Or watch the video I created around this blog post on my YouTube Channel:
OK, so dropping everything, packing your bags, and running off with a one-way ticket to a foreign destination in your hand may seem scary or even ridiculous to you right now. But hear me out. I’m going to give you three reasons why doing that could be the best decision of your life.
But first, let’s explore why you’re feeling stuck, lost, or disillusioned. Perhaps you feel as though each day is drifting by like dead leaves tumbling along in the breeze. It’s like your life is stuck on repeat.
You get up bleary-eyed and foggy from the drinks you had the night before; you shovel down the same food for breakfast, scroll your social media feeds, compare your boring life to everyone’s exciting highlight reel. And then, leave for a long day of work.
You drive the same route to your job every day, hardly conscious of the twists and turns in the road.
You get dragged into the worry-land of your mind as that constant nagging thought bubbles up again: “I’m not happy.” Fed up with the same boring routine, just living for the weekend. You try to cover this up with a fake smile at work, pretending everything is OK.
You’re in “clock-watching” mode. Waiting for the magical hour of 5 pm to roll around. You look forward to getting home and pouring that glass of wine or cracking open a beer as you dive headfirst into some new series on Netflix. That warm fuzzy feeling hugs you tightly as the alcohol kick in and drowns the worries rattling around your mind.
And so, the cycle continues.
If you want to continue living this kind of life, stop reading here. But, if you want to break out of this prison-like existence, please keep reading. The only prerequisite: You must continue with an open mind.
- Dramatic Change Requires Dramatic Action
- Just Get Started!
- Here are three reasons that quitting your job and traveling could be the best decision you ever make
- Final Thoughts
Dramatic Change Requires Dramatic Action
The plan I’m about to share with you is going to require some bold action. It’s going to be scary and uncomfortable. But this is exactly how you develop a strong, resilient character that allows you to face your problems head-on.
This plan may not work immediately for everyone. Perhaps you can scale it down and not make such a big commitment all at once. But first, I want to ask you a question.
What’s the worst that could happen?
You decide to quit your job, buy a one-way ticket to a different country, and start a new adventure in life with no pre-planned path to take.
You’ll lose your job.
You can get a new one, right? Do you have some experience and skills that would be valuable to someone else? It may take some time to find a new gig, but the idea is NOT to go back, not to return to the prison. The whole purpose of this decision is to expand your view of what’s possible, not to create a cushy back-up plan if it doesn’t work out.
Your family and friends will think you are crazy and urge you not to make such a “silly” decision.
Sure, they have your best interests in mind, but they don’t know what you “really” want. Often, those closest to us are just trying to protect us — and themselves. What they think is best for you is actually what’s best for them. They only see your situation from their perspective. They don’t experience the pain you feel when you jump on the hamster wheel every day, running endlessly on the path to nowhere.
Right now you’re probably shouting, “But what about money?”
Sure, you’ll need cash for your journey, but there are always ways to make some cash to help you through the short-term. A quick search on Google will pull up tens of thousands of results with information on how to make money while you travel.
Even though most of your fears are irrational, overcoming them can be pretty difficult.
You are taking a huge leap. You are diving headfirst into the unknown. You just have to trust that everything is going to work out. And most of all, and trust yourself. Have faith that this is what you’re supposed to be doing. Worrying about things that have not happened yet is simply wasted energy.
Just Get Started!
First off, you’ll need to hand in your notice at work, or apply for extended leave. If you’ve been on the job for many years, it’s possible your employer will be willing to hire you back when you’re done with your adventures. Although that’s not your goal right now, it may lighten the load on your mind.
Then, you need to figure out where to go. Is there a country that you have always dreamed of visiting but never had the chance? Is it somewhere close by? Or the other side of the world? Multiple countries or just one? The choice is yours.
I’d recommend somewhere as far away as possible so you get to interact with a completely different culture and climate. Make sure there’s no “easy” way to get back home!
Another suggestion is to buy a one-way plane ticket and put aside some cash for a return journey. I’ll jump into why this is important below.
Then, you just need to ensure you have everything you need for the journey. And don’t forget to get excited, because all the fun happens on the other side of your fears!
Here are three reasons that quitting your job and traveling could be the best decision you ever make
1. It forces you to confront your worries and fears head-on by pushing you outside of your comfort zone
There’s no dodging your concerned parents. They’ll probably think you’re making a rash decision because you’re moving away from the comfort and safety of your job and a regular paycheck. But this is exactly why you’re doing it!
Your fears and worries will nag at you while you are in the process of carrying out this plan. I can imagine there’s a whole list running through your head and it’s exhausting. So please, let go of your doubts for just a moment, trust that this is the best thing for you right now, and believe that everything will be OK.
Your mind will always come up with plenty of reasons for NOT doing something. It wants to keep you in the comfy, familiar space of the “known”. When you push out into the unknown, it will try to put you in survival mode, which is only going to limit you.
