Why I DIDN’T Quit My Job to Travel

Why I Didn't Quit My Job to Travel
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You all know the story: cubicle-dweller dreams of travel, saves up money, and eventually waves adios to desk job and embarks upon a global adventure.

It's a pretty standard story among long-term travelers — and especially amongst travel bloggers.

Go to many of the “big” travel blogs out there, and you'll probably find a post titled something along the lines of “I Quit My Job to Travel the World.” With so many travel bloggers being digital nomads and working as they hop from country to country, I feel like readers sometimes assume that this is the only way to do it; that the only way to travel the world is to quit your job, sell your stuff, and buy a laptop to take your show on the road.

Well guess what? You definitely don't have to quit your job in order to travel the world.

Travel quote

I've written before about the fact that you CAN, in fact, have your cake and eat it, too. You CAN fit travel into a more “normal” lifestyle — one that includes a job and a fixed address.

And so I'm here to tell you about why I DIDN'T quit my job to travel the world.

To be fair, I HAVE quit jobs before. I quit a waitressing job after college in order to take a “big kid job” at a newspaper in 2009. And I quit that newspaper job in 2011 in order to go back to school once I decided to get my master's degree. After I finished graduate school in 2013, I chose not to look for a new job right away. Instead, I decided to try my hand at blogging and freelancing full-time — so I could travel more, of course.

This might *sound* like quitting a job to travel the world — but in reality it was taking on a completely different form of employment.

Office on Mykonos

My workspace went from a desk at Kent State's library to places like this.

Right after grad school, I took off on what was supposed to be a 7-month trip around the world. I was going to lay on beaches in Greece and play with elephants in Thailand and eat ALL the pasta in Italy. I was going to visit markets and soak up history and meet all sorts of cool people. I decided my blog was at a point where it could support me financially (as long as I picked up some freelance work along the way, too), and only saved up a small amount before flying to Europe.

You probably think this sounds awesome. And, in many ways, it WAS awesome. Traveling is the single best thing I've ever done in my life, and it's changed me in so many ways.

Travel quote

But, before you idealize it too much, let me tell you that this sort of lifestyle is HARD, guys. Like, really hard. Yes, I got to see some amazing places. And yes, it was nice being my own boss and making my own hours. But, in the end, I just couldn't hack it.

Flashback. It was the summer of 2013, a couple of months into my epic around-the-world trip. I was in a hostel bar in Florence at 1 p.m. on a Friday, ripping my hair out as I fought to connect to the hostel's woefully weak wifi signal. It only worked in the afternoons (when nobody else was trying to use it), and so naturally getting any work done meant skipping out on other things like art museums and walking tours. I cried myself to sleep one night because I was so stressed out about meeting my deadlines when I couldn't find a decent wifi signal — it almost ruined my week in Florence.

Flash forward a few weeks to me on a bus in Poland, close to tears once again because I was down to less than $100 in my bank account as I waited for nearly $2,000 in freelance invoices to be paid — of course they were ALL late.

Living this way was beyond stressful, and by the time I hit the 3-month mark of my trip, I realized that this sort of lifestyle wasn't really for me. I couldn't deal with hustling so much for work, and never knowing when I would get paid (and having to chase down money I was owed) gave me my first gray hairs.

I decided to go home early — mostly because I was broke, but also so I could spend some time re-evaluating things. For so long, I thought that the whole “I quit my job to travel the world” thing would become my story, too. But, as it turns out, my story was about to take on a slightly different plot.

Travel quote

I knew I didn't want to stop traveling, and I knew I didn't want to give up the freedom that goes along with being location-independent (i.e. not bound to an office). But I also knew that being permanently nomadic, jumping from city to city and freelance gig to freelance gig, wasn't going to work for me.

Yet, I knew I couldn't stop traveling, either. I've been bitten by the travel bug, and, as Michael Palin once said, “I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.”

Giving up travel was not an option — so what was left to do?

Travel quote

Eventually, I decided to take a few months off from traveling and focus on finding work that I could do remotely but that would guarantee me a steady paycheck each month.

And that's exactly what I did. I GOT a job instead of quitting one.

Taking time to search for work that would still allow me a lot of flexibility paid off — I'm now working part-time for an awesome social media startup. The pay (coupled with the other freelance work I'm doing and the occasional blog ad or brand partnership) is enough for me to feel secure, and the fact that I work remotely means I can put in my hours from anywhere in the world.

GETTING a job instead of QUITTING one was actually the best thing to happen to me.

It means I have more balance; more stability. I don't have to rely on advertising on my site quite as much anymore to ensure that I can pay my rent (or my new health insurance bills — yuck). I can plan bigger and cooler trips. And I can be more selective about which companies I do and don't work with.

For me, it's the ideal situation. In 2015, I'll be visiting at least 2 new countries, and will be going back to about 4 more that I've visited and loved in the past. I know I won't have any of those crying-in-my-room-because-I'm-so-broke moments any more, which will mean I can tell even better stories than before.

Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook

There's no telling where I might go next!

I'm not saying you have to table your dream of ditching the cubicle to travel the world — feel free to keep that inspirational calendar on the wall and to keep squirreling away money in that piggy bank. I'm just saying that the travel lifestyle you've been dreaming of might not actually exist.

Instead of quitting your job and selling all your stuff to travel when you don't even know if you'll LIKE that lifestyle, find out how to pack more travel into the lifestyle you already have.

There are plenty of ways to travel a lot that don't necessarily require you to completely quit your job. The 9-5 doesn't HAVE to suck.

Here are 5 ways you can keep your job AND spend more of your time traveling:

  • Maximize your paid vacation time — In the U.S., I know that our paid vacation time sucks. Companies aren't actually required to give you ANY, so most people are pretty happy to get 2 weeks of paid vacation per year. If this is all you get, try to maximize it by planning travel around other paid holidays and weekends. If you're able to work holidays and “bank” extra days off, do it and extend your travel time even more.
  • Ask if you can do your job remotely — In a day and age where smartphones and wifi are the norm, many jobs can now be done from home — or remotely. Even if you've worked in an office all your life, that doesn't mean that your job HAS to be done from an office. If you have a good relationship with your boss, consider having a chat to see if your job might be able to be done remotely. You would still have to work, but this would give you a lot more flexibility when it comes to travel.
  • Ask if you can work remotely for a few weeks out of the year — If working remotely permanently isn't an option, see if you can negotiate a few weeks per year. You could then pair this with your paid vacation time to go on longer trips abroad.
  • Look for a job that requires you to travel — If you're not tied to your current job, consider looking for a new one that would require you to travel for work. A business trip on a Thursday or Friday could easily extend into a long weekend in a new city — and you could probably rack up a decent amount of frequent flyer miles, too.
  • Consider if you have skills/knowledge you could leverage into a freelance position — Lastly, take stock of your skills. Do you have any specialized ones that you could take advantage of? Maybe start a part-time business on the side and, if it does well, do what I did and go freelance! Now, don't get me wrong — being a freelancer can be more work than a normal 9-5 job. But getting to be your own boss and travel whenever you want certainly makes up for the extra hours.

And, at the end of the day, just remember that you don't HAVE to quit your job in order to see the world. I didn't, and it's working out pretty well for me!

So what do you think? Have you ever considered quitting your job in order to travel?

 

 

214 Comments

  • Rob says:

    Sounds like a good plan to me. I think I responded to another post one time saying that I’ve figured out that I don’t *like* traveling more than 4-5 weeks at a time before returning to a home base. Which doesn’t necessarily have to be “home” but does need to be a place where I can just chill, do laundry and not do “travel” stuff. Home is clearly the best place for that, but friends’ homes work too.. 🙂

    I actually really like my career as a software geek, and the kind of software I do requires that I sit in a lab with equipment that doesn’t travel well. So I’m in the “work a lot, then travel” mode of life. Except that I did that so much in 2012,2013 and 2014 that I’m just a little bit burned out on travel. Sitting on the plane home from Spain a month ago I was totally “screw this – I’m not leaving home in 2015”. That changed, of course, but I *did* cancel my trip to Vietnam that was scheduled to happen two weeks after I got home from Spain.

    This year I will actually have travel – just not a “lot” of travel, and not all involving passports. A week in Bali at the beginning of May. A week hiking the Grand Canyon and a week hiking the Colorado trail in July/August. A bit less than a week in Singapore in the early autumn, and I’m teetering on the edge of December in New Zealand to escape the first month of winter, and do a bunch of hiking.

    That’s it – three “passport” trips that will allow me to maintain my United Gold status and give me a bit of adventure and beyond that lots of work and wallowing in the joys of Colorado – a place *other* people travel to on vacation. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds like an awesome plan to me! I didn’t do a ton of traveling in 2014 – big trips to Asia (at the beginning of the year) and New Zealand (at the end of the year), but then just a few smaller, US trips in between. It was exactly what I needed. Now I’m ready for some serious travel in 2015!

