drives me a little nuts. So even though I was taking a grown-up gap year, I adopted travel blogging as my job on the road.
I worked 40+ hours per week on my blog, and treated it like a full-time job. Which is ultimately what it became after our trip ended … but more on that later.
10. The concept of “time” will take on new meaning for you.
Or maybe less meaning. We stopped keeping track of things like days of the week, except for when they affected us (like whenever we realized it was Sunday and everything in the entire continent of South America was shut down, leaving us totally f**ked for finding something to eat).
At some point, you’ll stop bothering to change your watch the correct time zone. You’ll stop doing the math to figure out what time it is “at home.”
And forget about waking up or going to sleep at reasonable times: why bother? We woke up whenever we felt like it, and sometimes – like in the dead of winter in Copenhagen – we just slept until there was light outside … at 10am.
11. Time will move faster for you than for everyone else
You’ll think back to where you were a day, a week, or a month ago and it will feel like years.
It’s like being in a Doctor Who episode. Time moves at the speed of molasses for you because everything is new and exciting. Spending a week somewhere will feel like a month.
But back at home, time moves at regular speed, which – for most normal adults who do much of the same thing every day – is very, very fast.
You’ll spend a whole year away and come back a new, different person with all these amazing experiences… only to realize that for everyone else, you were barely gone at all and nothing’s changed a bit. Eerie!
12. Traveling constantly is exhausting.
I’ve never been a relaxed traveler. I don’t do “laying on the beach” well. When Jeremy and I travel, we go out and explore, hike, take tours, have adventures – we don’t sit around and relax.
But when you’re traveling nonstop, you simply cannot keep up. After a few weeks of constant, daily exploring, you’ll be EXHAUSTED.
We got so burnt out on daily activities that we gave up on nightlife altogether and sunk into the same nightly Netflix habit that we had at home. And we still felt exhausted.
13. You’ll un-ironically say things like “I need a vacation from my vacation!”
You’ll be so exhausted from constant traveling that you’ll just want a day off from traveling. You’ll just want to sit inside and do nothing.
Maybe mindlessly scroll around on the internet for a good 8 hours. Binge watch a TV show or something. You know … boring sh**.
You’ll crave boring sh** and routine like you never thought was possible back when everything was boring and all you craved was adventure.
Cartagena, Colombia: our first stop on our year-long honeymoon, and one of our favorite cites in the world!
14. Don’t bother complaining to your friends about how exhausted you are and how much you miss boring sh**.
We’re hyper-aware of how obnoxiously privileged we sound even typing this right now, so don’t go to your friends for a vent session about how you’re just so burnt out on ruins and temples and restaurant meals.
Your friends will have 0 sympathy for you. “Oh, there are too many exciting things for you to do all the time? You poor thing .”
And you know what? They’re not wrong.
Being exhausted sucks. But traveling full time is still a f***king dream. Complain to other travelers about it, but always remember that you chose this, and even if it’s not perfect, it’s still absolutely amazing.
15. Don’t take it personally if your friends back home don’t really care about all of your incredible amazing ~travel~ experiences.
Nobody cares about all the wonderful, exciting experiences you’re having every day as much as you do, and maybe – if you’ve lucked out in the parent department – your mom and dad.
It’s kind of hard for people back home to even wrap their heads around how MUCH stuff you’re doing every single day, so even when you try to explain it to them, don’t be surprised if their eyes kind of glaze over.
They’re just not as interested as you are. It’s not personal. They still love you.
16. You’re going to lose some friends.
This one sucks. It does. And honestly, I can’t even really explain it, because I don’t quite understand it.
But for whatever reason, friends will start dropping out of your life. Even really close friends.
Something about leading a totally different life than the one you were leading before just seems to result in some otherwise great friendships unexpectedly ending.
It happened to us. It’s happened to many of the other travelers I’ve spoken to. It sucks.
But hey: anyone that isn’t supportive of your adventures and excited for you isn’t a great friend anyway. Treasure the times you had, mourn the loss of what once was, and move on.
17. You’re going to make some awesome new friends that totally get your obsessive love of travel.
Over the past year, I found some amazing online communities of fellow travel-obsessed ladies and other bloggers, not to mention all of the other travelers we met during our trip and connected with on Facebook.
We flew all around the world and met up with amazing travelers and bloggers along the way!
Meeting other folks who are just as obsessed with travel as you are is so refreshing, because they’ll just “get” some of the things that your friends back home won’t. And you can complain to them about how exhausted you are without them judging you, which is always nice.
18. You’ll stop wanting to talk about your travels to everyone who actually DOES care.
After the 38th time you’ve told someone about how much you loved The Galapagos and why Colombia is your favorite country ever and how you had to get rescued off a waterfall that time, you’ll feel like a broken record.
Meeting new travel buddies who ask “how long are you traveling? Where have you been?” will get really old after a while.
And you’ll tell your well-meaning friends and family who genuinely want to hear about your exciting adventures to just go read your blog. It’s so much easier.
We have very few pictures of both of us on our year-long honeymoon, both because we didn’t bring a tripod with us, and also because it’s super awkward to ask strangers to take your photos. But this is one of the few that I love (thanks random stranger who took it for us)!
19. You’ll feel like you’re bragging every time you talk about your travels.
Whether it’s a story you’ve told a million times or a brand new story, you’ll eye-roll yourself hard every time you start a sentence with “when I was in ….”
Are you that friend? The one who always talks about ~travel~ and just sounds like a privileged a**hole to everyone else?
Just in case, you’ll stop talking about your travels at all and start to feel like a walking cliche.
20. You’ll start to miss spending time with other people.
We traveled as a couple, and we literally spent an entire year within 2 feet of each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Constantly.
