Why I haven’t quit my job to travel !

“Why don’t you quit your job to travel full-time?” is a question that I’m asked quite often.

When I created a separate Contact Page on this blog about 2 years back, it was for a better way to engage with my readers and those wishing to connect with me. Soon, I started getting mails from readers wanting more information about the places I had travelled to or wishing to travel with me in the future; requests for book reviews; invitations to events; PR agencies wanting my contact details for their database; people seeking permission to use my photographs and posts on other sites; people wanting advice on how to start a travel blog and monetise it…

But the most interesting mails come from a group of people who want to know my ‘life story’. In other words, the story of ‘how I quit my job to travel’. This group of people are usually in their early 20s, fresh out of college/university, have never had the experience of working in a job (but hate the idea of a job anyway), and have dreams of making it big in travel blogging / travel writing business. My reply to such mails is usually standard: “that they should read the “About” page on this blog which would tell them that I work full-time, and haven’t quit my job to travel or do anything else”.

The correspondence doesn’t stop here. The next mail usually comes with the question, “Why don’t you quit your job to travel full-time?” or a variation of this. Depending on the tone of the mail and my mood at that time, I either reply with a shorter version of this post or just don’t bother to respond. I know it’s bad practice to not reply but, frankly speaking, I’m fed up with these mails. I’m fed up of replying to people who are convinced that the best way to travel (or do anything in life for that matter) is by quitting their jobs.

I’m so fed up that I decided to write a blog post on “why I haven’t quit my job to travel”. Another reason for writing this post is because the Internet is full of articles and blog posts on how people have quit their jobs to travel or do ‘something meaningful’ (just do a simple search and you’ll know what I mean). There are hardly any articles on why one doesn’t have to or want to quit their job in order to travel or do ‘something meaningful’. In fact, I have come across only one such article so far. This post is a teeny-weeny attempt to correct that imbalance of perception.

There are many reasons, big and small, as to why I haven’t quit my job to travel; I’ll only share the three main ones here.

1. I like my job.

Did I just hear a gasp of surprise from you? I know it’s not the in thing to say that; its more fashionable to say that you hate your job, how you’re a corporate slave, and how you’re feeling burnt out, blah blah, blah. At least this is the indication that many people on my Twitter and Facebook timelines give.

For those of you who still do not know, I have a full-time job. It’s not perfect β€” some days are so stressful that I can’t wait for it to end and some days are so peaceful that I can read a book at work. There are days I hate my job and then there are days I love it to bits. But at the end of it all, I like my job; its as simple as that. It’s a place that has given me a lifetime’s worth of immeasurable learning (that I wouldn’t trade for any number of free trips offered), some incredible people as colleagues (and some forgettable ones as well), and a great team to work with.

Sure, there is job security, a decent salary and a pension to look forward to when I retire, but none of this would have mattered if I didn’t like my job; I would have quit this job for one that I liked.

2. I have multiple interests.

Travel is NOT my only interest; it is just one of the many interests that I have. I love books, music, art, architecture, photography, design, typography and museums with as much passion as I do travel. I also love science, literature, history, geography, geology and anthropology.

Then I like to spend time with my family and friends. By spending time, I don’t mean virtually on Facebook and WhatsApp or interacting with my followers. I mean physically meeting them and spending time with them and hanging out with them. Just last week an old friend, that I hadn’t met in years, came home and it was the best day I’ve had in a long, long time.

What I’m trying to say is I like to give time to all my interests and to all the people in my life. This does not mean that I have a rigid timetable where I follow a particular interest or focus on a particular individual at a particular time; rather it means that I don’t want to be travelling all the time. Period.

3. I write because I travel; I don’t travel to write.

One particularly persistent person did not give up on questioning my decision to continue with a full-time job. She kept saying that a travel blogger has to put travel above everything else and give it 100% time. To which I replied saying that,

When I travel, I give it 100%. But do remember that I write because I travel, I don’t travel because I have to write. There’s a big difference between the two. I can continue travelling if I stop writing, but not the other way round.”