      But yeah… I always love knowing that I have a “home” to come back to at the end of my trips. And, like you, 4-6 weeks seems to be my sweet spot when it comes to the length of a trip!

    • Burcu Basar says:

      I totally agree with the idea of needing to get back home once in maybe every month. In addition to the relaxing opportunity it provides, it also better allow me to put my travels in a context. It gives me the chance to step back and better asses each country I have been to from the comfort of home. Burcu (www.burcubasar.com)

      • Amanda says:

        Yes, I’m the same way! I need time in between trips to decompress and process my travels (not to mention edit photos and get caught up on work/emails!). Going on shorter trips really works for me.

  • Kiara Gallop says:

    This is so refreshing to read. I’ve followed your blog for some time so I know that you don’t travel full-time as so many other successful bloggers do, and that’s cool because, like you say, it’s whatever works for you as an individual. Much as I love travelling, and I love long-term trips because they allow you so much more time to really get under the skin of a country or a destination, I also like having a base to return to, and family and friends to spend quality time with. My goal isn’t to sell everything I own to travel, it’s to find a balance just like you have. Granted I have a long way to go, and it has been difficult juggling writing, social media, and photo-editing with a full-time job, whilst still having time to live and to enjoy life. But I’m just as passionate about my blog now as I was when I started it a little over a year ago, and I hope one day to be able to use the skills and experience I have acquired through running it to help me find work outside of local government administration. Thanks for sharing your words of encouragement and inspiration! 🙂
    Kiara Gallop recently posted..Passing Through Pisac

    • Amanda says:

      It’s good that you’re still loving your blog, Kiara! I totally can relate to how difficult it can be to balance everything, especially when you’re working full-time. I’ve been there! I’ve found a really great balance now – a mixture of freelance and contract work that still allows me to spend time on my blog. Though there’s always a trade-off – there are never enough hours in the day to do everything! Haha. But I definitely wouldn’t be able to sustain what I’m doing if I didn’t have a home base to work from.

  • Rachel says:

    I didn’t quit my job to travel – I quit my stable, reliable, frustrating job in London to go freelance. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, run my own business. I worked my ass off for two years, sometimes 80-90 hours a week, but I’m now at the point where I work 8-9 months of the year and enjoy time off over winter, and if anything crops up, I have two part-timers who can take care of anything while I’m away. True I work nearly all spring, summer and autumn, but as my job involves a lot of travel around the UK, I fit in local excursions and weekends away. And since I love my work, I don’t consider it a job 🙂

    Like you, I’m happy with travelling around work, I’m happy working. Long-term travel isn’t for me, I like having a home to come back to, to put my feet up and look back through photos with a cuppa and smile, knowing that I have paid work to go towards another week away somewhere!
    Rachel recently posted..The Oak Woods of Taynish

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds pretty awesome to me, Rachel! I think a lot of people mistakenly think that it has to be either-or when it comes to work and travel. But the reality is that you definitely CAN do both.

      And, like you, I LIKE working. I like having things to do and goals to work towards.

  • Miranda says:

    It’s great to see that it is possible to travel a lot even with a job. I was planning on taking months off to travel, but didn’t want to be stuck at a job I hated for awhile, so I ended up taking a working holiday visa instead. I still work full time but being in a new country makes me feel like I’m travelling, and when I get days off I get to explore the country.
    Miranda recently posted..The Scottish Highlands in October

  • Nina says:

    There should be more posts like this! I’m lucky enough to get a regular job that allows me to work remotely. The longest I’ve traveled while working is only three months. I still prefer to work from home, and be completely free of thoughts about work while I am traveling. I don’t want to be worrying about deadlines and other work concerns instead of being in the moment and savoring the experience! Also, wi-fi woes are the worst!

    The key is to balance between work and travel. I make do with small weekend trips between bigger and 2-week long trips. Maybe if I do try to work away from home again, I’ll make sure to stay in one place for at least a month, so I can really get into work mode, instead of forcing myself to work while I’m in my holiday mode.
    Nina recently posted..Bantayan Island Travel Expenses and Notes

    • Amanda says:

      Isn’t working remotely the best? There are definitely more and more remote positions these days – you just have to look for them! I’m lucky now to be working with a team that supports my “other job” (i.e. this blog), and doesn’t mind me taking a week off here or there, or working from the other side of the world.

  • Emily says:

    Great post! I learned in my last round of travel that shorter trips are definitely more my style. Or at least break them up with a ‘home base’ once in a while…wherever that home may be. I’m off to Europe for a few months, then I’m planning on coming back to the US for the summer and getting a job, then back to Europe for the fall. It’s a nice way to regroup, earn back some of the losses from an expensive Europe, and then I can be off again ready and excited to travel! It’s so important for everyone to learn, understand, and respect their own travel styles and to not try and travel like ‘everyone else’ just because that’s what you think travel should be like. Find what works for you and own it! 🙂
    Emily recently posted..Exploring Koh Lanta by bike: elephants, rubber trees, and solitude

    • Amanda says:

      Yup, it’s so important to explore your travel style before committing to this lifestyle! I would actually counsel people AGAINST completely quitting a job to travel unless they are absolutely SURE they can’t imagine life any other way. Travel isn’t always as dreamy as people imagine it to be!

  • You have definitely found what works for you and that’s the thing, the ‘dream’ is different for everyone. I have been working contracts for most of the past 10 years then travelling between jobs. Also, living as an expat is a great way to experience a new culture which is also what I have been doing.
    Katie @ The World on my Necklace recently posted..A day among the vines in the Cape Winelands

    • Amanda says:

      Yup, and someone else’s dream may not end up working as well for you! I can definitely see myself living as an expat someday – it would allow me the sort of balance I need, yet still allow for plenty of travel!

  • Arianwen says:

    I love to travel and work. It helps me pay for my travels, makes me feel like less of a bum and makes my CV look a lot better. I’ve learned a lot of new skills because of it too!
    Arianwen recently posted..Highlights of San Cristobal de las Casas

    • Amanda says:

      Haha, I like the part about making you feel like less of a bum! 😉

      But yeah… you can definitely pick up new skills – and it definitely doesn’t look bad on a resume!

  • Rebekah says:

    I love this post. You’re right that a lot of travel bloggers follow a similar path but its nice to know people can still travel significantly without going down the same path.
    Rebekah recently posted..The Fear of Missing Out

  • Semi says:

    Excellent post, so refreshing to see someone promote this type of lifestyle amidst of all the “I quit my job to travel” stories!!

    This is actually almost EXACTLY what my other half did. He’d worked as a software developer at the same company for four years and had seen a project off from its birth to maturity. He wanted to travel, but now that he was in such an integral position (with a paycheck to match!) there was no way he was going to give that up!! But all he had to do is offer up an alternative arrangement, one where he could work remotely in a support role to other developers. Reduced hours and a reduced salary, but infinitely more freedom! Now we’ve been travelling for a full seven months, and the financial stability this arrangement offers us allows us to travel on a small budget with occasional big splurges, and with an emergency fund.

    Hopefully more budding full-time travellers will heed your words and learn that they don’t have to give it all up to “live the dream”!
    Semi recently posted..The good, the bad, the ugly – Booze roundup months five and six

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds like your other half is super smart, Semi!

      I personally never felt comfortable without a steady income coming in. And the whole idea of saving up a huge sum of money and quitting a job to travel never appealed to me – because eventually the money will run out, and then you’ll HAVE to find a job!

  • Mona says:

    Are you psychic?! This subject has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s refreshing to hear this level of honesty about life on the road – I’m not sure full time travel would be fore me either. Thanks for presenting an alternative. Happy Trails!
    Mona recently posted..To Tour or Not to Tour: That’s the Travel Question

  • Jessica says:

    Another great read as always Amanda! Thanks for the refreshing take on things. Everyone’s path is different and you don’t have to have the “heroic sounding” I quit my job to travel. I love the honesty in all of your posts. Keep up the wonderful work!
    Jessica recently posted..Teaching Abroad Checklist, the Ultimate Guide

  • Renuka says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you! Yes, it’s certainly not needed to quit your job to be able to travel. However, I did quit the cubicle (maybe not exactly for the road, but it so happened that I have turned into a digital nomad). As you said, IT IS very hard to not have a job and travel. I believe as long as you have a secured job that pays you well and leaves you satisfied at the end of the day, stick to it. Save lots of money and go on a long vacation somewhere. In my case, I was never really paid well or satisfied to want to stick to it. So when an option of freelancing came my way, I thought to myself, why not?
    Renuka recently posted..How Travel Breaks The Biggest Myth Of Life

    • Amanda says:

      Yes of course it’s one thing if you aren’t being paid well and you really hate your job. But, even in that case, it might be smarter to look for a job you actually like rather than just quitting everything and going on a trip you can’t afford!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I have also seen so many of those ‘give up your job to travel the world’ articles and then I start to see articles about how much money they are actually earning and I realise that it is not an option for me and my family. But I can do lots of local travel, occasional bigger trips etc and I am ok with that.
    Anne Sutherland-Smith recently posted..How Travel Brands Can Find the Right Influencers For Their Social Media Campaigns

    • Amanda says:

      Heh, yeah, this whole freelance/blogger thing certainly doesn’t pay the greatest! BUT, then again, neither did my newspaper job. In fact, I’m making more now than I did then! (Which really says more about the sad state of newspaper journalism than anything else.)