If you’re a solo traveler, you’ll start to crave other people – and the rotating crew of hostel buddies you’ll meet just won’t feel the same.
You’ll miss friends and family who you feel totally comfortable with. You’ll miss inside jokes and feeling totally understood. And you’ll miss being able to hang out with people for more than a week at a time before they (or you) move on to the next exciting adventure.
21. You’ll find yourself disenchanted with hostel dorms.
When we first started traveling we wanted to be as low-budget as possible: we booked hostel dorms for the first 3 months of our trip in South America.
And we didn’t mind them that much. They were fun and social! We were meeting other travelers!
Sure, there was the occasional a**hole, like that guy who turned the lights out in our 10-person dorm room at 7pm and then woke up at 4am for the world’s loudest morning yoga practice. Or the drunk dude who straight up climbed into my bed in Amsterdam.
But after a while? You’ll be totally over hostel dorms. You’ll start booking only private rooms. Your privacy (and sanity) is worth the extra expense.
Then, you’ll discover House Sitting. Oh my god, house sitting is AMAZING.
And soon, you’ll settle for nothing less than an entire house with a whole kitchen, a flock of llamas, and a dog and a cat – for free.
22. You’ll miss stability.
Moving constantly from place to place will get old fast. You’ll get sick of unpacking your stuff just to pack it up a week or so later and make somewhere new your home.
You’ll start doing things like finding ~your~ grocery store or ~your~ coffee shop in each new location you travel to, and establishing daily little micro-routines to keep you grounded. Like watching Netflix every night.
23. You’ll start low-key nesting everywhere you go.
Anything you can do to make someplace feel like a home, however tiny or temporary, will become The Biggest Deal.
Like, whenever there was a shelf in a room where we were staying, we flipped our shit.
We would gently arrange our backpack’s contents on that shelf in the most orderly fashion possible, and snap at each other if someone threw a sock on the floor instead of putting it “where it belongs” on our single shelf.
And trust me: we are NOT neat freaks. Far from.
24. You’ll miss having control over transportation.
Oh my god, it is so much easier to get from point A to point B when you’re not traveling.
Whether you own a car, ride your bike, or are just able to read the metro map in the language you actually speak, transportation is so much easier back at home.
When you’re traveling long term, every new place you go is like a brand new confusing puzzle to figure out just to get how to get anywhere.
You have to be wary of scammers and getting overcharged; you have to know which bus to take where and where the heck to find it and at what times (all in another language, of course); you have to figure out weirdly specific local transit systems (like Willys) and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend most of your time in transit totally nauseous and overheated.
It’s a whole ordeal.
How we yearned for the days when we could rent a car or hop on our bikes and just go somewhere!
Trying not to think about our most expensive failure to date, the Inca Trail hike, at Machu Picchu in Peru!
25. “Museum fatigue” is so real.
You’ll hear travelers in Asia talk about “temple fatigue,” or “cathedral fatigue” in Europe, and so on. It is a real thing.
Once you’ve seen a few, you’ll start to roll your eyes like a total d**k and be like “oh, ANOTHER one? We’ve seen SO MANY.” I know, it’s so obnoxious!
We went to a bunch of museums in Colombia, our very first stop on our year-long honeymoon, and they were great. But after hitting a museum a week for a month, we were like “um, can we just Google the local history?”
Terrible, I know!
We totally love museums, and art, and culture. They’re a regular part of our not-long-term-traveling plans. But you guys … going to a museum every week? That’s total museum overload, even for nerds like us.
I didn’t coin this term, either: museum fatigue is an academic phenomenon that’s been studied since the 1910’s.
Like I said, y’all: real.
26. The excitement of each new place you go will eventually start to fade.
You know that feeling when you have a vacation coming up and you’re SO excited about it?
You’ve researched and planned everything, you’ve circled the dates on your calendar, you’ve got a picture you found on Instagram as your phone background, and you’re just yearning for the moment when you’ll pack your bags and finally leave.
It’s like being a kid on Christmas Eve!
Well, say goodbye to that feeling of excitement and anticipation.
After a few months of constant travel, you’ll stop getting that tingle of butterflies when you hop on yet another 12-hour overnight bus to go somewhere new.
That shiny, sparkle-in-your eye excitement as you groggily step off the bus into the dawn light in a brand new place will give way to an exhausted traveler who’s tired, cranky, smelly, slightly nauseous, and dreading the task of haggling with aggressive taxi drivers or walking through plumes of car exhaust and getting lost just trying to find somewhere to sleep in yet another new place.
After a while, we learned that we needed to travel slower and stay in each place longer just to give ourselves the mental energy to look forward to going somewhere new.
Jeremy befriending a pelican at the fish market in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador!
27. Returning from long term travel sucks.
There’s no way to slide back into real-life gracefully. It will be jarring and unpleasant.
You might be homeless for a while, crashing on couches or applying for house-sitting gigs in your own hometown.
You’ll be desperately seeking a job because you’re likely flat broke by now.
Your resume will have a big, awkward gap in it, because none of the zillion fascinating things you learned about during your travels seems remotely helpful in your actual career.
To your surprise, you’ll find that settling back into a normal life is much harder than packing a bag and jetting off to places unknown.
28. All that “stuff” you carefully packed up and put into storage before you left now kinda just seems like junk.
Look, we had like 23 yard sales before we left. We Craigslisted our sh*t like crazy. We got rid of SO MUCH stuff.
And then we carefully packed up our most prized belongings, like our IKEA plate set and that cheap desk we bought on Amazon for under $100, and put them into storage.
And now that we’re back, we just wish we’d thrown the lot of it out.
We can just as easily go to a thrift store and get more IKEA plates and a new desk that maybe isn’t a piece of crap that’s been slowly bending under the weight of all of the clothing we piled on top of it, which – by the way – looks as foreign to us now as the places we’ve been traveling for the past year.
