Recently, I was perusing one of the numerous travel-related newsletters I get every week when I came across an article: “Traveler Story: I Quit My Job to Travel [...]”
Now, if I got a nickel for every time I saw a variation of this title, I would have a whole lotta nickels.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most prevalent narratives in the travel space: I left my (usually) dissatisfying job (often times in corporate America, sometimes not) to pursue a life of wandering the globe, and I’m now living my “dream life.”
As someone who studied journalism and now does communications for a living, I completely understand how enticing this sounds when packaged in this way. It’s something I think many people have thought about...dreamed about... and it’s something numerous people have asked me if I would ever do.
I also think it can be a truly wonderful opportunity for a number of people, and I know people who've done just that for several months or a year, which I'm totally on board with. But to quit your job to travel indefinitely? Quite frankly that's not for everyone, and it feels deceiving to put forth this idea that once you do that, you're “living the dream.” There’s a certain naïveté to that idea, and part of me wonders what all of this will look like in the next 10-15 years. These are the things I think about whenever I come across someone's "quit my job to travel" story.
As for me, would I ever quit my job to travel the world? At this point in time, the answer is a resounding no.
Have I thought about it? Absolutely. Would I ever do it? I never say never, but I know I’m not doing it in the near future. For a few reasons, it’s not for me. Here’s why:
I don’t want to travel all the time
As much as I love traveling, I do not want to travel all the time. It makes it hard to maintain anything, and as I get older, I like having a place to call my own that I can leave and come back to. I also know that travel burnout is real and can take away from the enjoyment of the actual act of traveling.
I would be too stressed out
Let’s face it, I am a practical soul, so the idea of quitting my job to travel indefinitely legitimately stresses me out. How am I making a living? Where am I going to stay? How am I going to get to the next place? What should I do about my depleting savings? This may be a tad overdramatic, but my point is that I know that I can be somewhat risk-averse so when too many things are up in the air, I wouldn’t enjoy the experience.
I believe you can do both
I wholeheartedly believe people can see the world and have a fulfilling career. In fact, I've written about that many times on this blog. Some jobs involve travel, so you can easily accomplish both. For those that don’t, there are tips and tricks that can help you to maximize your vacation days so you can get out and explore. It does not have to be one or the other.
I like my career
Though I can be a perpetual planner, I fully admit that I do not have my life or career mapped out. But what I can say is that I overall enjoy where I am right now, career-wise, and I know many others who feel the same. I’m all for leaving something if it makes you miserable, but if it doesn’t then don’t feel bad about continuing to do what you’ve been doing.
At the end of the day, this whole topic is a luxury to consider in itself, is it not? There are so many people who struggle to find or hold a job, so the idea of quitting what many, myself included, have worked so hard to get can sound crazy.
For some people, quitting your job to travel is a wonderful opportunity and perhaps may be the best next step. But I also want to call out that this shouldn’t be the sole or dominant narrative in the travel space. Why not broaden that narrative to focus on and share stories of people who did not quit their jobs to travel the world? Trust me, we’re out there!
Would you ever quit your job to travel?