      But, like you said, you can definitely still travel without quitting any sort of job!

  • Polly says:

    Love this! I got my degree in a freelance-heavy field before realizing… I suck at freelancing. At this point, I’m hoping to earn a teaching license in my subject so I can have two months of (extremely well deserved) vacation, along with benefits and a steady paycheck. There are so many ways to travel – thanks for highlighting one that’s not talked about as often!
    Polly recently posted..Québec’s Haute-Ville

    • Amanda says:

      That sounds like a great plan, Polly! I considered teaching (for the exact reason you mentioned) but then realized that I would really suck at teaching! Haha. But there are different paths for different people – you just have to find the right one for you!

  • Julika says:

    I loved reading this, Amanda! It’s relieving to hear that I wouldn’t be the only one to find the idea of freelancing and always hunting for WiFi abroad way too exhausting to ever make a living out of it.
    I’ve thought about traveling long-term and sustaining myself with blogging after I graduated from grad school, but I got a job offer I just couldn’t turn down (medievalists don’t usually get job offers!), and I haven’t regretted my choice yet. Of course, sometimes it’s a little draining to be working and blogging at the same time — but at least, when I’m on vacation, I really am on vacation.
    Julika recently posted..Photo Essay: Winter Sightseeing in Lower Saxony

    • Amanda says:

      My work-life balance is still a *little* out of whack (especially when I end up working remotely when I’m traveling), but I definitely stress about it less now that I’m not relying on advertising and sporadic freelancing gigs to pay for everything. I definitely feel like I have more freedom!

  • Lizzy says:

    Great post- a unstable salary is definitely not for everyone (and not for me I don’t think- although I have yet to experience it). It’s nice to read an article about having a job whilst travelling with so many other posts out there encouraging people to quite their jobs to travel. Both are attainable!
    Lizzy recently posted..Bunker Specialty Coffee │Brisbane

  • Adelaide says:

    I completely agree with everything you’ve said here! So much so that I wrote this blog post a while ago which resonates with yours. It’s quite frustrating actually to always be told ‘drop everything and go travel’ because realistically, that’s not always possible. Thanks for sharing the same feelings!
    https://aworldlyaddiction.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/why-its-not-so-easy-to-travel-the-world/
    Adelaide recently posted..Have We Lost Our Ability to Talk to Strangers?

    • Amanda says:

      In fact, for MOST people it’s not possible. (Or at least, most people view it as not being possible for them.) But that certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t travel!

  • This is such a refreshing post (as many others have said!) While I personally had to quit my job, my husband and I moved abroad for his job and we have loved every moment of it. For many people, quitting their jobs to travel just isn’t realistic. While I think I may love it, like you I also somewhat crave a routine and familiarity. You can definitely still travel without quitting your job, you just have to make it a priority!
    Samantha Angell recently posted..Stockholm to Riga // Tallink Silja Line Isabelle Review

    • Amanda says:

      Making travel a priority really is the key! If you decide you want to travel, there are almost always ways to make it work. It might mean making slight lifestyle changes, and it might take a while to save up enough money, but it’s definitely possible.

  • Jaimee says:

    I recently quit my job to travel and it didn’t take long for me to realise that this lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m actually seriously considering cutting my trip short and going back to university next year. I think I’ll definitely be taking a leaf out of your book and just going on shorter trips when I can instead. Long-term travel really isn’t for everyone.
    Jaimee recently posted..Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields

    • Amanda says:

      Nope, long-term travel won’t work for everyone. But that’s okay! If you do cut your travels short and go back to uni, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, you’ll probably feel a lot better if you listen to your gut and do what’s right for yourself!

      • Jaimee says:

        I’ve applied for a course starting 2016 🙂 I still have this year to travel but I’ve now decided that I’m going to do shorter stints with visits home in between. I think 4 months is the magic number for me. I visited home last week and it was so good to see family and friends. I used to think that I didn’t have anything tying me there. Now I realise that I do. It’s funny how travel can teach you so much about yourself.
        Jaimee recently posted..Bucket List: Swimming With Whale Sharks

        • Amanda says:

          Awesome news! And yes… travel DOES end up teaching you so much about yourself! You don’t always realize it as it’s happening, but it’s definitely the truth.

  • Lies says:

    I completely agree with your post!
    I have a full time job and love it! I don’t think I could ever quit my current job, but would love to find more time to travel around. Luckily, I sometimes accumulate lots of holidays because of my weekend work, so I can occasionally take long holidays (sometimes up to 2 months!)
    Being away for 2 months, but still getting paid the whole time I’m travelling the world takes a lot of the stress away, and I’m able to enjoy my time more. I also don’t need to find the cheapest places to stay or eat in order to get through the month.
    Lies recently posted..Review Lifeventure Hydrofibre Trek Towel

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds like an awesome job! And that’s a good point about how traveling with a job back at home means getting to splurge a bit more when you do travel – that can hugely impact an experience!

  • Pauline says:

    I think I am in that place right now, the one you used to be in, crying at night because you don’t know how you are going to do without money. Well, I am in that place where I am wondering how I am going to keep on traveling!
    I just came back home after an amzing trip of 1 year and a half, and for me it is clear that a desk job is not possible anymore. My plan at first was to find a job for 6 months and then leave again, find jobs on the road… But I am as well worried about my future. I am trying to find a solution that will allow me to continue travel like I want to but at the same time that will not send to waste the years I spent to get my diploma!!
    Really difficult choice to make!
    Pauline recently posted..Travailler avec des animaux en Australie – Part 2

    • Amanda says:

      It IS a really difficult choice! And the only advice I can give you is to listen to your gut and do what feels right for you. Don’t do something you don’t love just because you feel like you’re “supposed” to.

  • Julia says:

    I feel like this is becoming a new trend in itself that is taking shape within the travel blogging world. The shift has gone from people hustling to make ends meet with advertising and stressing themselves out over freelance work, to realising that they actually like having a base and a more steady income while still being able to travel frequently. I’m also one of those people. I also got a new job towards the end of last year that provides me a stable income while still allowing me to work remotely should I want to travel. I think it’s the perfect balance. And, like you, I don’t have to feel like I’m selling my soul on my blog just to make a living (it’s very stressful!) Good luck in your future endeavors and travels!
    Julia recently posted..My Favorite Romantic Christmas Markets in Europe

    • Amanda says:

      Not selling your soul is a great feeling. 🙂 Not that I feel like I ever did… but I definitely accepted ads and things in the past couple of years simply because I really needed the money. I don’t have to do that anymore, and it’s awesome.

  • Priya says:

    I know the feeling of dreaming of what your life will look like when you travel. I’ve been in Australia for nearly one year, and I didn’t come with a lot of money, which was so unbelievably stressful. I somehow made it work, but it was not easy. I’ve been thinking a lot lately if long-term travel is for me.
    Priya recently posted..How To Introduce Hostels To Your Dad

    • Amanda says:

      Glad to hear you made it work, Priya! And, believe it or not, long-term travel isn’t the right fit for a lot of people. So don’t feel bad if it’s not right for you!

  • Elizabeth says:

    This is a great blog post.

    If you really want to travel, you can do a decent bit of it while still working a “normal job”. Take advantage of long weekends, travel deals, and actually take your vacation days! I’ve read surveys saying that ~40% of Americans didn’t take any vacation days last year. Plus, if you can’t afford to travel as much as you’d like or don’t have as many vacation days as you’d like, then explore your local area! There are usually lots of things going on nearby (if you make the effort to look into it), and if you’re an expat it’s even easier to check out new stuff regularly!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Artist Talk Sunday

    • Amanda says:

      It makes me so sad to read those stories about how many Americans don’t use their vacation days each year. 🙁 The reasoning is often along the lines of them fearing that they will lose their jobs if they take their vacation days. Which just baffles me. If they are PAID vacation days, you should be allowed to take them without worrying about getting fired! Ugh. America.

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve never quit a job to travel, but I did take a leave of absence for a year to travel/volunteer. It was the best of all worlds: I had a job to return to but didn’t have to worry about work, vacation, ect while in south america. Over the course of a year, I rented two apartments and stayed in volunteer housing for 10 of 13 months. The other 3 months were mixed in so I was never without a home for more than a couple weeks. I did not mind being away from the US for that long, but I DID mind when I was between places and stayed in hostels and lived out of my backpack for more than a week.
    I doubt that I will ever be location independent as my job requires other people in order to perform it, but as long as I can take three weeks off at least once a year and mix it with long weekends and a week off here and there, I’ll be satisfied.

