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I quit the cubicle life to travel the world. You can too, but is that the life you really want?

So You Want to Quit Your Job to Travel the World | Inspiration | Grease & Glamour

My post-college life started off just the way my advisor told me it was supposed to – working an awesome job in the coolest city in the world. Right?

Wrong. The truth is, three years later, I’m sitting in front of a computer baking under fluorescent ceiling lights, dragging my hungover ass into a crowded conference room every few hours to zone out under the voice of my manic boss. Lunch breaks? Ha, fancy. Seamless (for those of you who don’t know what seamless is, it’s a Godsend online food delivery service) it is, five work days in a row, delivered to the front desk so I can burn an extra few calories trotting over to reception to pick it up. Bring it back to my desk, park my ars back into my fancy swivel office chair and have a sweet spoonful of more Microsoft Excel for dessert.

Explore | Bridge in Nyons, France | Grease & Glamour

I left my 9 to 5 corporate job life in February of this year. It’s now August. I still can’t believe it’s been six full months, and since then I’ve hiked a glacier in Iceland, frolicked around France twice, climbed down pool ladders into the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia and gained 10 pounds in Italy.

Rome, Italy | Grease & Glamour

Sounds perfect, right?

Wrong. Quitting your job to travel full time may sound like the best thing in the world, and yes, it completely changed my life in so many wonderful ways (READ: 10 Ways Travel Changed My Life Forever), but the truth is, this lifestyle is filled with tough moments, and it’s definitely not for everyone. Here are a few things to consider.

 

1. How happy are you?

Sunsets in the South of France | Grease & Glamour

I went through the most traumatic experience of my life, felt like the world came crashing down on me, felt trapped and didn’t know how to get out. When life gets tough, it’s natural to want an escape, and when you go through hard times, it motivates you to change something – your scenery, the people around you, your environment or your body. Travel opened my eyes to the beauty of the world, made me grateful for the simple things I once took for granted, and helped me find closure.

When you hit rock bottom, there’s only one direction left to go. So if you are, like I once was, miserable waking up every day to go into your cubicle closet, hate the sound of your boss’s voice and simply can’t spend another second doing the same thing over and over again, it’s time to consider saving up as much money as you can and begin planning your trip. Life is too short to be unhappy. Pick a destination and book your ticket to go see the world.

If not, cheers to you for your strength, finding happiness, following your dreams, and being passionate about a job that fulfills you.

 

 

2. What are you looking for?

Lavender Fields | Provence, France | Grease & Glamour

Traveling and vacationing are two completely different things. I think the difference lies in what you’re looking for.

I used to vacation. When I went on vacation, I was looking for a few days on the beach, mojito or coconut cocktail in-hand.  Relaxing. Spa days. I booked all-inclusive trips on Expedia or Priceline, complete with hotel, flight and excursions because it was easier than spending hours researching and reading through reviews. I usually chose an island, somewhere with awesome weather, and didn’t feel the need to go explore the city because I was staying at an awesome resort. A vacation is very much a getaway, but I noticed that when I was on vacation, I didn’t really get away. I didn’t choose the hole in the wall local restaurant; I chose the westernized, watered down version because that restaurant had an English menu and custom cocktails. I booked round trip tickets and all my days were scheduled. I always went with someone. If there was an outlet mall within a 10 mile radius I was there.

Charcuterie | Grease & Glamour

When I booked my ticket to travel for the very first time, I was looking for peace, closure and adventure. I was looking to be smacked in the face with the magnitude of the world. So I didn’t make as many plans. My days weren’t fully scheduled. I walked around aimlessly without wifi for hours. My wardrobe was limited to a few changes of clothes, I did my laundry in the sink, and only brought comfortable shoes with me. I journeyed alone for the first time, and opened myself up to meeting new people in random pubs and restaurants. I slept on a now-friend but then-stranger’s couch for a night in London using Couchsurfing for the very first time. I started booking one-way tickets. I almost got gassed at an international protest, got cursed out by 60 year old prostitutes after almost getting robbed in the middle of the day in Paris. I sweat out my hair, shirt and shorts dragging a lifesize cutout of my dad and a 40 lb. backpack up the steps of a train station in Florence. I wasn’t on a beach with a coconut cocktail, but jumping across glacier chunks, wrapping my only scarf around my face to lessen the pain of massive hail in Iceland instead.

Levanto, Italy | Grease & Glamour

Sometimes when I’m traveling I wish I was on vacation. Sometimes. So ask yourself – are you looking for a vacation, or are you looking to travel?

 

3. Is money an issue for you?

Explore, Iceland Glacier Lagoon | Grease & Glamour

The answer to this question is supposed to be yes. If money isn’t an issue for you, then what the hell are you waiting for? Quit your damn job and go travel the world.

