4 months of unemployment,
14 flights taken,
2 train rides,
6 bus rides and,
A thousand cab rides later…!
Seated at my office desk, the two things I’ve always done besides work is read news and travel blogs. More often or not, people have seen screen wide open with pictures of different places and me smiling, secretly wishing I was there. Reading articles of how people have jobs that let them travel, or where travelling and blogging is their job or the more extreme of how they have quit their job to travel! I was so jealous. Wish I could do that. Travelling isn’t for everyone either and just to clear things up, taking a flight to a luxury resort and spending time by the pool over looking the ocean, ordering room service, etc. isn’t travelling, that’s Luxury vacation. Travelling has to do with experiencing how locals live, figuring stuff out on your own in countries with different languages, learning to love the local palate and so much more!
Wait, so why couldn’t I? I already knew that sooner or later I was going to leave this job. I had planned what my future could possibly look like so why not take some time off and do what I’ve always wanted to do? What’s the worst that can happen? I could fail epically and have to start all over again! That’s it. That’s just lesson learnt and definitely couldn’t be something I couldn’t deal with. At least I would have tried and failed (if at all) than not have tried at all. So there it was! I put down my papers in January 2018 and I was all packed by March 2018! 5 years – A place I called home, the kind people that I met, the only job I ever had, I left all of that to re-discover my self!
Disclaimer! – Let’s be honest, the only reason I could actually take this decision was because I knew I had savings (well, that is the only reason I worked to begin with) and that my family had my back. When you think realistically, quitting your job and travelling may not seem like the wisest decision especially if you have responsibilities (and then again, who doesn’t?) So, here is the deal – Don’t just quit your job to travel. That is probably the worst thing you could do! Have a current and future plan, dedicate your self, have plenty of savings and set your mind to welcoming the unknown future.
How I did it –
1. So first things, first – Stop worrying and take that leap! – I knew that my current position wasn’t enough to keep me put, nor was my current track persuasive enough to scare me into staying. That being said, I know that I am young and confident that I have plenty of time to figure out the rest of my life.
2. Figure out places that you can afford to travel – I have travelled to 3 different countries since I quit my job in March 2018 – Australia, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. The reasons for choosing each of these places were simple. I had friends there, they are easy to navigate and if you plan your itinerary the expenses are manageable. I did plenty of research on these countries and knew exactly what I wanted to do when I got there. That saved me a lot of time on indecisiveness.
3. Eat Local, Travel Local, Be local –Not only is this the best way of experiencing each part of the world that you go to and learn of various cultures but it is one of the best ways of managing expense on things like food, stay and travel. Thanks to websites like airbnb/couchsurfing, you get to stay the local lifestyle and ofcourse you have friends as good as mine, you crash at their place. Street food is the best ways of tasting local cuisine and since the government in most places has nominal rates for their local transport, it is the best way to explore the city. Traveling the world puts you in constant contact with people from every walk of life. For most people who do this, money is generally very tight. You could be sharing the place of stay with a student from the United Kingdom or backpacker from Europe. If the place offers you a kitchen, you can buy and learn how to cook whatever the local grocer sells. It is a constant and intense experience of cultural immersion.
4.Planned Breaks – My travel has been in parts wherein I would travel to one country then come back home and then travel again. The reason I do this is because it only rejuvenates me to travel again! There’s no way to slide back into real life gracefully. It will be jarring and unpleasant and just to make this slightly bearable, I decided to plan my travel in parts. More importantly, I do have certain responsibilities back home that I cannot forsake no matter how great my love for travelling and that is something I am perfectly fine with.
5. Never Regret –Whether a good experience or bad, make a deal with yourself to take everything as lessons learnt and no regrets. Life is complicated and no matter how hard you try to control it, it will never go as planned. There will be uncertainties and you just have to learn to make the most of the situations. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone and create some real space can give you time to think. It’s the chance to slow down and ask yourself the kinds of questions you might not have even considered back home.
All in all, travelling is who I am and what makes me. Before I made this decision, I would forever wait for something to happen. This constant wait would either result in something happening or no change. I no longer can leave situations up to chance and take the very first opportunity I get to make things happen.
It’s up to you to figure out how to get where you’re meant to be.