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you! Finally someone has said it! Reading those “I quit my job…” articles gives me anxiety just thinking about it. Traveling the world has caused me to be basically poor and stressed out for the last 7 years but now that I have a well-paying full time job I couldn’t imagine going back. Yes, it’s awful the lack of vacation time and the lack of ability to travel when you want to travel but it’s worth it to be able to pay for better trips, splurge when I want to, and have a house to showcase all the amazing stuff I bring back from foreign countries!
    Ashley recently posted..Virgin Territory : 2015

  • Ali says:

    YES!! There are so many different ways to travel, and everyone is different, so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else. Andy has always been a web developer in some form, and just under 2 years ago, he switched to doing it on a freelance basis. Sometimes that means he has contracts that are remote (like now) and sometimes it means he has to go into someone else’s office. But it provides both flexibility and a decent amount of stability. Last year I started doing freelance writing, and while I couldn’t live on what I make if I were single, it’s still a nice chunk of money to add to our lives. Big bonus that it doesn’t involve going into an office and I can work from wherever. BUT what we’ve learned over the past almost 5 months of traveling and working from the road is that is TOUGH. It takes time to adjust to the new location and figure things out, and so much time is taken up by that and work and the frustration of trying to cook in a cr*ppy kitchen that suddenly there isn’t much time left for sightseeing and fun stuff. I’ve never really thought being a permanent nomad would be my thing, but now I know for sure, that is not the lifestyle I want. I like having a home. I like my work, and I wish I could find a more stable job or contract like you have, but none of this is stuff I’d want to do from the road for very long.
    Ali recently posted..Embarking on a Different Kind of Adventure

    • Amanda says:

      Working from the road is never easy. Especially when you’re traveling, too (i.e. exploring new cities, going on day trips, etc.). I’m always SO TIRED at the end of a travel day that I never have to energy to get a lot of work done!

  • Something’s in the air. Tides are changing. I wrote a post on this exact post about a week ago, and it’s so nice to see that many people agree that we don’t need to give everything up. You can still travel, love travel and write travel without being a full time traveler. I personally would miss my cats too much (trying not to be a weird cat lady here) and I love my job too much. I like being able to have both. For some people, I get that work is somewhere they put in time for the paycheque, but that’s not my job and I recognize how lucky I am. I think getting to have both and being able to afford the way in which I’d prefer to travel is the best option for me.

    Great post.
    Victoria (Girl Tries Life) recently posted..Behind the Lens of a Lonely Planet Photographer

  • Love this post. I am all about traveling on weekends so I don’t have to quit my job because to be honest, although I do make quite a bit freelancing, I can’t support the lifestyle I’ve come to enjoy with only freelance income. And I know ALL about the late invoices! (GRR). Last week I went to Oslo for 36 hours over the weekend thanks to a super sweet deal on Norwegian. If you want to travel the world on weekends, you’ve only got to sacrifice a little bit of sleep 🙂
    Anna | The Blonde Banana recently posted..24 Hours in Peaceful Valladolid, Yucatan

    • Amanda says:

      I’m totally with you! Sometimes I actually prefer shorter trips anyway, because they force you to just focus on one place rather than hopping from city to city so much. And yeah… I’ve grown out of the “staying in the cheapest hostels I can find” phase – I like a little more comfort when I travel, and freelance-only income really doesn’t cover that!

  • jennifer says:

    Some jobs (ME! PICK ME!) will let you also take time off without being paid for it. I use up all my time every year and end up being docked for about a week during my Christmas vacation. I am beyond fine with losing one week’s pay to have more time off.
    jennifer recently posted..Happy Second Birthday to My Blog!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, very true! I took a couple weeks of unpaid time off when I was working my newspaper job. Of course it means you need to save up a little cushion to balance things out, but it worked fine for me! I actually think our HR guy loved not having to pay me for a couple weeks. Haha.

  • Great post! It does seem like we always hear the message that “I quit my job to travel” and it made me feel like a fake for so long. I have a full-time job, a house, and a family, but love travel blogging and travel as much as I possibly can. Which is A LOT!

    I’m fortunate to work in Training & Development, which allows me to travel on business a few times a year. I ALWAYS tack on an extra weekend or so to those trips. I mean, at that point, the airfare’s already covered, so expenses are pretty minimal. I look for creative ways to earn money for my writing and publish articles on occasion. That’s all just gravy. For me, the real pay-off is the travel.

    I’ve got several plans in the works this year and can’t wait to get on the road in a couple weeks for my next trip.
    Thanks for inspiring us, Amanda. You always do!

    • Amanda says:

      Aww no need to feel like a fake! MANY bloggers work full-time jobs and have families… I just think many of them gloss over it because, like you said, the “dream” is to quit your job to travel full-time. But it’s not realistic for everyone – and that’s totally okay!

  • Amanda says:

    I love this! I recently wrote the dreaded “I quit my job to travel” post but it was mostly because I hated life in an office and not because I hated my actual job, if that makes sense. I think working remotely is the best of both worlds. You have job security but don’t have to be tied to a desk and 10 days of vacation! I’m going to freelance and travel really slowly for a while and then settle somewhere as an expat again because I’ve realized that’s my favorite way to “travel” but I agree, it’s important to show people they can travel no matter what!
    Amanda recently posted..What I Never Leave Home Without: My 6 Packing Essentials

    • Amanda says:

      I can picture myself being an expat and working remotely someday. I think that would be ideal! I don’t think I’m cut out for office work any more, but I can’t imagine not working in some way.

  • Clare says:

    Good advice – especially the first one. Bend the ‘system’ to suit you as much as you possibly can to get in more trips!!
    I’m lucky in that at my job whilst I only get 23 holidays a year (quite low for public sector in England!), I can also have up to 2 flexi days per 4 weeks so long as I’ve got those hours in the bank, which is easy peasy. So I’m a bit of a master of using flexi days to my advantage, even if I say so myself. If it falls right over a new flexi period I can squeeze in a 11 day holiday using just 3 holidays, 4 flexidays and 2 weekends! My work is only about 25 minutes from Manchester airport so where possible I will work and fly or fly and work on the same day, so to not have to waste a day’s holiday/flexi. (Although this can mess up once in a while such as last Feb when it took 47 hours to fly home from Australia rather than 23! Oops!)
    Most people at work think I’m a bit crazy for doing this but I don’t see the point in having an extra day off to ‘prepare for holidays’ whatever that means, when I can just go to airport after work.

    I don’t think I could give up a job to travel for a prolonged period of time – I do actually like coming home too. Besides I need to work full time to pay for all my trips!

  • Eric says:

    I’m sure I speak for everyone here in stating we would like to have you back at your desk in Findlay, Ohio.
    Paris can wait, can’t it?
    Great blog work, by the way…

  • This post is an inspiration who wish to travel. There’s no need to sacrifice a lot in order to fulfill your dream of traveling. Just go one place at a time, or find a job that requires a lot of traveling – may it be local or international. Thanks for sharing your post and inspiring others to continue holding on to their dream of traveling.

  • ‘Maximize your paid vacation time’

    I can’t personally stress your first recommendation enough. I work an ‘unusual’ schedule and (in conjunction with ‘other’ holidays’) it affords me the ability to take a ton of time off when I bunch it all together. I can’t recommend your suggestion enough.

    Great article and great inside!

    • Amanda says:

      And I think that’s probably possible for a lot of people! My boyfriend gets a few “flex” holidays along with normal holidays and 12 days of paid vacation – if you combine them smartly, he can eke out nearly 4 weeks of paid time off!

  • This is such a good post, Amanda. I’m with you on this mission to show people it’s possible to travel even when it doesn’t seem possible!
    A Montrealer Abroad (@marievallieres) recently posted..10 choses à faire à Montréal en Lumière 2015

  • Shelby says:

    This was a really good read. I’m like most people who stress about not being able to travel if I get a “real” job but its nice to know there are good options out there and I can still travel even if I have an adult job.

  • Jess says:

    Hey Amanda, this blog is just AWESOME! I think i’ve practically read nearly every single one of your posts this evening! I’m curious as to what theme you are using for your website? I have been trying to find the perfect one for months and I love yours!
    Regards and love from the UK,
    Jess

    • Amanda says:

      Haha that’s a lot of reading! Hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

      I’m using a premium theme called Simple Mag. I actually just switched over a few weeks ago, and am LOVING it so far!