I used to wear blazers every day? Really?! Who was I?!
29. You’ll realize that you’ve grown and changed during your trip.
We aged so hard in the past year. Things that we never expected to change, changed completely.
Before we left we were all “who needs STUFF or SPACE? Let’s save our money instead so we can go experience things!”
Now, a year of hostel dorm rooms and carrying our belongings in a backpack later, we’re like “if you’re closer than 20 feet away from me in our next apartment I will actually kill you” and “Let’s definitely buy a cherry pitter/apple corer/hard boiled egg slicer. That sounds useful!”
We’ve so missed the luxury of the United States that we once turned up our noses at.
We’re also so ready to settle down. We’re planning to save for a house. We’re even talking about getting a pet or *gasp* having children in the next few years.
Who are we?! Who are these grown-ups who aren’t terrified of long-term commitment. Our old selves would judge our new selves HARD.
30. Now that you’re not constantly traveling anymore, you’ll start planning your next trip ASAP.
It doesn’t matter how much you traveled during your grown-up gap year. You’ve got Restless Wanderlust Syndrome.
It just won’t feel right not planning some kind of travel, so to keep yourself sane, you’ll jump right back into it.
Where to next? Hmm…
Five years later, back at home in the Bay Area, with a furry new addition to our family!
Update: What’s Happened Since We Quit Our Jobs To Travel
We wrote this when we had first returned from our trip, and it’s well overdue for some updating.
Now, nearly a year after our year-long honeymoon is over, we’ve truly settled back down. Except that so many things are different – even though some things stayed exactly the same.
Here are some things that happened after we returned:
- Even though we were yearning to nest like crazy and dreaming of a nice house full of shiny stuff during our trip, when we actually moved back into an apartment, we couldn’t bring ourselves to acquire more “stuff.”
Instead, we decided to go zero-waste at home and focus on owning fewer, better things.
We’re more concerned than ever with our impact on the environment and the world after seeing so much of it and experiencing how others get by with so much less than we do.
We can’t stomach the American ideal of owning a big house full of a lot of useless stuff, and we’re much more easily impressed by tiny things (like ice, which STILL feels like a huge luxury to us).
We’re re-using and re-purposing everything we can, eating less meat and more plant-based meals, and generally trying to minimize our impact on the environment as much as possible.
And we’re diving deeper into responsible and ethical tourism, ensuring that our travels and our blog have a positive social impact.
- We gained clarification on what we wanted in our careers.
My husband returned to his old job, teaching high school here in Oakland – he’d missed his kids the entire year, and was overjoyed to go back.
But I found myself disenchanted with my old career. I missed productivity and routine, but I didn’t miss my long commute and the feeling that my life was slipping away from me as I sat at a desk day in and day out, working for somebody else.
I did a brief stint in an office and hated it so much that I decided to focus on blogging full-time, instead. Which was terrifying (especially because I wasn’t really earning much from the blog at the time), but ultimately SO incredibly rewarding!
Now, I get paid to travel and write about it. Like, as a job. How crazy is THAT?!
I even wrote a best-selling book about quitting my job to travel, called (creatively) How to Quit Your Job & Travel. It’s full of practical tips, logistical nuances that took me ages to figure out, and plenty of stories from our disastrous year-long honeymoon.
You can read more about my decision to become a full-time blogger here, and be sure to follow us on Instagram where I capture my daily life as a travel blogger in our Instagram Stories! You can also learn about the years after our trip in our annual year-in-review posts.
- Quitting our jobs to go travel helped us create lives that we really, truly love.
Before we left for our trip, it felt like we were constantly “waiting” for … something.
Waiting for the next phase in our career, or our love lives, or our bank account balances.
Always waiting, never truly living for the moment, for TODAY.
After our trip, we no longer feel that way. We know without a doubt that we’re doing what we love, that we’re spending each day the way we chose to.
We’re living for nobody but ourselves.
We don’t feel obligated to abide by arbitrary rules about societal norms or obligations, and we question things that we used to take for granted (like that paper towels and trash-bags are necessary, and not just completely wasteful and pointless and easily replicated with rags and soapy water.
Even when we DO buy into those “American Dream” style things – like the little patio in our apartment’s backyard which we’re head over heels in love with decorating and tending to – it feels GOOD.
It feels AUTHENTIC. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced that feeling of “not really living.” We don’t feel that way anymore.
We’re really and truly living, and each day feels like a gift, and a choice.
Dreaming of quitting your job to travel? I want to help! I wrote a best-selling book called How to Quit Your Job & Travel with absolutely everything you need to know to make your dream a reality.
Wish you could quit your job & travel?
Listen: it’s time to stop dreaming and start planning. My best-selling book, How to Quit Your Job & Travel, is a practical, step-by-step guide to one of the most exciting, exhilarating, and terrifying things you’ll ever do.
You’ll learn how to tackle each of the challenges of long-term travel, from finances to fear to returning to reality – and all the nitty-gritty logistics along the way. Ready to get started?
Reflecting in San Blas, Panama. Mostly about how much better our photos have gotten since we upgraded from the point-and-shoot camera we started with!
Quitting Our Jobs To Travel Changed Everything For Us
Taking a year-long honeymoon changed our outlook on life completely. We don’t regret a minute of it.
And although we swore we’d never do it again while we were traveling – no doubt inspired by yet another obnoxious hostel-dorm-mate’s loud snoring or a missed bus or a disastrous hike – these days, we’re not so sure.
We’d love to take another year off, to travel more slowly, and see even more of the world.
But in the meantime, we’re living every day to the fullest, and we’re so, so happy.