I saved up money from my job for four months to prepare to live off of my savings for at the very least one month abroad. That is NOT a lot of money, my friends. No more eating out. No more getting drinks after work. I sold almost all of my stuff to rake in the extra cash. And I’d be lying if I told you that it was easy. I switched in my steady paycheck for a life of uncertainty through freelancing as a photographer. I switched in my apartment lease to wake up on a friend’s couch or a different hotel bed every week.

Grease & Glamour

It may not be the smartest, most responsible decision to leave my life behind to soul search abroad. It definitely was not the most financially responsible. I can’t eat everywhere I want. I walked past dozens of restaurants after seeing the prices on their menus. I can’t feed the luxury shopping habit I once had. I’m living out of a suitcase and if you see me often, you’ll notice I usually have to wear the same clothes over and over again. But one thing I do know is that the decision I made took courage, strength, purpose, and sacrifice. I had always dreamt of being my own boss, and the challenges of my past gave me the strength to make the jump to follow that dream. And if I can do it, so can you.

So ask yourself – is there a way I can make money while traveling? Do I have enough saved up to survive for however long I want to travel for? Can I save a certain amount of money to open my own business?

Rome, Italy | Grease & Glamour

 

4. How bad do you want it?

Are you complacent with your day to day life? Do you wake up in the morning excited to start the day, or are you dragging yourself out of bed begrudgingly trudging to work? How bad do you want to leave everything behind to see the world? Quitting your job to travel full time sounds like a dream, but nothing comes without a cost. What are you willing to sacrifice in return?

Skogafoss Waterfall | Iceland | Grease & Glamour

I stay away from the quirky vintage shops I once loved browsing through because I know I don’t have a home to fill with beautiful decor. I’ve realized how much harder it is to build a relationship with someone if I’m never in one place for that long.  Yes, being able to pick up and move at the drop of a hat is freeing, but the anxiety that comes with not knowing whether I’ll be able to afford rent next month still exists and comes around with full force every once in a while. These are all things that I’ve learned come with the package, and every decision you make will be measured on the pros and cons, so ask yourself – at the end of the day, do I really want this?

If the answer is yes and you know in your heart that what you’d gain from following your dream to travel the world outweighs the potential cons, I encourage you to make the necessary preparations to start the process and go after your goal. It’s very likely that it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Chase the Sky | Inspiration | Grease & Glamour

Dream big. Do bigger. Act without fear, live with purpose and never give up. No matter where you’re from, what you’ve been through, your age or your color, you are capable of wonderful, magnificent things. Don’t lose hope, find strength in your trials and keep pushing forward. I believe in you.

 

Thank you so much for reading this post. Feel free to follow me on Instagram for day to day updates on my travels: @projectinspo

 

 

With love,

Jinna

  • Olga

    Amazingly inspirational post! how long are you planning on travelling for?

    Absolutely love you photography too!

    http://wideseanoanchor.com

    • Thanks Olga! 🙂 glad you liked it! I’m actually back in NYC for a month or so. Then who knows! 😀

  • Lauren

    Wow. This post is amazing and helpful. Traveling the world is definitely something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but you’ve weighed out the pros and cons clearly and simply and I’m definitely going to keep your words in the back of my mind over the next few years as I graduate college and get a job so I may be able to save up to travel like I want to.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Lauren! That sounds like an awesome idea, but you may be able to take a mini road trip with some friends or something! Or take a few steps to explore your surroundings – I recently posted 6 Ways to Cure Your Wanderlust Without Traveling (http://greaseandglamour.com/2014/07/6-ways-to-cure-your-wanderlust-without-traveling/) – there are some tips on how to explore your hometown without having to go too far. What are you studying in college? I miss college so much! But yes, once you graduate and find an awesome job, you’ll be able to go overseas and have an amazing time, and you’ll deserve it because you worked so hard! xx, Jinna

  • I love this! Super timely for me, as I have literally just quit my job to travel, and finished up my last day of work yesterday! I definitely can see both sides of it, I am so excited about this adventure that lies ahead, but I also spend a lot of time questioning how irresponsible it seems to do this – why am I giving up a stable job and income, a comfortable house, etc, to be in a different place each week for who-knows how long!?! But I know this is a decision I am never going to regret, life is short and you need to live! Thanks for a wonderful post 🙂

    • WOW! christie that’s AMAZING! Congrats!!! You’re awesome, inspiring, and I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures. Where are you planning to go? xx, Jinna

  • This post is great. I do agree that travelling is not like vacationing, unless you have the money, and it’s not for everybody. Same goes for the cubicle life, it’s for some but not for all. Now, there are people like my husband, who quit his job to go to another country to teach English and travel around. It’s not the same as travelling all over like you, but a compromise. You’re pretty much setting camp in another country/culture and travel around. By the way, just out of curiosity, was the first picture taken in Madrid? It is very familiar and I recognize Etam to the right.

