Reason why you won’t travel number 3: My career will suffer

When I returned home from living in the States, I reached a massive career road block: the education system denied my right to teach in Australia.

The rules had changed. Because I had a 3 year University degree instead of a 4 year, and had been out of the country for 5 years, I was not allowed to teach, unless I went back to Uni to do my fourth year.

I was MAD.

They did not care about my 10 years teaching experience in 5 different countries across different grades and different positions that involved special education, global education, and leadership.

Apparently I would have been more qualified had I stayed at Uni and did my 4th year as a 22 year old. Or stayed teaching the one grade at the same school in Australia for 10 years. My years of travelling and teaching in five different systems, in many grade levels, had hurt my career.

But had it really?

Was teaching what I really wanted to do with my life? Was that educational shut down worth 15 years of travel around the world? Knowing the outcome now, would I have made a different choice and not travelled?


The education department refused to see it, but my experiences travelling and teaching around the world made me a better teacher and person.

Plus, my travel experiences opened up a new world for me where I believed I was the creator of my life. It didn’t matter about my qualifications and experiences, ultimately I could create a life that I really wanted.

What lies in your heart?

Travel does not lead you down one path, there are twists and turns and tributaries on this grand adventure that lead you to the right place.

You can’t make a decision now based on what you think will happen in the future.

  • How do you really know what you want to be doing in 10 years time?
  • How do you know what new skills and interests you’ll embrace and the path you will eventually want to go on?
  • Why would you risk losing those opportunities because at this moment you think you won’t get ahead in life if you don’t keep climbing the corporate ladder?

Is this what you really want, with all your heart? I honestly don’t think you’d be reading our blog if you did.

Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with climbing the career ladder if this is clearly what you want to do for ever. But, if you really want to travel and you are letting your fears speaking the form of, I can’t because I’ll lose job opportunities, you need to listen up.

I know society expects you to go to college, get a good job, work hard and reward yourself for 2-4 weeks a year. There is nothing wrong with this, but it doesn’t mean this is the right path for everyone.

Life is so wide and free flowing that anything can happen and opportunities are endless. Allow yourself the time and freedom to figure it out.

I’m 38 and have only just figured it out.

Thank goodness I didn’t make that permanent decision straight from University. I have never been out of a job, I made good money in whatever country I worked in and had the most incredible learning and fun years of my twenties travelling the world.

I feel as if my life has been so fulfilling and rich and it’s purely because of my experiences travelling (and working abroad).

Why do you want a career?

  • What value and purpose is a career going to bring into your life?
  • Is your life set on only one track?
  • Or can you open it up a little to include a whole field of different choices?

How do you know you won’t find a career somewhere else in the world?

How do you know new and exciting opportunities won’t arrive?

Fear comes disguised in many forms, one of these is controlled by the limiting conditions of your upbringing that tells you to have a fulfilling life you need to get a degree and a good paying job and then you might just have enough to be “happy.”

More and more people are discovering this is a lie. You can create the life you truly want. It’s just a matter of being clear on what that is and then taking steps to claim it.

How can travel prepare you for the most fulfilling job?

Travel will expand your horizons. It will teach you many skills that will benefit you more in your return home to get that high paying job, or create your own high paying business based on your passion.

Travel makes it easier to develop the following higher order skills that will make you a valuable asset for any job or enterprise you start working in: adaptability, problem solving, decision making, negotiation, networking, confidence, cultural sensitivity, people skills, open-mindedness, and global awareness.

Wouldn’t that sound attractive to a future employer, especially in this shrinking world of globalization?

It could be very possible that all your new experiences may inspire you to be your own boss, and attain the time and financial freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want.

Before I started travelling I had little skills or experience, I was very insecure, shy and afraid of everything and everyone.

The skills I learned as a result of my travel experiences, have enabled me to own my own business. Despite having no business skills, I dove in with the confidence that I could learn and make it work. This is an empowering benefit of travel.

You might decide after your travels you still want to pursue that career you were interested in. I bet you will have quick success because of all you have learned travelling. You will be able to offer so much more wisdom, strength, courage and confidence.

Travel is the biggest and best internship program ever created.

I’ve rarely met a long term traveller who has not returned home and made a big success of their lives – great job, great money. It’s because they become more in tune with who they are and what they want, and they develop skills in so many different areas.

And they are not afraid to try new things.

Think of your travels around the world as an education in itself.

What’s your career back up plan?

How can you improve your career prospects by travelling?

Investigate those who are where you want to be on the career ladder. What did they do to get there? What skills do they have? Craft your travel experiences around improving on these.

What are your weaknesses? How can travel support you in strengthening these? Plan your experiences around that.

Make your travels a working holiday experience. I didn’t lose any teaching skills when I travelled, I improved upon them by teaching around the world. Even though the Australian government refused to acknowledge this, it definitely helped me to become a better teacher.