Are you considering taking a gap year? We’d love to hear about it! Ask us your questions and leave us a comment below.
Psst…Planning on quitting your job to go travel? Here are some of our other posts that might be helpful, or take a look at all of our posts about long term travel:
And don’t forget that I wrote a book full of practical, step-by-step advice and real-talk to help you quit your job and travel. Order a copy of How to Quit Your Job & Travel to start turning your dream into a plan!
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Our Top Travel Tips & Resources
I feel a little sorry for you because all of that sounds very sad.
My boyfriend and me traveled for 2 years and we had none of the experience you describe.
There’s nothing sad about our adventure! We had a fantastic time. It’s great that you’ve managed to avoid experiencing challenges while traveling, that’s quite a feat! For us, the challenges are all part of the adventure. They help us grow and make us stronger, and they make for the BEST stories. Our lives changed entirely after quitting our jobs to travel, and we don’t regret a thing – mishaps and all.
A little more sophistication and a little less profanity will improve your writing quality tremendously.
Sophistication is not what we’re aiming for here; authenticity and realism is. So, thanks, but no thanks.
Very good blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Thanks!
You know, it really depends on your goals! If your goal is to make money from a blog using advertising or something like that, I’d definitely recommend setting up on paid platforms – better SEO, more professional-looking, and you’ll be able to achieve your goals more easily. If your goal is to get as many eyes on your work as possible, you may not even need a blog – a platform like Medium might be a better fit for you. But if you’re just looking for an outlet for creative expression, you could probably get away with a free WordPress plan, although I think premade portfolio options on a site like Squarespace might be an even better fit so you can focus less on the look and functionality of your site and more on your actual progress.
OMG! I feel this post spoke to our soul! hahahah thank you so much! My husband and I also saved up for 5 years and finally took the plunge to go travel in Oct 2017. We were gone for 2.5 yrs and EVERYTHING you mention here, literally everything, happened. And you are so right, none of our friends understand the exhaustion, cravings for a little normality (but not enough to quit traveling) and then, when you finally come come… no feeling like you fit in like you used to. Not sure why i’m so thankful I found this blog post hahahah maybe it’s because i’ve been trying to get back to ‘normal’ and also maybe because as an aspiring blogger I’d love to know when our blog posts resonate with others. Following you on all platforms now hahahah Thanks again!
Thanks for your sweet words, Siori! We really do love to know when our posts resonate with our readers, so this makes our day
What a great read. My husband and i are 49 and 59 and are seriously thinking about giving up our reasonably well paid but unrewarding jobs to travel for a year. I just want an adventure and didnt do it when i was young as had my kids really young. Its really scary making that final decision to give our jobs up but feel like i have to do it. How do i get the courage before its too late. I feel ‘stuck’ until i can do this and change my life. Any advice gratefully appreciated!
Ohio native working in Berkeley here. Thank you so much for this post — it really helps to clarify my own thinking in terms of possible long-term adventures of my own!
Heyyy, neighbor! So happy our post was helpful!
Brilliant post. Brought back the mindset I lived with as I travelled. Quit my job, flew to NZ, worked and travelled for the best part of two years across a dozen countries, met my girlfriend, moved country, learned a new language and got settled.
Sadly, I’ve fallen back into boring office life. Was a necessity for a while. Travel, moving country, taking language courses and generally getting by in life costs money plus working in another language brings its restrictions. I think I’ve finally reached the point again where I can stop, breath, look around and realise life needs a shake up again. It’s the reason I was searching articles like this. To remind me of what life can be like. I sometimes can’t believe it was me. It seems like another world and one I think I need to reconnect with. I often joke with those who have experience travelling that it might have broke my brain. ‘Normal life’ can no longer compete. It feels like a waste at times. Hard to feel at your best when life becomes a cycle of work, chores and sleep. ESPECIALLY when you escaped it once and know what life can bring when you jump and take that risk. I think the next risk will have to be career wise. Time to earn a living doing something fun and fulfilling. Thanks for bringing up some memories.
Travel definitely has a way of making you feel like a “normal life” is something you can no longer settle for.
I’m glad this got you thinking and reflecting. Thanks for sharing!
I just shared this article with my fiance because we just returned (yesterday) from three months of backpacking around Europe after quitting our jobs and everything in this is SO ACCURATE. We’re over here laughing to ourselves because we definitely had the same experience with hostels and realizing we would much rather splurge a tiny bit on our own airbnb haha! This is just a wonderfully written article and honestly, quite comforting to us right now. We are so happy to hear about how happy you two are now! We hope we feel the same once we’ve settled in a bit and gotten used to being in the states again (and we were only gone for a quarter of what you two were – a year is so SO impressive!!)
Welcome back home, Bridgette! I’m so glad that our post was comforting the adjustment back into real life is ROUGH, but we absolutely love our lives post-trip. It’s been over 2 years now and we’re fully settled back into domestic life – even though we travel all the time (although these days, anything longer than 2 weeks makes us all like OH MY GOD I’M SO TIRED let’s go home – we are officially olds). You’ll get used to it soon enough!
So very true, I’m glad you covered this aspect of longterm travel. I planned on taking a year off but 3 months in and I think I’ll be cutting my trip short. If your not enjoying it, there’s no point.
Traveling was always my passion. I wanted to become a traveler and still trying to be one. Your guide is priceless, it inspired me again.
I love everything written in this article. As of the moment, I am at phase 1: planning and daydreaming about my future travels and how I would like to change my career. But the thing is, I AM SCARED. I don’t know if I will be capable to sustain my travel needs. The authenticity of your story may have discouraged me a bit but the reward in the end is everything I have been looking for. I hope I could pull my plans off by next year. Thank you for this wonderful write-up!
