Are you thinking about quitting your job to travel the world? Before you start packing up your desk, maybe you should reconsider. I get the appeal, trust me. You’ve probably just finished reading an article about someone who was stuck at a dead-end job and one day took stock of their life and decided to make a change. They ended up booking a one-way ticket to a faraway destination and have never looked back. It sounds easy. It sounds inconsequential. But, before you make a life-altering decision based on the experience of some random person on the internet, here are 10 things to consider:
1. Do you have the money for it?
The first and foremost thing you should consider is whether or not you can afford it. Maybe you have enough money for that one-way ticket, but what about everything else? Do you have enough money for accommodation? What about for food, for transport, and for sightseeing? Imagine travelling all the way to China and then realising you can’t actually afford to go see The Great Wall. And say you then realise that booking a one-way ticket was a stupid idea (and not just because one-way tickets are more expensive), do you have enough money for the trip back?
2. Where will you go?
The world is a big place and there are so many destinations for you to choose from. So, where exactly would you go? As far away from home as possible? Your ultimate bucket list destination? And what exactly does it actually mean to travel the world? Does it mean going to at least one country on every continent, or does it mean visiting every country in the world? All I’m saying is, before you set out to “travel the world”, make sure you know what you are getting into, and what travelling the world exactly means for you.
3. Who would you go with?
Will this be a solo trip, a couples trip, or a group trip? Before deciding, make sure you have considered the benefits and risks of each. A solo trip is a good opportunity for you to grow as an individual and work on your relationship with yourself. On the other hand, you might be facing loneliness or even boredom if you are someone who is used to always having their friends around. If you are considering a couples trip, make sure your relationship is strong enough to handle this kind of challenge. Sure, travelling can be fun and romantic, but it can also be strenuous, tiring and stressful. Are you willing to expose your relationship to those type of conditions? The same goes for travelling with friends. Travelling the world together is a big leap from enjoying a few beers together at the pub. And the jokes you laughed at back home might get old when you are hearing them for the 100th time as you are waiting in line for the bus. So, before you set out to discover the world with someone, make sure your relationship with them is strong enough relationship to handle it, regardless of whether that someone is a friend, a partner or yourself.
4. How will your decision affect the people in your life?
Although the decision to take off into the sunset may seem right for you, it is important to consider how it affects the people in your life. Do you have a partner you need to consult first? How about your family? What will your decision mean for them? Is there someone who is relying on you financially? Of course, you are entitled to putting yourself first every once in a while. But, just make sure your decision is not upsetting, or, worse, hurting anyone. If it is, the question you then need to ask yourself is: is it worth it?
5. How will your decision affect your career?
Before giving it all up, take a look around you. How far have you gotten, and how hard have you worked to get there? If you’ve worked all your life to get to where you are, then it is possible that you will look back one day and regret your decision to give it all up. Or, if you are just starting out and are unhappy with where you are, it might be that you are still paying your dues. Are you sure you want to give up just yet? And if you do, do you think you will be able to resume your career from where you left off, or will you need to start over? It is important to think about what exactly you are giving up. Especially, if you are at a good stage of your career.
6. Can you travel for that long?
What’s the longest trip you’ve taken? Have you ever taken a trip that’s lasted for more than 2-3 weeks? The truth is that long-term travel is not for everyone. And if you’ve never tried it before, perhaps it is not a good idea to stake it all and quit your job for something that you might not actually be cut out for. Could you handle all the transits, the queues, the fuss of constantly moving around from one place to the next? Will you be able to get along in a country where you don’t speak the language and where the culture is distinctly different to what you are used to? And what about home-sickness? Can you be away from home for that long? These are questions you need to ask yourself if you are really considering going away.
7. How long will you be travelling?
If you’ve just made the decision to quit your job to travel, you probably don’t have all the details figured out yet. I’m not saying you need to create a life plan, but take a moment to think how deeply this will affect your life. Are you just taking a few months off to travel? Or a few years? Or are you actually planning on never coming back? The duration makes all the difference between taking a short break and permanently changing your life.
8. How are you going to make money?
Sorry to bring this up, but last time I checked when you travel you spend money you don’t make money. So what’s the plan? If you are only travelling for a few weeks it might be the case that you have money saved up. But, are you sure this is how you want to spend your savings? And what if you are planning to travel for a year or more? With the rise of travel bloggers, it might seem that anyone who takes a few pictures and writes a few articles on his travels can gain enough followers to make money out of it. But, remember that those you hear about are the exception, not the rule. So, before you set out to discover the world, make sure your wallet can handle it. And if you are bent on making this a long-term thing then it’s best to have some kind of financial plan. Don’t mean to spoil the wanderlust vibe you’ve got going on, but if you are going to be travelling long-term you’ll need to figure out how you will earn your living.
9. Why are you doing it?
If you’ve decided to quit your job to travel it either means that: a) You hate your job b) Travelling is your passion c) You hate your job AND travelling is your passion. Let’s take option A first. If you hate your job, perhaps you could take some time off and use that time to think about what you really want. Of course, travelling can be a great way of getting to know yourself, but it can also be a great distraction. Whatever you decide, make sure you are doing what’s best for you. If the truth is that you just LOVE to travel, then perhaps you could find a way to incorporate it more into your life. Travelling doesn’t always have to be about discovering exotic destinations. It can be a weekend road-trip. Or a visit to a nearby city you’ve never been to before. Just as long as you are experiencing something new, you are travelling. Now, if the answer is C, you hate your job and you love to travel, there are still alternative options. For example, you could consider switching up your career path for one that involves a lot of travelling. There’s no reason your passion and career can’t be aligned. Just look out for job descriptions that include frequent travelling, and start making a living out of your passion.
10 . What are you trying to achieve?
Before you set off to travel the world ask yourself this: What am I trying to achieve? It might be that you are doing it because it’s always been your dream, or you might just be doing it because it’s “in” at the moment, because it’s trendy. Whichever the reason, make sure you are not doing it just for the sake of it. If you are a writer, this could be a good way to gain some much-needed inspiration. If you a sociologist, it might be interesting for you to observe the customs and behaviours of different cultures. Or, if you are a scientist, you could make it your goal to learn about the greatest scientific achievements of different countries. They say travelling is the best form of education, so take advantage of it. Set a goal for yourself and turn your travels into a means of achieving something you always wanted.