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Since you’ve landed on Traveling-Forever, then traveling is probably one of your passions – maybe even an obsession.
But you might find it difficult to build travel into your schedule. Perhaps you plan your trips in coordination with a job or other responsibilities at home and fit travel in whenever possible. So you end up taking to the road just once or twice a year for short trips.
Or you might be someone who sets out for months or more with no fixed plan. You have a one-way ticket to your first destination and then move on when the mood strikes.
This second style is my preferred way of traveling. I just head out to one destination and then evaluate how long to stay there and where else to explore. As a result, I can spend my time completely in one place or move on to explore other areas whenever it seems right to me.
You may think that I’m afraid to commit to a certain length of time in a place. That’s not the case. I buy just a one-way ticket to a place that seems appealing so that I’ll have the freedom to follow where the spirit leads me.
Let’s say that I’ve got three months for my current adventure. And let’s say that I do a lot of research about the destination before I depart.
Despite all that research, no amount of guidebook or online investigation can really tell me whether a place is worth all three months of my time or just three days.
Once I’ve arrived and started looking around, however, I’ll get a feel for how long I want to stay there. In addition, I’ll meet other travelers who rave about places that I might not have thought of.
Yes, my travels are a work in progress. Not everyone likes to operate like this, but I love the feeling of stepping into the unknown. Of course, that’s actually an illusion, but it makes me feel more like an explorer than a boring tourist.
The Passion is Real
Yes, traveling is a passion for people who love being on the go and visiting and learning about other cultures. Just walking down unfamiliar streets can make you feel like a new person. And sitting at cafés watching locals carry out their daily tasks without realizing what entertainment they’re providing for you can be such a joy.
Have you booked a ticket yet? If so, you may be embarking on a visit to one or more puzzling and fascinating countries. Your travels will certainly bring you great pleasure, but you should also expect challenges on your trip.
Keep a positive attitude. Look at the whole experience as an adventure – even the negative portions. A spirit of adventure and a positive approach will make your trip more enjoyable and take you deeper into the real adventure you came to experience.
As you’ve probably heard many times, if you want everything to be the same as at home, then don’t leave home.
You may even have the opportunity to make new friends – either locals you meet at the destinations you visit or other travelers you meet along the way.
The trick is to enjoy every minute of your travel so that when you return home, your memories will fill you with overwhelming delight and motivate you to start planning your next journey.
So if you’re considering long-term travel, you’ll need to do some planning and make some decisions before departure. Let’s look at some of the issues you’ll need to deal with.
Taking Care of Logistics
You probably understand that the anticipation of long-term travel is different from what you feel when getting ready for a yearly, two-week vacation. Leaving for several months involves concerns that you don’t have to take into consideration when going away for just a few weeks – job, house, bills, pets, friends, family.
Maybe you’re not too worried about dealing with these issues, but you may still wonder whether you really have the personality to live on the road for months at a time without a specific itinerary.
You can evaluate all the pro’s and con’s, but you won’t know the answer to that until you’ve actually set out to see the world. In the meantime, you can deal with the items that you actually have some control over.
Your preparations will take a significant amount of time in order to eliminate worries that otherwise could spoil the enjoyment of your travels. After all, when you’re on the road, you surely don’t want to be concerned about household issues, utility bills, or other details like that.
Making arrangements in advance for everything that could be a potential bother when you are away will allow you to enjoy your adventure fully. And you should keep in mind the possibility that you just might end up liking it out there and want to stay longer. Get ready for a wild and completely awesome ride.
Quit Your Job – Yes or No?
Very few people are completely satisfied with their current jobs. In fact, many dream of leaving to look for greener pastures – whether the better place involves travel or just a better job.
The choice to quit should not be made lightly.
Will your employer give you a leave of absence for some months? Ask. It’s worth giving it a try.
But if you are serious about traveling for longer than your employer is willing to give, you may have to quit your job. Are you willing to do that?
People often think that quitting a job to go traveling is negative or irresponsible. You yourself may have that thought at the back of your mind, but that if you evaluate this decision seriously, quitting your job can actually be a positive choice that you make on the path to living the life you want.
Review your budget as part of this consideration. If you know that you’ll have to quit, you’ll probably need to spend some time saving enough money before you actually depart. If you need a year to save up enough money for your big adventure, you won’t want to advertise your intention in advance.
If you give notice too far in advance, your employer might decide that it would be better to get it over with and let you go before you’ve saved enough. So don’t give notice at work until your travel fund has enough money.
- First, estimate how much money you’ll need to have available and determine how much you can save from each paycheck. Then evaluate how much longer you’ll need to work.
- Next, take time to figure out whether the amount you want in your travel fund can come from other sources as well. Do you already have savings that you can use? Or perhaps possessions that you plan to sell in order to add to your travel fund?
- And of course, look at your credit card bills to see how much credit card debt you’ll need to pay off before departure. You don’t want to hit the road with credit cards that still need to be paid.
- Will you be able to save enough prior to departing or will you plan to earn money in some way on the road?
Take some time to determine whether you are 100% ready to take this step. Once you quit your job, you probably won’t be able to change your mind and come back to work a few weeks later. Leaving your job is a commitment – whether the intention is to travel the world or something else.
Spend some time in the privacy of your home to brainstorm. Write down all the reasons that you want to quit. Do you have reasons other than travel? Do you hate your job but think that another job would suit you better?
Once you have written all your ideas down, go back and think about every reason you listed. Ask yourself if the reasons you listed are rational reasons to quit or if they are short-sighted excuses that will give you only temporary relief.
Be honest with yourself about your situation.
Whether your reasons are rational or not, you need to be aware that leaving your job is going to have consequences. You will need to review your finances and determine what not working will mean to any outstanding bills you have.
Quitting with Dignity
Many people will ask about your departure. They’ll talk to each other both before and after you leave. Like preparing to give a speech, be ready with a set response to give to everyone who asks why you’re leaving so that no one wonders why you gave different stories to different people.
As mentioned earlier, be careful not to give out any hints that you might be quitting prior to actually announcing your intention to leave. When you make the announcement, make sure that your boss is the first person who hears it. A polite explanation about why you are quitting will go a long way to keeping everyone happy.
If a resignation letter is requested from your boss, make it polite and brief. There are multiple sites online, like TheMuse and The Balance Careers, to guide you through the resignation letter writing process. Some sites are programmed so well that you need only plug in a few key words, print, and sign.
Be sure to give the same reason for quitting, even in writing.
One of the most important things is to be sure not to burn your bridges, regardless of how much you may despise your job or your boss. You probably will not be traveling the world for the rest of your life. You may eventually decide to return to the same city you leave.
If you return, you may want to get another job in the same field. In that case, a reference from your current employer will be very important. And of course, people talk to friends who work in the same field. You don’t want your name to be sullied in your industry.
With that thought in mind, resign in such a way that your current employer will be happy to give you that reference. In fact, you should probably request a letter of recommendation at the time you resign.
Traveling long term can be one of the highlights of your life. Every trip has three parts – the anticipation, the actual travel, and the memories.
The memories you make during your travels will be with you forever.
Make them good!
My next post How to Budget for Travel Without Totally Cramping Your Style will give you some ideas about how to put together enough money to enjoy your travels.
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