Well, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a ton of work, but for me the payoff has been well worth all of that blood, sweat, and tears And hey, even if you try and realize it’s not for you or can’t make it work, it will still be a beautiful, amazing adventure! You’ll never know what it could be unless you take that leap!
To the CBS’s Mary Carlvi. Otis Livingston and Cindy Hsu was talking about Mary Calvi private life, they set you up!
I am about to turn 30 and the feeling of having not travelled all over the world keeps hitting hard to me. I almost feeel like I am getting old and always wondered how it will feel like in hostels staying as a 30 year old next year. Now I am trying to not focus too much on that part. I am planning to work hard for next 8
-10 months and quit my job around the start of the fall season so I can start my travel journey by visiting Australia/NZ and then visiting South East Asia and Thailand. This will be like a 3-4 months of sabbatical and I was kind of worried but your posts left me feeling positive about my decision.
That sounds like an awesome plan! First of all, we’re the same age as you (Jeremy is 30, and I’m 29) and you definitely don’t need to feel weird about staying in hostels as a 30 year old – just do as we do and avoid party hostels if you value your precious sleep You have the whole rest of your life to travel, and if it’s pulling at you now, it sounds like it’s time to take a risk and go for it!
Thank you for this!! I am just getting started to think about doing a 3-month (maybe with the potential for longer) but I am also trying to wrap my head around what to do for work when I get back. Did you guys apply for jobs before you got back? Any advice in this area would be great!
Jeremy was able to go back to the same job he had before he left – they missed him, he missed them, it all worked out great. I wasn’t really feelin’ going back to work, so when I got back I got a temp job so I was earning money to replenish my savings while I tried to figure out my next move. I interviewed for some awesome jobs (and the job I had before I left did seek me out to hire me back) but then I ultimately decided to devote myself to blogging full time to see if that could actually be a job, and that’s what I’m still doing today
Honestly, if you were gainfully employed before you left, chances are you’ll be able to find a job again when you return – those skills haven’t vanished into thin air. And if you left on good terms with your job, there’s also a good chance they’ll take you back when you return, re-invigorated and ready to work again.
I love This post! I’m about to embark on “just” a two month journey to SE Asia, solo, and most people would never dream of doing such a thing. I can’t imagine a whole year but would love to do it someday! Thanks for sharing a great list of things to ponder!
What an amazing trip! Have fun!
Really enjoyed reading this. I have seen so many people that say they quit their jobs and left to travel. Makes it seem so easy! Appreciate your truths to it. I’m not sure that we could do it for an entire year. I’m thinking more like a few months at a time. Come home for a bit. Then head back out. This would still require us to leave our jobs though because no one gives more than off at a time! Thanks again for all your honesty!
Thank you! I just left my job for a year long sabbatical, which will include some traveling. The warnings & joys you shared in this post helps me know that I’ve created a good plan for my personality. I’m older & don’t have much savings but it was time. I left a job I was very good at & truly loved but needed more, “more living”. Your 2018 update let me know, I’ll find my “more”.
You sure will! I’m so glad to help reassure you on your journey That sounds incredibly exciting, and whether you return to your job after your sabbatical or discover a new passion to pursue once you return, you’ll be JUST FINE, and even better for having chased after your dreams for a year Best of luck!
I wish I could travel non-stop. But where I live the payscale is so low I can’t afford to travel for more than week. I’ve tried getting freelance jobs to support my travel ambitions but none have worked out. Glad to see you get to live your passion
You’re definitely not alone! It’s really, really hard to travel long-term. Personally, I saved up for 5 years to pay for my trip, and I was still incredibly fortunate to even be able to save that much.
Thanks for understanding. I’ve started to do the same and save up. Hopefully I’ll be able o travel long-term like you did a few years down the line. I’d love to be a travel blogger too and get paid for it!
Thank you for this frank and thought provoking post. A lot of food for thought here.
Loved reading this and a lot of what you mentioned resonated with me. I’ve recently started up traveling (time + money aligned woo!) and have visited 3 countries/cities in the span of 8 months. Even though each trip was short, what you mentioned about feeling homesick or missing certain things, etc. I can totally relate to. And you know what? Everyone says travel “changes” you, and in some respect it does, but really you come to realize you are who you are, regardless of the country. You don’t magically transform into this travel fashionista blogger, you are who you are, grumps and all, and that was an interesting thing to realize.
One major thing I really feel you on is the mention of always waiting on something and doing what you love. I’m typing this at my desk at work, at a job I’m good at but don’t actually like or care for that much, in a day-to-day cycle that feels like I’m wasting away. Yet, on the other hand, I have no idea what I want to do or where I’m supposed to be going. I’m stuck on how to create a life I’m truly proud of and that I love. Not to make this therapy hour, but it is nice to read that you went through some similar feelings and you’re on the other side now. I hope I can achieve that too and gain the clarity, focus – and most importantly, bravery – to find it for myself too.
Aw, thanks for sharing, Hafsa! You’ll figure it out – sometimes those things sort of just happen without you even realizing they’re happening, honestly. In the meantime, I’m glad I can be here as your honorary, unlicensed therapist
It was so good to read this post! That’s why I like your blog so much. To reading your post I find a balance between travel and everyday boring job life. And your 11 no. is so realistic.
What a great read! I can relate to most points you talk about. The landing back home was no doubt the hardest part for me as well. I went away twice for a couple of years and then had to start my life from scratch on return. I’m sure I don’t have it in me to do it the third time :). Thank for sharing your experience.