  • Ryan says:

    Great article Amanda, and definitely something you see so much, but what about the other side of things as you describe? The past few years I’ve traveled for about 9 months at a time, and returned to wait tables to save again. That method for starters definitely worked for me, but the more and more I ventured out and returned, the less I could deal with the “ease” of waiting tables for fast money. This year it really took its toll and I was just realizing that since it was easy for me to return and make fast cash, I was trying harder on the blog or video editing or finding work remotely. I was lazy in my creative pursuits because of this, so this year on my next trip I am quitting the job (that makes me unhappy) and trying harder to turn my creative endeavors into a job as well. i did land a gig with a media company here doing graphic design and I now know I can do it if I try, but I have to prioritize the job I want that will enable me to also travel over a fast and convenient job.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Ryan recently posted..A Love Letter to New Zealand

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Ryan! Such a good point! I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking on “easy” work that you hate just to make some money. In your case, it definitely sounds like honing in on work that you really love will be the best path for you!

  • Jonathan says:

    Great post to reflect on. I cannot afford to just travel so having a job is really necessary for me. The best thing is that I work as a teacher and this means having some breaks throughout the year. With these breaks, this is where I travel inside the country and outside. I get to work which I really love, get to save which I really need, and get to travel which is a gift I give to myself.

    • Amanda says:

      Good all around!

      I used to joke that I would just be a student forever. I actually really LIKED university, and the long holiday and summer breaks were perfect for traveling!

  • kami says:

    urgh, I remember very well how stressed you were when you came to Poland and I’m really glad I could help you in a way back then. That’s also when I realized what I had expected before – quitting the job to travel the world is not the only right option, it might work for some people but not for everyone. I’m exactly like you – I like my stability and balance and I don’t plan to quit the job anytime soon. You and me and a bunch of other people are the best example you can do both, working and traveling, and it’s really not as difficult as it seems!
    kami recently posted..Alternative Skopje

  • Jennifer says:

    I just quit my job – celebrated one month yesterday. I wrote that post titled “I Quit My Job to Travel the Word,” but in reality that’s not why I quit.

    Here’s the thing about getting your job to agree to you working remotely: it closes A LOT of doors.

    I moved to Italy because I had no choice, well I supposed I could have divorced my husband. But really. I had to go with him where his career took him and I feel very lucky that my employer agreed to a trial of my working remotely. I did it for six years, but with that I also closed the doors to any promotions or advancements. Because while some jobs can be done remotely, not many upper level management jobs can.

    I began to feel bored, unchallenged and like I was no longer gaining new skills. But I could take my skills and go in to business for myself. I had been working on that business on the side for the past three years and felt comfortable finally quitting to give it a go full time.

    So while travel is a major perk, I will still be living in a home base and working full time. No backpack and nomadic wandering for this girl!
    Jennifer recently posted..I Quit My Job to Travel the World

    • Amanda says:

      Such a good point, Jennifer! You’re right about the challenges of working a “normal” job remotely – in many cases it just won’t work in the long term. And remote work isn’t for everyone, either, especially if you’re the type of person who thrives in a social environment – you don’t get much of that working from home!

      Congrats on launching your business, though! I wish you much success and plenty of travels. 🙂

  • Katrin says:

    Totally agree Amanda! I already started to write a blog post (in german) about why I don’T want to quit my job but am also able to travel a lot! Thumbs up from a german travel blogger.

    Katrin
    Katrin recently posted..Ein Nachmittag auf der ehemaligen Gefängnisinsel Robben Island

  • Jenna says:

    I’m glad you wrote this! First, I fully believe that people should do what’s right for them and should be flexible enough in life to try new things at different times, so whatever type of work and lifestyle people choose should be respected. While I’d love to be location independent so that I could travel the world, I won’t, at least not any time soon, and I’ve accepted that. Part of the reason I won’t quit my job is that I have an awesome job! There’s such a middle ground between being “stuck” in a job and being location independent. There’s a rewarding job that does a lot of good in one’s community, that reaches people and fosters something positive.

    One thing I would add to your list is planning for a career that allows for flexibility. In my work, I can take a year off and then come back to the same position. I can also work extra for a while and bank the time (instead of taking the extra paycheck), and when I have enough time banked, I can take 8 months off fully paid. I also get 4 full months of paid vacation a year. Having a full-time job definitely doesn’t have to mean working in a cubicle and getting only 2 weeks paid vacation!
    Jenna recently posted..My Wish List for 2015

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds like you have an awesome job, Jenna! And I agree about respecting how others choose to live/work. Other travelers ask me all the time why my boyfriend doesn’t travel with me more, and many are horrified when I tell them he works a “normal” corporate job. But guess what? He really likes it, so I would never suggest he do anything else if he doesn’t want to!

  • Thank you for the inspirational post! I am too trying to build a solid freelance career while having a more stationary life in one place and hopefully this will give me more freedom to travel on the side too:) It’s so nice to hear this is possible!

  • Jenna says:

    This was such an encouraging post to read. I’m back in the U.S. after living the expat life in Korea, and it’s so hard going to back to the 9-5. But I agree that quitting your job to travel isn’t the only solution. I would kill for a remote job. What are the top skills necessary for the type of work you do? Thanks again for this refreshing post 🙂
    Jenna recently posted..Korea is Still King of the Cat Cafe

    • Amanda says:

      The remote job I have now came to me like most jobs come to people – I saw a listing for a (paid) internship with a great company that was blogging-related. So I applied for it, highlighting all the skills I’ve learned as a travel blogger over the past 4 years. They loved it, hired me, and eventually offered me a more permanent contract spot. In my case, I leveraged my blogging know-how into other work.

  • Alex says:

    i loved this article and completely agree. I always question anyone who says quitting your job and traveling the world is supposedly the easiest thing ever. Having lived abroad for 10 years and traveling for my job, freelancing jobs, etc… It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is might be a bit of a charlatan.

    • Amanda says:

      Haha yeah it’s definitely not as easy as some people make it out to be. I mean, sure, if you saved up a ton of money and then decided to go traveling it might be easy for a while. But what happens once you have to start making money again?

  • Albert says:

    What a coincidence, I just finished writing a post about working online.

    I read a lot of these posts about “go quit your job and go travel” and always end up disagreeing with people.
    Or posts like start a blog and earn money while traveling. Not good advise at all, its like saying go to L.A. and become an actor.

    Especially in times like this with the recession, it is irresponsible to give advise like that.
    If you really want to travel for a long time and have to quit your job for it, then you can considering doing it. Maybe work out arrangements with your boss if you return home.

    We are lucky that we live in a time many things are done over the internet. Think ahead and start working on getting a job where you can work online and travel at the same time.

    Great post.
    Albert recently posted..22 Photos from Arnhem, the Netherlands

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Albert! I like reading inspiring “quit your job to travel” posts, but I agree that it’s probably not possible (or smart) for many people.

      I know quite a few travelers who went traveling for a year or so, and then returned to their previous jobs – it never hurts to ask your boss about taking leave like that!

  • Toya says:

    Excellent piece! There are many travel bloggers out here misleading people into thinking that everyone can AND should quit their jobs to travel. While I think it would be a wonderful thing to do, it’s not attainable by most folks. This post is a realistic approach to traveling.
    Toya recently posted..Traveling with Natural Hair

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks, Toya! I know my case is still quite different from most people’s (I travel much more than the average American!), but I definitely do try to take a more realistic approach when giving people advice!

  • I have thought about quitting my job and backpacking around the world. Although, the sound of having a nomadic backpack toting life sounded like something I could totally do, I’ve always wondered if I could survive without flat irons, salon visits, limited wifi, skipping a mani-pedi here and there. Well you have definitely given candid insight on that, not so sure if that life is for me either. But it doesn’t change the fact that I love to travel and have a steady income. I guess I’ll stick to being a flight attendant along with my travel writing and blogging, Thanks for the info!!

  • Heather says:

    Hey, love this post! Also, I noticed that when I view your site on my iPhone the icons for facebook, pinterest, etc pop up right on the middle of all your beautiful photos. Kind of distracting.. just thought you should know. (not trying to be rude at all btw)

  • At last. Someone who agrees with me! Well done Amanda! I did all my travel around the world stuff in my GAP year and as a young professional and I had all the time in the world. I’m now an expat and a corporate professional in a job that delights me every day. Why would I want to quit it? However, once you have the travelling bug, you get creative, and make it work. I work 30 hours a week, I’m married, and I have a child and with all that, I still managed to travel to 10 countries last year without quitting a single thing. If it’s OK, here’s the post that I wrote about it: https://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/how-i-can-afford-a-life-of-travel-dont-choose-have-it-all/
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..I went skiing in a little Czech village in the middle of no-where: Introducing Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

  • Alouise says:

    Amanda I love this post, and I can certainly relate to travel/working burnout. I think, at least for now, I’ve come to realize that I need some kind of steady and work and paycheque to keep me going. The I quit my job to travel idea is great for some people, but it certainly isn’t what I want right now. Glad you’ve been able to find a job that you seem to love and gives you lots of opportunities to still travel.
    Alouise recently posted..Save Rhinos with #JustOneRhino and Win

  • Jasmine says:

    great post! I think it is a great idea to combine travel with your work passions – i too find that working short contracts abroad and relocating and travelling after and between each contract works well for me – giving me a few months off between contracts to continue with my masters and blogging – which i really really enjoy, and the work contracts are what funds what i enjoy for the time being 🙂 nice blog header too 🙂
    Jasmine recently posted..Hong Kong Travel – A day trip exploring Cheung Chau Island

  • Andrew says:

    I love this post, Its good to see a successful travel blogger that’s not a full time traveler or nomad. Travel is all about doing what works for you
    Andrew recently posted..What I Learned At The NY Times Travel Show 2015

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks, Andrew! There are plenty of other bloggers like me out there – it definitely IS all about doing what works best for you (and sometimes about ignoring when other people try to tell you how you *should* be doing it).

