5 steps to leave work and travel
How many of you have had the thought once in your life of leaving everything and exploring something new?
I have had this thought. So, after a period of reflection in March 2018 I decided to leave my job. I bought a one-way ticket to South East Asia.
If you too would like to do the same and bring some excitement to your life, I suggest you look at some of my tips before you decide to plan your ‘adventure of a life time’.
1) Know if this what you really want
We all have different motivations and objectives in our life. Each of us has different motivations, so, first of all, you need to be clear with yourself and understand if this is the step you really want to take, otherwise you might hate your new life; you also need to make sure it’s not an “escape” when what you really need is just a change of job, home and friends.
Spend a lot of time thinking; go deep and see if you have any unresolved problems. It is better to clarify them first because you will take them to the other side of the world and you may regret them later.
Also try to understand if as a person you could manage the change of life and style. The life of the traveler is exciting but also hard and tiring. It takes a good deal of commitment, consistency, motivation and adaptability. The important thing is to understand that all this is your and only your purpose and will not that of someone else or to appear (otherwise it would be insignificant). After clarifying these reflections and if your decision has not changed, the next step is to deepen the life you will face on the road… How? Nowadays we have a valuable tool called the Internet where we can find experiences of people who have left their jobs and are travelling.
Some of the frequent thoughts are:
“I can’t afford it”. In this case it depends on what your priorities are, whether to buy the latest model of the mobile phone or travel. From here begins the saving to pursue your dream, which is also made of sacrifices.
“I’m afraid to travel alone” Actually, you’ll never be alone. In the hostel you will meet a lot of travelers and also along your way. The world isn’t as bad as the media describes it.
“I’m in a relationship and I can’t leave everything” You can always leave together or if your partner does not want to leave with you, you can go alone/or the same. In life it’s better not to have regrets.
“I’m too old”. There is no right age to leave everything and leave. You can travel at 20, but also at 40, or at 60. In Borneo I met a French woman of 65 years who dedicates 6 months a year traveling and volunteering.
“I might not get a job when I get back”. You can always find another job on the way back, depending on your skills. Travelling helps us to develop further skills that we can incorporate into our curriculum. People who have had a travel experience are in great demand in the different areas of work.
“It’s not the right time”. The right time will never come. You have to take it!
2) Keep alive your desire to travel
Keep your plan a secret
Once you have decided that this is what you want from life and decided to leave your current life, keep your plan a secret! You can only say that to the positive people who will support you. It’s better to announce that you’re planning to quit your job at the end, when it’s all been planned. Keep in mind that in the beginning not many people will understand your choice and will call you crazy/or, while others may wish you to fail, so decide well to whom to reveal this plan of yours. You shouldn’t worry much about what other people think; after all, this is your desire and purpose.
Watch movies and read inspiration books
During the planning period a very important step was to read inspiration books that helped me in this transformation, including Tiziano Terzani. I had just finished reading “A fortune teller told me” and I became so passionate about this writer that in Bankgok I went to visit his house “Turtle Bay”, right before they demolished it. Another book I recommend is“Into the Wild”. Read books and watch movies to keep your desire to leave alive.
Join travel communities and people like you
On the net you can find really everything! If you need advice and support you can easily connect with people who have already lived or who are experiencing what you are planning to do.
3) Plan your trip
The time has come to plan your journey in detail.
Take a blank sheet of paper and write down the places you want to visit, choosing them carefully.
Search for details such as cost of living, climate, time zone and average cost of your plane ticket. Find out how much money you will need and what things to take with you. Lonely Planets guides are very useful to find this type of information. Do a search on the visa to be obtained, travel insurance, vaccinations and passport validity. In some countries, an exit ticket is required upon arrival, and immigration requires it to ensure that you leave the country.
Think about the type of accommodation you want to use. There are ways to get free accommodation such as Couchsurfing and low cost of sleeping in hostels, many also have female dorms.
