Should you quit your job to travel the world?

 Are you planning to quit your corporate job to travel forever and become a digital nomad? Congratulations on the good decision! However, quitting the corporate life is not as easy as it sounds. In this article, based on my own experience, I would like to tell you about a couple of steps that are important to follow before taking such a decision

In 2016, I left the corporate world to pursue my biggest passion: traveling the world and talking about it through a blog called Against the Compass.

By that time, I had been living in Dubai for two and a half years, working in the marketing department of a well-known international company.

I had a good position with responsibility and was making a very decent living.

I had never been passionate about my job but I was comfortable with it.

At the office. on my 27th birthday, my colleagues wrapped all the stuff from my desk

 

Then, why did I abandon my career?

In this sort of company, the pressure and the level of stress are extremely high. During peak times, we used to work up to 14 hours a day. Every day, I got home exhausted.

Then, the weekend came and all I wanted to do was to party and get wasted in order to gain release from the stress of the week.

After two days, back to the office and start the cycle again.

That’s what real corporate life is, every single week of the year. Is this a nice way of living?

Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?

From being comfortable with my job, I started to hate it.

I just regretted not having enough time to dedicate myself to travel. I had six weeks of vacations a year but, unfortunately, they didn’t make up for all the stress I had.

One day I told myself:

I am going to quit this shit and start traveling

That sounds easy and quite impulsive, right?

Yes, but honestly, it was a process that took me weeks to execute. It was not an easy decision, as it involved abandoning a career that had taken me so much time, effort and resources to build.

The consequences could be awful, so I had to bear in mind and analyze a couple of considerations, to make sure I would never need to go back to the corporate world.

In this article, I would like to tell you all the issues you should consider before quitting your job, traveling the world and becoming a digital nomad.

 

 

Is it gonna be temporary or forever?

All right. You decided to quit your job because you are dying to discover more of our precious world.

However, firstly, you should ask yourself:

Is it going to be permanently or are you just taking a one-year break?

If your objective is to never come back to corporate life, you are at the right place then.

Otherwise, if you aim to travel just for 1 or 2 years, I also congratulate you, as not many people are willing to do the same.

Nevertheless, that wouldn’t mean quitting the corporate life but taking a sabbatical year.

Before making any decision, have your ideas clear, as leaving your career permanently involves a lot of preparation and, on many occasions, there could be no way back.

Read: How to start a travel blog, a step-by-step guide

In Karima, Sudan

 

Are you capable of traveling long-term?

It seems like a joke but I swear that this will be one of the most relevant variables, as not everybody is made for traveling for a long period of time.

Traveling eternally is no joke and, unlike what many people believe, not every day can be easy as pie. 

Like in real life, you will have ups and downs and, at some point, you will miss your family, friends and home country.

There are going to be an endless number of days when you will be alone, with no friends, sleeping in depressing places.

There will be so many times when you’ll have to eat the greasiest and most disgusting food ever because there are no other options.

One day you might get sick and, on many occasions, you won’t want to talk to anyone. Being constantly on the road is very tiring.

This is the dark side of traveling and, everybody I know has experienced it sometime.

Traveling is one of the most rewarding and incredible experiences you will ever have.

That’s for sure. However, does it make up for you?

Ask yourself this and analyze all the odds.

My personal experience – Like everybody else, when I travel for a long period of time, I do get homesick and there are many days in which I felt lonely, of course, but I do believe I am a social person who can make friends easily, so that helped a lot. Also, I would always take a long break every 2 or 3 months, and settle in a nice place with plenty of social life. However, after 4 years on the road, I decided to put an end to my vagabond life, and you can read here about it.

Traveling has extremely rewarding experiences – Approaching some local Omanis in Musandam

 

If you’ll never go back to the corporate job, how will you make a living?

You have quit your job.

That’s pretty cool but, how are you going to make a living?

Honestly, I don’t think that putting an end to your career without having a clear target is a good idea.

Yes, you’ll go on an awesome journey but then what?

How are you going to generate income?

Moreover, I totally disagree with people who tend to say: ”Well, I am going to travel to find inspiration and I will come up with something”.

I am sorry to tell you that ideas don’t pop-up in your mind just because you are looking at that sunset in Cambodia.

Ideas are something that have been thought, re-thought and elaborated for days, weeks and months, a consequence of a great mental effort.

Before resigning, you should have an idea of what are you going to do.

It doesn’t need to be something unique or creative.

There are tons of travel jobs: teaching English, working on a cruise or even being a bartender.

There are also loads of people who work as freelancers from a distance.

Are you working in a company which offers website development services? Could you do it by yourself from a distance?

There are many portals, Upwork for example, where people look for this kind of services.

I use it constantly for my blog, to find editors, designers, and website developers.

My personal experience: Traveling is my hobby, so I had very clear that I wanted to work remotely on something related to travel and, after doing some research, I saw that starting a travel blog was something many travelers were making a living from.