  • Gus says:

    The great thing about travel is that it is meant to be freeing. No one should be stuck in the “you have to travel this way” mind-frame. It’s great that you chose to travel the way you want, when you want. All the best for your future travels 🙂

  • Great post. Self-employment of any kind is stressful in its own way – the buck stops with you. Freelancing is especially stressful. It sounds like you’ve found a dream job with ample opportunity to take time off. I’ve never found one of those myself but would certainly welcome it. Congratulations on finding your own way to success.
    Laura // Roam Far and Wide recently posted..The Turkey is Dead, the Belly Button is Gone, and Other News from Yosemitebear Mountain Farm

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks, Laura! I’m definitely happy with my situation right now. Not saying it won’t change in the future – but for right now it’s a perfect fit for me!

  • Amanda, I am new travel blogger myself and you are a true inspiration to me. I am not the type of person i could quit my job so that I could travel. I love some security in my life but I also love to travel. I have the travel bug in me. So I do as you say try to travels as much as possible while working.

  • Uptourist says:

    I guess quitting was optional. You can always do what you love to do while you are also working. Besides, it keeps you active and excited so you don’t have to travel all the time.

  • Lindsey says:

    Thanks for this post! Just curious, how did you find the job that you work at now? I think looking for a job where I can work from home is ideal for me, but I wouldn’t know where to start looking. Any tips?

    • Amanda says:

      I got this job after doing an internship with the company – and I found the internship through a Facebook group I’m in where people post leads to Social Media Jobs. You can also use regular job search sites but, instead of searching for jobs in a specific location, many have a “telecommute” filter – use that!

  • I did quit my job to travel… with the intention of picking up another job after a few months on the road! That’s exactly what I did. Quit my job in Melbourne (I really liked my job) sauntered around Asia for eight months, found a job in Tokyo where I had frequent business trips, left after a year, back to Australia, found another job that is flexible enough that allows me to travel often. I quite like having a conventional job and the jobs I’ve had compliment each other so it works for me! There’s no reason why you can’t find work overseas.
    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel recently posted..Beyond Teriyaki Chicken: Eat Like a Local in Tokyo

    • Amanda says:

      Very good point, Michelle! Though, sometimes it CAN be a bit tough, depending on where you’re from. I, for example, would have a really hard time finding (legal) work in Europe or the UK since I’m American and work visas can be hard to obtain. BUT it sounds like you’ve got a great method that works for you!

  • Danielle says:

    What a refreshing point of view! I loved reading this. Being a travel nut myself–and just getting back from living in London for a few months–I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs about “quitting your job to travel”. And they talk about how it’s possible and some hardships, but they don’t talk about it in a personal way like you did.

    I work for a global infrastructure software company that allows remote work–and that’s how I just spent 3 months in London–working out of my company’s office there, doing the same job I have been doing.

    It wasn’t easy–I did all the groundwork. I asked to move, and because I was so passionate and determined to travel–my company allowed it. But they did not support me. I found my own temporary apartment, I paid for public transportation, rent, food, and all other daily living costs (which were astronomically pricier than my daily small town US living in Pensylvania!–I had save a lot of money so I could live comfortably because my U.S. salary was not sustainable for a long period of time there). I was still being paid an American salary and using American holidays, but it gave me the freedom to do that in a new place. Live in a new place. Work in a new culture. And even though I’m with the same company, the work culture is different than it is in the U.S. I didn’t have to hear stories of people anymore-I was able to experience it firsthand. How their personalities, interactions, office nuances were different from the United States.

    But anyway–in a nutshell, your post definitely made me think about how I can best use my job to a travel advantage, rather than do something drastic and quit to travel! THANKS 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks so much, Danielle! I’m so glad this post has resonated so well with a lot of people.

      It sounds like you definitely know how to make the most out of your situation – I would LOVE to live in London for a while! 🙂 Bummer that your company didn’t really support you, but very cool that you were persistent and made it happen! Good for you!

  • I love this post, while I admire and sometimes totally wish that I could be like some of the travel bloggers I read who have packed up everything, and are always in new places, it isn’t for me. I normally am ready for my own bed at about the 3 week mark. However, I have worked in the travel industry for the last 7 years and have been able to use my various jobs to enable more travel. Although a good 75% of my time is sitting behind I desk I do get opportunities to do a fair amount of travel, not to mention when I am sitting behind a desk I’m talking about travel! so it seems like a win – win.
    Rebecca Norrbom recently posted..Why I Love Cruising (and You Should Too)

    • Amanda says:

      I totally know what you mean about wanting your own bed after a few weeks! I definitely agree with you there. It’s good that you like your job, though – I’m sure you get lots of travel inspiration from it!

  • Kaitlin says:

    Thank you for this! I would love to be a travel writer someday, but I also want to pursue a career in sign language interpreting. In sign language interpreting you can do freelance work and after I get a few years of experience working for companies (and save money) I would like to become a freelance interpreter and a travel writer. I was wondering how many trips you take (on average) per year in order to keep your blog successful?

    • Amanda says:

      That sounds like a pretty good plan! As for trips… that’s hard to say. Last year I only took 2 big international trips (6 weeks in Asia at the beginning of the year, and 5 weeks in New Zealand at the end of the year), with shorter trips in the US and Canada in between.

  • Jeniffer says:

    Hi!

    Not only did I quit my job to travel – I quit my dream job in order to travel my own country! Crazy, right? For the past 8 months I have been on a road trip to volunteer in every state. In order to do afford it, I have to work along the way (of course). You’re right – it is hard! Of course it is also amazing and stressful and inspiring and exhausting. But it isn’t for everyone. Thank you for such an honest and open post!
    Jeniffer recently posted..Oregon – The Children’s Book Bank

  • Chetan says:

    It’s great to read your post and its quite inspiring that you can work and travel together. I love travelling, but leaving the job for travel could be an expensive idea. In 2015 I am planning to take two offs for 15 days each and would like to visit 6 countries.
    Thanks for the encouraging post !!

  • Jade says:

    I love this post & it’s exactly what I was after. I’ve read dozens upon dozens of travel blogs over the years and most of these are the I-Quit-My-Horrible-Job-To-Travel-The-World types and now most of these people are backpacking all over the world in a very strict budget.

    The thing that I find in common with all those blogs is that they all hate their desk jobs and want to escape it but what if you actually LOVE YOUR JOB like I do? I love travelling and I go on overseas several times a year but I also love my career (and my pay) and I don’t want to quit it and live hand to mouth in a foreign country.

    Another thing is that I’m not quite the backpacker type, I love homely comforts so I save up and travel not in luxury per se but let’s just say I like being comfortable when I travel.

    So thank you for this post.. I think I’m going to continue with what I’ve been doing. There is not only ONE WAY to travel as some others might think which is to leave their cubicle jobs. Maybe instead they should look for a job they actually enjoy?
    Jade recently posted..Get Inspired to Build the Life You Dream Of

    • Amanda says:

      Such a great comment, Jade! And you have a great point – why should you be encouraged to quit a job you actually like? Especially one that still allows you to travel a lot! You keep doing what your doing and focus on what works for you!

  • Keri says:

    Such a great article, it’s so good to see someone giving this view on travel. I’m not against full-time travel in anyway, but its nice to see other people like myself, who choose to fit in regular travel around a fixed job. It can be done and it can be enjoyable! 🙂

  • Munir Ullah says:

    Good points Amanda! It is not always a luxury to quit job to travel the world. I visit my family in India every year or so. I make sure I get a ticket so I can have a lay over somewhere in between. This way I get to see an extra location and I’m not stuck in the plane for over 20 hours at a stretch.

    • Amanda says:

      It’s something a lot of people dream about, but you’re right – quitting your job to travel isn’t a luxury everyone has. But, as you’ve learned, that doesn’t mean you can’t still travel!

  • Amanda, thanks so much for sharing your perspective! While I’ve considered going the way of many full-time travel bloggers, I decided to keep my career. Instead, I get in my travel dosage in two ways:
    1-maximizing vacay time, as you’ve noted
    2-gap years. In between jobs I went to take a 6 week trip, which would have been three times longer than any non-work trip I’d ever taken. Along the way I decided to extend it…for nearly a half year through 15 countries!