Instead, take a big, deep breath and relax. Dramatic change requires dramatic action, and taking it will help to make you stronger.
Remember all the times in your life when you were faced with a big scary challenge?
How did that work out?
You’re still alive and kicking, right?
This is hard evidence that you can handle whatever shit-storm life throws at you, every single time. When you force yourself to step outside your comfort zone, you discover how strong you really are.
When you take on massive challenges, rapid growth occurs — you gain a new experience. And even though it may have been a little scary while it was happening, when you look back you’ll be grateful for being brave and going for it!
Above, I mentioned that you should consider just getting a one-way ticket, and putting cash aside for your return. You may be wondering what the point of that was. While it may seem crazy right now, this will open up a whole new world to you. You’ll be forced to make things work. If you need money, you’ll have to find some way to get it.
Every decision will be YOUR responsibility.
When you live and work in the same place, you develop a sense of familiarity with your surroundings. You’re not even conscious of what exists outside of this tiny bubble you have created for yourself.
On a neurological level, your brain actually ignores a wide range of sensory information because you are so used to the surrounding environment. It’s just a matter of efficiency. Your brain recognises the environment as safe and familiar, and with no novel stimulation to suggest otherwise, it will redirect your attention elsewhere.
It will help you tremendously to be bombarded with the new and unfamiliar. To see that there are parts of the world with people living vastly different lives to you and I. If you travel to the Philippines in south-east Asia, for example, you’ll come across extremely poor families living in wooden shacks with no electricity or running water right next to a multimillion-dollar shopping mall. But regardless of their environment, they are some of the friendliest and happiest people I’ve ever met.
Contradictions like this don’t exist in the West. These experiences help create a deeper sense of compassion and gratitude for how “easy” our modern life really is. It will have you questioning why you almost lost your shit because that YouTube video didn’t load fast enough!
3. You will be all on your own
For me, this wasn’t such a big deal. I actually prefer spending a lot of my time by myself. But if this isn’t you, then you’re in for a shock!
Can you remember the last time you spoke to a stranger and made a new friend? If you spend all your time with the same group of friends and coworkers, then the idea of striking up a conversation with a stranger can create some anxiety and butterflies in your stomach. Just breathe and realise that you’re an awesome person that someone would be lucky to have as a friend!
When you throw yourself into another country, figuring out the logistics of getting from the airport to your hotel or finding and ordering food can be a challenge. It’s not so bad if you’re in a big westernised city, but when you head out into the countryside, you may find yourself in a place where very few people can speak English. This is when sign language and Google Translate can come in handy!
When you travel on your own, you make all the decisions. This gives you complete control over what happens every day — perhaps something you’re not quite used to. You will probably need to create a budget and make all your decisions based on your daily allowance.
Approach each day with an open mind and talk to as many people as possible. This is easier if you stay in a hostel, but I personally don’t have much experience with them. There’s a good chance you’ll meet someone who works online like me and travels almost full time. Perhaps this kind of lifestyle isn’t possible for you right now, but meeting these people will help you realise we are just like you.
It’s possible for anyone who wants it badly enough. Anyhow, I’m not going to turn this article into a travel guide. I just want you to be aware of the benefits you’ll get from plunging into a new environment and figuring things out all by yourself.
Hopefully, you’ll start to trust yourself more and more. You’ll stop listening to that devil on your shoulder trying to convince you of the worst-case-scenario. Instead, you’ll look for the positives and stay optimistic because you’ll know you can handle anything life throws your way.
What I’ve shared with you in this post may sound extreme, but from all the people I’ve met over my years of travelling the world, no one has ever told me they’d prefer to go back to their old life.
There is a cliche that people go travelling to “find themselves”, and I have to somewhat agree. Travelling broadens your horizons and gives you a completely new and unique perspective of the world.
And it’s never too late!
My mum, who is in her 60s, is a shining example of this. She decided to leave her job in the U.K. for similar work in Abu Dhabi all on her own. Over the next few years, she worked and visited a handful of countries, including Kyrgyzstan!
Can you imagine how scary this must have been for someone who worked and lived in the same place for over 40 years?! If you’re in your twenties or thirties, this should be a walk in the park for you.
You’ll develop more compassion for your fellow humans as you come into contact with those who live in extreme poverty but are somehow happier than your friends back home. You’ll start to see the shocking impact plastic pollution is having on our ecosystems and oceans.
You’ll ask yourself questions about what you’re doing with your life. What do you “really” want to do? Who do you want to be? What is it that makes you happy?
This is the kind of self-reflection that most people fail to engage in when they are caught up with their day-to-day routine.
And that’s ultimately the real message of this post.
By making a bold decision to leave your old life behind and start fresh, you will have proved to yourself that you can overcome your fears and go after something more exciting. So when you start getting answers to those questions above, you can take action on them and finally change your life for the better.
You’ll have to work through depressing lows but you’ll be rewarded with dizzying highs. If you can remain level-headed through it all, you’ll end up creating a life you could have never imagined.