Trekking in Georgia

 

Be ready from day one

On the same day you leave your job, you should be completely prepared to pursue your target.

Why? For two reasons.

  1. First of all, because working on any sort of project while you are traveling is way more difficult than doing it from home.
  2. Secondly, because from the day you quit until you start generating income is a race against the clock, so you really want to shorten this period of time.

For example, do you want to teach English online?

That’s all right but, do you have any document proving that you are eligible for teaching to non-native speakers?

Do you know where to start looking for that job?

Do you know anyone who does the same and can help you?

Try to have all the answers from day one. My friends from Journal of Nomads did great with teaching languages online.

My personal experience – If you really want to make a living, a travel blog (and any blog) requires a shit load of time, effort and work. I launched my blog exactly two days after quitting my job but before that, I spent 6-8 months working on it. I signed up for a travel blogging course and launched it with a good design and a well-defined strategy for the first year. Having your project already on track before you start traveling is a key success factor.

 

Which countries are you going to travel to?

It’s very important to know which countries will you travel to, as your route will decide your budget.

It’s not the same to travel in Europe or Australia as in Laos or Kyrgyzstan.

If you don’t have many savings and have no idea when will you generate any income, consider seriously traveling to third world countries.

There are many Asian countries where you can easily live on $15 or $20 a day.

My experience: In the beginning, I only traveled to countries where I can live on a very small budget and that included countries within the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan.

Read: Choosing a portable travel laptop

Ethiopia is another cheap country to go backpacking

 

How much money did you save?

If you have already planned your route, then you should calculate your weekly or monthly budget. Obviously, this varies hugely, depending on each person.

However, bear in mind that it will always be higher than what you estimate, as unexpected events will always occur.

Furthermore, you also need to add some extras on top, from travel insurance to any travel gear you might need.

My personal experience: Obviously, I started saving money several months ahead of time and, after drawing up my route, budgeting my trip and buying a laptop and a camera, I came to the conclusion that, with all the money I saved, I could be 20 months on the road without needing to work. I have to say, however, that working in Dubai and being a budget backpacker helped a lot.

Money from Sudan

 

When are you planning to generate your first income?

It’s also very important that you estimate when could you be generating income, as this period of time will decide how much money you need and how long you can subsist without having to look for a job, and just work on your digital nomad project.

My personal experience: In my case, I had estimated and learned that, if you do things correctly, monetizing a blog takes at least 18 months, so 18-24 months was my target, and I started making a full, decent a living after almost 2 years, so it worked great for me. Read my 6 ways of making money from blogging.

Against the Compass travel blog

 

Conclusion

I don’t want to scare you with all these considerations.

If you are not happy with your current job and don’t have any family or responsibilities, go for it because, in the worst-case scenario, you will just go back to where you are now but with plenty of travel experiences to tell.

You just need to think of something you would be passionate about, work hard for it and, in the end, you’ll get it for sure.

If you have any doubts, I will be happy to help!

Further reading:

 

Quit your corporate job to travel the world?

Start planning and booking your trip

For booking your hotel and guesthouse, look on Booking.com

For booking a hostel, always check on Hostelworld

For travel insurance, I recommend:

1 – World Nomads – Best insurance for adventurous destinations

2 – True Traveller – Best backpacking insurance (only Europeans)

3 – IATI Insurance (5% discount) – Cheapest travel insurance and for travelers above 70

For all your travel gear (trekking equipment, books, etc), check on Amazon

If you want to know all the companies I use to plan my trips, check my travel resources page

Disclosure: As a traveler, I use all the companies I recommend and you should know that, if you buy any service through any of these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These small earnings help me to improve and create more content for Against the Compass. I really appreciate your support :)

16 comments

  1. Great article! I work a corporate job and support a family with my income, so my time frame is a bit longer, but I’m following your same steps! Though I don’t ever plan to monetize my blog, but rather find something tourism related to do with my corporate background. 🙂

    1. Hey Nick, thanks for your kind comment. Glad that you are having the same thoughts! I hope you can find out a way pretty soon. Do you have already an idea of what are you going to do?. You have a very valid point when you say that you want to do something related to your corporate background, as you always need to take advantage of your strengths and skills. In my case, even though I just have a travel blog, I’m investing so much effort in marketing and branding, which are skills I learned while managing my company brands and very necessary if you want to bring your blog to the next level. Wish you all the best!

  2. This is very inspiring! It is not easy peasy but is possible to do it. Any plans to hit South and Central America soon? I have some recommendations if you want them.

    1. Hola Isabel! No, it’s not easy at all and I am still in the process to achieve the objective but, step by step and loads of patience!! About Latin America, yes, it’s in my plans but not for 2017. Maybe next year? To be very honest, I really want to travel to Veneçuela and other less visited Latin American countries like Suriname and even Paraguay. I will contact you 120% when I make my way into Veneçuela!

