“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 — 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. 😉