Work stinks. So what if you just decided one day to walk into the bosses office, tell them you quit, walk out that door and just travel the world. Well, it could never work out, right?
It’s interesting you ask that because we have scoured the internet and found some stories of people who did just that. Before you decide to follow in their footsteps, maybe check out how it worked for them first.
25. Take The Last Train To Istanbul
When I was 26 I finally had enough of my job, and spur of the moment handed in my resignation. With no idea what I was going to do next, I decided to just go travelling. Came up with this idea of going all the way to Istanbul by train (I live in the UK), and set off by myself. When I first set off, I was terrified, and thinking “Just try it, and if you don’t like it you can turn back” – and I found out that actually I love travel more than anything.
Came home a few months later because I’d run out of money (hadn’t had much saved up to start with because I’d never planned on going travelling), immediately got a job (maternity cover at my old company) and started seriously saving for the next trip. Moved in with my parents to save money, and did nothing but work and go home to save as much money as possible. After 12 months, the woman I was covering for came back off maternity leave, and I set off for 7 months travelling around Asia. Came back in December, just finished my TEFL course and planning to go back to Asia as soon as possible to teach English.
So from being stuck in a dead-end job, suffering from crippling shyness and no confidence, I’ve gone to travelling around the world by myself. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but never thought I could – but whenever I lose confidence now, I just think “come on, you’ve been to (insert country here) by yourself, and you can’t talk to a few kids?” And it’s given me ambition – not just to travel, but to see if I can get into teaching as a career.
But all those people who said “oh, go for a few weeks travelling around Europe and you’ll get this travel thing out of your system”….yeah, that didn’t work out so well
24. There’s Always Tradeoffs
Not me, but a relatively close friend of mine.
She was involved in a pretty bad car accident and had a life changing epiphany. She realized that life is too short and she should just quit her Fortune 100 accounting job and travel the world. So she did, she left a very high paying job with zero notice and flew to Europe and spent just over a year there. Says it was the best time of her life.
However, when she came back she had a dose of reality. She ghosted pretty much everyone she knew so she had trouble finding places to live. She also spent over 6 months looking for a job because no accounting firm would hire her since she either had a huge time gap on her resume or would have to explain why she just left her high paying job.
She ended up settling for some mid $40,000k a year job which was a huge pay cut compared to her original job of around 100k.
Says sometimes she regrets it because she feels her career has been tanked, but also says she wouldn’t trade the experience she had for anything.
Just depends on the days and when bills are due.
23. Work To Live, Don’t Live To Work
Quit an excellent career to spent 12 months traveling with my girlfriend.
Left just after the first of the year, hit 32 countries, spent 11.5 months on the road, came home in time to celebrate Christmas with our families.
It was incredible. It so dramatically exceeded any expectation I had. I feel like I gained an education and an experience that I can’t imagine getting in any other way, and it really cemented my feelings of being a member of a much bigger world than what I see every day. We took thousands of photographs and tried to immerse ourselves in the cultures along the way.
We came back and I’m now working again, and we’re thinking about what kind of journey we want to do next. It may not be for a while since we obviously depleted a lot of our savings, but I’m not sure I’ll ever again be able to be entirely satisfied with a normal life.
So, the upshot is: it worked out amazingly well. The trip was an event that changed my world, and I’m not homeless. Jobs come and go, don’t let life pass you by. If I ever had any doubts about the trip, they were soothed when I had at least a dozen people from work tell me, before I left, that their biggest regret in life was not doing what I was getting ready to do.
22. Sometimes A Little Time To Clear Your Head Is All You Need
I quit my well paying corporate job last year in early March. I left 10 days later on a 5 month solo backpack through Europe and Asia. The trip was absolutely amazing. I met hundreds of people from all over the world and made some close friendships.
At the time I was in a bit of a rut. I wasn’t doing what I’d always wanted to do with my career. I was pretty busted up from a relationship that had ended a few months earlier. Life just wasn’t going in the direction I wanted so I literally did just say forget it, quit, and left.
Let’s talk about today. I’m actively chasing my dream of firefighting. It will become a reality in the next couple years! I’m dating the absolute love of my life. Met her a couple years back, timing wasn’t right then but sure is now. It’s funny because I came home from my trip knowing the exact girl I wanted. Gave her a call and the rest is going to be history (dating 6 months now). And for cash needs right now I’m doing independent contracting for my old firm so there’s more money flowing than ever before, with added flexibility!
Life is good.
21. Finding Love In Middle Earth
I had a low paying but enjoyable job but was feeling a little unfulfilled. I’d been working hard for very little money since I was 16 and had little to show for it. I went online and paid for a New Zealand working holiday visa, it was granted and I had up to a year to save up enough money to make the trip viable. Went to NZ about 7 months later, worked my way around, got a bit wasted, made friends, saw things, met a girl. She followed me back to the UK and we decided to put all our energy into her skill, which is writing. Six years later we have a successful writing/travel business and have travelled over 50 countries. I’m lucky, but I was also a little brave and worked hard. I’d rather have failed trying to do something I wanted to do than had success at something that did not fulfil me.