Create the life you really want around your work

We interview people on our podcast monthly who have created a lifestyle of travel for themselves. Each left with no set plan, only a burning desire to travel.

They were all afraid and wondered what it would mean for their jobs. They all thought they’d return to study or work, but every one ended up, through the pursuit of their heart’s happiness, discovering a new world that was made just for them.

Now they live each day how they truly want while having oodles of success and happiness.

Ask yourself:

What do you want your life to look like in twenty years time?

What do you want to see when you look back on your life?

Because nobody on their death bed ever said:

“If only I spent more time at the office.”

How has travel affected your career?

What worries you the most about travel and career?

Read more reasons why you won’t travel and what to do

  1. I can’t leave my family and friends
  2. I have too many responsibilities
  3. It’s not safe and I’ll be alone
  4. I don’t have any money

How to travel more despite your career

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19 thoughts on “Reason why you won’t travel number 3: My career will suffer”

  1. Reading this should be a requirement for every college graduate! Imagine if everyone truly believed: “I don’t need to climb the corporate ladder to find happiness.”

    Another common excuse I hear is: “If I travel, I would have a big career gap in my resume/CV and no one would hire me”

    Why not turn that potential negative into a positive by proudly displaying your new skills gained through travel?

    The skills mentioned in this post would make your resume/CV stand out when applying for future jobs. (adaptability, problem solving, decision making, negotiation, networking, confidence, cultural sensitivity, people skills, open-mindedness, and global awareness).

    Go build your resume by buying that 1-way flight!! 🙂

    1. I was actually hired the first time I returned from overseas travel because of my travel experiences. My principal had travelled herself so was aware of the benefits it gave you. I think travel can only enhance that CV and make you far more attractive to a potential employer.

    2. As a recent college graduate, I’ve found that college really didn’t do much of anything to prepare me for the “real world.” Now, because of some setbacks that led to a major change in my major a year and a half before graduating, I didn’t have a lot of the mentoring and opportunities that many college students get, but still. My classes did little to teach me about actual adult life. And travel has done a lot to teach me that! Though I do commiserate with this fear, as I’m currently applying for grad school and struggling to find the right wording to put my travel experiences on my resume and CV. I know I’ve gained so much from them but the usual resume language doesn’t seem to express it well!

  2. Caz, I loved this piece. Although I rarely let building a career prevent me from traveling, it did confine me to shorter trips than what my heart desired. This sentence you wrote in particular hit a chord with me,

    “Life is so wide and free flowing that anything can happen and opportunities are endless.”

    I believe that all the way to my core and appreciate how well you stated it. May I have permission to quote you on that?

    May your travels continue to bless you and your family!

    1. Of course Joanne, I’m so glad it resonated with you. And thank you for wanting to share it.
      (P.S this is Caz btw, I accidentally answered under Craig’s log in. Can’t seem to fix it!)

  3. Caz, you are such an inspiration to me… “You can’t make a decision now based on what you think will happen in the future.” I’m 34 now and I just got “hit” by my net bank with an add about my pension… I got frustrated. I just can’t NOT do all the things I want because my pension might suffer, at this point I don’t know if I’ll ever NEED a pension, so…

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Caz. I know that -I- am ultimately responsible for what I do with my life, but it really is a great help to hear and see someone who doesn’t think thinking outside the box is insane.

    1. Oh yes the pension thing!! I sometimes worry about that as I have very little in superannuation. But, I know this much. I know I can create my own income and future. I’d rather focus my energy and time on enjoying my years now and doing what I love now then waiting for a retirement that might not even come.
      (P.S this is Caz btw, I accidentally answered under Craig’s log in. Can’t seem to fix it!)

  4. Im a student and im working on my future travel. it is so hard! i tried from tour escort to internet marketer. some jobs that allow me to have a travel life. im not an english native speaker so teaching English is impossible for me :(. I perspective about life is exactly like your post but my perspective is starting to shake! cuz life is so hard if u dont have a job, no uni degree (hard to get a job). i dont want to follow society path but its extremely hard to go different way from society path. hajz im still 20 and still figuring out the purpose of my life……….

    1. I was a student just 3 month ago I’ve finished my degree now, but what now? – should i just work the next 40 years to gain a house with items that has no real value in the end?

      I got an IT degree that i can’t use online, however i got lots of skills in different areas that i can use with freelance jobs, there is also woofing. You got plenty of choices, as Caz said …. they are endless, just believe it and take a leap of faith!

      The alternative is 8-5 job, walk the same road everyday, meet the same people everyday, get a routine and just keep going around in the hamster wheel 🙂 that’s how i normally look at it, and that’s why i never doubt the travel that i’m going on is the right choice for me, because i can simply comprehend the corporate ladder!