I never heard from her again.


I fail to understand why it is necessary to quit something in order to enjoy something else. I have no problems with people who quit their jobs to do something they love. In fact, I would say 3 cheers to them for following their passion.

However, it is bothersome and irritating to assume and imply that if you don’t quit to follow your passion or your dreams then you are not being true to yourself. It is important to remember that everyone has a different way of following their passions and living out their dreams, and what works for one may not work for the other.

Enough said !

PS: I have lots of exciting plans and dreams and hopes for the future, some of which involve travel and some of which don’t. But none of them involve me quitting my job to travel. πŸ˜‰

47 thoughts on “Why I haven’t quit my job to travel !

    • Thank you, Avinash.

      This post has been in my mind for a long time and at one point I even debated if I should write it or not. But yesterday, when I read a tweet of another 20-something who quit her job to travel after being inspired by another person who quit her job to travel, something in me just snapped. I wrote this post in one stretch, something that is very rare.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Rightly said, Sudha! If you have multiple interests in life, it makes sense to enjoy them all, in equal or unequal measure and if it includes a full-time job, it is even better. Then you can travel and write travel posts for your own enjoyment without worrying about monetising them πŸ™‚ One of the charms of your blog is that it is really a mix of this and that, which makes it interesting to see what is going to come up next! And no, I won’t ask you how to start a travel blog AND how to monetise it πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Zephyr, for understanding what I’m trying to put across.

      The larger and most important point that I’m trying to make in my post is that there is no one way to do things. What is right for me may not be right for someone else. And many of the “Why/How I quit my job to travel” do not give the complete picture – most of them don’t talk about the time spent in planning for that exit, that plan B. And young people, who have never worked in a job, get influenced by this and decide this is what they want to do, not realising that travelling full time is hard work.

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  2. Sudha ma’am, but you must know of some ways to help start a travel blog where I can get paid, and travel, and basically … Oh crap I can’t go on, you know my feelings on this. More power to the workers!! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautifully written, Sudha! and a much needed and much awaited post!!

    throwing in my two bits worth, mine is not a 9 to 5 paying job, but a 24 by 7 unpaid one, and there is no way i can or would quit it to travel, or do anything else. travel as well as all my other interests are meant to be interests which keep me happy… and with all my responsibilities, I manage to travel as much as I can, and enjoy every minute of it. From the planning to the actual trip and returning home, every step is an adventure, and I enjoy the whole process. i get loads of mails from people asking me how i manage to travel, how i manage to get my husband and in laws to approve, and how i manage to drag a kid along everywhere i go… and yes, most of them want to know how they can travel without earning or spending a penny of their own. which, after a point gets irritating. I did begin to pen down something on these lines long back, but I wasnt really happy with it, so it never saw the light of day…. which is why i so looked forward to your post πŸ˜€ Looking forward now to your next one πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Anu. And even happier that you know exactly what I have been trying to say.

      It is irritating and funny at the same time when people start asking “how i manage to travel, how i manage to get my husband and in laws to approve, and how i manage to drag a kid along everywhere i go… and yes, most of them want to know how they can travel without earning or spending a penny of their own.” πŸ˜›

      I really wonder if people want to become travel writers and bloggers because of the free trips and FAMs being offered or if they are genuinely interested in travel. Something to think about, eh ?

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  4. Ha…you are one awesome person Sudha..did anyone tell you that…?? I loved the way you have put forth the point that being passionate about something doesnt mean just leaving everything else..big hugs to you and may your tribe increase πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I quit in order to lead a meaningless life πŸ™‚ I’d say it is different strokes for different folks, Sudha! I suck at multi-tasking and have an OCD-type attitude towards what I do. When I worked, work occupied center-space in my mind to the exclusion of everything else. So, I could not even THINK of what else to do with my life, leave alone actually do it.

