I remember when I quit my job in 2015 to leave everything behind and start travellng, I was feeling a bout of the jitters. Fear, excitement and curiosity – they all were playing their part. I had no idea what to expect. Which guidebook to follow. No one among my friends had ever done it before. In three words: I WAS CONFUSED!
A few days ago, I received a 700-word email from one of my readers, mentioning how he has been holding on to a marketing job for the past 10 years, but now wants to leave his career, and with it, everything behind and start travelling. He wrote to me in search of some kind of assurance. But more than assurance, I felt, he needed inspiration. Inspiration to let go, to break free and find his freedom again.
To Travel Is To Find New Opportunities
So as I started typing a reply, I told him how even if he quit his corporate career almost recklessly and suddenly, and if tomorrow he couldn’t find a way to make money from travelling and sustain the lifestyle, he will not have to return (to his previous life) empty-handed.
I mean travelling itself is an educating experience. And people who haven’t travelled in their life (please note that by travelling, I don’t mean taking a recreational holiday with friends, but an experience that is more profound and educating in nature) have absolutely no idea what they are missing out. They have no frame of reference for what it is like. After travelling solo for a long time, one thing that I’ve realized is that the places you see, the people you connect with, the pace of life and the many experiences you slowly sail through – while travelling – helps you discover yourself, from far within.
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr. Seuss
Travelling can teach you important life-lessons and can greatly improve your non-travel life. You become less afraid, less stressed out, less hung up, more open to possibilities, better at meeting people, more interested in cultural differences, socially more graceful… well, I can go on.
You May Not Find What You’re Looking For, But You Might Just Find Yourself
Many people who leave their corporate job to travel, do so seeking clarity. They feel as if they were missing a purpose in life, given they were not happy despite their well-paying job and happening social life.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” Andre Gide
When I quit my corporate career and booked a one-way ticket to Bhutan, I was in no different situation either. I was discontent, unhappy and all wired up in life. Though I am not stating that I didn’t like my life or my profession (of writing), I just wasn’t happy with the way how things were going. It seemed I was just accepting things as they came because everyone around me told me “this is life and you got to learn to deal with it.”
So I finally quit that career behind and left. Though I had no clue what this new life (of running around like nomad) will bring to me, I knew that after being on the road for long, while having no one to watch my back, I will at least find out my weakness and where I need improvement.
Don’t Take Everyone’s Suggestion On Travelling
One of the greatest miseries of the human condition is that we always need assurance. When I was struggling with the idea of quitting my job and travel I asked a few considerable intellectuals about my decision, and they discouraged me to a new level.
Making a leap like this is so far outside the realms of some people’s realities, they can’t understand you. So don’t even bother asking. Focus your energy on yourself. Realize what you want. If you want to break free and find out what is best for you, then there’s no harm taking some time off.
There’s an old saying in Dutch which says “He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him”. Life on the road is a lot easier. It’s only the decision, and all those small preparations you do in the process, that is the hardest part. So stop worrying about the potholes in the road, and go enjoy the journey!
Update March 2018: Since I’ve written this article, in 2016, I’ve grown substantially in life (both personally and practically). Travel Blogging has picked fairly well too. I now even own a hospitality business – my own campsite in Manali (the Himalayas). My work has been featured in many publications, including the two leading newspapers in India TheEconomicTimes & TheStatesman as the upcoming travel blogger to follow – all because I believed in myself, and into what I was doing. Sure, when I started, I was repeatedly questioned by family and friends about where my life was heading and why I am wasting it being a directionless nomad, but I kept moving forward!
So if there’s one thing I’d advise other people a change in their life, it will be taking a break from what they’re doing and TRAVEL. Don’t let others hold your back. Because if you’re (or your family is) worried about doing a job and following the corporate life-cycle, just remember that it can be done any day. You can go always back and become THAT NORMAL YOU again.
So just give yourself a chance and travel for some time in life!