Things To Think About Before You Quit Your Job To Travel

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say; “should I quit my job and travel the world?”

Woah there horsey, that’s a bold statement! Sure, many people have done it. There will be many more people who will do it in the future.

That doesn’t mean that everyone should.

Of course, anyone who’s followed this blog for a while will tell you that we’re not ones to shy away from an adventure.

woman sitting on beach chair looking at water

We’ve quit our jobs to travel the world several times over, but that doesn’t mean we would do it again and again.

There are a lot of considerations to think of before you make a bold move as to give up your career and hit the road into the unknown.

While we don’t want to be a killjoy, we do want to be pragmatic and share the pros and cons of quitting your job to travel the world so you can decide if that’s really what you want to do.

Things To Think About Before You Quit Your Job To Travel

1. Do you have a job to go back to?

group of people standing next to bikes in front of mountain
Bike riding in Snowmass, Colorado

You don’t have to quit your job to travel long term. This is a misconception that a lot of people make.

I can’t tell you how many people we’ve met on the road who tell us they quit their jobs to travel the world and have no idea what to do when they get back, only to find out they never asked their employer if they can come back – assuming the answer would be no.

I strongly believe that employers are far more open and accepting of people’s desires to travel in this day and age compared to how they used to be.

There is a lot more emphasis in our global culture on work/life balance, and ensuring people live a happy life.

Happy minds = happy workers, right?

If you ask your employer to take a leave of absence for a few months, or even a year, they will probably tell you they would welcome you back when you come back.

If they don’t, well then are you prepared to job hunt when you return? Do you have a friend or family member you can live with while you’re looking for work? Do you have funds to support that phase in your life? How easy will it be?

These are questions you want to consider before you quit. If you do plan to quit your job to travel the world, you cannot be so dreamy eyed as to not think about the end of your travels too. That’s where problems happen.

2. Do you have kids? How will it affect them?

Mom and two daughters looking at an iguana on a beach
Iguana Island, Exumas

We have traveled with our kids since they were born and would not have it any other way.

We have homeschooled them, we have moved them around in RVs on road trips and taken them on adventures that most kids their age wouldn’t have the luxury of.

But now they are older, and starting to think about college. They have a home base with friends that they don’t want to leave.

It’s not just about their education but their wellbeing and what’s important to them.

Before quitting your job to take your kids on a long term travel adventure, talk to them about it first and see if they are happy with the decision first.

You can always do it when they’ve flown the nest!

3. What will you give up to travel?

people jumping in the air
Monument Valley, Arizona

You also need to think about what you’re giving up and leaving behind. Do you have an apartment or a house that you’re renting or mortgaging? Who will look after it or will you have to simply move out?

What about your things? Are they going into storage or in boxes in a friend’s garage?

You will need to downsize for a life of travel, which means giving up some material possessions.

Maybe a clear out will be good for you, or maybe throwing out some sentimental items might make you resent the trip. It’s your call, at the end of the day. Just something to think about…

Here are six sacrifices of a life of travel (with tips to manage them!)

4. Are you prepared for reverse culture shock?

flowers on edge of beach
Our home region

Many people don’t know about reverse culture shock until they feel it themselves. That’s what happened to us!

If you’ve never heard of this term before, it essentially means the feeling of “not fitting in” in your home country anymore.

When you take time away, especially for long periods of time, you come home to find that it’s different to when you left it.

It’s not just the old play park has been turned into a parking lot, it’s the people that change too.

You’ll find you have changed, too.

Your values change when you travel. You become wiser, more educated about global issues, you adapt to challenges better, you overcome fears – you’re not the same person you were when you left.

It can be difficult coming back to your home country and feeling like you belong after a long time away. It does get easier, and you eventually find your rhythm, but just know it’s not just a case of the “travel blues”, and for some it can be a really difficult feeling to deal with.

5. Do you have enough funds?

caz and the girls looking at tunnel of vines
Bardini Gardens, Florence

Money doesn’t grow on trees, as they say! While you don’t need a lot of money to travel, you do need to set aside a small fund to cover you.

