How I quit my job and started traveling
Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to travel. I was blessed as a child to have family road trips, did an exchange in college, and being in the Army Reserves allowed me to travel as well. Once I entered the finance world and corporate America, I traveled but it dwindled to a weekend trip or a destination trip. Maybe once a year if I was lucky. Since quitting my job a few years ago, I've had the privilege of traveling to over 12 different countries for extended periods of time, sometimes for our yoga retreats and other times for the sheet joy of traveling. I'm often asked by people still working the corporate life, how is it possible? There's no one way. It's also not a magical leap of simply quitting and quickly living the good life. In the post, I will outline the steps I took to quit my job so I could travel more often.
Fear and failure
Working in my corporate job, I always feared quitting because I didn't know if I could survive. The funny thing is, I could have gotten laid off at any moment with no warning. By quitting my job and pursuing something more rewarding, I was able to take full control of my destiny. However, this wasn't just a simple step of quitting. I needed to get over fear. If my ventures failed that didn't mean I was a failure in life. When worrying about fear and disappointment, I like to look at risk and reward. If I try something and fail, there may be a monetary consequence. However, I'm a reasonably smart person, I can always get over financial failure and get another miserable job. But...... if I don't try, what happens? A lifetime of literally being a drone for an entity, a corporation, a conglomerate of shareholders. If I failed, who cares? At least, I tried and at least I pushed myself to be something more than what I was. Once I got over the fear and just pushed through, it became significantly easier to quit my job.
I still work hard
On occasion, I like to post messy pictures of my desk. Sometimes I wish I was brave enough to post pictures of myself of what I actually look like during the day while I’m working: no makeup, messy hair, and pajamas until my first break. To live a life of travel, I still need to work. To be transparent, I work really hard….. a lot harder than I did in my finance job. What I don’t do is waste my time on commutes, office politics, pointless meetings, and mandatory social time at the office. I get to spend each day with my husband, my dogs, doing really sexy things like laundry in the middle of the day while I’m working, or cleaning if I need to take a break from the computer. I’m constantly reading and educating myself in my fields. I can work 12 hours days three days in a row and then take off 4 days. I don’t need to use vacation time because I need to call the handyman. It takes a lot of work to be able to sustain a life of travel but the rewards are well worth it. So if you’re planning on making the jump, start educating yourself now, start researching, start working, start making mistakes, and be prepared to put in extra hours now to rewards yourself later.
I stopped retail and bar therapy immediately.
Looking back, it is amazing how much time and money I spent on simply buying things to make me look better, feel better, or simply to kill time. I cringe at the amount of money I wasted on things that never brought real joy or even experiences in my life. These costs added up with very little to show for it. By stopping frivolous spending, there’s more money to save to have as a cushion when you finally do decide to quit your job. It will also help to develop good habits to start traveling more on less.
Selling pointless stuff
In addition to spending money on a lot of things I didn’t own anymore, I also accumulated a lot of nice crap that I didn’t use or particularly need. Fair warning: I do not emotionally get attached to many material things so this can be hard for people that do. However, by selling anything you don’t need you begin to free up money and space. Maybe after selling, you realize that your house is too big and a smaller mortgage payment will let you travel more. If I wasn’t married now, I would even consider selling my house. You would be surprised how little money you need to actually live a life of travel and it becomes infinitely easier if you are tied down with payments. I used sites like decluttr, eBay, Craigslist, and local Facebook groups to sell furniture, appliances, DVDs, clothes, and so on. After I sold everything I could through those channels, I had a garage sale then donated anything leftover.
Find other streams of income
Quitting your 9 to 5 may seem scary. It is, and it’s irresponsible to quit without a plan or safety net if you can avoid it. However, something that can help is generating other sources of income besides the full time job. When I first started, I used to blog and make some extra income on the side. Now I make money through retreats and the yoga studio but beforehand and to this day, I still make money through online marketing and selling on Amazon. I am also branching out into private labels sales. There are plenty of ways to start making money on the side that don’t require you to quit your job. However, if you start planting seeds so at some point you will be able to.
Pay off any debts
Speaking of which….pay off any debts. I’m still in the process of doing this right now. By paying off all of your debts, you become freer to travel and freer to live on less. I'd suggest taking a look at all of the interest you pay per month. I'm not talking just credit cards but student loans, houses, cars and add up that interest. For most people, it's enough for another monthly house payment....mine was almost $1800 a month in interest! By working hard to pay off debt, you'll be surprised on how little money you actually need to travel.
Travel smarter with less money
I love our retreats, I love daily excursions, beautiful villa, and amazing food. However, the keyword here is RETREAT. Even for me, the experiences are not typical to what I do on my own. It’s meant to be a luxury and hassle free. To travel more personally, I have to make my dollars stretch. So I go on work/exchange vacations where I work 2 hours a day and get enjoy resorts for a nominal fee. There are sites such as workaway.info that can match you with hotels looking for a work exchange. I use AirBnB. I use the local public transportation systems. I find accommodations with kitchens so I can make breakfast and some meals. By traveling smarter with your money, you can travel longer and farther sometimes at a fraction of what it costs to live in your home country.
Think of travel for your next job
When thinking about quitting your job that prohibits you from traveling, think about how you can still work and incorporate that into your next job. Personally, I chose to create a yoga business that focuses on travel. However, there's many people who opt to work "regular jobs" to bring in income that allows them to travel. Some people become virtual assistants, ESL teachers, remote jobs, and so on. These are all positions that allows someone to travel while they're working allowing them to stay at home. Others choose contract work so they work for a certain period of time and then can plan for extending periods of time with less money. IF you're not sure how to do this, ask questions from people you see traveling all the time. They'll have great advice.