20. Adventure Is Out There!
Completely gave up my old life when I realised I was depressed and I really didn’t have an interest in making more memories of office walls (worked in advertising) to look back on in old age, and all those adventures I used to love reading/watching growing up, I could just…do. Yeah, that first step is terrifying, but I learned to take that as a good indicator that I’m doing the right thing. Revile the comfort zone.
I didn’t have a lot saved when I quit (~$5000 CDN), but have been able to last so long (indefinitely, if I wish) by volunteering in many of the places I go. Usually through Workaway, but not always. This means I can often take my sweet time and really live in my favourite places; places I learned to love, instead of having to race through to see everything.
In the first 1.5 years I didn’t work at all, but by the second christmas, while surprising my family back home, I picked up a laptop so that I could occasionally do some design work as I go to have at least a bit more of a safety net.
Honestly, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows: been hit by a motorcycle, broke my foot, bit by dogs, worry a lot about where to find my next paying-gig, etc… but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, not even for a moment. Life is amazing. Raced on horseback up and down Mount Vesuvius, walked the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, climbed…all sorts of buildings I should not have in Europe and the Middle East, avoided winter for years now, met the love of my life, crawled through various volcanoes, blah blah blah… From Iceland to Morocco, Czech Republic to Taiwan.
19. Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams
I had a good job and was just bored. The wife and I were just doing the same thing over and over in town. Movies. Dining out. Going to the lake. Bonfires. It was a good life, just boring after a while.
I decided I wanted to get out and go see Europe. We started saving money and two years later we went. It was amazing. I had 18 days off work and felt like I was living my dream. We went back home and 10 months later, I wanted to move to Europe. So here I am typing at work, from Europe, and we’ve been here three years so far. Best experience of my life.
Follow your dreams.
18. Money Isn’t Everything
Had a great job right out of college, I just hated it. I made a ton of money but I was so bored and literally counting the seconds until 5pm so I could leave. I was in a city that I just didn’t agree with. Made the gut decision to quit one day. I didn’t travel the world, but I took a month off of life and really just figured out what I wanted. Ended up driving across the country, starting a new career, and have spent almost 2 years to the day happier than anything. I make a lot less, work a ton more, but I’m glad I took the risk because it was worth it.
17. I Took The Path Less Traveled By, And That Has Made All The Difference.
I dropped out of uni for a year to do it and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. That was about 5 years ago when I got back I finished my degree (I could think clearer make decisions easier than before I had left felt more independent) I am working in my field right now and have plans to take off for 6+ months again soon. I will say to enjoy it go off the beaten path, lower housing expectations (hostels and camping are an experience well worth the lack of amenities) also it can be addicting to just travel.
16. The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
I decided to uproot my whole life and move to Puerto Rico with a friend. We’ve been here a little over a month and I want to go back. I am going back in a few weeks for sure, hopefully sooner.
It feels unsafe pretty much everywhere. I don’t speak Spanish fluently so there is almost always problems with communication. Majority of houses don’t have a/c, nor does mine, so it’s always hot and humid. The internet has two speeds, slow and not working.
Beautiful ocean views can only make up for so much. I’m tired of it all.
15. Travelling Isn’t Always The Solution
Had the most mind numbing, boring job at the worse call centre. One good thing was that money piled up since I had no life due to 3 hour/day commuting. I said “forget this!” and decided to overhaul my life. Lose weight and travel the world to cure my introvertism.
It wasn’t all bad, but I can tell you that to travel the world alone as an introvert was probably the worst idea ever. Being to shy to make contact with people, staying at my hostel because night outside in strange countries are scary and so on doesn’t really expand your horizons.
Then I went to USA and got stuck in a small backwater town in Wisconsin for a few months with winter flirt before heading home.
Went back to Sweden, flopped about a bit and then went back to my old job for another few years before finding something better.
All in all, it was well worth it. But I think I would have a much better time with a friend for the trip to do things with and who would push me to do stuff.
14. Friends And Family Are Important Too.
Did this in 2009 at the age of 27. Quit my job as a senior programmer at a major US bank, to visit Australia for a month.
Immediately met a girl that liked adventure, so we decided to live and travel together. We dated for 5 years and lived in 15 countries (half were Asian countries because they’re cheap and close to Aus).
The constant travel and separation from our friends and family took a toll and eventually we both wanted something different. That was almost three years ago.
Still love travel. Total number of countries I’ve visited currently stands at 26.
13. Living In The Land Down Under
I graduated in 2012 at the tail end of the recession (UK) and immediately left for New Zealand, it didn’t work out – I made all the classic mistakes. Returning home the job market was absolutely horrific and all I could get was 14 hours a week at the university I graduated from… I then got an interview at a very large media agency and then a second interview, I finally thought “this is it”, only to fall at the last hurdle, I had enough money for a plane ticket and a bit to live on.
