Why Quitting Your Job To Travel The World Might Be Your Biggest Mistake

We all know all of these inspiring travel quotes and shareable images scattered across social media screaming:

“Quit your job and go backpacking!”

        “Dear Sirs, I QUIT and GO TRAVELLING!! Sincerely, ….” 

“SCREW YOUR JOB, BUY A TICKET, GET A TAN, FALL IN LOVE, NEVER RETURN”

“Life is too short to work. Go travelling and never look back.”

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Quotes I bump into every day on social media

They are all brave, inspiring and make us think that the lives we have are boring, pointless and so miserable. Why? Because instead of sipping beer at one of the Thai beaches, we are enslaved by 9-5 jobs we are not even happy with. Because instead of enjoying the sun somewhere remote, we get stuck in the office feeling pressured and stressed.

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Sipping beer at the beach. Who wouldn’t like this idea?

The thing is that ….

you don’t have to quit your job to travel the world!

you don’t have to give up on your career to see places you always wanted to explore!

you don’t have to say goodbye to your work colleagues to sip beer at the beach and get your tan!

You just have to find the right team to work with, a company that provides travel opportunities and make sure you keep developing yourself. A work place where you feel like working every day, where you fit and can work remotely from any place you like.

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Poki team I’m currently a part of! Amsterdam.

That’s all you need…

My story

Over 1,5 year ago I moved to Amsterdam. Eager to learn more things and develop myself further, I was finally ready to start my Master’s Degree at University of Amsterdam and stay in one place for longer than 3-5 months. Nobody could actually believe it. Me, a digital nomad and wanderlust girl, who managed to combine full-time job with long-term travels in the past, was going to settle down in one place to study and get this boring and miserable 9-5 job. INSANE! It scared the hell out of me, but at the same time it was a challenge that I wanted to take and experience.

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Blogging in the Philippines

During my studies I was offered a fantastic opportunity to work with Poki. They are a cross-platform game publisher offering easily accessible and free web game experience on mobile and desktop. I should actually say “We”, not “They” as I’ve been a part of Poki’s Marketing and PR team for nearly 9 months!

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Enjoying few days in Barcelona with Poki’s Marketing and PR team

I’m mentioning Poki here not for promotional purposes. It is just an example of the company that:

✓ was truly flexible with my working hours during my demanding master’s course and travelling

✓ offered a chance to build my career while still travelling and exploring the world

✓ gave me the opportunity to work with talented and self-motivated people who always cheer me on my travels

take me to different tropical places from where we can work and travel!

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Poki team in Bali

This is what happens when your bosses love travelling themselves. They will always find the way to create a great working environment and provide endless travel opportunities for their team.

It can sound crazy and unbelievable, but Poki is taking us to Thailand on a company retreat for over 3 weeks followed by a week of pleasure and fun! Sebastiaan, one of Poki’s co-founders, has recently published a blog post where he explains the whole concept of Company Retreats on a Tropical Island and How Poki Makes it Work!

Why quitting your job to travel might be your biggest mistake? 

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Receiving my diploma

Money, money, money – must be funny

The first thing to be considered is the money. None of these “quit your job and travel the world” images and stories actually tell you how and where you should get the money from. Unless you have impressive savings on your account, rich parents or mountains of cash under your mattress, quitting your job might be simply mindless.

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Exploring the Philippines

If you have a wealth base that generates enough passive income to last indeterminately, that’s excellent, the airport is in that direction. If not, feeling financially unstable can ruin your perfect vagabond trip.

Yes, you can become a travel blogger and make money (trust me, I was there and taking my blog to a level where I could earn some money from it while travelling takes a lot of time and effort) and yes, you can work as a freelance or teach English, but … are you skilled enough to do it? Are you a good writer, teacher, designer? Are you capable of working online and combine it with constant travels? If not, think twice before you get too excited about quitting your job to travel the world.

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Me teaching English in China

Value of your life

Just because you hate your job isn’t really a good enough reason to spend the next years wearing your backpack and float from airport to airport. If you think of travelling as a way to escape from the life you are not happy about, change your lifestyle! Find a new job, join the right team and then travel. Stop running away and make chances that are best for you. What if the life of a nomad is not for you?

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If I could find my happiness at Poki and still manage to travel, you can definitely do that as well.

Career

A big thumb up, you quit your job and you are travelling the world. But where do you see yourself in 5 years assuming that you hated your job but you still enjoy what you were doing? You hated working in a bank, but you are still passionate about accountancy (hello Cez) or you disliked marketing company you used to work for but marketing is still your thing.

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Working online in Japan

It may happen that having a big gap in your career, just because you hated your job and went travelling, may effect your future enormously. Imagine you chance your life and decide to get back home – 5 years older with a gap experience in your field, but tones of memories from your travels. Would you get hired quick enough? Would you be able to work with the dream team again?

