To Quit or Not to Quit your Job to Travel… That is the question
I’ve read some articles lately about opposing opinions on whether a Wanderluster should quit his/her job to go on long term travelling or stay on their 9-5 jobs, enjoy company benefits then travel from time to time.
But really, no one can answer that question but the reader himself as he is the one who knows his stature in life and his plans for the future. One should ask himself first and assess his life before jumping on the bandwagon because one might not know what you are going into. These articles are all but opinions (can either be inspiring or devastating) of the writers and not a direct consultation to each and every one of us because we are all different physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
Let’s take a look at some of those opinions. Please note that this may be much more applicable to Filipinos than in any other Nationality because of our culture of close family ties.
1) Staying on your job vs quitting to travel
Let’s discuss the most important of them all first, should you quit your job to travel for long term or just stay put and travel from time to time?
As I mentioned above, no one can answer this but you. I’m not against both opinions because the life of one is different from the other.
We all have different goals in life. Though we all love to travel, it’s not everyone’s ultimate goal. Maybe it’s one of their preferred hobby or just an escape from the monotonous daily grind but in the future, what they really want is to be a professional juggler or a Michelin star cook. Maybe it’s just a phase for some but for others, they want to make a career out of travelling.
We cannot dictate people on what to do with their lives because, well, it’s their life! An opinion can be a good or a bad thing to someone especially to those who easily follow your words because you’re their idol or they look up to you as someone very charismatic and all-knowing that they’ll follow every word you say.
You cannot tell people that having a life of travelling long term isn’t good because, well, it works for them! They found their niche. They EARN while travelling. As long as they work hard (yes, they work hard) to sustain their lifestyle then let them be. They may even earn more passive income than anyone of us working our asses off in the office from 9 to 5. Who doesn’t want to travel, eat delicious food and earn at the same time? We all do want that life right?
They might go home at some point of time (maybe they failed to sustain it) but at least they did what they want and they are not embarrassed to accept defeat or own up their mistakes. Once you fall down, you can always go back up. Some are also just taking a break because you know, travelling long term can be draining to oneself too (again it depends on everybody).
Yes, the simple Joe you know a week ago might be this rejuvenated long term Travel expert now, but hey, let him be, he’s following his dreams and maybe he has a great plan and a back-up, who knows? The Travel Experts world might be very congested now that a new comer will just be eaten up, but he wants it and nobody can stop him from achieving what he wants.
But of course, it’s not for all of us mere mortals. That’s why we need to asses our life and have a concrete plan before doing so.
Ok now you tell me, I want to follow my dreams. I want to be the next Nomadic Matt or Wandering Earl and I just want to flip the table, hit the road and never return. I have $20K in savings and I can just live by $50 a day. Great plan right? Hold your horses boy! Are you really sure with that? Are you willing to give up your job, your business and even your family (in some cases) for a life of traveling? Are you determined to live without the fancy things you luxuriously have right now and try to sustain your traveling lifestyle abroad? Is your family ok with you leaving for a long time? Do you have big responsibilities at home that traveling long term isn’t really a good idea? Well sir, if that’s your decision, then that’s ok BUT before doing so, be very sure with this and I cannot emphasize it more but have a concrete plan and a back-up! Maybe you can try it for a month or three and see if it’s really for you and if it’s not, then don’t be ashamed to come back and have your old life again. At least you experienced it and you lived your dreams. You can always try it again right?
If you think that long term traveling is not for you, then don’t quit your job/business. You can travel frequently even if you stay at your home country. It’s a matter of managing your time, family and finances. Traveling is not a race (definitely not the Amazing Race). You don’t have to go to 40 countries in a year. Take it slow. Build up wealth. Cherish your friends and family. Travel with them! Travel your home country on weekends. Or get a job that lets you travel often. Think of it first before hopping on the bandwagon! Don’t be too emotional with the current state of your life right now that you just want to scream and say ‘F*ck it, I’m getting out of here’. Take a deep breath, drink a beer, eat ice cream, run around the house naked, anything just to clear your mind and come up with a better decision.
For my final words in this subject, don’t take advises in the internet immediately. Fully understand YOUR situation because only you can answer this. Let’s be realistic because what works for them, may not work for everyone. But of course, don’t let that hinder you from achieving your dreams. You can always get that once you work hard for it. Some are able to travel in their jobs.
2) Tell your family that you will be traveling long term and will not be able to give financial support anymore.