    It was such a crazy move for me – if interested, here’s the story:
    http://visit50.com/about/

    During that trip, which was primarily SE Asia, I started what became my travel blog, Visit50.com, and have been sharing my adventures ever since. I try to get out of the US (I’m NYC-based) twice per year to get to my travel goal (which the name Visit50 is based on).

    I’m ready for another extended trip…
    Todd @ Visit50 recently posted..Island Hopping in Bocas del Toro Panama

    • Amanda says:

      Sounds like you’ve had plenty of adventures of your own! And good for you. See, the whole “quit a job to travel” route isn’t the best for everyone!

  • Also – 156 comments? I love how engaged the travel community has been around this post! Awesome!

    -Todd at Visit50.com
    Todd @ Visit50 recently posted..Amazing Angkor Wat in Photos

  • Hello Amanda,

    You are right about that we don’t need to quit our jobs in order to travel all around the world. Now I am a small business owner working at home and I also have the other job that I can work remotely for a few weeks out of the year. I also have to travel a lot for my job. I love traveling while keeping my jobs. It’s a great read. Thanks for sharing!
    Sleeper Scarf recently posted..Celebrity Airport Look: Victoria Beckham

  • albert says:

    What a coincidence, I just finished writing a post about working online.

    I read a lot of these posts about “go quit your job and go travel” and always end up disagreeing with people.

  • Heather Howe says:

    I love this post! I have been a reader off and on for a couple years (mostly when I am planning trips), but I am starting to get serious with my own blog and posts like this inspire me to think differently about the direction I want my site to go. I am still in the process of writing content and finding my voice and direction, and in doing so I am having fun going back through blogs I had combed through for travel tips with new eyes of an aspiring blogger.

    I married young and my husband is in grad school getting his Ph.D., so we are not in a position to drop everything and go traveling (as much as I want to somedays). We have been able to travel a lot since graduating from college, but I get major travel envy when I read nomadic type of blogs. I love what you said about taking a different approach to employment and it is refreshing to read a blog written about loving travel and making it a priority, but needing a more balanced life as well.

    When I am not traveling I am a substitute teacher, which is steady enough to keep my bank account happy but flexible enough to take a two month trip to Southeast Asia this winter.

    Thank you so much for putting this out there!! I am bookmarking this to help me remember that I am not the only one taking a different approach to employment and travel.

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks so much for this great comment, Heather. There are SO many travel blogs out there, and a lot of them ARE written by people who are constantly on the road. And sometimes I think we forget that that’s not the ONLY way to have a travel-filled life! I’m very lucky to have lucked into a remote job like I have. It works for me, and now I get the best of both worlds! Good luck on your blogging journey!

  • Liat says:

    Thanks for writing this. I’m at a point where I want to have a travel blog and I want to travel, but being constantly on the move sounds exhausting. I actually did quit my jobs and I’m heading to Colombia tomorrow, but even there I’m planning to move from volunteer gig to volunteer gig, which means I’ll have a base. My plan is to do 2 months in Colombia (or maybe another country also if it makes sense), get working on my site, and then see how I feel. I think that finding a job that allows me to move around would be great, so I may start looking after a month and a half or so. The security of income would be a load off.

    You’re right, it doesn’t have to be one way or the other! I think part of me feels like if I’m not doing the constant travel/hostel for 2 days in every city thing, then I’m not a “real” traveler. For me, that’s fun for a limited period of time, but not as a lifestyle.
    Liat recently posted..Lose to find

    • Amanda says:

      That last bit is it exactly, Liat – so many people assume that to be a “real” traveler you have to be staying in hostels and eating bugs and going places normal tourists don’t go. But that’s NOT sustainable (and often not very fun, either!). Visit ANY travel blog run by someone who has been doing it for years, and I guarantee that 95% of them have slowed waaaay down in their travels!

      You have to figure out what’s right for you, and then just own it!

  • Every now and then who love travelling are torn by this very decision, we ourselves have been into this kind of a confusion and have decided exactly what you have described, very nice write-up and a perfect portrayal of the mind-set.

    We have been travelling not as a quit your job and travel kind of thing, but more of the have a job, get money and travel as much and when ever possible kind of an arrangement which seems to work out better, at least we know we have the money flow and if we need that little urge to spend a little on luxury we still can do it once a while…..

  • Trish says:

    Great post! It’s very easy to be fooled into believing that every travel blogger out there quit a job in their 20s to travel the world and get paid for it. I am in my 50s and work full time. Granted, I was lucky enough to get a job in Germany so I can easily travel Europe. I have managed to visit over 30 countries in Europe in 4 years while working full time, so it definitely is possible. Oh, and I also don’t like the word “quit”. First of all it’s overly dramatic and makes it sound like everyone just said “F*** it” one day and walked out of the office never to return. Maybe some people do that, but I’d venture to say most planned their long-term travels and saved some money long before “suddenly” quitting. Second of all it makes you sound like a quitter, which has a negative connotation. Maybe “left my job” or “resigned after giving reasonable notice” is a better thing to say. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      A lot of travel bloggers save up for a while and then DO quit their jobs to travel and live location independent. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, but it didn’t work for me! That’s awesome that you’re living and working in Germany now – plenty of opportunities to travel, I’m sure!

  • Natalie says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m currently working full time and trying to be successful with my travel blog. My job doesn’t offer many options for travel, although I traveled and lived overseas a lot before taking this position. I’ve been trying to find a balance as I don’t like my job limiting my travel, but I don’t want to worry about finances if I travel full time. I just recently starting thinking about trying to work remotely. After reading your post I will look into it more. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Natalie recently posted..Boise International Market – update

  • Danika says:

    YES! I’m very much in the same boat. Travelling and blogging while maintaining a legal full time job in a country I wasn’t even legal to work in… until now. This kind of lifestyle is full of ups and downs, and sometimes a job is that little bit of stability you need!
    Danika recently posted..SEO for Travel Bloggers: Part One

  • Mikeachim says:

    Good on ya. 🙂

    The last-$100 thing? It seems to be all too common in travel-related freelancing. I’ve been there a couple of times and I haven’t even traveled that much yet. I remember Adventurous Kate saying she was down to $200 with $6k owed to her….yeah, it’s common and it’s painful. Unless you have a decent lump of savings to act as running capital, the lead-time on getting paid as a freelance travel writer//blogger is usually abominable. Gigs that pay up immediately are gigs to be treasured.

    And:

    >>”I know I won’t have any of those crying-in-my-room-because-I’m-so-broke moments any more, which will mean I can tell even better stories than before.”

    Hell yes. That. When it’s affecting the quality of your work, I don’t reckon it’s worth persevering. That’s a downward spiral.
    Mikeachim recently posted..So You Want To Be A Travel Writer?

    • Amanda says:

      Definitely. Since I decided to more or less “give up” long-term travel in favor of shorter trips that I can actually afford to take/don’t have to work as much during, I’ve enjoyed myself so much more!

  • Jim Terry says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Rightfully said that you need not quit your job in order to travel. Over the weekends we can always make short trip to places on our mind but to travel to foreign destination it does require heap of money.

    • Amanda says:

      And usually foreign travel can’t be done over a weekend, unless you’re just crossing a nearby border. However, foreign travel isn’t nearly as expensive as many people assume! It’s all about making travel a priority and saving up for those larger, more expensive trips.

  • Linda March says:

    Working 9-5 isn’t my kind of gig either, but I couldn’t just travel a lot without stopping sometimes to work on some articles or to manage my website.

    I would just feel useless.

    It’s nice to travel, but that comes with expenses and you need to get a stable money source.
    Linda March recently posted..Finger Tattoo Inspiration

    • Amanda says:

      Definitely! A lot of people DO work while they travel – but it’s not easy to balance the work with moving around a lot! It’s not my kind of lifestyle, personally.

  • I love seeing this post Amanda. I actually DID quit my job last summer (after years of saying that I would) to train to become a yoga teacher, travel and hopefully make a living as a freelance photographer/writer/yoga teacher/future online store owner. 😉 However, I wouldn’t recommend this route to everyone. I basically have no idea exactly what I’m doing next! I don’t mind taking the leap of faith, but I’m afraid too many friends look at what I’m doing and say “Why can’t I do that?” The truth is, they could! However, it’s good to know that it’s not for everyone. My past job didn’t fit in with my ethics in life, but leaving job just because you “hate your boss” may not be a good enough reason! Also, I traveled PLENTY of places for 5 years with my boyfriend on vacation time and weekends. I was willing to take a 3 day weekend and go to Europe if I couldn’t get the extra days off. Who cares that I was jet-lagged, I came back home with memories from Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona! I asked for two weeks off to go to New Zealand and Australia. My bosses weren’t thrilled…but they ultimately gave me the time. I think a lot of people are AFRAID to use their vacation days, which is really unfortunate! My advice, like yours, is to maximize that vacation time! I also love your suggestion of finding a job that you can do from anywhere in the world. That’s a big direction these days, and there’s nothing wrong with having a steady paycheck. Love all your tips!
    Melinda DiOrio recently posted..Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Quit

    • Amanda says:

      In the US especially, many people definitely are afraid of using their vacation days, since so many bosses frown on people taking time off. Which is ridiculous! People need a break every once in a while!!

