Quit a Career to Travel the World 55

Quit Your Job and Travel the World in 4 steps

Quit your job

Ready to escape yet?


1. Who’re you lying to (common objections)

2. Quit your job

3. Plot your escape


Is your boss an asshole? (don’t say yes if you’re self employed). Maybe you just have that feeling that you’ve got better things to do with your time than make someone else rich? That’s how I felt before I quit my job to follow my dream of seeing the world. Long term travel was something I had always wanted to do but life somehow always got in the way. I made the decision to quit my job and travel the world, here’s how I did it and how you can too. The choice I made to quit my job and travel the world was simple and can be echoed by anyone of any age, kids are no excuse either and nor is not having any money, ultimately the only thing holding you back from your dream of seeing the world is you, take the idea to travel long term seriously, it may be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Bungee Jump Travel Picture

The lazy tourists bucket list 
Long term world travel seems to be one of those things everyone says they want to do but seem to never actually get around to doing. In fact, I’d put it in almost the same category as ‘become a millionaire’ and ‘make a movie’. Theres nothing wrong with wanting these things but people never cross the line in the sand between just wanting them and actually doing them. Even the wording of the idea is generic, if ‘See the World’ is all you want to do then look at a globe and shut up. I know people who equate seeing the world to vacationing somewhere with palm trees once a year. Not really what I had in mind. I’d compare this idea of travel to reading the back of a biology book and thinking you know enough to write a thesis on the subject.

When I tell people i’m going overseas for more than a year of travel they usually just shake their heads and say, “I wish I could just quit my job and travel too”. The inspiration for this page, I wanted to put together a good resource together on the subject of quitting a career to travel the world. The most common objection to going long term travel today seems to be that people believe they can’t take the time off work. With between 55% and 61% of people today being unsatisfied with their jobs, this major excuse seems to boil down to people not doing what they want, because they’re too busy doing something they hate… Okay, well that make absolutely no sense. Supporting yourself financially overseas has never been easier and if you’re not working for money why the hell are you working as opposed to doing the things you have always wanted to do?


1) Who’re you lying to? (dismiss common objections)

Machu Picchu - travel picture

Been to Machu Picchu yet?

Before I quit my job I was working in a promising career at a good office and a good company, I just never made time to do the one thing I was truly passionate about, traveling the world. There are so many things we can use as an excuse not to take the idea or the dream of travel seriously like a job or mortgage but when you eventually stumble home there’s nothing stopping you from just picking up where you left off. Below are some of the more common objections that I see in other people (or have experienced myself) and the best ways to get around them.

Isn’t it dangerous?
Depends on what you’re planning on doing (maybe avoid land-diving in Vanuatu) but for the most part no, not really. The media have done a fantastic job of scaring most people when it comes to foreign countries and greatly exaggerating the dangers to foreigners. Think about this for a fact: the USA has a higher homicide rate than Palestine, yet every second story on the news is about the dangers of the Middle East. I follow several travellers who have had amazing journeys through the Middle East and Africa who can’t stop reiterating how safe they felt and how lovely the people were. While you can’t deny that there are areas of the world you should probably avoid. Central Honduras anyone? The vast majority of countries around the world are just as safe as your home to travel in as long as you practice some basic common sense (as you would at home anyway).

What about my kids?
Back in the day, long term travel used to be as much a part of a person’s education as structured learning was, it was actually a requirement for many university grads to travel and experience their professions in other places. There are many good examples of families weighing anchor and journeying around the world together very successfully like the Carlton or the Bradley families. There are some really fantastic sites like Families on the Road or My Family Travels who argue that the experience is actually a far better education than an average school year with kids growing up with more well rounded and worldly experiences than their peers. Even when you get back from your travels, (assuming you do decide to come back at all), a small break in structured learning will hardly affect a child’s education at all. I missed the 3rd grade all together, going straight from the 2nd to the 4th due to moving from Australia to Hong Kong which had literally no impact on my long term education (I now hold BA and MA degrees).

Jordan travel Picture

It’s just not the right time..
Fact: It’s never going to be the right time, things will always crop up and life always gets in the way. The horrible mentality of procrastination is something I can relate to, I put off my departure time for months because I just wanted to finish one more thing before I left, month after month. There will almost never be a shining window of opportunity in your life you can take advantage of where nothing else going on. You might need to quit a good job or leave a partner behind (if they can’t or won’t come) maybe you want your kids to grow up a little more than they are now, whatever it is, ask yourself if this is just another excuse or a legitimate concern and then set a date in the future you can work towards and stick to that date like glue. The time may never seem quite right but you need to do it anyway, make the time, find a way around things in your life and realise that most things can simply be picked back up upon your return (especially jobs) with few if any consequences. Tim Ferriss has a good blog post on letting bad things happen that somewhat applies here.