    I have always envied people like you, who are able to do multiple things at the same time while giving 100% to each activity WHILE you are doing it. I am incapable of it and so, for me, it became necessary to quit before I ventured out to doing other things. Without the over-arching requirement that work used to impose on every day of my life, I am able to do multiple things as well – one at a time – trek, travel, write, meet people, whatever.

    But, yes, I, too, was enjoying myself for the most part of my working life – to the extent that i used to go to sleep on Friday wanting to wake up on Monday πŸ™‚ Blasphemy, I know, but true. Had it not been for the fact that I rose to the level where my work became more people management and administration (my level of incompetence πŸ™‚ ), I may have found it impossible to stick to my original idea of quitting by 40. But, then, if I were enjoying myself at work, where would have been the need to quit in order to enjoy myself? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d say it is different strokes for different folks…

      That is what I have also said in my post. “It is important to remember that everyone has a different way of following their passions and living out their dreams, and what works for one may not work for the other.”

      My problem is not with people quitting their jobs; my problem is when they make a song and dance about it and paint a rosy picture, without sharing the details of how hard they have worked toward the time when they could quit the job. There are a whole lot people out take it literally without the planning or foresight ! Just yesterday, I read a tweet where the person has grandly announced that inspired by a travel blogger, she too had quit her job to travel ! She is 21 and has worked for all of 3 months and has arrived at this decision.

      Where did you get the idea that I’m a multi-tasker? I have multiple interests that I give 100% to, one at a time, just like you πŸ˜€

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      • I know and I was agreeing with you that you cannot have one solution fitting all people πŸ™‚

        Well – I suck so badly at it that if I think of something as work, then it banishes everything else from my mind as options – except reading and listening to music, which can be unstructured activities. πŸ™‚ In THAT sense, you DO multi-task, compared to me πŸ™‚

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  6. Loved reading this post! I have been managing extensive travel with a not-bad kind of a job for the past year. While I would love to quit, that would be for better work. As you said, travel is one of my many interests and there is so much more to life than just one thing- whatever that may be.

    I’ve joked around many a times that how lovely it would be to get paid for travelling and writing about it, but deep down I feel that once it becomes something which earns bread and butter for you, the passion would not stay. So, I plan to travel as much as my job permits. Because when I want to escape it, I can go see places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Akanksha. I loved your comment and what you have said in succinct manner and so clearly too. Like you there are any people who manage extensive travel and their jobs and homes. Like you, there are many who would like to quit their jobs for better ones. But unlike you, they are not honest about it.

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  7. A fantastic post, Sudha.

    People indeed make all sorts of pre-suppositions. Like you said, following a dream seems to have a prerequisite – you must be a school dropout/you must have quit your job/gone around the world backpacking…I mean, it’s perfectly possible to follow your dreams in less – if I may say so – fantastic ways. You’re certainly doing it well.

    You keep up the good job. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Deboshree. I’m glad that you brought up the issue of education. It bothers me that a lack of formal education, dropping out of school is considered as a short cut to success or sometimes, the means to success. For all it’s faults, formal education is not just about getting a degree, it is much more than that. It is unfortunate that most people don’t see that.

      And backpacking across Europe or the world to find yourself? (PS: It is never across India, it it?) Yeah, that too. πŸ˜›

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  8. Hmm..I can understand perfectly the feeling when people ask such questions..and the moment you say that ” I love my job” …they really do shudder…( how uncool ! they must have uttered inside their mind) πŸ˜€
    As for myself, sometimes I do really find it difficult to manage everything but I love my work, I love my hobbies,..and so many other things that it is impossible to quit anything.:-P
    ..and I just love the line ” I write because I travel; I don’t travel to write.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Maniparna, welcome to my blog. From one ‘uncool’ person to another, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. And I loved your comment, particularly the part about how it is impossible to quit anything, because you love your (shudder πŸ˜› ) work and your hobbies.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Most of us have the ‘wanderlust’ in us. The young experience this more and may sometimes reflect a strong urge to experience different challenges, new cultures, and so on. Very often, this is a carry over from adolescence wherein feelings of resentment towards restrictions imposed by home and society triggers the desire to escape and hence, travel and explore the world.
    In the West, it is common for youngsters to abandon studies and work ( or take a break), and travel–they may sometimes take up small jobs along the way for pocket expenses.
    In India, it seems to be a combination of various factors–most of them come from financially secure families or just think that travelling around the world is fun and an easy to way to earn; they are not necessarily genuinely passionate about learning other cultures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Neena, there is nothing wrong with travel or having wanderlust.

