There’s always this hate/love relationship with travel posts regarding, “quit your job to travel the world” or “don’t quit your job to travel the world.” We like reading them but they have a few things in common.
Those who quit everything to travel the world were tired of the mundane 9-5 cubicle, white picket fence, and materialistic life. These were the people who bought into the old promises of climbing the ladder to the top and then discovered it wasn’t all that. After having a life changing epiphany, they jumped on their high horse and preached that those who don’t follow in their footsteps to travel the world are wasting their lives. Cue the eye roll and annoyance. In my opinion, quitting your job to travel is the worst advice ever.
Realistically speaking, you need to save plenty of money and get a TEFL certificate especially if you’re headed to Asia. If you plan on trekking the globe long term, then there needs to be a plan of action like finding a job or becoming a digital nomad, and both require skills of some kind. Unless you’re Bill Gates, it’s impossible to constantly voyage because the money will run out eventually. If that doesn’t depress you, most millennials don’t have much money to their names.
According to the article The Average Net Worth of Twentysomethings Might Depress You, the net worth of millennials is $10,400. Compare this to the baby boomers who were living life straight out of high school and owning houses by 21. Unfortunately, the cost of living is skyrocketing, student debt is doubling and graduating students are in ungodly amounts of debt. Add the aforementioned into greedy corporate America getting richer from student loan companies selling off debts. Ouch.
For those singing the “I didn’t quit my job to travel” tune, they liked the stability (as most humans do) and probably have a bit of extra cash saved so they could travel. It took awhile, but they did it. Those who didn’t quit their job have student debt or other debts to pay off. Maybe they didn’t want to stress about where the next place they stay will be and look forward to having an abode after a long journey. I’m one of those who didn’t quit their job for the love of stability and travel.
Travel has always been a part of my life. I lived in a privileged middle class family. It was normal to go somewhere different during summer or winter vacation. I spent my school breaks in Florida, Mexico, or Canada. Every experience gave me more knowledge than the last and I loved learning new things or going different places. This gave me an intense yearning for more than the confines of North America.
While the USA is a huge country with 50 awesome states and many visitors flocking to national parks to experience the beauty of my country, I was bored. My head was always up in the clouds as I dreamed of what I would discover in faraway lands. I imagined immersing myself in the culture of a new place, seeing temples, climbing mountains, and eating things I’d never heard of. The world was waiting for me and all I had to do was take the tools given to me and go for it. When I moved abroad in 2012, I was running full throttle toward my dream of living, working, and experiencing Japan. Getting a job and moving abroad to travel was the best decision I ever made.
Having a job abroad offers stability
Since I have a contracted job, I have no worries for a year. For that time, I know I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and a steady income. I like not having to worry about freelancing and what I have to do to pay the bills. Having a place to call my own and a familiar neighborhood feels good. I like falling into my bed and starfishing because I know it’s not some crazy hostel where hundreds of people have slept. Home is where my heart is and where I make it.
Having a job abroad is a new adventure
Each time I’ve moved to a different country, it’s been a whirlwind of emotions. It’s exciting being confused and getting to know how to navigate around a new way of life. Not only does life outside of work keep you on your toes, but so does your job. Life abroad is not always sunshine and daises, but regardless, it’s still an adventure. I always dedicate time to discover my host country and go abroad.
Living abroad gives you a different standpoint
By living abroad, you become more mindful of your surroundings. You realize the world doesn’t revolve around you and you learn how to respect other countries and cultures. Living and working abroad gives you a different perspective rather than if you just briefly visited. Living in Asia helped me become aware and learn new manners so that I’m not regarded as a rude tourist. In many cases, I learned how to be a decent human from my collection of experiences.
I can jump on a plane (during vacation time of course) and in two hours I’ll be in another country. Round trip can cost me about $300 or less if I play my cards right. For cheap, I can experience more countries and add them to my collection. These short plane rides can make a long weekend into an unforgettable one. Easy is an understatement because it’s almost a right to travel everywhere in Asia.
In short, I moved abroad so I could have it all. I wanted paid housing, a new adventure and a way to pay off my loans. It’s not worrisome to wonder if I’ll have enough money to eat. I count my blessings because I know not everyone can have the same opportunities as me. Not everyone can make the big jump and leave their lives back home. It’s possible to get a comfortable job if you move abroad.
Don’t quit your job to travel. You can get a job abroad and become an expat for a year or more (funny how time flies). You can still travel easily, learn new things, and make unforgettable memories. The people you meet can give you life lessons you may not learn elsewhere. It’s easy to jump on a plane and go where your heart desires. Take it from me. After all, I’ve been doing it for the past four years.