Before we start doing something, be it a seemingly insignificant thing or a radical step we take, we always have an expectation of how it will turn out. We imagine the experience we’ll go through and the person we’ll be afterwards.
After having quit our jobs 1 year ago and travelled around 12 countries since then, let us tell you this:
Quitting your job to travel will be different from anything you can imagine right now.
While we can say that there will be times that are gut wrenching and soul warming, challenging and rewarding, and sometimes everything all at once, we can’t predict the journey. And that’s a beautiful thing. Because now you know that whatever your story will be, it will be unique. And as your journey, also you as a person will take a course that, whether you have mapped out your exact route or not, even when you will have reached your final destination, you’ll be somewhere completely different than you thought you’ll be.
Here comes the key message. Although you might feel lost at times, you’ll be exactly where you’ll need to be.
What is it like to quit your job and travel the world?
It’s a big question with many facades to it. To answer, we reflected on our key experiences and reviewed the feedback we received from 20 other long term travellers during our interview series for our upcoming book about The Life Transforming Benefits of Traveling.
Here come the 5 most appropriate ways to describe how it is like to quit your job and travel the world. You better bookmark this article, so you can tell us how right we were when you’re back!
Here we go…
You probably can imagine how scary it is to go to sleep knowing that this month there won’t be another salary flying in to your bank account. We bet that this fear is the main thing that has been keeping you from realising your dream in the first place.
Add the fact that you will leave your friends and family behind, give up your apartment, pack the essentials of your life into a 15 kg backpack, and go somewhere you’ve never been before. During your trip you might feel insecure about your future, about why you’re doing what you’re doing, or why the world works in certain ways.
So here comes the thing. We won’t tell you it’s not as terrifying as you think it is because … it is! You will get stressed, you will get anxious, you might deal with questions you have never thought about before.
BUT one thing is for sure. It will get better with time because …
It will help you to trust yourself more
Where comfort zone ends, personal growth begins. There are no clearer boarders to comfort zones than literally crossing the boarder of your own country, your job, and your everyday routine.
There is a funny misconception about traveling long term. People (often the ones back at home) see it as a long vacation. We have to set one thing straight.
There will be days and weeks that might feel like holidays, however overall it mostly won’t. It’s not going to be a holiday from your normal life, it’s going to be your new lifestyle. You will have to eat, do your laundry, there will be bad days when you won’t feel like leaving the house. It’s not always going to be happy – despite of what it looks like on social media.
Every day will be a new challenge. Small things like finding a meal, taking a bus, finding a clean bed to sleep in can turn into the most nerve racking endeavours. But with every challenge there will be little victories.
You will prove to yourself every single day that you can do it. Because you won’t quit.
Oprah once shared her favourite mantra that keeps her going whenever life gets tough. “Everything is always working out for me. Because it is, and it has, and it will continue to be as I forge and discover my own path.”
Every challenge will be a lesson and another piece adding to your growing self-confidence.
It will transform you in ways you can’t foresee
Because you will be constantly pushed beyond your limits, your journey will be a discovery of your-(new)-self and your capabilities will surpass what you can imagine right now.
When you feel stuck in a lifestyle that does not give you the fulfilment you wish for, when you’re following a path that others define as success but it doesn’t feel like it to you, when you’re longing for more, travel will be your guide. Far from your materialistic belongings, it will show you that what you need to be happy is already within you.
Whether you’re 20 or 30 or 60, there will be lessons about yourself that can’t be taught by sitting at home and doing every day the same things as always.
Whether you realise it or not, you’re running the most part of your day on auto-pilot. From setting an alarm in the morning to planning your dinner in the evening, most activities are part of a set routine in our busy lives. Travel breaks this routine. It turns off the engine of the auto-pilot, and it helps you to make meaningful changes to your life if you set conscious intensions for your trip.
You will gain (back) vision of the bigger picture, of the essentials of your life, and what you want your contribution to this big world to be.
It will open your eyes and change your perspective of things
It’s sure to say books can’t teach you the lessons that travel can. The subjects might be different than what you remember from school, but they will be targeted at the most important aspects of life: your health, your happiness, and your knowledge about the world and its people.
You might experience global problems such as environmental pollution first hand. You will learn how to apply the best out of different cultures and religions to your own life. You will cross paths with people that will inspire you, and you, in turn, will inspire yourself to become the best you.
Seeing people who have hardly anything to get being the most generous and content people we have ever met taught us about gratitude.
Watching children play in dirty polluted waters created unmatched awareness and urgency to protect our planet. Meeting people who make a living from things that they enjoy and believe in showed us that being successful and fulfilled are not two opposite sides of one coin.
Having travelled long term gives you an invisible degree that only travellers can understand. You will be part of an exclusive club.
It will be the beginning of a new better future life
We roll our eyes when people view travel as a break or an escape from regular life. The terms “break” and “escape” have negative connotations. Some people secretly assume that you can’t handle your life back at home and that something must be seriously wrong with you…
But who tells us how our regular lives should look like?
Is somebody more worth, mature, or sane when they do whatever everyone else is doing? Isn’t it more a sign of courage to take charge of your own life and recognise that happiness is something individual and can’t be defined by traditional measures of success?
Isn’t a person who lives a happy life – however it might look like – more admirable than a person who ticks all the checkboxes but still feels miserable?
As much as quitting your job to travel is closing one chapter, it’s also the beginning of a new one. It’s almost like starting writing on a blank page of paper. You get to re-design your life.
Think of how your ideal day should look like and start making small steps towards it. It sounds cliche but we are firm believers in the fact that you create your own future every day. Travelling will give you the necessary mind space, attitude, experience, skills, and tools to create a life where every day counts.
Key take aways
Quitting your job and travel the world is a roller coaster of extremes. You will get whirled up, you will be frightened, you might feel like throwing up sometimes, but you will also have the best time ever and after it’s over you’ll crave for more.
You will go through episodes of being scared to confident and you will collect invaluable lessons for the future. Your story will be unique. And whatever you will go through, it will be the path to a new stronger you. The key is to set powerful intensions for your trip to make the most out of your journey.