      The problem arises, in my opinion, when they think that travel is the only way to do something meaningful in life. And if someone else pays for their travel all the more better. And then it becomes the only way to do travel. Anybody who does not travel full time and with passion, is not the ‘real thing’

      Like

  10. Absolutely loved this post!! You had me nodding away!

    And yes, I love my job too, despite liking one’s corporate job is so very unfashionable πŸ™‚ Loved the fact that you write because you travel and not the other way around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG Smitha, you are a corporate slave. And you like it? You are so uncool. So unfashionable, etc. etc. πŸ˜›

      Welcome to my blog, Smitha, and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Keep visiting πŸ™‚

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  11. Rightly said Sudha! And your reasons are more realistic than other (bloggers) who also give reasons to stick to their jobs.

    I get many, many mails from newbies who also want to travel like me. They think it’s a glamorous life. πŸ™‚
    They ask me how I manage to travel, how I manage my family (Most of them think I don’t have any πŸ™‚ ). Most importantly they want to know how they can travel without spending a penny!

    They open a travel blog, would have posts that can be counted on your fingers and think they are ready to conquer the world. Nothing wrong in that, except the way they approach it. And then since now they also have a blog, they want to know from me how I get invited. The FREE trips you know. (They are that blunt to ask!)

    What they don’t understand is that I have been travelling since decades now… On my own. Compared to that, invites started happening very recently. And most of my travels are still self-funded.
    I was a working woman too. And I did not quit my job to travel. I was travelling anyway. They think quitting a job is the first step to travel. Taking shortcuts isn’t a solution. Most of them have opened travel blogs just to have free trips.

    Have been wanting to write on similar lines, but just not in that frame of mind.

    Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nisha. Glad to see that this post resonated with someone like you, someone who travels a lot and does other things as well. More power to you, Nisha.

      You are so right when you mention the FREE trips, which, in my opinion is the only reason so many people suddenly want to get into the travel blogging/travel writing business. I will admit here that when I started this blog I did hope that I too would be invited one day. It took 3 years after I started blogging for the first and only invitation to work out. It was an interesting experience, but I prefer to travel on self-funded trips.

      PS: Didn’t know that you used to work πŸ˜‰

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  12. While reading I remember recent post written by Mridula – 5 reasons not quitting job to travel.
    About your post: ‘I write because I travel, I don’t travel because I have to write.’ Well said Sudha ji.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to “My Favourite Things”, Tushar. Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. Glad to know that the line “I write because I travel, I don’t travel because I have to write” resonated with you. πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. For someone to claim that only way to follow someone’s passion is to quit their regular job, is preposterous.
    Does it have anything to do with the way we are brought up, where, we are taught that there can only be 1 right answer to a question? Interesting that someone who was preaching you to follow your passion (and therefore your heart) was telling what your heart should feel!!
    Disclaimer: I have, indeed, quit my day job to follow my passion πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Parijip and welcome to my blog.

      I don’t know where the idea comes from that there is only one right answer. Indian philosophy certainly doesn’t say that, though Western philosophy does. Personally, I feel that it has to do with increasing self-centredness and the need to position oneself as unique and a pioneer in a competitive travel blogging community. Also, devoting compete attention to ‘travel’ does make you more committed and professional than say someone like me who does so many other things and also works full-time !

