I recently read an article over at ThoughtCatalog on 9 Reasons to Quit Your Job and Travel the World. Many of the responses in the comments seemed angry and claimed the whole idea (quit and travel) wasn’t realistic. I don’t claim that world travel is right for everyone and while the ThoughtCatalog piece has its shortcomings (a few of the reasons are shallow although one could definitely argue sarcasm), I’m living proof that picking up and taking off is possible and I wrote my own response to those needing to justify their lack of travel. Some of the reasons (excuses?) are ones that I struggled with myself while some of the others I’ve heard along the way.
1. Cause Jobs Don’t Grow on Trees
They’re hard to come by in this economy. It took months of a few resume submissions a week to land this 9 to 5. It’s not really you’re first choice of location or the ideal company or the exact position you wanted, okay, its not even in the field you were hoping for, but its a job nonetheless and you get paid real money. Plus, there’s the free booze at the Christmas party and the In-N-Out truck is the highlight of the company’s “Summer Fun” program.
Is it really that hard to find a job? Did you really slave tirelessly for weeks to land your not so dream job? Maybe you did. I can’t say otherwise, but in the end, you did find work. Why would the outcome be any different when you return from a stint abroad. At least now you’ll have something more interesting to say than video games when you’re interviewer asks about that employment gap. Your answer: I’ve been up to awesome.
2. A Promotion is Coming
You’re not positive, but you could be getting a raise soon. You’ve been working diligently for months and your boss keeps telling you what a great job you’re doing. What if it’s 10%? That’s would be seriously epic. An increase like that over your meager entry-level salary will let you eat out a few extra times a week, at least.
There’s always a promotion on the way. A pay raise around the corner. And as soon as you get it, you realize that your lifestyle hasn’t drastically changed. It’s not as if you’re suddenly a loaded high roller. More money won’t fix it all. Before you know it, you’re back in line waiting for the next pay increase. It’s a cycle. Why can’t that wait? The corporate world will be patiently waiting when you return.
3. You don’t have a travel companion right now
I would totally travel the world, but none of my friends can go right now, but that’s not because they don’t want to. They either need to finish school, save money, or build up vacation time. Just give them some time and they’ll come around. I can wait.
Maybe your friends really are serious about going and nothing will stop them from achieving that goal, but are you willing to bet on it. You might end up waiting months or years and who knows what will happen in that time. Plus, traveling solo can be an amazing and exhilarating experience. If one of those things that sounds way more crazy than it actually turns out to be. And I’ll guarantee you this, you won’t be alone for long with all the fellow travelers you meet along the way. A dorm room at a hostel is like the first week of school all over again. No one knows anyone, but everyone wants to meet someone.
4. You have bills to pay
Umm, my apartment isn’t free and what about my car payment? I’m only one year into my 5 year loan. Oh and let’s not forget my phone bill. That thing is killing me. What with unlimited text and data package. My roommates and I voted and we’re cutting HBO in favor of Netflix so at least there’s that. How can I afford all this and travel at the same time?
Sublet the apartment, sell the car and cancel the rest. You don’t need any of it while you aren’t at home. It’s simple enough, but many people don’t realize this. You’re total expenses while abroad aren’t nearly as big when you have no expenses back home dragging you down.
5. You’ll Miss Out
You wait all year long for ______, your favorite ______ of the year, and missing it would be a travesty. Summer, snow season, Coachella, Halloween, the annual family trip, you fill in the blank. You’ll miss all these good times.
Being gone for months out of the year, you’re sure to miss some good times with friends. There’ll surely be music festivals, camping trips, weekends in Vegas and random tales of absurdity that you could not attend. It’s inevitable. But that’s not the right way to look at it. You’re only looking at a few of the highlights, which constitutes a small portion of time spent at home. On the other hand, while traveling you’re collecting new and enriching experiences on a daily basis. Tales of absurdity are also likely on the agenda. Ever heard of the Full Moon Party or Tubing in Laos?
6. You’re savings is… what savings?
Seriously, how do these traveler’s afford to just hop, skip and jump around the world. They claim to have saved up some cash beforehand, but there must be something else they’re not telling us cause saving isn’t possible. Where do they find money to save between the phone, cable, gym, eating out, bars and clubs, cigarettes, movies, concerts and clothing.
Like it or not, a major part of preparing to travel is saving up the money beforehand. It’s probably the number one reason given for why people aren’t traveling the world. They claim they can’t afford it, but then again, they haven’t been saving for it either. Saving money might be a slow process but its all about discipline. Mainly, realizing the difference between a want and a necessity. No one said this was easy. Start saving now. Here’s how.
7. You have every ethnic food right down the street
When you’re looking to add a little ethnic flair to your diet, P.F. Chang’s is right around the corner. You can get fried rice and chicken chow mein delivered to your door. It’s the same thing but it meets FDA standards. Why on earth would you travel half way around the world to get something you can get here?
Quite simply, home can’t give you the same experience. Yes, living in Los Angeles, just about every ethnic food option is available, but it’s completely different. You don’t get to wander between every imaginable food stall before making a decision, work your way threw the language barrier by pointing at things that look tasty, try everything on the menu for under $10 or most importantly, escape your comfort zone. Los Angeles can offer you Chicken Masala but it can’t offer you the rest.
8. You’ll lose your sweet apartment
It took weeks of searching to find this place. It’s close to the office, but not too far from a Whole Foods. You’re friends all live a short trip away, and the taxi from your favorite bar doesn’t break your wallet. The balcony has a decent view and oh yea, the price is right. You won’t ever in a million years find another place like this one. Life in this town without it, you don’t want to think that far.
Yea, I know its a sweet pad in the ultimate location, but you can’t be afraid to lose it cause then you’ll never know what else is out there. Similar to a job, it might not be easy, but you will find another one and look what you’re getting in return. Perhaps months spent in traveler filled dorms, village homestays, jungle huts and beach front bungalows.
9. You have your whole life to travel
The time just isn’t right. You’re only in your early twenties so you have plenty of time. You’re doing well in advancing your career and you’ll be making more money soon. Then it’ll be easy and you can travel the right way, in style. The stars will align eventually.
Will the time to travel ever be perfect? Perhaps, but perhaps not. And if not, then you might find yourself waiting a long time. Maybe all the way up until it’s not even an option anymore. Don’t let that happen. Set a goal, set a date and work toward it. Even if it’s tentative, it’ll get you moving in the right direction. The stars align when you put them in line.
Agree with me or want to call B.S.? Let me know in the comments below