Solutions

Quitting your job to travel the world can be the most inspiring and brave decision. It can be also the stupidest one. Regret of your life? Could be.

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Visiting Nara in Japan

But life is all about balancing adventures and reality. Incorporate adventures into your daily life. Live a life of freedom, travel and endless adventures while having a permanent home-base. How?

✓ Start exploring local areas and do something fun each week that will make you appreciate the place where you are living at

✓ Use your weekends wisely – fly to countries next to you and take advantages of long weekends to explore the world

✓ Plan big trips each year that will charge your travel batteries for few months

✓ Negotiate for more vacation time with your boss

Join Poki or any similar company that will allow you to travel a lot and work online!

So, do you have enough money to quit your job to travel the world; what are your expectations? How about career? Are you ready to take such brave step? If so, take the leap. If not, maybe give it a second thought!

Your turn, guys. What do you think about quitting your job to travel the world? Is it inspiring and brave or maybe mindless and stupid?

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45 Comments

  • I totally agree! (and really admire you for writing this post)

    I get so frustrated when I see the “just quit your job and travel the world!” things online – because 95% of my friends who have been able to travel have done so on their parent’s (or grandparent’s) dime.
    Which just isn’t practical for the other 99% of the world.

    I love travelling – but yeah, you totally don’t have to quit your job to do it!

  • This is a great post! With thousands of competitions, planning to support yourself entirely from blogging/ travel writing will simply not do, unless you have a very specific niche or are a big name in the industry. I love how you guys manage to juggle so many things at the same time!
    I don’t like a 9-5 job, but I think I’ll survive if it has something to do with helping others (it’s very rewarding) :) hope i can land in that kind of job, and combined with money from freelance writing/ translating jobs, hopefully I can save enough for my travels!

  • Brilliant article Agness, happy to read about your life the last 18 months since we last met. Hope to catch up again soon and best of luck with Poki and your upcoming travels. Jonny

  • I’m a fan of a bit of a hybrid of the two ideas. I kind of quit my job to travel, but I didn’t really. I found jobs in new countries and stayed in each country for a decent amount of time. I never really hated my jobs but I knew that if I looked for another it could be just as rewarding. So I still had income but I was in a new country and every weekend was an opportunity to explore my surroundings, not to mention when I did take holidays there were countries I’d never visited that were now a lot closer.

    I talk about it in past tense, but I’m actually still doing it and will keep doing it for as long as I can! I have no reason to stop yet. The only down side is that it’s a lot more difficult to settle into a new country than it is to visit one. The hoops you need to jump through are a lot higher but I think it’s the best of both worlds if you can manage it.

  • What a great post, Agness, I couldn’t agree more. Although I am freelancing at the moment and not working for a great company like Poki being a full-time traveller and full-time traveller is not for me even if I would travel very slowly. I love to explore one place at a time, return back home, and explore another one on my next journey. I am not the person who loves travelling across whole Indochina in 30 to 40 days, whole Asia in two or three months or who is taking a trip around the world in one year or a year and a half.

    I hope and keep my fingers crossed that I will live and teach English in China next year but I love teaching and most of the time I would stay in one place even if it’s not in my home country.

  • Honestly, I’m shocked reading this post, especially when it is coming from you. Well, I think our perspective changes as we grow older.

    For example, for my case, I’m nearly 30 now. 10 years ago, if you tell me that I have to sleep in airports or take a crampy bus for 10 hours to save money when traveling, I would not think twice and say “Yeah, let’s do it!”. But if you tell me that now, I would say “Good luck, mate. Remember to send me postcards!”. The thing is the older you get (the less energetic your body becomes), the less likely you can handle budget traveling, and the cost of traveling will go up. If you are not rich and don’t have a steady flow of income, you’re pretty much screwed.

  • how about travelling for a year or so without quitting, In fact telling no-one you’ve left at all and coming back to work 12 months later and seeing if anyone notices? Just an idea….

    great article Agness

  • How refreshing it is to read an article that tackles „the dark sides“ and some dirty truths about travel blogging! I really have the feeling , and please DO correct me if I am wrong, that lots of people see travel blogging as an easy way to escape, travel the world and, maybe, make some money out of it if you are lucky enough: so many people do it, why couldn’t I? But what these people don’t realize is that the truly successful travel bloggers are first and foremost entrepreneurs! Therefore, they work, behave, market themselves as entrepreneurs and not as holiday-makers! This being said, I bid you farewell :)

  • Whoa, are you telling me I shouldn’t live the dream? I’m kidding of course, great post.

