Everywhere I look in this virtual world are inspirational travel quotes, interviews with perpetual travellers and just straight out abuse of the 9-5 lifestyle – all designed to inspire people to leave their old life behind and travel. I’m fine with the inspirational stuff, even though it’s not really my thing (you’ll never catch me repeating any travel quotes), but what I really can’t stand is someone denigrating another person’s lifestyle choice because it doesn’t align with their own. I have seen a lot of call to action slogans like “Quit your shit, soul sucking 9-5 job” and to me these are just completely insulting to the millions of people who choose, and probably enjoy, this lifestyle. It has almost become like a religion, where people can’t be content to just believe what they believe in, they feel the need to force it on other people. I’ve chosen this lifestyle but I’m well aware it’s not for everyone. Here are some reasons not to believe the hype, some reasons you shouldn’t quit your job and travel.
You don’t really want to
A lot of people say they’d like to drop everything and travel the world or work abroad, but when it comes down to it they just really don’t want to. Many travel bloggers say it is fear that is holding them back but I’d say in most cases they are wrong. To completely leave a life behind, to abandon relationships, careers and friendships isn’t a desirable thing to do. It seems most people would prefer to keep that life and travel in short bursts. Who is anyone to say that is wrong?
Travel won’t necessarily make you awesome
I read a post recently called “Why travel makes you awesome”, by Nomadic Matt (the following isn’t a dig at Matt; he actually runs one of the few blogs I consistently follow and was a big inspiration for me in starting this blog). My conclusion is that it doesn’t, but it does make some people think they are more awesome than they really are, which can’t be a good thing. If you have some kind of personality defect travelling won’t fix it; it will more likely amplify it. Just because you have interesting experiences doesn’t automatically make you an interesting person, so don’t travel just because you think it’ll make you awesome!
You like having things
One of my goals in life has always been to have the biggest TV I can afford, somewhere in the region of 60 inches. On a recent trip home I visited a friend, who had a huge TV, and I probably felt more jealousy right then than he has of anything I’ve done in the last few years. In truth though, since I sold or ditched pretty much everything I owned three and a half years ago to move to Taiwan, I haven’t missed any of it. For me, letting go of everything was the first step towards a lifestyle I truly wanted. Is it for everyone? Definitely not. A lot of people would much rather have a house than a passport or a huge TV instead of a backpack, and that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.
You want to have normal friendships and relationships
I started seeing someone that I really liked just before I moved to Taiwan, and after a month or so of teaching I was ready to pack it in and return home. I had absolutely no money so I had no option but to stick it out, but I’m glad I did. It looks like I’m going to be in the same situation when my contract finishes in Singapore, and these are the kind of sacrifices you need to make when you don’t want to settle in one place. Friends also come and go; whether you are living as an expat or travelling, you are always saying goodbye to someone.
Returning home can be worse than leaving
I returned to New Zealand after teaching in Taiwan for a year and travelling around Southeast Asia for 6 months. I thought about getting a job and maybe saving for another trip, or possibly getting my teaching qualification and becoming a real teacher. After a couple of weeks back home I knew I couldn’t stay. It was like the lights had dimmed and the sound got turned down. All the colour, craziness and unpredictability of Asia had morphed back into everything I’d ever known, and I had to get out. I have no idea when or if I’ll move back to New Zealand, but it’s pretty much the last place I want to live at the moment!
It’s not all bad though….
If you have read this far I really hope I haven’t put you off travelling, I just feel some balance is needed in this lifestyle debate. Living abroad and travelling is such a great thing to do and I can’t imagine my life without it, so if you really want to do it then you should definitely just go for it. There are too many reasons why I love it, I guess I will have to write a post on it one day, but I know it isn’t for everyone, and if people have different goals, hopes and dreams to me there is no reason to abuse them for it!
So, are these good reasons not to quit your job and travel? I think it all depends on what kind of person you are and what things are truly important to you. I’d like to think I can inspire some people to take the plunge, but I’d rather take a more subtle approach than I’ve been seeing on social media and blogs lately.
Leave me some comments!
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Monday 23rd of April 2018
I completely agree with your post. I love my 8 to 6 job and I also love travel. I personally find it easy to combine both. I actually prefer doing both because I like to divide my hobbies from my work so that my hobbies live fun :)
Friday 4th of May 2018
That's definitely the downside to being a travel blogger -- there is always an element of work involved when you travel!
Saturday 29th of April 2017
"RETURNING HOME CAN BE WORSE THAN LEAVING"
You wrote this article 3 years and 3 months ago, yet it is still important.
True: Choices we all do make, but in the end our choices make us.
How is it that you find yourself back in New Zealand when you found it impossible to go back in 2014?
Just a question. I seek answers to guide my own life.
Monday 1st of May 2017
Coming back wasn't my first choice, it was more for the sake of my partner's career. I'm actually really enjoying it though, I'm travelling around New Zealand heaps and working away at the blogs / a couple of other little things that will hopefully pay off down the line. I also have a few overseas trips planned so it doesn't really feel like I've stopped travelling in a lot of ways. It is nice to have a home though and not be constantly moving. It almost seems to be the natural progression for long term travellers -- eventually you need a balance.
Mike Clegg - Travel and Destinations
Sunday 5th of February 2017
I can very much relate to this as I pretty much travel most of my time and haven't had a stable job for about 3+ years now (since I left England).
It's definitely challenging to make everything work and with making the effort to see friends and family etc.
You grow a lot from it but I definitely think people need to have a really good think if it's the life they want before they do it.
Thursday 9th of February 2017
Cheers Mike, it's a great lifestyle but it's definitely not for everyone!
Thursday 13th of August 2015
Even though I have no regrets about quitting my job to travel, I must admit it is not for everyone. For those who are still thinking if you should take a career break to travel, I will have two posts on the pros and cons of leaving your career to travel.
Thursday 20th of August 2015
Cheers Paul, I have no regrets either!
Wednesday 15th of October 2014
Some great advice and additional comments here as well.
I have traveled since a very young age, but I do agree with others, that there is nothing like home! It's wonderful to get out and experience the world and what it has to offer and when I return home, it makes me feel how fortunate I am.
As they say ... "Don't Think About What They Say ... Go See!"