Very relatable! I remember reading this when you first wrote it thinking yes yes yes this is so true, as I had only juts figured out how to settle back into ‘normal life’ again after almost 3 years on the road. And I was actually loving it! 12 months on though my partner and I have decided to go long-term travelling again, with a totally different perspective. We don’t judge the people that do choose to stay put (like we used to), and we’re genuinely looking forward to coming ‘home’ again when we’re ready, so that deep fear of trying to fit back into society isn’t so intense anymore. Travel has taught us how much we love the balance of travelling and having a home base (or maybe we’re just growing up a little haha). Thanks for sharing
This is such a wonderful detailed post. I always dream of stepping away from my job and traveling but it seems like such a scary thing to do. I’m sure you have some wonderful stories to tell.
My husband and I quit 6 months ago and that moment we stepped on the airplane to our new adventure was the happiest/scariest moment of our lives. haha! It took us about 3 months before we finally felt comfortable and recognized that maybe we aren’t ‘completely’ crazy. Best of luck!
That’s basically how long it took us, too
#7… Taco Bell, 100%
Great list, thanks for sharing! I relate to it so much from our own trip!
Oh man – my husband, too. He was DYING for Mexican food right up until the minute we arrived in Mexico! I mean … if you’re including Taco Bell as Mexican.
I know arriving at the airport is super stressful but I think one of my favourite things is after you;’ve checked in and you go for your first walk to check out the town. I LOVE getting a feel for new places and listening and smelling and taking notes of things I want to come back and take pics of! It’s the best!
Great article, a few of these points really resonated with me. I’m self-employed so I didn’t have to quit per se as in I just went back to it 3 months later but the point about being exhausted – I’m like you, I can’t sit still when I travel – serious FOMO! Also about losing friends. They are still in my life but it’s hard when you feel like you’ve got little in common left. Whilst I’m travelling the world, they are having babies. The conversations these days are more about breast pumps and baby led weaning!! It can be harder to find common ground!
Omg i can totally relate to this. I quit my job over 1.5yrs ago, I returned home from an epic 12 months on the road and now I’m in limbo – what to do. Travelling is the best but most confusing thing I Have ever done.
I love this post. I have been debating on quitting my job and traveling for a year to finally get all those “bucket list” items done. This puts things into perspective and gives me some to contemplate before taking the leap.
Welcome back to the Bay Area! I live here myself and have always thought about enjoying the world freely and you are definitely a motivation. It’s amazing how much you were able to accomplish within the past year and I totally get you about that whole “re-entry” thing. I studied abroad for a year and that was TOUGH, it felt like I went through SO much while everyone back home was just doing their normal, everyday thing. Loved the read!
DISCLAIMER: This comment is meant in no way to be confrontational. I just want to address the many things I disagree with you on. Seriously, Lia, don’t take it personal…loved your post.
1. My wife and I would not shutup for 4 months leading up to the beginning of our trip. We weren’t trying to make anyone jealous, we just wanted people to know this is a real thing people can plan for and it doesn’t have to be spur of the moment and abrupt.
2. You got this one right on the money.
3. Right. We planned a wedding first lol
4. Second most exciting. The day we landed in Japan a week later was the most exciting. Scary? Not at all.
5. WAY different for us. That was the instant we knew we made the right decision, only to be reinforced a half a year later reflecting on everything.
6. Kinda…not for months though, and the things you crave and miss are few and far between. We missed far more things about traveling a year after coming back than we did about home while we were gone.
7. I think free refills was the only thing we missed abroad lol
8. Traveling WAS our diet and exercize plan that we didn’t have back home.
9. Not a chance. I miss my old, pre travel job like I miss the hicups. My wife misses hers even less.
10. This one is true…at least for the first month or so. Then you get a weird sense of time several months in for a day or two.
11. Another one where you’re right on the money. But looking at it glass half full, you’ve found the secret to growing exponentially over ‘normies’ that have never traveled.
12. Yes, but it takes a bit. Once you’ve recouped 3-4 weeks you can go right back to how you started.
13. Actually. I distinctly remember, 4 months into our trip and we were in Singapore joking about needing a vacation. It WAS ironically.
14. Can’t relate either way, never was in this situation really.
15. Yep, you’re right here too.
16. Yes, but good riddance. When you grow as a person, you find out really quickly who real friends are.
17. Oh yes, and these are the best friends!
18. Nope. We’re open books to anyone who wants to here, and it’s been 2 years since we’ve been back.
19. You probably just described us, but we don’t MEAN it to sound like bragging. We want to INSPIRE. Never felt like a cliche and proud of our experiences.
20. This ones 50/50. It brought us closer together so it didn’t bother us. But you do want to spend time around other people more often.
21. This one…I believe you. LOVE LOVE LOVE Airbnb and really wish we could do some house sitting. Any recommendations?
22. Kinda true. But for people who spent our lives up to that point TOO stable, we were glad to have everything change so much.
23. Maybe we just weren’t out long enough to start nesting.
24. Once, in Thailand we got SUPER confused about outbound buses. At that point I had wished I could just drive it myself. But as a professional driver, who’s drove well over a million miles in the US and Canada, one of my favorite parts of the trip was NOT being in control for a change.
25. Definitely. I was a history major in college. One of my biggest inspirations for traveling. But we definitely tried to blend it where there wasn’t more museums than 1 a week.
26. Never. I’m just as excited about a new place as ever. In fact, I’m just as excited about returning a second time to a place I’ve been before.
27. You’re not wrong. It’s not easy to come back from a huge trip. But the flat broke thing wasn’t a problem. I think we OVER planned for coming back. We could have traveled another month or so. In fact, we got two months at an Airbnb here in the states while we looked for jobs and got reestablished.
28. YES! 90% of it needed to go. We own less stuff now than we did when we left!
29. This one I really have to disagree with you on. Maybe we’re just differently minded people. But my wife and I had a two bedroom duplex with a basement before leaving. Owned two cars, yada yada. After coming back, we live in a one bedroom apartment that’s pretty close quarters and have one lease car between the two of us. Traveling also helped shape us as who we are as a couple and helped form an idea about the future. Although, I’d argue it did the same for you, just different results. Congrats!