For most Filipinos (and other citizens of 3rd world countries) who are aspiring to travel long term, besides money, this is the hardest part i.e. if you are leaving a family behind. We Filipinos are known for being hard working professionals and laborers all around the world and it’s to no surprise that in every family, there is at least a member who is working outside the country. This is very much accepted by families (even part of our culture) since we all know that the salary abroad is way higher than in the Philippines and there’s not much opportunities here for the simple Filipino. To be away from the family is a sacrifice that needs to be made for a better future of the whole family. This situation is very common here in the Philippines but what if a family member is going away and will just travel around the world with no concrete plans of when he/she is coming back? To make matters interesting, he tells his family that he will no longer be able to give financial support to them. The family may understand if he is getting married but leaving his family just to travel? They might not get that at all. They might even think of you as a self-centered person who has no debt of gratitude. “What the hell are you thinking?! Leaving us here starving to death?” they might say of you, but you just shrugged and off you go to Maldives.
Let’s face it. Not all families will agree with your decision. In fact, it is our culture and tradition to give back to our parents and care for them when they are not able to support themselves upon retirement. Blame them on not investing properly in their youths for their retirement, being a corporate employee or a simple businessman all through their lives… but really, can we blame them for that? Can we blame them for just working too hard to put food on your plate and send you to a good school? Most of them aren’t educated with investing (well, most Filipinos are up to now) in their young adult years so they just work everyday, save their money in banks and hopefully a big retirement pay will come after decades of service to their companies. They didn’t even thought of traveling back in the days but now, you’re telling me you’ll travel and leave us hanging for the sake of your own “happiness”?
Harsh isn’t it? Well, life isn’t fair. It never was. Some are really fortunate that they don’t have to support their parents or siblings and they can just travel all they want and spend their hard earned money. Some are even supported by their Parents even when they have their own family. Some are just hefty rich. Those lucky kids.
So you tell me, “But this is my dream! I deserve my own happiness!” Yes of course you do. It’s my dream too. But think about the sacrifices your parents made in order to have your beautiful life right now. I assume that’s what your parents did, but some are really unlucky they have irresponsible parents and in that case, blast away to Europe and never return! Lol. Just kidding. I’m really happy for those people who get to do this and their family agreeing. But let’s put our feet in their shoes first. What would you feel? I guess some parents finally agreed to your decision just because they love you unconditionally and only want your happiness in life. “It’s ok my child, go live your life (tears rolling down their cheeks)”.
If you really want to fulfil this dream but they still need your support, here’s a suggestion. Talk to them in the sincerest way possible. Tell them you’re gonna take a trip abroad to fulfil a dream and you don’t have an idea when will you come back BUT promise them you’re still going to give support in every way possible even if they are not asking for it. Tell them that your support won’t be that big anymore as compared to what you are giving them now and there will be times that you’ll fail to give them some (but hopefully this is seldom). Tell them this won’t be easy and you need to help each other and they need to help themselves too. Tell them to save, invest money (especially your siblings) and be extra frugal because it won’t be the same anymore.
This also means, you have to earn while travelling. That’s double the work to sustain your travel and give support. If you can’t do all this, then I’m sorry, it’s not yet time. You can’t leave them hanging just yet especially if it’s only you they depend on.
If you feel that it’s not yet time, you can still travel long, but not too long. Go on a trip for a month to 3 months then come back. Get a job that requires you to frequently travel or a company that gives long vacation leaves. Or get short term contractual jobs so you can travel in between contract breaks. Or be a freelancer. Travel and earn at the same time. Yes I know, easier said than done but very possible as many people are doing it already. What I’m saying is, if you aren’t prepared or you don’t have a plan, then don’t do it just yet. Don’t leave your family behind when they needed you most. They are your treasure and your relationship with them is far more important than travelling.
3) Is Travelling an Investment or not?
A little off the topic but might as well add this.
I once read in a Facebook comment that Travelling is his investment. Sure, it can be but investment on what? Yourself? Your wealth? Your career? Your business? How did you make it as an investment?
Let’s take a look at the meaning of investment first.
As per google search, an investment is:
1. the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.
2. a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future.
3. an act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.
Two main keywords I saw there. Profit and result. When you travel, what result do you expect? Do you profit from it or not?
If you say that travelling is an investment because it teaches you things that help you grow as a better individual then I’m with you my good friend. That’s one of the reasons why I travel! We learn from travelling. It’s like taking up history class but hands on. It is an investment because you are investing in yourself. In my opinion, the greatest investment you get is for yourself. Nothing wrong with this but I hope travelers really apply the lessons they learned in real life.
