How to Quit Your Job and Travel Around the World


Extended world travel is thought to be a luxury available only to the world’s wealthiest people. Most of us believe it is unattainable. What about my job? What about my house? What about the kids? These fears and misconceptions are what prevent most people from shedding unnecessary belongings and buying that one way ticket. If only they realized all those worries would be there when they get back they could cut the ties. It’s no secret that world travel can be insanely cheap. Not to mention there is no time like the present to face your fears and take the plunge.

Kyle and I are both college graduates only a few years out of school and still saddled with student loan debt. We were both working career-oriented jobs with modest salaries. All it took was a shared intention, a decision, and about 6 months of serious budgeting. With the right style of travel and the right destinations it can cost as little as $10,000 per person each year to travel abroad. Our style of travel is not for everyone. We prefer to stay in one place for as long as we like (oftentimes as long as several months) we travel primarily by land on public transportation (read 12 hour Indian bus rides with no air conditioning) and we delight in cheap local food offerings. While the plush comforts of home life are gone the excitement of new locations and cultures will make their mourning a thing of the past.

I will admit that making the transition was comparatively simple for us. We did not own a house, we were not making payments on a car, and we do not have any children. But the amazing thing I found as I began to consider making the decision to travel was that so many people in all walks of life have done the same. People travel with small children, people lease their houses, people leave 20-plus-year careers or organize remote work agreements. Anyone with strong intentions can do it. And the wonderful thing about the internet community is that a lot of these people share their stories and their strategies.

In the months leading up to take off we read a lot. One popular book among this crowd is Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek. If you are considering this type of life change this book will provide the stepping stones necessary to make your decision. Tim offers a lot of hands-on tools and inspiring philosophies that can help you get motivated to do what it takes to make your dreams happen. The book is available from Amazon.

The most important step to quitting you job to travel around the world is to get over unfounded fears. These fears affect everyone differently. Some are afraid that they will be lonely, some fear for safety in foreign countries and others fear for their lives back home. It is important to recognize these fears and to think through the worst-case scenario. What is it that you are really afraid of? For me the biggest fear is that we will travel for a while, eventually decide to come home and will be broke and unemployable. I fear that I am leaving a great job for complete uncertainty and that I will get stuck in a low-paying and unsatisfying job when I return. I run through this scenario in my head and I ask myself. “If the worst comes true will I regret the decision I made?” Even now the answer is a clearly no. I know that I am bound for so many life-enriching experiences that even with potentially tough times ahead I will not regret this choice to live life to the fullest.

If travel attracts you start thinking about how you could pull it off. It could take five or ten years, but with the right intentions and dedication you can find a way to pursue your dreams at the right speed. The big secret is that quitting your job to travel around the world is only as hard as you make it.

4 Responses to “How to Quit Your Job and Travel Around the World”

  1. Julian Hom said:

    I think this is a great post. I am currently working, but am saving up to go on a trip of indefinite length with my girlfriend. I just graduated college and have loans to pay back, but we’re going to take the plunge and make it work.

    August 12th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

  2. Rb said:

    Whoop whoop!!! Totally the time to do it while you are young and can enjoy it. I think the biggest hurdle is the mindset. Once we’d decided we were going to do it, quit our jobs, we worked the rest out along the way.

    February 23rd, 2012 at 8:27 am

  3. smallworldtraveller said:

    my husband who will be 57 and myself will be 55 when we plan to leave for RTW 2015 are hoping for leave of absence from work but if we get refused, we have taken the attitude oh well.. We both have talked to our employer about this trip 3 years ago so they have 5 years notice.
    We are taking the plunge, the house will be paid for, the kid is done school ;-). It will be our time.. When we come back it will be back to work but we are going to make it work. This is the bucket list trip of trips.

    April 8th, 2012 at 10:28 am

  4. Kyle said:

    That sounds like an awesome trip. I think you will be happy you did it.

    April 9th, 2012 at 7:46 am

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