30. Oh absolutely. We started planning within 6 months of being back. Now that we’re 2 years out from returning, it feels like we’ve spent TOO much time planning. One big trip abroad was simply not enough for one lifetime. We only did 6 months last time and want to do a year this next time. If we could do 2 straight years we would, no question.
If you took the time to read this rebuttal, thank you. I put the disclaimer at the beginning because I didn’t want the original poster to think I was just being contrary. Obsiouly we have different feelings on a lot of these issues, but still see eye to eye on quite a bit. But when I read a post tittled ’30 things nobody tells you about quitting your job to go travel’ I feel people who haven’t traveled need a broader picture, Hopefully they can take both of our views and form their own opinion and be inspired to give it a try.
Thank you so much for such a thoughtful and detailed response! I love that my post gave you some cause for reflection and consideration And absolutely no offense is taken. Everyone has totally different experiences when traveling, and none of them are better than anyone else’s. Even though the post is cleverly titled in a way that suggests that our experiences are universal, it’s really not meant to be! It sounds like you had a very different experience than we did, especially with your lives before and after your trip, which is so cool. Either way you slice it, long-term-travel is a life changing experience, whether that change is good or bad or neutral or just eye-opening. There’s no right or wrong way to feel about something like this, and your comment illustrates that perfectly! I hope you and your partner figure out your next long trip soon
I completely agree with number 6. I never liked familiarity until I travelled. I’ve particularly noticed it since living in Asia. I never thought I’d miss England, but goodness do I?!
So many of these are so true for me! I’m especially glad to see I’m not the only person who has come back from a ‘grown up gap year’ and gone back to having a more traditional life. In this world of ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ (and seriously, f**k that book by the way), it has been really hard for me not to consider myself a failure for not making my travel lifestyle permanent. I’ve been asking myself whether advocating for others to look beyond their desks, while I sit back down to one, makes me a fraud or a hypocrite. The thing is though, taking a year away from the working world allowed me to clear my head and recenter myself, so when I came back, I could find and take a job I actually enjoy and that is more relevant to my career path. Plus, having the knowledge that I can save money and go travel for an extended period of time lifts a huge weight off my shoulders – I will never be trapped in a bad job or a bad relationship because I don’t believe I can walk away and do something different. So fact is, even if you don’t think the whole permanent digital nomad thing is for you, or you aren’t sure, you can still totally benefit from taking a career break!
I completely agree! Being a traveler isn’t something that’s sustainable for us for ever (like, in theory, sure … but we found out we don’t actually WANT that life) and it’s a huge relief just knowing that we’re choosing the right path after seeing what else is out there and deciding it isn’t for us!
I loved reading this! So well thought out and honestly I went through some of this even on my most recent 3 week trip, so I can only imagine a whole year! Can’t wait to dig around and read more of your posts!
This is awesome! And really good to know if I decided to do this–er hmm, when* I decided to do this. I’m so glad I found your blog! #gltlove
Such a great read! You had me giggling at many a point!
Great post! Can relate to some of this – spent 9+ months in Ecuador and Colombia, some of it backpacking, but mostly I stayed put volunteering and living with a host family, which was hands-down the best part of my trip. I realised I can’t backpack for months on end – it’s too tiring! I do like routine and control over stuff
I just got back from 6 months backpacking across South America and I relate to this SO HARD. Amazing blog post!!
I never had a gap year (wish I did actually!) but I did the digital nomad thing. I lived/traveled around the world while working. I went to a new place very 1-3 months (sooner if I hated the place). It worked a lot better for me than just straight travel. You get bit bored more easily that way I think.
SF welcomes you back. That used to be my old stomping grounds as well. Say Hi to Karl the fog for me!
We definitely needed to read this right now! We are right at the beginning of our working holiday and feeling all of this! Thank you!
Yes, I left the US and “traveled” for four years. By that I mean that I lived in Japan for a year, India for a year, and Hong Kong for 2 years. Returning was harder than leaving. Your article touches on that. No one tells you that you will have culture shock returning to your own country.
Then I tried to stay in one place in the USA. No more Visas to worry about. Trying to dig in. I’d done my traveling and that was enough–expect for a month in Mexico City.
Trying to anchor myself I acquired too much stuff, then had to get rid of it, and now I’m on the road again!
We’re right in the beginning of the returning process, so we’ll see how it goes!
in my [asian-indian] travels [mostly around europe] i started hating the languages. every local is proud of their language and its history and will launch into the most boring lecture about different ways of saying some simple thing. + i couldnt read any road signs. good news >> didnt have to pay attention to local 24/7 news on local tv
came back to england and one of the first things i realised, wow, i could actually understand the road signs!
omg I love your post. I’m in the process of planning some time abroad right now so I can absolutely relate to your first few posts about keeping everything a secret and just wanting to tell everyone about my plans!!
Great read! And cute photos!
Very nice read. Thank you. I should mention that not all trips abroad end with return. Some segue into permanent migration. More than you might think. I’m one of them and have lived in France for over 20 years now. Recently I went back to school and did my MA thesis on Anglophones living in Japan. There is evidence from my study and others that many Americans, Canadians, Brits and others are “accidental migrants.” They leave on a voyage like yours or to work or study or serve in the military or as a missionary or for an NGO and they NEVER return.
So, I’m curious: was there ever a point in your trip where you landed somewhere and thought about staying permanently?
