People on Quora were asked: "What it is like to quit your job and travel the world?" These are some of the most insightful answers.
Yes, things won't go as planned, but that's part of the adventure
When I left my job, I'd estimated that financially the worst case scenario would be a 30% salary cut for around 3 years. When I came back, people were eager to talk to somebody who had seen so many things and I had a job offer before I really finished traveling. If you are savvy enough to write on Quora, you'll find that earning money is pretty easy. If not, go to Australia.
Without doubt you'll go through some lows during your trips. Mine typically occurred when I was sick, exhausted or changed location to frequently. These things regularly happen all the same time. Solution: find a comfortable spot for a bit and continue traveling once you're rejuvenated.
Yes, you'll lose quite a bit of acquaintances. But gain many more. Real friends that you had before, will be with you after you return.
I did things during my long term travel that a lot of people would consider [wild]. However, barely had any health issues despite traveling to Iran, India, Nepal, sailing the atlantic ocean, motorbiking 10.000+ miles, etc. Some of it is luck, most of it is being careful.
You'll encounter a lot of "lost souls" when traveling: broken relationships, kicked out of a job, no friends etc. Travel might solve these issues, but aggravate them as well by increasing the disconnect with a "stable life" in a bad way. Once this starts to happen: reflect very carefully and start to enjoy at the same time.
Some fantastic tips here
This past April I quit my job, crammed some stuff into a backpack, and went to Southeast Asia (and a few other places) for about six weeks. Not exactly "traveling the world" as we only went to a few countries, but it was more of a backpacker/adventure travel experience than I had ever had previously. Last month I did another 2.5 week trip with a backpack to Australia & New Zealand, so this has gotten a lot less scary since then.
The trip was a lot more modest than others described on this thread, so I won't act like it was some kind of transformative experience or anything. That said, I did learn a few things.
1. I don't need that much "stuff" to exist. My travel clothes consisted of two pairs of shorts, three pairs each of underwear and socks, about six t-shirts, and a sweater. That's it. Whereas back in the U.S. I had amassed closet and a dresser full of clothes, most of which I never wore. Why did I accumulate so much stuff when a backpack's worth of clothes could sustain me perpetually? Sure, I didn't need a winter coat or a sports jacket on my trip, so those deserve some shelf space. But why did I own 6 different suits and 35 different dress shirts?
2. I vastly underrated "home" while I was living there. Adventure travel is a tempting siren when you're sitting at your desk job and dreaming of grand adventures at Mt. Everest or the Great Barrier Reef. I think this caused me to pine for the future and underrate the present. Home is awesome. I live in a country where I can freely travel and live in any of 50 states, where all of my friends and family are easy to see and contact, and where I'm relatively unmolested by the police/government/taxman/whatever (I'll grant that this doesn't describe everybody's experience in the USA, and that I'm luckier than most in this regard.). For some reason at the beginning of my trips I always think I'll never want to come back home, but each and every time I'm mistaken. It's made me a little more thankful and observant in my regular life in the States.
3. People are people are people. No matter what country you go to, people put their pants on one leg at a time, so to speak. Even though different cultures can be vastly different from one another, most humans share quite a few common experiences. I suspect that the media caricatures of the miserable daily live of people in North Korea / Iraq / Afghanistan / etc. are somewhat overstated. Not to understate the horrors of political tyranny, but most humans go to work in the morning and tuck their kids into bed at night just like the rest of us.
4. There's nothing "special" about backpacking culture. Some people describe backpacker/hostel culture as more "authentic" than traditional tourist/hotel/hospitality culture, like there's something more "real" about sharing a room in a dirty hostel instead of staying at the Hilton. And sure, I'll grant that you are less likely to grasp local culture if you spend your trips at five-star resorts. But if you go to any hostel in the world you'll see the same scene: A bunch of 19-year-old British/German/French/Dutch/Australian backpackers in tank tops smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. Is that any more unique or authentic than middle-aged Americans in Brooks Brothers oxfords drinking rum & Cokes in every Ritz-Carlton on the planet?
But.... it's still awesome. I think everybody should take at least one backpacking trip, even just for the opportunity to have a really bad time and learn a lot from the experience. There's a lot to see out there.
Nothing to do but wander and enjoy
It was 2012, and I had just booked my first trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, for two months. I had promised myself that I would start traveling by January of that year, but out of fear, I had waited until the last possible day to start my trip while keeping that promise.
Two months seemed like an unbelievably long time. What if I showed up in Costa Rica and hated it? How much would it cost to move my flight earlier? What would I say to my friends if I came back early? What if I got robbed? What if I forgot something I needed? I had found hundreds of things to worry about.
Within a week, I had forgotten about all of them. Sitting on a surfboard, waiting for the waves, watching yet another perfect sunset, I had nothing left on my mind but wonder.
Now I've been traveling for two and half years (I go home to spend Decembers with my family and friends) and I've seen a lot of other travellers go through their first few days of long-term travel.
What I've found is that on any long trip, you tend to be anxious for about three weeks. After the third week, it's like your mind finally accepts the reality that you are free to do whatever you want, and finally stops trying to find the man behind the curtain.
And that's what I call bliss.
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