I threw some clothes in a bag and moved to Toronto, immediately got a well paid government job and met my Australian girlfriend not long after getting there. I learnt French, went to Paris, went to San Francisco, Burning Man, Montreal, Paris again, Montreal again, Hawaii, New Caledonia and I now live in Sydney with the Australian girl I’ve told you about (we’ve been together over 3 years now). Tomorrow I have an interview at the department of education.
14 hours a week, single, with limited possibilities and barely enough spare cash to scratch two pennies together, to today. I’d say it went spectacularly.
12. Your Mileage May Vary
I quit my job, got rid of all my stuff, and set out to travel the world. My goal was to circumnavigate over the next year, but I only made it three months. Turns out if you’re running away from life due to depression, you won’t get very far.
I think my travels might have been better had I started in South America or Europe, due to less of a cultural and language barrier. I started in Korea. Even though it was only three months, I definitely grew as a person. I’d recommend it to everyone, even those with depression; just have realistic goals, and don’t be afraid to fail.
11. Working In A Call Center Seems To Be A Common Theme Here
Quit my job a few years ago in the U.K. In a call centre and went travelling but had a closed mind about it, travelled for 9 months then came home and regretted it after a week but figured I’d got the travelling out of my system and now I can focus on finding a ‘career’. This was back in 2014.
Fast forward to June 2016 and I’m looking at flights around the world from my hometown in Manchester, saw a cheap flight to vietnam and instantly thought ‘why not’ and booked it. I had around 6 months to sell as much of my stuff as I could and save as much as I could and then head off travelling, my job at the time was pretty dull, was in another call centre but was making footsteps into working my way up in the business. Only thing I didn’t manage to sell was my car which is sat on my parents driveway back home, every time I feel homesick I remember the regret of coming home too early. This time round I wanna travel as long as I can, I have a decent amount of funds before I need to work, been in vietnam 3 months and head to Laos tomorrow as I said, then Cambodia and Thailand, then I’m planning on coming back to vietnam to find some work and then eventually on to New Zealand to work over there too. The first time I travelled with a friend, this time I’m doing it solo and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
10. Getting Healthy Is Always Good
I quit my job at just shy of 40. Rented out my house as I knew I wanted to come back to it. Put everything in storage and moved to Germany for two plus years. All in all I had almost 4 yrs of midlife retirement. I hiked a 500 mile trail for a summer. Now I’m back at what I think is a better job. I got healthy with a bunch of exercise, I spent sooo much time with my young kids, I got to see how successful a more socialist society can be. It was very worth it to me. Scary and risky at times but I got lucky and it worked out.
9. Dad Would Be Proud
Lost my dad in 2010, quit my job as a “financial analyst,”and left for Saigon a month later. Never was into the traveling thing before, just took the advice of a friend and decided I needed to leave my comfort zone. Took a vision quest throughout Australia and Fiji for 6 months. Returned to the US a lot less angry, a lot more empathetic, and broke. Took a job, bought a house, and rarely traveled for 2 years until the travel/freedom bug bit me again. Put my house up for rent, shut down the business and went back on the road. That was 3 years ago, I just returned to the US to sell my house this month. I plan on using the proceeds to build an earthship and buy an investment property in America. I’ll never live full time in the US again. America may be the greatest country in the world, but quality of life is real and I now know that I prefer rice fields and siestas to BMWs and 70 hour work weeks. You’ll never know until you go 😉
8. Once You Have Tasted Freedom You Will Long To Have It Back
It worked out great! Just be aware that when you get back to reality after all that freedom it’s very hard to sit at work, stare out the window and not plan your next trip. Knowing things like, 2 hours pay in the UK covers everything for 1 day on a paradise beach in Thailand…. that’s some corrupting knowledge.
7. Some Prices Can’t Be Paid Off With Money
I traveled through Latin America, Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia for a year with my wife on $30,000. It was fun. It was a real pain to find a job after I got back. Eight months unemployed was a high price to pay. Probably worth it.
6. Always Have An Escape Plan
The only guy I know who did that has now been stuck in Thailand for several years because he can’t make enough money to pay for a plane ticket back.
5. Try Not To Get Deported
I ended up getting deported from Spain after about 2 years of travel. The years since then have been extremely difficult, but I’m still working for location independence. It looks like I’ll finally get it this year. I can’t wait to revisit all the places that I visited as a vagabond, but now as a successful and hardworking businessman.
4. Sometimes You Get Exactly What You Ask For
Quit job, took 18 months off, traveled the world, came home, got back into career…Now I can’t settle. Be careful what you hope for…
3. This Never Happens In The Movies
Got a loan, went to Africa, within two weeks had contracted Hemorrhagic Dengue fever, spent five months back home recuperating.
2. Which Is Nice
I once was on top of the financial world.
Now I’m broke.
BUT… I get to sit on mountaintops taking photos of brilliant landscapes every day..
So I’ve got that going for me.
1. More Like Au-some, Am I right?
I was young, I was bored at work and didn’t want to go back to university. I saw an ad in the paper saying come to Germany and be an au-pair. I thought it would be a year, I’d learn another language, see a bit more of Europe and have a chance to think about what to do next.
That was 23 years ago and I still live in Europe.