Quitting Your Job to Travel? Don’t Worry About It…

First of all, I’m not encouraging anyone to quit their job to travel; I did it and it’s turned out alright, but there are many people who soon realise that the lack of financial security is just too much on their mind. There are, of course, thousands of people who quit their jobs to travel every year. For some people it works out, for others, not so much. So, how hard is it quitting your job to travel?

Why?

One thing that people do worry about is whether things will work out for them once they’ve quit. I’ve met many people on the road who regret quitting their jobs and wish that they’d just taken a month out or maybe an extended period of leave; this all boils down to the individual- some people soon realise that they actually prefer security, materialism, and a steady routine in their lives; this is completely normal. Even I occasionally think back to spending my evenings, and often weekends, sat in front of the TV pigging out and playing video games, and remember how comfortable it felt, knowing I had an income, a roof over my head and, at the time, feeling thankful that I could afford things that made me ‘happy’. Well, look how that turned out…I’ve never really looked back…

More peaceful and rewarding than work, isn’t it?

Planning

If you’re planning on going travelling full time or even for a gap year, chances are you’ve been saving up money and, unless you have a highly understanding boss who’ll let you ‘go find yourself’, you’re going to have to leave work. Now, despite what people may say, quitting your job is not easy but, you needn’t worry. Whether you’re leaving for a job elsewhere or leaving to travel, you quit your job with a heavy heart. Over the course of your time at work you make friends and create relationships that you’ll probably always remember; admittedly some good and some bad, but unforgettable nonetheless.

I’d started planning my adventure a few months before I quit my job and I couldn’t figure out the right time to let work know my plans. My friends and family knew, I’d booked a flight, I’d started to plan my initial route, and my Diabetes consultant was trying to figure out how to get my medication. The ball was well and truly rolling. Just one obstacle: quitting my job and actually leaving. It’s one of those things that I really wanted to put off until the last minute, but actually realised that I couldn’t; it was something that needed to be done sooner rather than later.

I was nervous when I finally decided to do it. In fact I was shitting it. I’d never left a job before and leaving somewhere you’ve been for a few years is a little daunting. Leading up to it I was thinking all sorts of things: How will people react? Will they be off with me? Will they make things difficult? Quitting your job to travel is not something to do on a whim.

Of course all of these thoughts were complete nonsense and amounted to nothing more than worst case scenarios in my head.

Who knows where you could end up…

Reaction

In fact, my bosses and most of my colleagues were surprisingly supportive of my decision to leave and to travel (I think they were actually glad I was leaving to travel rather than leaving to get a similar job elsewhere). ‘I don’t blame you’ and ‘I wish I had done that’ were quite common reactions to news that I thought would go down like a lead balloon. Add a couple of questions as to where I was going, how long for, and I ended up in an interesting conversation that led to a little bit of regret, and a lot of understanding, on their part for not having done so when they were younger. I think sometimes you forget that the people you work with actually have lives and were young once with ideas of their own.

I’d thought about how the whole thing would go down countless times in my head but it played out the exact opposite, though I had thought about what I was doing. I knew that I was quitting a few months in advance but, knowing that I’d be officially leaving a couple of weeks into the New Year, decided to let them know mid November, which would be 2 months’ notice rather than the customary 1 month. If you do have the chance, I would highly recommend letting work know your plans with more than 1 months’ notice; not only does this show that you respect the people you work with by not leaving them in the lurch, but it also gives them plenty of time to find a replacement which can be especially tricky over the holiday season.

Outcome

After I’d handed my notice in I felt like I’d been given a new lease of life at work. I started to get along with colleagues better than I had in months, and each passing week was closer to finally starting my adventure. In the end there was no need to worry; those few days of panic and contemplation were a complete waste of energy and, as I look back on it, quite comical. After all, there are thousands of people quitting their jobs every day up and down the country with little to no consequence and, unless you’re stuck in some tricky contract, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving.

So, if you’re planning on quitting your job to travel, don’t worry too much about it; chances are your employers will be behind you all the way.

 

-Loui

3 thoughts on “Quitting Your Job to Travel? Don’t Worry About It…

  1. I’d like to think I’ll do this one, but I won’t, so well done you for daring to do it. Life’s biggest regret now, although the timing’s never been right.

  2. I took a gap year from my job three years ago and my firm were really great about it. It did help that I work for a multinational company with specific policies about exactly this sort of thing, so what i was asking for wasn’t new and weird to them (I’m not going so far as to say they actively encourage it in general, but they’re definitely willing and open to the idea and treat it with respect and seriousness). I did make sure though that I’d enough savings to ensure that it wouldn’t be a frivolous, panic-stricken voyage. (That it still was is incidental and nothing to do with my original plans!).

    This year, however, a new factor crept in – the chance of redundancy. I ended up thinking, agonising, over what the best thing to do would be. “One thing that people do worry about is whether things will work out for them once they’ve quit.” – and this was my main thought point – do I stay in the company because of the stability/security and try to find a role that I could do but may not enjoy, or do I take the pay-off and the opportunity to travel and maybe earn a subsistence living off it in the medium term, but without the knowledge of what would happen. There’s also the matter of the company pension – by taking redundancy I’d have been not only not working, but also my pension pot wouldn’t be growing so in 20 years’ time, would I have had enough to live on. One of my mantras is “knowledge is power” and maybe I just don’t have enough knowledge about what could or would happen if I quit.

    Ultimately though, the choice I made was around “what option would be right for me, mentally? What is the right thing *for me* to do, given who I am and how I feel?”. Sometimes you can’t put a control, a value, on that.

    I took redundancy and I leave before the end of the year. I know I have transferrable skills that I can use in the future, either while travelling or, if need be, to take jobs back home to boost my funds. Quitting may turn out to be the most stupid thing I’ll do in my life (there’s a battle for that honour!), but ultimately it’s what I feel I need to do right now; it’s where my head’s at.

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