I don’t have enough money!
Since this page is mostly about quitting your job to pursue long term travel i’m going to assume you do have a job to quit in the first place. If you have a job you probably have some money, while not many of us can traverse the globe at whim, skipping from resort to resort at the drop of a hat, most people have enough money to travel far further and for a longer period of time than they think. It’s quite easy to travel for very little money as Tim Patterson explains in his article here.  Derek Baron (aka Wandering Earl) has been on the road for about 12 years now and laid his finances out pretty clearly in this post, Earl shows exactly how little money he started with on his journey (only $1,500) and how he got to where he is now through working a combination of odd jobs and consciously planning to travel cheaply.  The point im making is that it is entirely possible to travel the world with far less money than you might think and certainly less money than the media will lead you to believe.

Work out your living expenses at home and then compare these to your expenses while traveling and the costs associated with living abroad, I’ve found I can actually live far cheaper overseas than at home. I’ll go through a random month of my expenses, which I track monthly (because i’m weird). Please note, I did live in Perth, one of the worlds most expensive cities, (I’d call paying $5 for a small coffee a good deal).

Monthly Expenses (January 2012)

  • Rent $720 (a bargain)
  • Fuel $210
  • Groceries $187
  • Entertainment & Eating out $655
  • Beer $95
  • Bills/misc monthly costs $220
  • Speeding/parking fines $175
  • Clothes $110
  • Harmonica (decided to start learning) $10
  • Physio appointment $95

Total: $2,477

Compare these costs with living abroad for a month and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much cheaper it can be, even when living in some of the more traditionally expensive cities like New York or London. Here’s a fantastic post about how to live abroad for less than $1,000 a month. Compared to my living expenses in January, that sounds pretty damn good.

The biggest expense for a traveller is accommodation. There are now some really good options for reducing (or removing) this major drain on the budget. Websites like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Global Freeloaders and hostel aggregators like Hostelworld or Gomio give travellers the information they need to find free or heavily reduced accommodation prices online and save some very serious cash.

When it comes to earning an income while away there have never been more options than today. The internet has become the medium that enables anyone to connect with a market opening the doors of online entrepreneurship and the giving everyday people the key to becoming location independent. There are some great sites that cater for just this type of content covering basic how to’s through to travel hacking and outsourcing, sites like Location Independent or Numomad are really worth looking into if you think this may be an option. Other income generating options include the more traditional methods like teaching english or WWOOFing (organic farm work). There are also entire communities and networks setup for starting or continuing careers overseas like Transitions Abroad or Overseas Jobs if you wanted to (or are able to) take your job along with you. Another great method for reducing your costs overseas is finding work in some sort of contra capacity where you may work a day two a week in exchange for cheaper accommodation from a hostel, food or some other similar deal. The best way to find these opportunities is through asking other travellers for advice in each location, on hostel notice boards or just by enquiring at the hostels themselves.

The Northern Lights travel picture

But I don’t speak XXX language!
A largely redundant objection as most countries around the world today teach English to their kids in school as a second language and even if they can’t speak enough to write you a thesis about Shakespeare, many people from all over the world still understand enough English for you to get by. Countries that don’t speak English as their first language will very often (especially in the larger cities) have english signage or well enough presented symbolic signage to give you a good enough indication of meaning for you to get around just fine. In my experience there are also countless helpful locals around, generally if you look lost enough, someone will always offer to help. There’s an app for that now too, with translation based apps appearing in all the major app markets, so far i’m a little sceptical of their accuracy and have yet to test them fully in my travels but there’s no doubt they will eventually get good enough to be an essential tool in far flung foreign areas.

But how will I pay my mortgage?
If you’re not in a position to pay 100% of your mortgage while you’re away why not look into getting the place tenanted or explore other options like listing your house on AirBnB or Homeaway, fantastic sites that place homeowners with travellers looking to rent locally rather than stay in a hotel or hostel. I know several people who not only cover their mortgage like this but actually make a small profit each month while they travel abroad.


2) Quit your job

How to Quit your job - Travel picture

2 steps to a successful resignation

So you’ve made up your mind to leave you job and travel the world? Fantastic! Now you just need to quit your job, which can be a daunting process, fortunately there are loads of great resources out there to help you along like iresign or the plethora of other career advice sites and blogs around the web, Google is your friend here.

