Should I Quit My Job to Travel?

quit job travel
Quit-your-job-and-travel-the-world could be the latest epitome of success for the millennials. But do you really have to quit your job to travel?

My first traveling experience, as an adult, was to Bandung, a city 185 kilometres away from my hometown. It was supposed to be a trip with a friend, but the friend cancelled at the last minute.

I was traveling with a group.

When we visited a museum, the group were flocking the first room we entered. It was packed.

Being short, I could not see anything. So I ran to the emptiest room.

The group started the tour from the front of the museum to the back, following the guide and the timeline of history. I decided to start from the back of the museum to the front (time is an illusion anyway).

That was when I knew I would never be a good tour-group member.

***

The rest of my traveling journeys only happened because of work. There were company outings abroad and business meetings. I extended some for a well-deserved vacation alone.

At some point, back home, I started missing the feeling of being in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers.

From my desk at work, in the sleepy afternoons, I stalked Val’s and Elys’ blogs. I read each post with devotion. I want to be like them.

I want to be adventurous.

I want to meet guys abroad and go for a walk with them by the beach.
I want to stroke a stray cat.
I want to volunteer and exchange my optimism with a roof over my head.
I want to connect with people.
I want to befriend strangers.
I want to read in an unfamiliar setting.
I want to be melancholic in a faraway land.

So, I started to travel and paid for it by myself. I liked it. I spend most of my money to travel, then work more to save some more, to travel more. And so it goes.

I didn’t quit my job to travel. I quit my job to have more flexibility in doing the things I have always wanted to do: writing, teaching, working on creative projects with friends.

It’s just that once and a while, I travel.

***

I used to write about my traveling journeys diligently: taking pictures with my DSLR, documenting everything, and publishing it in the blog a few weeks after I got back.

I thought this was why I travel.

One day, I got an opportunity to travel around the archipelago for work. On the road, I lost my external hard-disk. It was where I kept all the notes and pictures I took during the journey. It was where I kept all the notes and pictures I took during all of my journeys, ever.

I have no pictures to prove where I’ve been.
I cannot post those colourful images I’ve filtered and edited.
There would be no likes or comments.
I won’t be able to use any pictures for anything anymore.

I was surprised to find out that I only sulked about this for 2 hours.
Then I let go.

***

I keep traveling. Since then, I don’t even bother to take my DSLR with me. I don’t even bother if I didn’t post anything about my traveling journeys afterwards.

I travel simply because I feel a tug at my heartstrings to go somewhere. I have no valid reason as to why I travel or why I choose a certain place to travel to.

I just follow the tug.

My friend once asked me if he should quit his job to travel.

I asked him: “If you are not allowed to show or tell anyone, ever, about your traveling journeys, would you still want to quit your job to travel?”

He looked at me for a second, and shrugged. “Well, came to think about it, probably not.”

“Then probably, don’t.”

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  • I loved your advice to your friend. I have long since retired [Alie says I just quit my job.] and I love sharing, but I took your question to heart — I would travel even if I couldn’t share it.

    • Indeed. I know that some of us feel pressured to ‘quit your job to travel’ – probably because that seems like the epitome of “success” for today’s millennials. I think if you love your job, love climbing corporate ladder, love to stay at home and be with your friends and family, love to have savings for rainy days, or do not really take a liking to travel, that’s is completely OK, too 🙂 To each its own joy 🙂

  • My 1st time reading your blog, and reading this feels just right – good sharing on your thoughts & experiences (on “why & how travel”), love it. Thanks.
    I applied international scholarships and international organizations jobs (and got accepted) so (partially) I could travel – abroad & domestic; so am Not Quit Job For Travel but more on Choose Job to Travel 🙂 And those time.. there’s no social media and digital photos yet (to share) but I enjoyed it so much, so your question to your friends is absolutely right! 👍🏻. Hope you enjoy more of your traveling journey and writing & creative works.