If you had asked me one year ago where I saw myself today, “traveling the world” surely wouldn’t have crossed my mind. I was a seemingly hopeless and conformist workaholic whose worst nightmare was losing their job and having to start over. So, what changed? Well, I lost my job, and today I’m here to talk to you about why that was a blessing in disguise.
How It All Began
Up until six months ago, I was working as store manager for an establishment that will remain unnamed at my local mall. Although I didn’t technically love my job, I was obsessed with doing it right. In the end, this was what also led to my downfall. After getting fired, I felt aimless. My depression kicked back in. I was lost and didn’t know what my life would become.
But as I was filling out an application, for yet another job I would never feel completed by, at a coffee shop in my neighborhood, the best thing possible happened to me: I overheard a couple that had just traveled through twenty different countries in one year for their honeymoon tell their friends about how great it all was and how they plan to keep doing just that for the rest of their lives.
I threw that form in the trash and haven’t looked back since. My current country count has reached fourteen, and I plan to get to twenty before the end of winter. Here are the four most important things I’ve learned along the way so far.
1. Don’t Feel Bad for Having Different Goals
The hardest and most vital thing that I’ve learned in the past six months is to not feel ashamed by wanting different things than most people. It’s okay to aim for job security that will allow you to buy your own house and start a family. I used to think that’s what I wanted as well. In fact, I might have genuinely wanted that for a while.
But that has changed and those are not my goals anymore, and that’s fine. Even if people will be in awe when hearing of your lifestyle, you will see a glimmer of judgement in their eyes from time to time. This is why it’s important to learn that you shouldn’t feel bad for not having the same goals as them.
2. Spend Your Money Wisely
Managing your money wisely is also crucial. Travel and Leisure advises anyone who wants to quit their job and travel the world to save some money beforehand. This is something I also stand by. I was fortunate enough to already have some money saved up for different purposes. It was easy for me to simply invest them in something else, but if I hadn’t had them to begin with I wouldn’t be here today.
Furthermore, you need to spend your money with care when traveling so much. Try to find as many discounts as possible, use websites that offer you free extras and so on. (Booking direct with a hostel can sometimes be cheaper than booking with a major booking website). Adapt as you go and always have enough money for food and water on hand.
Top Tip: Get a Working Holiday Visa and earn money while you travel!
3. Having a Partner Isn’t Mandatory
If you look for blogs or Instagram accounts of people who take up traveling as a job, most of them are part of a couple. And while traveling the world with your loved one is surely a magnificent experience, going solo is also an amazing adventure. Personally, I didn’t have a partner to do this with, so for the past six months I’ve been roaming around the world alone.
In fact, being alone in a foreign country gives you more opportunity to socialize with locals. On top of that, having no one around to depend on teaches you an important lesson about self-reliance. Although, granted, it gets lonely from time to time, if I had to do it all again, I’d still do it on my own.
4. Never Give Up on Your Dreams
There are plenty of challenges behind the decision to live life on the road. Although I’d always admired the American Beat generation for this and thought their lives were as exciting as lives get, after reading Ravi Raman’s story I had second thoughts. The important thing is not to let the prospect of hardship stop you from living out your dream life.
We all want our lives to turn out in different ways. Therefore, if you think that quitting your job and going around the world is worth it for you, then do it. It will change your life, I can assure you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can make it work if you truly want to do this.
Author: Alex Moore is a West Virginia psychology undergraduate enthralled with everything mindfulness, workplace organization, and work-life balance. He writes for Job Application Center. Alex is very active on Twitter @alex_moore01
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