Good Travel Advice and Good Career Advice

A couple of weeks back, during the the now infamous and ill-advised Judgement Week experiment here on ThreadTripping, I sorta kinda laid into Travellerspoint member meadysy5 for seeking advice as to whether he should quit his job to travel.

Before you judge the judger too harshly, bear in mind he currently lives with his parents and was planning to continue living with them once he returned from his extended travels.

But I’m not here to defend my unfairly opinionated take on meadysy5’s poor life choices. No siree. I’m here to offer my unfair, but more positive, opinionated take on Nolegator’s approach to essentially the same dilemma.

I see stories occasionally how people dropping everything and making a motorcycle trip to Alaska or whatever. That sounds awesome, but I feel like people rarely talk about the practical considerations. How much did you save up in advance? How long were you gone? How long did it take you to get back to where you were in your career when you returned? How did you explain your resume gap to employers?

Now that’s the kind of practical, thoughtful, devil-absolutely-cares-attitude to a major life decision that I can get behind. And whereas the general theme in the thread started by meadysy5 was “go for it, you only live once”, Nolegator is receiving much more nuanced advice:

I did this for years. … I wouldn’t change a thing — but it did put a serious dent in my personal finances. I’m basically 10 years behind where I should be financially. However, I don’t think my plan would work today — people have to explain long gaps in employment. And companies aren’t hiring like they used to. ~ScoopLV

I quit and my wife and I took a two year vacation and traveled the world. We had tens of thousands of dollars saved up, and access to a lot of credit just in case. Also had zero financial obligations. ~boxus

I’ve done it a few times. … In the end I think I’d have rather focused on my work or building a relationship, rather than wandering about by myself. … My advice is to bring a girlfriend, or try to meet a girlfriend on the trip. There’s some romanticism to the solo traveler, but it’s mostly in the imagination. Traveling solo is kind of lonely and boring about 50% of the time. These days it’s good to have a job lined up for when you return home. ~Chubsworth

Still, while the general tone of the advice leans conservative, there are more than a few who suggest Nolegator set sail and let this one life take you where it will. Though even they observe some of the practical considerations:

Note a few things:
“I spent 6 months learning how to meditate in Bhutan”
“I spent 4 months in Thailand learning Muay-Thai”
sounds better at a job interview than:
“I took a break from life and went to Alaska for 4 months” ~sandman249

I do this kind of stuff all the time. My longest trip was 16 months, and have done 6+ months 5 times. … I think it’s a lot easier if you do this as a lifestyle. If you only do it once, it could certainly have a negative impact on your career. ~foadi

Although Nolegator is primarily focused on quitting entirely and traveling for months, or even years, several of the respondents in the thread also offer some terrific advice/suggestions as to how a worker bee might negotiate some extended vacations and so not need to quit his/her job and still enjoy lots of travel.

All in all, a very thoughtful discussion about the pros, cons and serious considerations of choosing to embark on long term travel at the possible expense of career/financial goals.

Read the thread in its entirety: People who left a job to go on a long trip – was it worth it?

Image: “Fortune cookie career advice” by Stephen Dann. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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