    • The first picture was taken in Cannes, France! I’ve never been to Spain – hoping to go after I save up some more money haha. I have friends who did what your husband did, and had so much fun + supported themselves while abroad. Seriously considering it as an option! Thanks so much for your comment. Sending you and your hubby lots of love <3

  • This is a really great post! I think this will be very helpful! x

    http://www.thoughtsinstyle.com/

  • Kayse

    What a wonderful post. I appreciate that you’re being honest about the two sided coin that is travelling. Lovely photographs, as well!

  • Talya Price

    Life is what you make of it, and it is also short. If you are too scared to live life to the fullest then don’t take risks, however if you are then take as many risks as you want. You life is YOUR own, and it does not belong to anyone else. This article was perfect timing for me, as I am thinking of packing my things and traveling the world for a year or so. I think life is too short not to, and I love adventure and traveling. Traveling is my life.

    • talya, you’re so awesome + inspiring! Thanks for the motivational words and for the sweet comment! Where are you planning on going?

      • Talya Price

        Thank you for the kind words. Now I am thinking of going to Spain. then maybe Amsterdam. However the big trip will be to Iceland and the rest of Scandinavia. I want to discover and explore all of those countries.

  • Cheri Roohi

    I’m in my second year of community college. And i’m already looking into internships in London and Au pair opportunities in Paris for next year…When I should be deciding what university I want to transfer to. I admire you oh so much. Thank you for creating this blog and keep posting. xx

    • Cheri, Thanks for your comment and for reading! London and Paris for internships sounds AWESOME. I know for a fact that it really does help when applying for jobs after graduation. It helps set you apart and you’ll always have a story to tell during your interview. 🙂 That may even help when you apply to transfer universities. I would definitely say go for it – internship experience is priceless, and always going to help you in your future endeavors. 😀

  • Mallory

    Wow, what an incredibly thoughtful, inspired post. Thank you so much for sharing, I feel so grounded and motivated after reading this

    • Mallory, thank you so much for reading! Sending you lots of love <3

  • This post is so inspiring! I have been traveling for contract work for 4 years and just recently decided to stay in one place for awhile to get more settled and maybe save some more money. It was a hard decision to go back and just be in one place with one job for a while and I’m still having my thoughts if I made the right decision. But nothing is permanent in this world so maybe who knows I might be packing my bags again in a year or so.

    • Sarah, you’re so right – nothing’s permanent and there are great things about staying in one place and really getting to know a place, you know? Where did you end up? I hope you will go and explore all the city/town has to offer so that if you do plan to leave one day, you’ll know the city inside and out when you go back. New york City will always feel like home, even if I don’t want to be here for too much longer. =P

  • Queenie Lee
    • Thanks Queenie! 😀

      • Susan Gallitto

        How much money did you have saved when you left? And how are you making money while traveling?

  • Great post Jinna. Thanks for keeping it real. I think a lot of us wish to chuck it all and go…i know I definitely have my moments, so it’s always good to hear a real world perspective. I look forward to following along to see where this journey of yours takes you next. xx

    • Thanks for your comment girl! I’m using this spot to vent sometimes, and for the first time in a while I’ve learned that opening up is healing, and being real is necessary to truly accepting yourself. So yeah, I get scared sh-tless sometimes, but it’s all part of life, right? Sending you love!! xx

  • Els Mahieu

    Last month I gave up my boring job as well! I wanted to travel as often and when I wanted it, so the job got in the way 🙂 I am now a free-lance online translator, which means I can basically work from wherever I want! Like you say, it might require some financial efforts, but the freedom is soooo much better!!!!!

    • Wow, that’s AWESOME! I’m trying to make freelance travel work life happen for me at the moment. It’s tough, but you’re giving me hope! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Shalet Jimmy

    That was an inspiring post…:D

  • Ayesha

    This is such an inspirational post, I think a lot of people think travelling is easy but there is a lot of hardships that come with it. It definitely seems very very exciting but I’m sure it’s very tough at the same time. On the other hand, you have an experience of a lifetime that you can grow old with!!

    Ayesha xxx
    http://alycheeaday.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Thanks Ayesha! You’re so right, traveling does come with a lot of tough parts – sometimes I’m like. wait, what the hell am I doing??? haha, but it’s so worth it. You become stronger when you go through challenges. That’s how I like to look at it. 🙂 xx

  • racingcourne

    I would say the money part would be the most worrisome part for me. If I didn’t have that worry, I think I would definitely not be working and travel.