      1. Definitely, El Salvador will amaze you and Nicaragua, which is super safe! (more than Costa Rica and still very virgin)
        I would love to join at some point in that travel. Venezuela, definitely not at the moment and I don’t think it will be good in the next 5 years at least…. But, if you decide to go just shoot me a message mate! Loving your site, it´s amazing to see this amount of freedom is still alive!

        1. I have a friend who also has a blog and went to Venezuela recently. Check his posts about Venezuela here: http://www.travelsauro.com/es/category/venezuela-es/

          He says that a large part of the country is dangerous but there are some spots, especially in the mountains where you can feel totally safe. I don’t know what you think about it. Anyways, I wouldn’t go there without having loads of information first!

  3. Thanks for the tips! I’m planning on making the leap from the corporate world soon and this definitely puts things into perspective. Luckily, just like your post says, I’ve chosen some cheap destinations at first and have about a year of savings to start off with. Cheers to us! 🙂

    1. Hi Kay, glad that you also decided to make the move! I wish you all the best Yeah, cheap destinations are definitely if you want to be on the road for a long time! But for me, that was not a very hard decision, as my favorite destinations also happen to be the cheapest ones

  4. I love the realistic and pragmatic outlook 🙂 My boyfriend and I worked for a year to save money and travel around for 8 months in South America. Worked another 2 years to travel around Australasia for another 18 months. Of course this is nothing like what you are doing but I can relate to so much of what you are writing here. So many travel blogs I read before both our trips seemed to be built only to allure, look ‘Instagram-worthy’ and leave out anything that might not seem ‘cool’ (whatever that may mean…) enough to mention. Traveling is awesome, yes, but it is not all day everyday 100% fun and comfortable. Nothing in life is for extended periods of time 🙂 No complaining as this experience is part of the journey but still not quite the same as the cocktail-sipping-vacation some people have in mind when you tell them about your trip 🙂 Along the way we met lots of people who had to suddenly leave and go back home or miss out on awesome countries because the money ran out and I always felt so sorry for them. I think this post can really help people wanting to do something similar to stop, think and plan ahead. 🙂 All the best of luck with your endeavour!

    1. Nice comment! I agree with everything what you said and we are actually a bit tired as well and that is why we decided to settle in Tbilisi for a while, 8 months at least and do short 1-week trips every a couple of weeks. Perhaps after 8 months, we will go again on a big trip, who knows, but for now, we are enjoying it so much!

  5. He left his corporate job to travel the world as written in his book “WILD in the HIMALAYAS” Love and tragedies from Paris to Kathmandu.
    “WHAT I AM DOING WITH MY LIFE? I AM ABOUT TO TURN 40, SO I STILL HAVE THE OTHER HALF LEFT. AND I WANT TO LIVE… WANT TO LIVE. A RADICAL CHANGE.
    Francisco quits his profession as an international executive in a multinational Company, flies to Nepal and embarks on a six-month adventure across the Himalayan Mountains. At the end of his trip, he comes across a dying mountaineer with whom he will share the next eleven days, suffering furious storms and eternal snows. It is a time of reflection, remembering those unique experiences and moments which have made him who he is now.
    Author: Francisco Po Egea. Industrial Engineer and MBA INSEAD (Fontainebleau). Ten years as a high executive in multinationals which he changed to become a globetrotter, writer and photographer. He has published hundreds of articles in the best travel magazines in Spain as well as in the national newspaper El Pais. He is the author of Mauritius Island (Laertes), Grand Hotels in Spain (El Pais/Aguilar) and The 100 most romantic hotels in the world (Formentera). He has received several awards for his articles: The France Award (3 times), the Véneto Award and the Mexican Silver Feather Award.

  6. A great post with lots of realistic advice. Hubs and I quit work for good, but it was 10 years in the planning. It took this long because we wanted to be financially independent. Fortunately now, we don’t need to work to travel, so long as we stick to our budget!
    However, I am very interested in your tips to monetise a blog. I have had my blog for a couple of years and write because I love to write. I also hope to inspire others and show that an alternative lifestyle is possible without a lottery win. However, it would be nice to make some extra cash to fund treats every now and then. I just don’t want it to become like work again…
    I can’t imagine stopping travel (we have been on the road for 5 years and have just bought an overland truck so that we can go further afield than Europe) but I guess that it may just happen one day! Good to hear that you are happy and settled.
    http://www.WorldWideWalkies.com

      1. Thank you, Joan, I shall check it out. Even if I could cover my costs or have enough to buy the occasional coffee I would be delighted!
        Our new truck is awesome. I am so excited about her. I am hoping to get back to the UK in the summer to do my lorry licence. Luckily, Hubs already has one and we managed to relocate her to where she is being converted before lockdown.
        Thanks again for your excellent blog. I love reading it anyway, but many of the destinations are on our map when the truck is in action!

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