We certainly had moments when we were like “I could see us living here,” and the week of the US elections (we were in Chile when they happened, which was interesting) we were definitely dreading returning. But realistically we always wanted to return. The furthest we’ve ever considered actually settling down would be Canada. Part of it is my husband’s job – the students he’s most passionate about teaching tend to be the ones most fucked in our current political climate, and good teachers that are passionate about tackling the challenges facing disadvantaged youth are sorely lacking in the USA – and part of it is our friends/family. We happen to love where we live and there are many places in the USA that we love too. So living abroad permanently never really had sway for us. It sounds cool to do a few years abroad – something that my parents did in their first few years of marriage – and I’ve considered getting my masters degree abroad, but long-term we only really see ourselves in the States.
Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I quit our jobs and sold our house 3.5 months ago to travel full time with our 2 kids. A teen and a toddler! We are barely on our first leg and I feel everything on your list. We’ve had a few hiccups with transportation the past weeks and are seriously debating going back. One thing is traveling as a couple but it’s another level of stress with 2 kids!! Wow!! I’d never think I could relate to anything on your list but they all hit home 100%!!
What an incredible adventure! That sounds truly amazing!
#12 and #9 speaks to me so well. I am now doing a 6 -month trip in South America. I have been dreamed about this trip for three years, literally! I remember the night before my trip, I was just terrified. Now I have been on the road for almost a month, and sometimes I still feel surreal, as if all of sudden I have been dropped a new continent and see different culture, and people around me speaks different language. Constantly movement can be exhausting, and I have stayed in hostels for most time. Sometimes I do miss my life back in Canada and my own room and bed, but I still wont trade this for six-month cubical.
The truths of traveling written in a hilarious manner. Seriously, I think all travellers can relate so hard to these points!
Such a great read! I’ve never done long term travel and I don’t think I would do more than 6 months, but I could totally see all of these things happening! We’ve even felt a lot of these things to a smaller degree with short term travel and consistent travel. We’ve seen friends get jealous and maybe not want to be friends anymore. We find ourselves not wanting to talk about our travels because we don’t want to seem like we are bragging. And we always come home changed. I would love it if you would write about your transition from long term travel to coming back home!
We’re mid-transition but when we’re more settled we’ll definitely write about our experiences! We really want to do sort of like a year in review – how much we spent, where we went, and how we feel now that it’s all over!
thanks for sharing this.
it’s so true!
Awesome post. Quitting your job to travel sounds so dreamy and idyllic. This puts it all in the right perspective. I love the you’ll miss your job part. Old jobs always feel so much better in nostalgia, loll!
We both LOVED the jobs we quit. Now that we’re back, 1 of us has their old job already and the other one is thinking about returning
So true, especially #12-#15! I was on the road for years and was constantly exhausted!. Many people think being on the road is “glamorous”, but it gets to be a grind, too! I guess the grass isn’t greener no matter where you go or what you do!
Everywhere you go, there you are, right? Another thing people don’t realize is that if you’re on the road & working remotely or blogging, you’re still working full time. I worked probably 60+ hours every week during the entirety of our “vacation!”
I didn’t quit my job, but I did a gap year after college and can totally relate to this. I swore when I got back that it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Well, it was…for about four years. Now, another long-term trip is all I can think about. I’m reading this post thinking “oh yeah I can totally deal with all the less-fun aspects for another year.” Just gotta get over the fear of that “what have I done” moment.
I went on a month long trip right after college and YEARNED for another, longer trip for years. It’s so easy to say we’ll never do this again right now as we just got back, but you’re totally right – give it a few years and I bet we’ll want to take off again!
That’s such a great read. I get the exhaustion of recounting yourself and your journey over and over. And the vast “what have I done?” moment on arrival. Wise and thought-provoking words for anyone contemplating an extended trip – and the friends of those who do it.
Oh god that moment of “WHAT HAVE WE DONE” slapped us in the face at the same time as the 100-degree Cartagena heat the second we stepped out of the airplane in Colombia!
What a great, detailed post. Thank you for sharing this. It’s great to read about a gap leap year and not quitting your job forever. I like this perspective.
Best of luck in the Bay area. Jealous as I love it!
Ohhh I hear you. I quit my job almost 2 years ago and started travelling. The worst I found was that none of my friends is sharing my travel passion and they will never understand what I am talking about unless they have been with me. It´s actually crazy as we are living the life and complaining on a high level but everything you wrote about is so true.
I’m always so torn because on the one hand I’m like “UGH I’M SO TIRED OF ~~TRAVEL~~~” and on the other hand I’m like “oh my god, you whiny privaleged princess. Stahpppp.” Luckily we had each other to complain to the whole time, so we could validate each other’s feelings without having to irritate everyone else with our 1st world problems
I love everything about this post… I was even reading certain points to my husband cause every time work becomes a bit too heavy, we would think about just traveling (we also work in San Francisco). Amazing that you were able to enjoy being together everywhere for a year! And welcome back to the Bay Area
We figured if we were going to realize that we’d made a horrible mistake and should get a divorce, the first year was the time to do it. But turns out we REALLY like each other! Very convenient. Hehe.
Such a great read! We are preparing for a year off now, and we have a 4-yr-old too. I’m excited but scared at the same time. All of these things in this post have gone through my mind. Our biggest fear is “are we doing the right thing for our son?” Sure the things he will learn that year trump anything he will see or do or learn in school, but we are removing him from a stable environment where he has friends and the constant change makes us nervous. Glad to know we aren’t the only ones who will run into these “problems” though!
Honestly, hindsight is 20/20 and you probably won’t find out if it was a good idea or not until you finish the trip What else can you do, but take the plunge?! How exciting for your family!
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In 2016 we quit our jobs, put our stuff in storage, and took off on a (disastrous) year-long honeymoon. Today, we share down-to-earth travel tips from our many (mis)adventures on our blog and podcast!
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