    • I totally agree with this 100%. Financial ANXIETY is one that bothers so many of us. But there are ways to work AND travel at the same time, which may be something to look into! 🙂

      • racingcourne

        I am trying to do that right now. The money I make from work is mostly being saved for trips and vacations. That is what keeps me going to work!

        • Exactly! There are so many things to spend your money on, but travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. 🙂

      • Jim Mandoli

        Can you provide some articles that guide you through finding ways to work and travel at the same time? That would be much appreciated 🙂

  • Two words… Thank you.
    I needed to read this, I’m saving right now for a European adventure with 2 children in tow as a single mom, we will school and travel… Wwoof and house sit… We are excited!
    Tammy

    • Omg tammy! So so excited for you! Where are you going? It’s so wonderful that you’re showing your children the world. You’re such an inspiration!

  • I love this and it’s pretty much spot on to my story and decision to travel too, which just makes me love it even more! Fantastic post 🙂

  • I love this and it’s pretty much spot on to my story and decision to travel too, which just makes me love it even more! Fantastic post 🙂

    • Kate, you’re awesome! Thanks so much for your comment. Where are you now? Tell me more! Haha

      • You’re welcome! I’m in Germany right now, pretty much have been travelling around Europe for the last 2 years! It’s been super fun. Looking to expand to outside Europe for trips ASAP and then maybe to relocate again in a year or two 🙂

  • oh gosh, this is so far THE BEST post we’ve ever read or any blogs…
    so true and honest!
    you are right, travelling is not for everyone, but all the people should follow their dreams
    congratulations that you had enough courage to do what you want in your life! you are really amazing person 🙂

    we are bloggers too and recently we wrote simillar to yours
    if you have time- come visit us 🙂
    http://karolinapatryk.com/blog/make-money-online/zero-hero-how-luxury-starts/

  • ah love this post so much. i think people see the glamor in it and don’t realize the effort it takes. thank you for these wise words!

  • Jana

    Wow, I really loved your post. I totally love the message. I moved from Germany to the US and I’m trying to see the US as a way of traveling. I might not travel the world but I get to experience a country in depth that is new to me. I truly hope that I will get a job after graduating from college, that will allow me to travel around. However, I do prefer to have a homebase somewhere that I can return to :). Your blog is inspiring.

    Cheers from LA
    http://www.janacalifornia.com

  • MissLilly

    I have to admit that I’m not sure if I would ever got the gut to quit my job. I was working 16h a day to realise I was letting my life runaway from me. I quit my job just to change to a similar one with less travel and less working hours. Not sure what I would see myself doing, but as you said doing what you love won’t always be easy and requires sacrifice.
    Inspiring post, thank you for sharing

  • Just landed here and will be back. Great site, beautiful photography, and awesome articles. Keep it up, Jinna!

  • Chi-Chi

    This post is deep….it made me think!

    i don’t like my working situation right now; the dream would be to quit and travel the world. but i have regularly thought the implications of quitting, especially the financial implications (low earnings, low savings, debt!)- and that was before i read your post. while it would be difficult, reading your post and blog lets me know that it is possible! i will be searching for a better paid job, so that i start working towards funding my wanderlust!

    http://www.thatgoodgirlchi.blogspot.co.uk

  • Hapinesswherever

    Great post! 🙂 I quite my 9 to 5 (which was more like 9 to 1- am! :P) to travel round the world too 🙂 But I never made it because my Dad got sick 🙁 So I’m enjoying reading about the life I almost had through your blog 🙂 I still vacation though 🙂 Documented on hapinesswherever.wordpress.com 🙂

  • Wow…. what a great and inspiring post! You are so courageous and I admire you for that! I wish you all the best and much prosperity! Thanks for sharing and please feel free to to visit my travel blog!
    http://www.inspireandlove.com
    instagram/twitter:@inspireandlove_

  • Jgirl

    Have you met single moms that have made the leap from hamster wheel to free falling?

  • objettrouve

    Truly Inspiring!

  • This was so inspirational! Love that you made your dreams a reality.. very few people are actually to DO that!

  • Gilded Lifestyle

    LOVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY! THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST…I’M SERIOUSLY INSPIRED!

    thegildedlifestyle.blogspot.com

  • Jia Wertz

    Wow. What an insightful, wonderful blog post. I just quit my cubicle job last July and have gone through many of the same things. Loved reading about your experiences and your advice. Thank you. xo ~Jia

    http://www.shopstudio15.com/