Inquire from your bank if the credit and debit cards you have also work abroad. What are the bank charges for withdrawals and transactions abroad? It’s always better to have cards of two different circuits one Visa and the other Mastercard in addition to cash (in the most remote areas Atms do not exist). Be careful with the exchange rates. And it’s always good to have an emergency fund in case something happens and the unexpected is always around the corner.
Make a list of things you will need. For this type of travel, it is a good idea to have a strong backpack and in addition to this, you have to think about the things you need most. Remember that the more things you bring, the heavier it will be, and carrying it on your shoulders is for long periods of time can be difficult. When you visit the temples of Bagan or walk in the streets of Bangkok, no one cares about how you are dressed.
4) Put your plan into action: work and save
After planning everything you should have an idea of the financial expense you will incur. The amount of money you need for the trip you can get it from your job.
Every month from your salary a percentage must go to the “travel fund”, or there are various flexible alternatives via the bank that are called PAC and this allows you to save every month.
Change your shopping habits, keep track of your expenses and look where you’re spending most of your salary. Aperitifs? Dinners at the restaurant? Shopping? Make a list of all your expenses and start cutting out the non-essential ones. At first it is not easy but it takes a bit of sacrifice.
If you have goods you can sell them or you can rent them. When you start traveling you will not need a washing machine or TV. Some people had a house and sold it, but you can also think about renting it. If there are items you don’t want to get rid of and without paying rent ask parents or relatives if they can keep your things.
While you’re planning all of this it may take months, don’t miss the continuous focus on your way and start looking at the flights and the various promotions that are there. In your future there is freedom!
5) Quit your job and start travelling
When you have finally arrived at this stage, congratulations! Go and celebrate. Have fun and enjoy the best moment of your life. Get excited and open your heart to what the world has to offer.
Be flexible, even if you have it all planned, but it is also possible that you may have to change your plans. Maybe you find a place you like so much that you decide to stay longer.
Don’t be afraid but be careful, use common sense wherever you are.
Learn a few words of the local language you’re visiting and a good way to interact with the locals.
Make friends, socialize and try the foods of different countries. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger, socialize with locals and other travellers but remember to be understanding and respectful. Not everyone you meet will have the same opinion and it is better to refrain from making judgments but you will understand this by doing so.
Remember that starting a life on the road is not impossible and I don’t feel like a hero, so everyone if they want it, they can do it. You don’t have to be rich or even lucky. I don’t think I have any of these characteristics but I wanted to make this happen with commitment, motivation, adaptability and sacrifice.
Be open to new experiences, good luck and let me know how it goes!
I love the idea of reading books and watching movies for inspiration and joining communities of travelers! I always find that hearing other people’s stories is a great way to inspire my travels! I imagine leaving the security of a job to travel is scary but exciting! I think these tips are super helpful! Thanks for sharing!
I think step 5 is my favorite, but for now that will have to remain a dream. Great tips for anyone thinking about doing this as it’s not just as easy as quitting your job on the spot, so much planning to do first
I can relate! I like the idea of keeping the plan secret. Some people just want to discourage you, and that’s the last thing you need when you are ready to make a hard decision that you know is the best for you.
First of all, I just want to congratulate you for making such a brave decision. And glad that you enjoyed Southeast Asia (that’s where I’m from). Quitting jobs is nothing new to me, but due to personal commitments back home, I can’t travel for too long at a time. The longest I’ve traveled alone was three weeks. I would love to travel long term someday if circumstances allow me to.
These are some great tips! The biggest one is probably to be saving as much as possible so you can travel more!
These are really useful tips. I especially like the one about watching movies and reading travel related books to inspire your wanderlust.
What a great thing to be able to do! Great advice to join groups. There is so much information out there and so many people to learn from!
Really great guide! I actually did this in 2019…quit my job and went travelling for 6 months! Without a doubt the best thing I ever did, even if it did put my career back a bit and mean I used my entire savings haha