#46 Why Nobody Likes To Read Another “I Quit My Job To Travel” Post

The word ‘wanderlust’ has a bad, bad rep. The hashtag #wanderlust is more likely to give you pangs of jealousy and self-deprecating pity than inspire you to go out and explore the world. It should not be getting all this flak, really, but it has.

While many Millenial folks are embracing the YOLO movement wholeheartedly, jumping head first into feeding their souls and passion, charging ahead with hedonistic mantras, some of them* are not so keen to abandon everything, leave it all behind and chase whatever it is that people chase when they embark on a journey of their own design. Student loans, family obligations, fear of “insert whatever it is” are some common reasons. Plenty of websites have already delineated step-by-step detailed ways about how to travel and make money at the same time to counter the angsty camp of people who keep insisting ‘I can’t afford to travel’.

So, is the need to have a job in order to travel what ticks people off so much?

Growing up, we are generally trained to believe that you should only ‘enjoy’ AFTER you put in the hard work, that is, pay your dues. And travelling, for some people, fall under the category of enjoyment. Think gorgeous star-hotels with staff waiting hand and foot on you, spas and massages, exquisitely-prepared cuisine, being whizzed from one amazing sight to another in the comforts of an air-conditioned vehicle. So if you visualise travel as such, of course it is going to take a lot of money — for the majority of us, doing a trip like that would be a once-a-year luxury, considering the fact that you have to pay the rent, bills, debts and groceries etc., plus set a little aside for rainy days. Just living day to day is not easy, so when you read that someone *gasps* QUIT THEIR JOB (how DARE they, in this sordidly dismal economy?!) *gasps even louder* TO TRAVEL

Oh my goodness, the audacity! Instead of feeling happy for or proud of this person for chasing their dreams, they channel jealousy, angst and even fierce animosity towards the person. Some people would even go as far to point out that it is always a “white, privileged, middle-to-upper class” individual who “most likely worked in a white-collared, well-paid job”, so of course they are able to save up, then quit to go travelling. I would say, yes there are definitely people who fall under the above descriptions – I say, good for them, some people are made billionaires within 5 years of hard work, some people are born sitting on large oilfields, shall we all hate on them too? (On this note, give us someone different for a change, folks at BBC Travel. ;-) )

When eyes fall on a “I Quit My Job to Travel” article headline, it simply grates on people’s nerves. I am a firm believer of chasing your dreams as long as you can afford to deal with the whole situation (not merely being able to afford it financially). Still, the title is short of annoying me like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard. Why? In six words, they made it sound so easy. There is zero relatability. Worse still, since practically everyone wants to travel and are limited by various reasons, this article is shoving it in people’s faces like ‘I can do it, what’s your problem?’

There are a lot of problems, and money ain’t da first! Here’s a few I can think of, that nobody likes to admit.

One, the reluctance to give up your current lifestyle. For example you could have a decent 9-to-7 job with 3 weeks of annual vacation days that pays enough for one to visit restaurants, buy the latest fashion, and not really have to count pennies at the grocery checkout. Saving up for long term travel could require ‘sacrifices’ like commuting on public transport, no new clothes or gadgets for months on end, cooking at home, sandwiches for lunch etc. (Some people already do this on their current wages, so imagine how they must scrimp to save up for travel.)

Two, the fear of going it alone – this can be somewhat understandable, it’s not about being ‘chicken’, but sometimes going in pairs or groups yield significant savings, provide companionship and somewhat added comfort/safety.

Three, a significant other or a dependant who doesn’t appreciate you disappearing for months on end. This is difficult especially for people who come from cultures that are more family-oriented, community-based and traditionalist – the act of ‘running away just like that’ makes you look like the irresponsible, selfish sinner that deserves to be burnt at the stake if you dare return one day.

Four, what would “the others” say? The fear of tongues wagging and how some people would perceive such an act is very real… if you don’t learn to ignore others’ opinions.

Five, your life would be irrevocably changed – what next? Indeed, taking time off to travel – be it just six months, but at least a year definitely goes deep into your veins – changes how you think, you might even have to reconsider your friendships when you get home or plan to migrate for good.

And one last most important thing: it might make you feel like whatever you have right now – that challenging yet cool job, your beautiful spouse and kids, the sensational two-storey suburban home with the lovely pets – is just no longer enough. It shatters your little reverie of contentment. And that makes people feel like crap, having climbed to a peak to realize that it’s not what they really want! Or at least they can’t have this and that, both at the same time!

Quitting your job is just the final step really. The real commitment begins way earlier when you overcome the other issues, the humongous elephants in the room. Confronting your own fears and insecurities is much much harder than finding a way to make money to survive. When someone finally packs their bags to go, he or she has already dealt with their inner demons. So please, saying the only thing you need to go is just quit your job, that’s too simplistic. Some of these ‘quit-their-jobs-to-travel’-ers have cut off relationships, given up setting up a family at their golden reproductive age, missed weddings, funerals and birthdays, given beloved pets away — the list of sacrifices is endless — and they choose to focus on describing their latest escapade to St Lucia, or their skydiving trip in Patagonia.

They made their beds, they sleep in them. Except they show you well-orchestrated images of a nicely-made bed when it could be a coil of turmoil!

It is no wonder people hate reading such articles that poke at their vulnerabilities. Without indirectly telling what people should do with their lives, let ’em travel, at their own pace, in their own time. Sans judgment. ♥

P.S: For those who don’t like this ‘I Quit My Job to Travel’ kind of article, sometimes myself included, either stop reading them or start doing something about why you don’t like it. It’s painful to yourself and people around you to whine and do nothing. (For me, it’s writing this rant of an article and swearing off those click-bait posts.)

*I use ‘them’ in this case because I don’t consider myself part of this group.

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