      Hope i you will find the “right” way for you. 🙂

      1. sadly then i can’t edit… what i ment to say was…
        “that’s how i normally look at it, and that’s why i never doubt that travel is the way for me, because i CAN’T comprehend the corporate ladder!”

    2. Hey Harry, I’m not a native English speaker and I teach English in… England 😀 Well, but I do appreciate your concerns as it’s not any easier for non-native speakers to get a job as teachers, especially abroad. It really made me mad when was looking for teaching jobs abroad and every time I found something that looked good, I came across “sorry, only native speakers”! Yeah, it can be quite discouraging… This article prompted me to make a comment about having a “right” passport makes getting a job easier (talking about teaching here), then I found your post and reflected again…
      I’m at the cross roads at the moment too, however have come to make rather bold decision of renting my place out and going into the big wide world without an actual plan, just want to see what happens! I’m fed up with being in the hamster wheel (like David called it) and not knowing what to else to do. So, despite not having “the right passport” I think I’m gonna take the plunge and see what great things I’ll discover about myself. I think I’m a good teacher, but also realised I can do other things in life that help me on my path. Teaching doesn’t always mean being stuck in a classroom 😉 I’ve got this feeling I’m gonna be ok. Just need to start believing in myself and own skills perhaps a bit more…Travelling is,for me, about self-discovery, expanding own horizons, learning from others. It’s like a never ending university course- just much better than that and often with better views from the window 😉
      If you want to travel there are other opportunities to do it on a budget, i.e. volunteering etc. and who knows, that make take you onto your dream career path. I’m wishing you all the best 😀

      Caz, I’m very grateful for this article- it’s just something I needed to read today 🙂 Fingers crossed I won’t let fear take over and settle again!

  5. Well, if somebody says that he or she is not traveling because their career might suffer, so be it. I believe if you really want to to something, you do it – come what may! There are simply no excuses. Career is important, money is also important. We have to earn in order to travel. But one should know how to manage things. I mean you have to keep travel somewhere on top if you really WANT TO TRAVEL. If you don’t want to then don’t say you want to. There is no time to travel – a perfect time or resources to travel never come – we have to make them happen.

  6. Caz and Craig- this is actually a question rather than a comment on this post. The thing that often keeps me from traveling (or keeps me traveling in only certain places) is the fact that I wear contact lenses and I’ve found my eyes are very sensitive to dirt and sand and I get infections easily. I have to wear the lenses every day- I have very poor vision- and though I do have glasses I can wear, I find my eyes are very sensitive to glare so going outside without sunglasses becomes painful after a few minutes. I have to stay places where I know there will be access to clean water and soap at all hours in case I need to fix my lenses. Do you have any tips? Or know of anyone who has any tips about dealing with this?

    1. Oh no what a pain Stephanie. Can you get prescription sunglasses? Craig had really bad eyesight and he had laser surgery. Is this an option for you? Otherwise just make sure you always have soap and bottled water with you. It’s easy to get clean, drinking water from bottles in most countries.

  7. Oooh, always fun to figure out what I would want my life to look like in twenty years. In fact, it’s not a whole lot different than what I do now for a living (writing), but I would love to live like a nomad in a VW bus, a bunch of kids running around and my (then) husband working for himself too, while driving & sightseeing trough the world. Basically, all I would need to do to achieve this is buy a VW-van, get my bf to propose and knock me up, and there we go 😉


  8. Wow I really get inspired when I read your post. As you say we can learn so many skills and that could improve your career profile, but at least for me I consider I’m really shy and I little bit scare when I think been alone on a new country without anyone who could help me. Maybe I need to madure more but I think If I have at least one person who guide me and offers me morally support them I think I could move forward but as I say I think this it’s one of my biggest weakness…been afraid and not been supported even for my family

  9. Sometimes it drives me crazy trying to explain my resume to people. It’s not even hard to understand. I think you can be a contract worker in many industries, or a traveller in one industry, but combine the two and recruiters heads explode because they can’t handle variables. After I get over my annoyance at explaining it yet again, I just think how much more fun their life would be if they’d tried it!

  10. Fabulous and totally agree. People ask me about this all the time and I always say – do you really want to work for an employer who doesn’t value travel experience at all? I sure don’t.

  11. I have a different appreciation for this blog post now than I would have had 5 years ago. Then, I was just out of college/university and felt comfortable traveling while I figured out what my next career move would be. Even when I was working jobs I knew I didn’t want a career in, I was gaining valuable skills that got me hired enough to keep going. Now, as I finish my graduate degree at home, I am faced with the opportunity to take a gamble and begin my new career in another country or another state. Caz, your post speaks right to the heart of my concern: will travel hold me back in my career? I really appreciate your words reminding me that the things I want to accomplish don’t require staying in one place. I needed that clarity, thank you!

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