You can work on the way, you can volunteer or stay in cheap hostels to save money, but it’s always smart to have extras for emergencies.

Don’t forget to save for when you get back. You may need to book an expensive flight home, and you may need to support yourself for when you need to find work again.

6. Are you prepared for the adventure?

devil's staircase sedona pink jeep
The Devil’s Staircase in Sedona

Traveling full time sounds like a luxury, but it can also be exhausting after a while.

One of the things we love about travel is there are no rules; you can wake up when you want, do what you want, eat where you want, sleep when you want.

It also requires a lot of mental effort planning, finding places to sleep, looking for a place to eat that won’t give you food poisoning, working out what attractions you can visit within your budget.

There is still a lot of planning to do on the road, and it can get tiring.

7. What are your goals for traveling?

caz hiking on little beehive trail
Hiking in Banff National Park

Finally, what are your goals? Are you traveling because you want to explore the world while you’re young, or are you trying to fix a hole in your life?

Ask yourself if you’re running towards or away from something.

Contrary to what you read in books, travel will not cure a broken heart. Travel will not fix a hole in your heart, merely put a bandaid on it.

Don’t go if your heart and mind are not ready for the adventure. It’s best to work on your problems before you go.

Ask yourself if your travel goals can be achieved by taking short holidays, or by taking a sabbatical from work rather than quitting completely.

If you can see all you want to see in 3 months, well then you might want to talk to your employer about whether you can take a leave of absence and return in a few months.

Final Thoughts

caz and savannah posing inside love heart sculpture in front of VErona arena
Love Verona

Some people are upset with those who preach the “quit your cubicle and travel” lifestyle, and some people don’t want to quit their job to travel and feel offended by the ones who do.

Here’s the problem; people writing about quitting your job to travel the world are writing to people who want to quit their job and travel the world.

Their intended audience are people who detest their jobs, feel lost, and are looking for deeper meaning. They haven’t found it in a job yet.

It’s absolutely not the truth for everyone.

We seek out tribes of like-minded people in every aspect of our lives. It’s how we feel safe and understood and perhaps a little more courageous to go after the life we yearn for based upon our ideals and values.

woman looking at mountains

I left my teaching job because I woke up every morning to an alarm and said, “Oh f**k.”

It was tortuous and soul destroying, and impacted everyone around me, including the children I was teaching. If I’m not living a life of travel, I feel as if I’m slowly dying – there’s nothing else, including a job (apart from this blog) that fulfills me.

When I talk from that perspective on this blog, I’m talking to people who feel the same way so they know somebody gets their pain and they too can find a way out.

I’m not talking to people who love their job. I’m not saying that loving a job is bad and the only worthwhile life is one where you leave it all behind.

I’m saying a worthwhile life is one where you follow a path that makes you happy.

woman on side of road on Independence pass Colorado

A person who has quit their job, and created a successful and happy life travelling the world, is not being irresponsible by encouraging and teaching others how to do it.

If they’ve created something others desire, there’s nothing wrong with helping to light up a path for their fellow tribe members.

Those who are considering quitting their job to leap into travel also have to hit the pause button.

Don’t just blindly jump. Know how deep the waters are.

Pause. Reflect. Research. Due diligence. Responsible choice. Own it.

family on beach watching sunrise

Want to quit your job to travel the world? Go for it. Want to help people leave the cubicle because you believe its the best thing ever? Go for it. There are plenty of people who want you to help them.

Want to find a way to fit travel in with the life and the job you love? Go for it. I love that you have a job you love. I think it’s the ultimate goal for everyone because work is something we all gotta do and we spend a lotta hours doing it, why not love it?

Why not lap up the security and benefits of it and use that to create travel experiences you love? The truth is you probably have more scope to travel with a steady pay check than most quitting their jobs.

Let’s face it jobs keep the society evolving and rolling and there’s a lot of good that happens in the world because of them.

Love what you do and do what you love.

What would you do? Would you quit your job and travel the world? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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