    I’ve noticed that with other travel bloggers, where they say, “I quit my office job to travel the world and you can too!” sort of thing but they never really elaborate on where the money came from. Did they save up at all first? Did they live with their parents with some part-time job while they planned for their backpacking adventure? Are they doing part time jobs around the world or teaching English in foreign countries? Most don’t explain this part of this trips and I’m glad you mentioned this. Also, some people aren’t cut out to be the nomad they want to be. There is a reason why most jobs are 5 days a week and are from 9-5. :)

  • Very fitting article for me at the moment. I am actually in the process of shutting down my current lifestyle and starting a new chapter. One with more travel.

    I am quitting my job, and going to work on a low-paying cruise ship. This will have travel built in to my life, as well as the time freedom to travel all over the world with the the money I have saved on the ship.

    I will live a very poor financial lifestyle, which I am fine with. But I will be fulfilling my deepest passions, which will be very rewarding; internally. I have recently come to value internal happiness as the highest standard. Hence the change.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • When you are young and single, guess you have nothing much to lose by quitting your job to do the things you like. When you are married (and have children!) and holding a stable job, that’s always a totally different story :-)

  • I totally love the post and your brilliant photographs. Yay!

    Congratulations on your Masters and landing a fantastic gig. These tips are marvellous for those thinking about whether to make the digital nomad freelance gig or not.

    I think it’s possible to do both as long as you’re smart and creative. If you’re young and just out of uni or before, then go and do a GAP year. You learn a lot about yourself and the world around you, but most importantly, you also grow up and mature a little. I know I did! If the wanderlust is still with you once you return to the “real world”, then use your holidays and breaks, establish yourself professionally and live the life that you want to live.

    I’m a strong advocate for doing what feels right for you, when you think it’s right to do it, regardless of what’s the norm or what your peers are doing. I’m married. I have a child, a corporate job, I live as an expat and I still managed to travel to 11 different countries this year and I didn’t quit my job to do it LOL!

    ‘Love the post. :)

  • Great advice, Agness! It really is about finding something you love, and finding a way to work travel into your day-to-day life. I love your advice on using your weekends to explore nearby places and planning big trips each year. So glad you have found a great job with Poki!

  • Agness, Thank you so much for this post!!
    It’s rare that travel bloggers talk about their careers, and this was so refreshing :)
    When I first started reading travel blogs, I thought the bloggers quit their jobs and traveled– but I realized that (some) of them have part- or full-time jobs! It’s great that companies are starting to open up to the idea of working remotely/telecommuting, and especially great for those of us who want to work for a great company *and* travel :) Congrats on your diploma!!
    ~Luda

  • This is a great article Agnes. I just found it so commenting on it a bit late. I once quit my job and it was before this social media and travel blogging obsession. I had savings for one year and an opportunity to join the company again… which I did and I stayed for one more project and then finally quit to build my company in marketing services. That “career break year” was a great experience to realize what I wanted and also I started blogging – as a hobby. Which made me realize that I can offer services to other people. I think that big steps like “quitting your job” or “starting a business” have to planned very well. Otherwise it can be a mistake. Good luck at Poki and I’m looking forward to more articles like this one :)

  • Well written! I think there is too much of this mainstream narrative started with Quitting your job to travel the world. What I hate most about it is blaming hard workers 9-17 as if this was the worst what can happen to you in your life. There is so much more on traveling than this overrated slogan. I deeply appreciate your sincerity. Keep going!

  • i am really appriciate to you all but let me know all details about thats,and how I partici paiate.
    Thank you very much
    Regards
    Tariq
    Italy

  • Thanks for this. A positive, practical look at travelling, but with clarity and a refreshing down to earth-ness. It’s SO true that the mindless ‘let’s quit everything and fly!’ mentality are often from ‘ego’ = ‘make myself look better as I’m more adventurous by travelling around the world in comparison to xyz lifestyle”. Travel can be great BUT it doesn’t neccessarily mean you are more ‘adventurous’ than the next – it may mean you are more selfish or less responsible or that you just have the resources temporarily that others may not!

    An ‘adventurous Life’ is one that is independent, that stand sup for its own individuality regardless of how others may see it from the outside. It’s one that creates something meaningful to that individual which also benefits the rest of society.

    Let’s face it, Life itself is often the scariest ‘adventure’ for many without even stepping off the road.

    The perception of freedom is internal and we create it from this space. You can feel free at home surrounded by dogs and meditating or ‘trapped’ ‘trying’ to be adventurous and travelling solo in Cuba or working abroad in Canaries- believe me I speak from experience. Many who travel, yes are doing so with the confidence money inherited brings, or are young and are doing it with the support of family and/or friends at home taking care of their animals or dependents? This is not freedom to me? This is how majority of society usually operates when it doesn’t wish to be independent and take responsibility singly.

  • “Unless you have impressive savings on your account, rich parents or mountains of cash under your mattress”. What you said isn’t really true…I’ve read several travel blogs that traveled without a job. They weren’t rich. You don’t have to be rich to travel.

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