Disclaimer: reading this post may motivate you to quit your job
Four months ago, I quit my corporate desk job after what seemed like an eternity of mindless paper pushing to travel the world. It was the best decision I've ever made. Today, I'm writing this article poolside in the adventure capital of Colombia after a week of bungee jumping, scuba diving, white water rafting, paragliding, and caving. Through my journey I've made several life-changing connections, cut my living expenses by 70%, created an alternate income stream, and best of all, shared every single moment with my best friends.
If you're anything like I was, you're sitting at your desk right now wishing you had the resources, knowledge, and courage to leave your job and travel for yourself. You're worried about what you'll do, how you'll make your money, and how your friends and family will react to your decision. The thought of losing a steady paycheck and restarting in a world of endless possibilities is terrifying to you.
The truth is that once you finally make the decision to quit, literally everything in your life gets better. I'm here to help you make the same decision I did by debunking a few myths about quitting and by sharing my personal experiences on traveling.
1. It can be Cheaper to Travel the World Than to Pay Rent in the States
If you're worried about draining the money you have saved up, consider this:
when traveling, you don't pay for rent, utilities, car payments, gas, gym memberships or expensive food (this last one depends on your location). My rent alone in the states was $1350 a month. With everything else, I was spending over $2000 just to live, and my life consisted of waking up early, driving to work, sitting in front of a computer, coming home, cooking dinner, and going to sleep. I was working so that I could live to work more. What!?! That made zero sense to me.
Today I'm living life completely on my own terms and have cut my living expenses by more than 70%. A room in Colombia runs me about $9 a night. If I eat extravagantly at restaurants I spend $20 a day on food. If I cook, I spend maybe $6. I had to work over 20 hours a week just to break even on my expenses in America. If I made the same amount of money in Colombia, I'd have to work less than eight.
2. A Change in Perspective Can Act as a Catalyst for Creating Alternate Income Streams
Sometimes, all it takes is a small change in perspective to change your life. Once you free yourself from the corporate rat race and start to travel, a host of unthinkable opportunities present themselves to you. Day by day, you will slowly chip away at all of the false assumptions that have been clouding your head for years. You'll immerse yourself in cultures so different from your own that you'll begin to question the reasons you say, do, and buy the things that you normally do.
You'll meet people from all walks of life who will inspire and encourage you to pursue your passions. Eventually, you'll come to the realization that you can live life doing the things you truly love and then you'll figure out a way to make that happen. Imagine how successful and happy you'd be if you spent half the time you spend at your current job doing work you actually care about.
Let's face it, being the best version of yourself while sitting in a cubicle all day is close to impossible. I don't know about you, but the office life made me extremely anxious and depressed. I didn't even fully realize the extent of my anxiety until after I left. I couldn't genuinely connect with other people; I couldn't work on side projects I was passionate about, and I absolutely could not express my creativity. The harder I thought about starting a side business to generate an alternate income stream, the more stuck I felt.
Now that I'm traveling, I've been introduced to people who are making a living doing all sorts of incredible things. There are literally thousands of opportunities to create income streams big enough to support yourself while traveling. Better yet, these are income streams that nobody can take away from you because you'll have created them for yourself. Here are some examples of ones I've come across:
- Volunteering at a hostel in exchange for a room and three meals a day
You can live a completely sustainable life doing this for years. As a volunteer, you can have all the freedom as a traveler with the exception of performing a few tasks each day, such as checking people in and bartending.
- Working as a white water rafting tour guide, yoga instructor, salsa dance teacher, massage therapist, or an instructor in almost any other field in an exotic location
You can't really beat this one. With just a few months of experience in almost any skill, you can get paid to teach abroad. Backpackers are some of the most open-minded, curious, and experimental people on Earth and are always interested in learning something new. You can come to a foreign country with any skill, teach it, and earn US Dollars doing so.
- Teaching English with very little knowledge of any other language
Similar to the last point, teaching English in a foreign country is a ton of fun and can be extremely profitable. It is usually preferred that you don't speak the native language because it forces the conversation to be held in English. You can also do this on the side while volunteering.
- Creating a blog and selling informational products
This is what I've chosen to do, and our subscriber amount has increased nearly 100% in the past two months we've been traveling. It's crazy how much more creative and productive you are when you decide to leave home and travel.
I've met countless travelers who have created a life for themselves doing each of the above and the more I travel, the more I recognize that a life of freedom is possible. Stop limiting yourself to a single paycheck at a dead end job. Explore the world and create income doing something you love. If you need help or guidance, shoot me an email and I'll be more than glad to offer you advice. You can make a killing doing almost anything in the world, you just need to open your eyes to the possibility.
3. If You Fail at Pursuing a Passion Project, Realize That Traveling is Not for You, or Run Out of Money, You Can Always Come Back to an Even Better Job Than the One You Left.
Companies love people with a cultured mindset. Traveling for an extended period of time will not only present you with more opportunities, but it will turn you into a stellar interviewer. You'll come back with hundreds of experiences to talk about and you'll become a super attractive candidate because you'll have very little to lose. While traveling through Colombia, I was offered an interview from one of the most prestigious companies to work for in the world right now: Tesla Motors.
The number one rule of negotiation is this: he who cares less always wins. By traveling and pursuing a life of your dreams, you'll prove that you don't need a corporate job to survive. If you do get offered an interview from the company of your dreams, your voice, tone, and expression will exude confidence, maturity, and security. You'll never interview better than you do while traveling.
4. By Working Now and Saving up for Retirement, You Are Spending the Most Physically Viable Years of Your Life Stuck in an Office.
You're young now and you're only getting older. Take advantage of this time and use your body the way it was meant to be used while you still can. Travel the world and go bungee jumping, paragliding, hiking, mountain climbing, and scuba diving. Why wait until retirement when you won't be able to do half the things you can do now to travel the world? The worst case scenario is that you experience a completely new life for a few months before going back to an office job.
I have nothing against saving up money for when you're older. In fact, I encourage it. Just save it by doing something you care about, while taking advantage of your physical abilities when you still can.
5. You're Risking More by Staying at Your Job Than by Quitting to Travel the World.
By keeping a job that you can't stand, you are simply working to sustain a life in which you work more. In a few years, you'll buy a car, then a house, and then a bunch of shit you don't need just so you feel a little better about working. What happens if we have another financial crisis and you get fired? How will you pay for all of the stuff you've accumulated? And how will you be able to revert to a lower standard of living?
By traveling, especially on a budget, you'll learn to live on just a small fraction of the money and belongings you're living off of now. Living with nothing more than what can fit into a backpack has been one of the most liberating and refreshing experiences of my life. I've learned to be truly happy without possessing half of the junk I thought I needed. I've found joy in sharing a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and kitchen with twenty other people. Why would you spend close to half a million dollars on a big box that isolates you and your family from the rest of the world? In my opinion, there are few things more valuable in life than learning to live within a community of people.
The Art of Travel
Leaving the corporate world to travel was hands down the best decision I've made in my life. Some may say that leaving everything behind to travel is selfish. What I've learned, however, is that every moment I spend traveling is a moment I spend learning about myself. And, the more I learn about myself and my true values, the closer I get to building something meaningful that gives back to the world. Take a leap of faith, and trust that travel will give you everything you are missing in your life.
P.S. I wrote this post specifically from the perspective of someone with zero student loans or debt. If you have less than 10k in student loans and at least $5k in savings, I would encourage you to follow the advice above. If you do have over 10k in debt, I have a good friend who is traveling with over four times that amount and he'd be more than happy to offer his advice and perspective to you. As always, please reach out to me at email@example.com or comment below with any questions or concerns. Happy Travels!