If you’ve spent even one lunch hour at your desk googling up the idea of quitting your job to travel around the world, then you’re familiar with the heap of anonymous internet people who love to tell you to quit. Most of them sound pretty convincing too. Except the ones that use the term, “free spirit” too often, they just sound like twats. They all love to charm you with tales of how they’ve never felt so alive. The saucier ones will even use clever analogies like how we’re all cubicle zombies slaving for the man until we die. Sheep hammering on keyboards because our herd says that is what we should do. Oh you get the idea. Is it really a good idea though? Or maybe they are trying to convince themselves?
I’m almost finished with my second to last day of work. Tomorrow will be the last day of my lovely career. My career which I get paid well to do. It doesn’t have any heavy lifting, I get a fair amount of time off each year, and I do pretty interesting stuff. I’ve been here for 9 years and I have a really comfy chair. With that in mind, let me try and give you some honest advice on whether you should quit your job and travel around the world.
You idealistic idiot, you’re talking about quitting your job! You know they stop giving you money after you quit, right? How will you pay your bills? What if you break a tooth? Who is going to pay for that? What if [insert emotionally important person here] gets sick, can’t work, and asks you for help? You don’t have any income! How’s that retirement fund going? Saving up so you won’t be a homeless senior? Oh you quit your job, well that’s sure going to pay for the rapidly rising cost of retirement. Who is going to want to hire you when you get back anyways? The grown up world has moved on while you’ve been finding your free spirited self. No one is going to want to hire you. Damn hippy.
There’s also the respect factor to consider. Modern society has a thinly veiled caste system wherein you’re respected according to how you earn a living. It’s a big part of your image, and even self image, which you’re going to have to come to terms with. Once you quit your job you quickly slide into the murky depths with the fry cooks and the telemarketers. Imagine a scenario in which tomorrow you meet the queen, president, or whatever your country has. You would be introduced as your career. In the eyes of the world your career is who you are. Now imagine that same scene after you quit your job to go travel. “Your highness, this is [name], who is unemployed, but working on a book idea entitled, ‘Putting The Ho in Hostels’. Shall I call security?” Oh yea, you’re a big shot now.
If you can make peace with all the financial and social status repercussions, then you should definitely quit your job and travel. I’m one day away from doing it for the second time. It can work out beautifully as long as you really understand what you’re doing. I seriously mean really understand, not just what you read online. Otherwise the panic attack that is going to hit you someday in the back seat of a Nicaraguan chicken-bus is going to make explosive diarrhea seem like a holiday. Who doesn’t love a nice holiday?
Photo Credit: Unfortunately, I have no idea. Let me know if you know.