      Three cheers to you for following your passion. And my very best wishes for your passion to give you everything that you want it to. Cheers πŸ™‚

      Like

    • Neither quitting a job or even working is a “one size fits all solution”, Poonam. The point I have been trying to make if you want to quit a job to follow your passion, fine go ahead. Boy for those who write about it with such passion and feeling, also share the thoughts that go behind it, the planning and the back up plans. Unfortunately. they are rarely written or discussed.

      Thanks, Poonam. Getting comments like yours on this post is quite heartening. I was beginning to think that I was the odd one out. πŸ™‚

      Like

  14. Wonderful post …Thanks for writing this! Besides, if one has a lot of “interests” – having a job lets you have the freedom to “enjoy” these interests without worries about finances or the lack of it. I’m surprised there were people who asked you why are you working – I mean, what kind of a question is that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mansee. Very happy the post resonated with you.

      The reason that I get asked this question is due to the fact that there are so many travel bloggers and writers who have quit their jobs to travel and have written about it. Their decision has been well thought out and executed with a plan. Unfortunately, that is not what a whole lot of wannabe travel bloggers see – they see only a lifetime of travel, and that too sponsored or free travel. They don’t see the hard work and the uncertainty.

      So if some bloggers are taking their travel blogging seriously, why can’t the others take it seriously too? By taking it seriously, I mean quitting their jobs and travelling full time.

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  15. Rightly said, Sudhaji! I do realise what you’re trying to say and it did achieve what it set out to do. The other thing that I have realised lately is that short weekend trips to a particular place are also not a bad option. I completely agree with you on the point that it is important to write about travel and not the other way around.

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    • Thanks, Akshay.

      Short weekend beaks, long, once a year breaks, sabbaticals from work, quitting a full time job to make a living from travel — its an individual choice and how it works for them. As I have been mentioning in my response to comments here my irritation is with people saying that XYZ is the only way to do things.

      You may realise what works best for you; please allow me to choose what is best for me. Thats all I ask.

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  16. Quite right Sudha. Much as I like to travel, I don’t think I can quit my job for it, whether I like it or not! It takes money to travel, and plenty of it even if you travel on a budget, and a job is the only other way to get it! And besides, I am happy with the travel on paid leaves, sabbaticals and weekends!

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    • Exactly the point I have been trying to make, Richa. This is how you have chosen to travel and its perfectly fine. Someone else chooses to quit a job to travel is perfectly fine too. It’s when people climb on their high horse and start saying my way is the only way, that it becomes problematic.

      Happy travelling, Richa. πŸ™‚

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  17. Bang on ! Someone when you make your passion your business, it ceases to remain exciting.

    Adding to it, I have other aspirations other than travel …mundane things like flat, car, food, clothes and need a salary for those πŸ˜€

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    • What yaar, Puru. You want mundane things like “flat, car, food, clothes” when you can travel full time and have someone else pay for it and also make money out of it πŸ˜‰

      But seriously, I agree completely when you say that “when you make your passion your business, it ceases to remain exciting”.

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  18. I needed a post like this to end my day. Sometimes I so wanna leave my job to travel but then I know its not the way to do things. However, those who do not enjoy their work or they wanna do others things more passionately have their own choices. Yes, but quitting job shouldn’t come as an inspired decison.

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  20. I have been a fan of yours since I am on twitter and keep on frequenting your blog from time to time. Yes this is a nice post but as Puru has said when passion becomes business it ceases to be exciting . Great one Sudha. You are an encouragement for lots of bloggers like us

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    • I think there is nothing wrong with following your passion and making a business out of it; most creative people do it anyways. The problem lies when people look at passion as a way of escapism and then monetise it. They fool themselves and others in the process. My problem also is, as I have mentioned in the post and in the comments, is that none of those who have quite their jobs to travel mention their support systems – family, savings, earning partner, freebies received – when they champion quitting your jobs. For an impressionable 20-21 year old, travelling for a job is so romantic and idealistic. You would know that it is not so.

      Thank you, Anindya, for your lovely comment. It feels nice to get appreciation. And more importantly that you are not alone. Thank YOU. πŸ™‚

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