Why Quitting Your Job to Travel Is Bad Advice

The world is never short on inspiration.

Or bad advice.

It’s impossible to ignore the rants of cubicle escapees and vagabonds, who’ve redesigned their lives to accommodate endless travel. They’ve quit their jobs, plunged head first into more “meaningful” lives, and now it’s your turn. Digital nomadism is a small step away.

Or so the story goes.

The idea of quitting your job, travelling the world, and fashioning a living out of it is easy to dig. Who doesn’t crave more freedom? Who doesn’t want to fill their days with enviable experiences?

Could you quit your job and become a permanent traveller today? Absolutely.

Should you? Probably not.

Despite calls to the contrary, quitting your job to travel the world indefinitely isn’t the magical solution to all of life’s problems. Here are a few things to consider:

Rethinking your (not-so) great escape

When each working day becomes more soul sucking than the last, it’s natural to want to plan a great escape. But before you even think of hopping on that plane to Bangkok to live life to its “fullest,” the first question you need to ask yourself is: am I escaping from something or to something?

There’s a big difference.

Quitting your job to travel won’t magically erase problems. It won’t fix strained relationships, depression, or listlessness, and it won’t instantly make your life more meaningful—contrary to popular belief.

If you’re not in the right frame of mind, travel is a distraction and nothing more—it becomes an escape from the mundane, not to the “better” life you’ve envisioned.

Travel in itself isn’t enough to escape to.

When the initial excitement of hobbling through the unknown wears off (and it will), you’ll probably find yourself only marginally less morose (if all goes well) with a significantly smaller bank account.

Or maybe you already thought of this…

The great blogger lifestyle hoax: is it all hype?

Inspired by countless digital nomads, you cleverly snatched up a domain before you left, installed WordPress, and proudly announced your big journey to the world. A few eyes took notice and followed along—overnight, you’ve became a travel blogger. Time to hit the road, write about your experiences, and watch the traffic and cash roll in, right?

What we’re not told often enough is that for every successful wandering travel blogger, there are countless others who’ve packed their bags earlier than anticipated and abandoned their dreams of a nomadic lifestyle.

Why? Because making a living travel blogging is hard as shit.

Any honest blogger will tell you that the four-hour work week is a complete load of crap. Inspired world travel—on its own—is a full-time gig, let alone the countless hours spent networking, designing, tweaking, and learning. Oh yeah—and writing. Prolifically. Then there’s that whole money thing…

Living the expat life; or, your great escape reimagined

Let’s shift gears for a second. Is is possible to escape to something less risky than starting a blog with nothing more than a hope and dream for a quick buck? Of course.

Why not try starting a new life as an expat?

Sure, it’s not ideal to warp away from your soul-sucking work at home to another job—even if it is in another country. Just remember: Living and working in another country is rarely a permanent condition. It’s usually a stepping stone, a cushion to lay upon as you work towards better things.

If you’ve already committed to ditchin’ your job, maybe becoming an expat is exactly what you’ll need to get readjusted.

You could:

  • get TEFL qualification and teach English in Asia;
  • work on sailboat on the Adriatic;
  • serve margaritas in Puerto Vallarta;
  • clean up hostel rooms in Europe;
  • … or any number of other things in other cool places!

Whatever you choose to do, by living and working in another country you’ll save money, rather than siphon your bank account dry, while experiencing something entirely new—and amazing. That means more travel—and less stress—while you build up your side hustle.

Blogger or entrepreneur? It’s your choice…

Back to reality. The simple fact is that a blog is not a business. Endlessly producing content, chasing free press trips, and cluttering your sidebar with ads might help you survive one more day abroad, but it’s hardly an enviable (or sustainable) business model.

Bloggers create content. Businesses create value. Although turning a blog into a viable business isn’t impossible, don’t expect that quitting your job and doing it on the fly will get you there quicker. It may even slow you down.

Before you drop your employer like a bad habit, evaluate your goals and start working towards them before you bolt. Learn to balance your side hustle with your life until your lifestyle business crackles and booms, and then pull the trigger.

Be different. Be daring. Create something useful that adds value and then (and only then) escape to it.

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a Canadian traveller, food & drink aficionado, and the founder & editor of Treksplorer. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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