  • Laura says:

    I absolutely love this post. I totally agree with you in terms that you don’t need to quit your job to travel. i actually get paid to travel as I am a flight attendant. All this blog posts about “how i quit my job to travel” is so over-rated. thanks for sharing a different perspective on the topic.

  • This idea fascinates me! I’vebeen bitten by the travel bug for a long time now, but studying full time at music college means I often don’t have the time or funds to afford all the travel I’d absolutely love to do.

    Thanks for talking about travel from a different perspective. I’ve always known being a digital nomad was never an option for me, and I didn’t really realise there were other viable options out there!

    • Amanda says:

      There are plenty of other options – travel isn’t a “one size fits all” type of activity! And you definitely CAN have a job and still be able to travel a lot. 🙂

  • Isabella says:

    Again you just sort of solved my second problem, in one day! thanks again
    This is my eternal dilemma, you know? I have a very nice job that makes me live in Mexico and travel in the Caribbean, how do I dare complain? I know I should not, and in fact since I had decided to write my blog I found motivation in staying longer where I am and gather material for my articles, and that’s great! BUT, there is a BUT, I would love to have more time to read more and write more and improve my photography, things that you cannot do when you have a 9-7 job and/or I always feel overwhelmed feeling that there is no enough time for everything! So for now I am taking my time, until February 2017 for sure, when will keep working on the blog and photography and studying social media, save money and then I will see …anything can happen by then and yes I need to take the leap and publish the blog sooner or later 🙂 thanks again for the great hints. cheers

    • Amanda says:

      The eternal dilemma, indeed! You’ll figure out what works for you in the end – just remember that it doesn’t have to be an either or; you can work AND travel!

  • Belgje says:

    Maybe people who quit their (often) 9-5 job and go on a nomad tour, are just (or also) fed up with their job, fed up with society in their country, fed up with…
    I can understand. Fight or flight? (tired of fighting…)
    All different people all with their own style. It’s so interesting.

    Depending on “money available or not???” would stress me, but travelling for 2-3 months is not a problem.On my roadtrips, I don’t miss “home”.
    And I would like to quit my (now frustrating) job for a long time. We only live once.

  • FabioRosao says:

    This is very interesting because it’s different from the “norm”. I like how you were honest and told your story about this trip, I also would love to spend months traveling, but when I’m traveling I’m a bit lazy and feel like that I should be doing something other than sitting in a room or coffeeshop trying to work.

    Most famous travel bloggers don’t really tell their experience and a lot of people think that if you just quit your job and get out there, you will be successful.

    I couldn’t imagine leaving my job for a permanent nomad lifestyle. But being a flight attendant allows me plenty of free time and the chance to see a lot of different new places (plus cheaper tickets).

    I guess there is no right or wrong and what works for some might not work for others. I’m happy that you managed to balance your work/travel life!

    • Amanda says:

      The last part of your comment is definitely the most important: there’s no right or wrong way to travel, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another!

  • SicaloOmo says:

    I love seeing this post Amanda. I actually DID quit my job last summer (after years of saying that I would) to train to become a yoga teacher, travel and hopefully make a living as a freelance photographer/writer/yoga teacher/future online store owner. So great!
    SicaloOmo recently posted..Gỏi xoài ốc giác món ngon hút hồn du khách tại Phú Quốc

    • Amanda says:

      That’s awesome – good for you! It’s a path that works great for some people, but isn’t really feasible for others. But I’m glad it worked for you!

  • Amy Proctor says:

    Amanda, this is why I find your blog so refreshing. I respect the fact that you aren’t cookie-cutter, you’re not necessarily into hiking and you don’t lace your blog posts with profanity. I’ve unfollowed several big bloggers because of their “Don’t call me blessed, I did all this f****** work myself” ungrateful too-self reliant attitude and obsession with f-bombs.

    And I am a travel writer and landscape photographer.. but know how I pay the bills to travel? I’m a news photographer. That’s my gravy that makes it possible. So I travel several times a year. And I have a family with 4 kids (older now, so I can travel more) and a husband in the Army so I cannot be selfish and just make everything all about me. Oh, and I love my cats! So I like having a home. The Army is nomadic enough for me, I wouldn’t want to do it 24/7.

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t love the loneliness and nomadic nature of travel because I do. But I can still do it while working a normal job. And I don’t have to be like every other travel blogger out there.

    I appreciate your common sense, down to earth approach to travel. There is no one-size-fits-all way to do it.

    Thank you!

    • Amanda says:

      Your last sentence really is key, Amy – there’s no one-size-fits-all way to do it, whether “it” is traveling OR blogging! And a news photographer – that’s so cool! I worked at a newspaper in my former, pre-blogging life. 🙂

  • Hi Amanda,

    I loved this post! Travelling is important to me but certainly I cannot live with the uncertainty that comes with being a freelancer.
    The best way is to find a job in a Travel agency so that you can search more about the places you can travel and get discounts on air tickets and hotel stays 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    Such a refreshing post! One thing always niggling at the back of my mind when considering if I could do this full time was definitely money and being stressed about having to write instead of just experiencing! I don’t think quitting my job to travel is the right thing for me (several things in life I don’t think I could do without a home base),but I will say I am enjoying myself learning the ins and outs of blogging as I am very new to the blog world as well as documenting my trips for other people to see.

    • Amanda says:

      I find it incredibly tough to find time to do quality work when I’m on the road, too. I have such a sense of FOMO that unless I actually plan work days, I find I do too much during the day and then have no desire to write once evening comes around. It’s definitely difficult!

  • Lydia says:

    LOVED this post! As a wife and guardian of 3 cats with huge rent and bills to pay, it’s impossible for me to quit my job anytime soon and travel. Your post has been inspiring for me and gives me hope! Thank you for your lovely blog btw, I’m so glad I found you! See you around 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      So glad to hear it, Lydia! It definitely doesn’t have to be either-or when it come to traveling. Sure, you may not be able to travel for months at a time when you have pets and bills to pay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all.

  • I love this post. I have been having similar troubles lately as well…so many other travel blogs seem so wishy-washy and look like they’re living the dream. But they don’t show the hours you put in at a computer screen and the unstable bank account. Right now I have a career type job at 23 years old and I am trying to figure out what to do-they say the best time to start traveling is in your 20s, but also that I need to have a 401K!

    Why can’t we just have it all?! Haha 🙂

    -Siggi
    The Voyaging Viking

    • Amanda says:

      There’s no rule saying you can’t have it all! 😉 I do think it’s easier to go off and travel when you’re younger (i.e. before you have a mortgage and kids and all sort of other things), but plenty of people manage to travel a lot with families and 401Ks anyway!

      • You have a really good point! I can really relate to not just this post but your website in general-I don’t think long term travel is for me either but that doesn’t mean I want to be bound by 2 weeks a year.

        I wanted to let you know that I am -cautiously and slowly-taking the plunge into moving to Europe to be an au pair. Your comment really just made me think..well why can’t I go? So here goes!! 🙂

  • Kat says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you for writing this piece – I really couldn’t have found it at a better time! I have been off on different travels most my life (try to do about 4/5 trips a year), but it’s never been for any longer than 3 weeks at a time. I’m approaching 30 this year and I feel a little like I *should* be doing something more. I’m happy with my job and my home situation, but I feel like I’ve somehow not been a REAL traveller because I’ve never done so long term. So I’ve been considering giving up living with my close friend and quitting my good job to do just that.

    Here in Britain we have an agreement with Australia and NZ that we can work in those countries for up to a year without being a resident, BUT it only applies until we are 31. I keep feeling a pressure like, if I don’t take this opportunity then I’m going to regret it. Yet then I think, I would be working in an office still, just in another place, with no close friends or family, and tbh I have no real pull to either country. I’m only considering because I feel like I may miss an opportunity – totally ignoring all the great trips I am able to go on living and working how I do right now.

    This has turned very long and rambling but basically I just wished to say thank you – reading this has reaffirmed my decision that having a stable home life brings me just as much joy as travelling does, and if having a balance of the two makes me happy – then why change things because I feel like it’s something people should do! Every traveller is different and thank you for helping me to remember that 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      I don’t even need to respond because you’ve already said it beautifully, but THIS: “having a stable home life brings me just as much joy as travelling does, and if having a balance of the two makes me happy – then why change things because I feel like it’s something people should do”? EXACTLY.

      People are always so tied up with what they think other people think they should do (whether it’s traveling or getting married or whatever), and that’s just silly! Do whatever makes you happy!

  • Ana says:

    Thank you for showing the other side of the coin!

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