If you say that travelling is an investment because it’ll make you profitable or rich someday… well maybe yes, maybe no. Depends on you on how you make an investment out of it. If you are earning more than you spend on your travels (profit) and you made a business out of it (result), then definitely it is an investment. You invested your effort and money to learn new things and actually came up with an idea or you enhanced a certain skill, that’s investment. That is why it is better to know the culture, the people, the food and dig deep down the heart of a place and learn. For example, instead of going to theme parks where you will just leisurely enjoy the rides and pay a hefty entrance fee, why not go to the local museum (mostly free or minimal fee) instead and feed your brain with knowledge? Rather than eating in a fancy restaurant, why not walk down the street and enjoy the food that the locals are eating?
Remember in Investment, there should be a result. Doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get instant profit from it but at least there should be a result. If you came back from your travels and you are just “happy and relaxed” (not that it’s a bad thing) but without learning a thing, then that’s not an investment. It’s good for your well-being, but certainly not an investment.
4) There’s no money in Travel. You’ll only end up broke.
In every industry there’s money, only if you work hard for it. To the people who said that there’s no money in the Travel industry, then they’re not looking hard enough. Travel blogging is not the only way to earn money while travelling. In my opinion, you should not have high hopes on earning big time in travel blogging. Think of it as just a way of helping others or sharing your experiences. If you think that you will make money fast by blogging then stop immediately. You have to pour thousands of hours, endure lots of headache and create a well-conceptualized business plan. It definitely is hard work especially to those who has a fulltime day job. I know this, that’s why I’m just taking it slow. No one is forcing me to write anything on a daily basis. When I want to write something, then I’ll write. If my blog won’t make any money for 5 years or so then that’s totally fine. This is my space on the internet and I’m happy by just helping others on their adventures. I won’t be a hypocrite though that I wanted to earn from blogging. Of course I do! Who doesn’t?! If I earn from this, then thank you. If not, then thank you as well! That simple.
But that’s not to say that there’s no money in Travel blogging and Travelling per se. Well, how about Nomadic Matt who had just written wonderful travel books that became best sellers? How about the other travel bloggers who flies to a different country from time to time in an all-expense paid trip? How about those who gets sponsorship as brand ambassadors in Instagram? Some might not get paid, but they enjoy these perks and benefits to do what they love.
If you plan to travel long term, then you must have a plan outright on how will you sustain your travels. You just quit your fulltime job right? Time to earn money in different ways and hopefully earn it by doing what you love most, travelling! You just don’t jump on the bandwagon with no plan and too much emotional baggage. If you do this, for sure you’ll get broke in no time.
Final thoughts and some more tips (others are off-topic):
Have a fall-back
Always have a plan B, C, D, E to Z. If everything turns to shit, at least you have a wet-wipe to clean your ass.
Be strict with your budget, have a travel fund.
Whether you are travelling short or long term, always be strict with your budget. You don’t want to go overboard on your expenses. If you want to travel frequently but needs to be strict with your budget (maybe due to support to family) then a nice plan is to have a travel fund so you only spend what you have in that fund.
Plan your long-term goals
And I mean loooonnngg… See yourself when you’re in your 70s, 80s or 90s. What do you really want to achieve in life? After travelling around the world, do you see yourself just retiring in a house fronting your favourite beach? You need money to buy the lot right? So start saving/investing for it.
One tip to this is start focusing on your passive income (e.g. real estate income, stocks/mutual funds, internet commerce) as early as now so it can help you in your finances and travels in the future.
What must be prioritized? Your obsession to travel or food in the plate of your family? Why not both right? If there’s a will, there’s a way. No one (or passion) should be left behind. But if you’re only going to choose one, then choose family. You can always travel in the future but your relationship with your family is far more important, trust me.
It’s ok to come back.
Don’t be embarrassed, it’s ok. At least you lived your dream that many have never done. You can always re-live your dream again once everything is ok. Cheer up.
Travel is not competition. I repeat, it’s not a competition!
If you think it’s a competition, then you’re losing. It’s not a race to the finish. It’s not how many countries or places you’ve been to. It’s how you enjoyed that place. Just because someone is travelling a lot more than you doesn’t mean he is a better traveller. Keep calm and just appreciate. On the other hand, you don’t have to shove in everyone’s face how good a traveller you are because there’s always someone out there who is better than you. Oh you only spent $100 on your trip and that travel blogger dude spent $120 on the same trip and you already think you’re better than him? Get a life man. You could’ve just suggested something rather than bragging.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions on places you have no idea about. That’s very normal. That doesn’t make you weak or anything. You’re human, not google.
To my fellow Travel bloggers, we’re supposed to help. I know competition is nice, but bitching that you’re better than the other is just showing your insecurities.
Very last final thought:
So the answer on whether you should quit your job or not is all up to you. Think and re-think, then plan.