You don't have to Quit your Job to Travel! Here's why.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

With all the “How I quit my job to Travel” stories (mine included) floating around in the web world, it might be easy to think that quitting job is the only possible way to travel. But that’s a far cry from reality and definitely not a pre-requisite to travel the world!

Camping in the Steppes of Mongolia
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list! - Susan Sontag 

Quitting your full time job sounds like a fancy proposition but the hard truth is it is not as glamorous as it sounds. There’s the possibility of a lot of travel but there’s a lot of work involved as well. You have the freedom but you don’t have the luxury of a big chunk of disposable income anymore. In the end, it’s all about making a choice.

Both the situations have their pros and cons. I have travelled a lot over the past few years – with a job in hand and without one over the past few months. I have experienced both sides of the coin and certainly have missed few things from my cubicle days. The thing is, when most of us quit our jobs to travel, we find another work. Travel is not an escape from work and it isn’t supposed to be.

So, unless you have found another way to make money and pay your bills, traveling with a job in hand can actually be quite amazing. With some good planning, you can travel a lot! I once met a German guy who worked as a teacher, a profession that gave him enough long vacations (summer, winter, Christmas etc) during which he used to travel to many countries every single year. And every few years, he used to find work in a different country allowing him to explore that part of the world while he was posted there. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Here’s the story of another friend who goes on crazy adventures across the world and he does it all with the help of his corporate job and some kickass planning. As we speak, he’s already making plans to overland across Central Asia and visit one of the least visited places, Socotra Island this year. In the last 2 years, he’s been on the Trans-Siberian journey, wreck-dived in Bali, ice-dived in Russia, went on the highest and longest train journey in the world from China to Tibet and visited about 20 odd countries.

Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth!
Anshul Chaurasia tells you why having a job to travel the world is just as awesome.

Being in a full time job and managing travel is very much possible. The easier way to understand is to take this up job as the source of funds and travel as the main passion. Secondly one needs to be very proactive in planning. Just like managers plan projects months in advance and have a pipeline, one can plan their travel well in advance. I have nothing against impromptu vacations, but things like international travel, cheap airfare deals, and visa issues are handled well if you have proper timeline. Think, three-four week long holidays abroad/in India as big projects that need planning and small weekend holidays as ad-hoc deliverables that need shorter planning. Also saving up money becomes easier when you have a timeline - book tickets in first month, hotels next month, visas as early as the specific consulate allows, and the Forex in the month you would be travelling. Also informing at one's employer 3-4 months before the travel helps since managers can manage dependencies easily then. This becomes a major hurdle for last minute holidays.

For example I planned a trip to Bali more than a year in advance as I got Bangalore - Bali return fares for as low as 8000 INR in an AirAsia sale. Also be a big hound for cheap airfares deals, once that is done rest of the things can be taken care of easily.

It would be wrong if I don't accept that the thought to quit my current job and do something more conducive to travel industry - like a writer, scuba trainer etc has not come in my mind. But then a stable well paying job gives one the luxury to plan costly destinations, borrow money from people since you can return them next month, use credit cards without much thought, and above all a stable revenue stream is hard to give up.

I did try a short 2.5 months trip this year, which spanned 26,000 Kms of overland travel across Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet and Nepal and was able to get Leave of Absence from office (unpaid, naturally). But the peace of mind one gets because there is a job waiting back cannot be compared to if I had to quit and search another job after coming back. Best part is that I told them the real reason and after much convincing they were in support of it.

I think this if fine as travel does a lot of broadening of one's perspectives and if their parents can fund their travel I would say they should definitely try it for few months at least. In west, many people do it taking student loans after college end. But then getting a job makes one value every single rupee earned and then one becomes a conscious traveler as they are spending their own hard-earned money.

The mantra is don’t think your job will be the driving force in your life, you would have to find that force yourself. If travel is that force, then use whatever fuel you can get to keep it running.

So, there it is! Don’t think quitting your job is the only way to travel. Despite the fact that I love the freedom of not having a desk job, I won’t be able to take any big adventures at this moment. I will not sugarcoat it. I do not make that kind of money anymore. And I do not regret it either. I made that choice because along with travel, I also wanted to change my career. However, if you love your job or have other commitments or have money and time at your current job, there's no need to quit to travel! Keep the money and travel well. In the end it’s all about using the resources available to you in the best possible way to travel.

Have you thought of quitting your job to travel?

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16 comments

  1. one strategist crazy fellow u r brother... hail!!!

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  2. Thanks for the post Anshul! I am one of the many who've probably asked you how you do it (and secretly felt jealous of the many, manyy adventures!), and this post is equal parts pragmatic & equal parts inspirational :)

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    1. thanks Radhika! many a times its luck also but then where there is a will, there opens a way ;)

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  3. Good advice..i never fell for the illusion of quitting work for better travel...on a different note, you have started giving ad space on your blog :(

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    1. Just another devoted readerFebruary 3, 2015 at 4:34 PM

      About the ad space part- I see no reason to not do it :) It doesn't hamper the reading experience, isn't annoyingly popping up everywhere & as far as I can see, not taking up too much of space on the side bar either. Have no idea how much moolah can the tiny space bring it, but every drop counts after the bold decisions you've taken to quit your job n all!

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    2. It's not an illusion Priya, just a matter of priorities! In my case, I had to quit my job for better travel because a week's worth of travel in a month to two doesn't cut it for me anymore.

      And about the ad space, what "Just another devoted reader" said! :) Besides, it's been there on the blog for years now, maybe you just noticed!

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  4. If travel is that force, then use whatever fuel you can get to keep it running. - I loved this statement
    Great post Neelima!!

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    1. Thanks Aarthy, glad you enjoyed reading my friend's story. :)

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  5. Yay to this post! I couldn't agree more. I guess it kind of gives you a sense of balance to have a job and travel.

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    1. Well most of us who are traveling full time also have a freelancing job full time! It's just not the traditional 9 to 5 office job :)

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  6. I totally agree with this post. A year back, I was on the verge to quit my job and travel. I am glad I did not do that.

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    1. Unless you have an alternate way of earning an income, quitting your job to travel isn't going to be sustainable. In that case, traveling with a job in hand is the better alternative.

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  7. Great article. I was beginning to think every travel blogger out there had to be unemployed! I really respect a person who can keep a full time job and still manage the time to see the world.

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    1. sometimes having lesser responsibilities helps. But it also comes down to how you prioritize things in life. What are you willing to pass up, how to cut corners to save, and even about managing travel expenses effectively.

      from the job life one has to be very clear in terms of expectations. you cant be working late hours, weekends so set those expectations with the employer. there is a balance that can be achieved then.

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    2. @John - I'm not sure how this notion came about but let me tell you no travel blogger is unemployed for good! :) Many take break between jobs and travel for a year or two and then get back to a job. I mean saving up and traveling at a stretch definitely lets you get more out of the experience than taking smaller vacations .

      And those who travel full time have found ways to earn income on the go. I fund my travels and living as a writer and photographer, I have found location independent work that allows me to work from anywhere in the world. Same goes with all the long term travel bloggers, there's no such thing as a free lunch folks!

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