I’ve been there. Wanderlust eating you alive, from the inside out. Digital nomads and travel bloggers all over the internet urging you to up and go this very instant.
So, should you quit your job to travel? Before you make that leap, there are a few factors to consider first.
How career driven are you? How much do you enjoy your job? Could you work remotely?
If you quit your job to travel, would you get rusty being out of the game? How could you stay sharp or pick up new skills? How might a resume gap look (in some industries nobody will even blink, in others it could be a big deal)?
What will you do when you get back? Be honest: how employable are you really?
In my case I had learned a lot from my job and was prepared to quit outright if I had to. I was confident my resume was strong enough that I wouldn’t be out of work for too long.
But I was also a valuable team member and was able to negotiate an extended leave, meaning I had the security of a good job to come back to. I wasn’t miserable by any means; but my itch to travel was no longer containable.
Also see: How to Take A Career Break to Travel, by Alexis Grant
Your housing situation
Say you do decide to quit your job and travel. What will you do about your home? Rent it out/sublet it? (And what if something goes wrong while you’re away?) Give up your lease? Sell it?
Where will you stay when you get back? How hard will it be to find a new place then?
For me it was an easy choice. Our rental was a typical NZ rental – damp, freezing and unhealthy. I wasn’t going to miss it.
Your current obligations
Do you have pets? Dependants? Family members who rely on you? Any other commitments tying you down? If so how might you manage these from afar?
Put simply, can you afford it? How much will you need for your trip? (It all depends on your destinations and travel style.) Will you need it all upfront or do you have a plan to earn money while travelling? Do you have debt repayments, etc to keep up with while away? Are there bills and subscriptions that you can suspend or cancel? How much will you need when you get back – to settle in, cover you while job hunting, secure a home, etc?
Also see: How we travelled the world without going into debt
Enjoying the ride
Will you actually like travelling continuously? A long term trip is not like a brief holiday. Extended travel has very little in common with your typical getaway of a few days or weeks. (There’s a reason lots of big name travel bloggers have now set up a home base somewhere!) Be sure to plan to leave some rest days in your itinerary – even perpetual travellers need weekends 😉
What if you realise you can’t tolerate going back to your old life?
You don’t necessarily need an answer to that now. It may or may not happen. But I’m a big believer in plans. So give it some thought along the way – just in case you fall in love with a new city or country, or decide you want to be a self employed free spirit.