Why NOT to quit your job to travel
It happens to many of us, the sudden urge to let it all be and leave on a trip. To travel for months or years on end. Why not even indefinitely? Sell the house, the car, let someone else take care of the dog. Then it's just packing bags, buying travel insurance and one plane ticket to get you going. It's not hard to understand that people feel like leaving their lives behind, possibly to start over.
There's people that daydream about yelling "YEAH BYE NOW" through the office hallways, thinking they found their way out of the rat race. And maybe they have, who am I to argue that. However, you change the problems you have today for other, new problems of tomorrow. Money will always be of importance, no matter how low you keep your expenses. You do need that health insurance and you do need money for accommodation. If you manage these expenses, there's cost of transport, the new shoes, the hat to provide shade from the sun.
Ideally, you should always have money to be able to get back home to any relatives or friends should tragedy strike. You can be self-reliant but it does bring other problems. You might think you become independent, but you become ever more dependent on others. If you have less money, you'll rely on the kindness of others to help you through the day. To get hitchhiking, there needs to be that kind stranger that pulls over. Can you use their laundry machine? You just might. In many cases, human kindness knows no end. People are one magnificent bunch! But you rely on them more than while you worked your job.
Let's say you become independent by freelancing, writing, editing or simply selling travel stories. You'll need to put so much effort into the way in which you present yourself and your work that the feeling of independence will quickly fade. Besides, your clients will switch to another provider in a matter of seconds if your work doesn't live up to their expectations. There are many others making their way working on the road, trying to make their own living. They might be able to write a post for a bit less money, and some more buzzwords.
If you choose independence from your work, your money will have to come from somewhere else. The concern of your income source can cloud your day. Perhaps, you'll be thinking back to the Friday afternoons when you left your office feeling happy to embrace your freedom. Even if only for two days. You went to have some drinks and took a comfortable cab home. You gave a generous tip. Perhaps you went to clubs, bought some fancy drinks and generally had no second thought about enjoying your free time and spending lots of cash. Maybe you saved money all through your life to buy your house. To pay off student debts. This gave you a feeling of security. You'd work it out, you'd pay off these debts and then your mortgage. Then you sold the house to go travel. Unless you're very strong-minded, you will look back on these decisions with a sense of doubt. When you walk through the rain on the way to some local bus station with your laptop soaked in your backpack, you will look back to the Sunday mornings you had a good coffee at home while sitting next to the central heating under a blanket.
The point is that nobody can tell you whether you made the right or wrong decision. Each other person you know has to make these decisions for themselves and they don't even know. There's many people in their cubicles thinking the exact same thing as you. People go through their lives not knowing things. Only you know what's good for you. Or more likely, you have no clue. Embrace the fact that nobody knows and therefore you yourself must decide. Yes, you can listen to your parents, but they might advise you to stay close and secure so they know you're well. This is not necessarily best for you either. In fact, there's many parents that cannot detach the child from themselves and are for that reason overprotective, anxious to see their boy or girl set off into the big world. So don't expect them to advise you on what to do. They can until a certain point. They surely have your best interest at heart but cannot be expected to make the decision for you. Besides, your parents are normal adults. Just like you. Except for the fact that you know how to use the Internet and will more readily surf the web or listen to some YouTube channel to find arguments for your decision. Listen and make a comparison on the consequences of staying home or hitting the road.
So, it's YOU that needs to decide. Just like it's only going to be you facing death in a small amount of time, because life is very short. And you better make sure you don't have big regrets at that moment - so make the decisions now that you're healthy and can move freely. That being said, there are combinations of keeping a steady income and traveling often. Many people are unwilling to put in the effort of becoming self-employed and even if they were, most new businesses fail. For that reason, it's not such a bad idea to keep your job and then work on a side hustle. But tell your boss. Make sure it doesn't have any influence on your daily work tasks. Your boss deserves to know. The contract might mention that you can't have a side business, perhaps only if it's not related to the field you work in. Make sure you cover it. HR colleagues are open to dialogue and will appreciate your honesty. Then, at some other point, you could also request a long time off or take three-day weekends. If you're a genuinely good employee and are lucky enough to find yourself at a job where you're treated well, you can easily start this conversation. They might be willing to keep you and just as much give you the freedom to reach some personal goals. They understand you're young and might grant you the three-day weekends or just a part-time function. If you cut out all the unnecessary small talk at work and just stick to your job, you can complete your tasks in half a day anyway.
Then, travel close. Find what there is to see around the place you live and use your free time fully to see what there is. If you've been there all your life and you'd prefer another place, see where else your company is and check if you can move to another office. Perhaps in the same country but why not abroad? If you're in the EU, you have free movement and it should be easy to get yourself settled anywhere else. But again, start the dialogue. You will not know unless you start talking about your desire to see more of the world. Then, if your boss sees that you are happier and more productive because you actually better enjoy life now, you just built yourself a much better relationship. You get to travel while enjoying the comforts of a steady job with good coffee and the cosiness of your apartment. You have clean clothes, which is another thing you start missing during prolonged travel. You get exhausted of washing, drying and eventually buying new clothes.
Go on a long trip, at least for months, and you'll find you appreciate your home comforts. Clean laundry hanging outside on your balcony and the smell of fresh coffee. The feeling you get after you just cleaned the whole place. Your own place. Your cups, your couch. You'll appreciate a hug from your mom when you see her. It's what you'd never think of twice but you'll miss it if you're away from home just long enough. Travel is fantastic but can get tiring. You will get lifelong benefits from travel. It will enrich you. You should definitely go if you feel like it. If you start thinking about it more often, you already know you want it. Do not postpone. Do make a comparison of quitting your job or not. No matter the amount of savings you have. Quitting before the dialogue gives your boss no chance to meet you halfway. And it's not fair. Be the adult in this - let your boss know what your personal goals are. What you built up, what you manage to keep while working and traveling at the same time, will change your life in the long run. This post should not convince you to take one way or the other. It should make you think that all your decisions, even if they seem small, have an outcome on the way you live your life. It really matters.
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