Tips on how to quit a job with style
Go out with a bang, jump instead of being pushed, however you phrase it giving your boss the finger would be just plain awesome right? Well as long as you don’t mind burning a few bridges, here are some fantastic ideas to quit your job in memorable style. Use these ideas as your inspiration and go nuts.. then tell me all about it in the comments!

  • Hire a marching band and announce your resignation with a glorious musical version of the middle finger.
  • Develop a computer game. An independent game developer in Australia adapted a version of Mario to tell his superiors in no roundabout way that he just quit after each level. Try it out here.
  • Code up a script to pop-up on your desktop letting you boss know that you will not be back on Monday.
Quit a job in style - travel picture
  • Use Social media like Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Carezone who wrote a Haiku style poetic tweet to the world announcing that he was leaving (and all in just 140 characters).

The Perfect Resignation Letter
When I was still studying I worked a number of terrible jobs and once wrote a resignation letter that still makes me smile when I read it. It was sent to my employer (a large national retailer in Australia) who had a terrible track record with it’s employees. After a heated discussion with my manager I quit over the phone, then wrote the letter below. This was my actual resignation letter, which I sent to every store nationally as well as state and national managers in Sydney, I still read it with pride, I hope this inspires you enough to do the same.

Dear XXX,

I’m writing to you to let you know that I have officially resigned from XXX effective immediately. I have been working at XXX in the XXX store for around 18 months now and from my initial start date my fellow inmates and I soon realised that the company appears to be run by a board comprised of only Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy and Genghis Khan. My work days start with the feeling of impending doom and usually end with graphic thoughts of what it would be like to strangle XXX, my store manager. Each day I suffer such a constant assault to my intelligence that in comparison hiroshima got off lightly. I quit the job today on a packed train while on the way to work after a heated discussion with XXX, where I told her quite loudly to go fuck herself prompting the guy next to me to give me a hi-five, I then also received a round of applause from nearby fellow commuters. I can safely say that the best thing about working for XXX so far has been quitting. I hope my abrupt resignation causes you to lose money due to the XXX store not being opened all day and also get’s your attention like an unexpected and non-lubricated finger in the ass. In short, go to hell, I hope your business fails, you have been truly horrible to work for, and I strongly encourage every other XXX employee to follow my lead and quit their jobs without notice.

Kind regards,
Peter Shaw


3) Plot your escape



When it comes to planning, generally I like to have a rough idea of my activities at a destination but leave plenty of space for movement as plans change, I also like to set specific dates to work towards like entry or exit dates for countries or continents that you can book flights around. Some of my best experiences I’ve had while travelling have been the things I never planned on doing and the opportunity just presented itself.

I have used most of the more popular guidebook publishers including Lonely Planet as well as Rough Guides, Footprints and Let’s go. To be honest they are each so similar and all crammed full of pretty good info I’d just go with the cheapest or most convenient at the time (as long as it was a recent edition). There is also lot’s of great online support with plenty of independent travel sites to help you plan things as you go. I would be wary of over planning a trip, I wrote  a post on planning here,  which outlines some of how I recommend doing it. I really don’t think you need to plan too much in advance even if you’re a bit anal about your organisation, it’s a massive headache and your plans will always end up changing.

Accommodation 101
It’s the largest expense you’ll have, but finding the best, cheapest or simply the most awesome accommodation has never been easier with sites like AirBnb or couchsurfing. I have stayed with friends, crashed on couches, rented apartments style and used plenty of hostels, hotels and even top line resorts in my time. How to handle this part of your journey comes down to personal preference and of course, your budget.

I like to get down and dirty with the locals so my thing is more the Airbnb and Couchsurfing style of accommodation, which also really helps my budget stretch that much further. I also like to get out of my comfort zone when I travel so staying with local people in some manner makes for (in my opinion) a better experience, which includes staying with friends or relatives, crashing on a local persons sofa or finding a place in advance with AirBnB or Couchsurfing style services.

Lonely Fishing HutHostels are a good alternative if you don’t like the idea of staying with someone or renting from the general public. While you won’t be rubbing shoulders directly with the locals you will meet far more travellers using hostel type accommodation. I have had many great experiences in hostels but also a few bad ones, as a rule they are definitely getting better as time goes on especially given the amount of review style sites out there today travellers can use to make more informed decisions. Sites like Yelp, Google places and the hostel portals like Gomio and Hostel World which include reviews can really help you pin down the better places available in each location. If you are not looking for a party every night there are plenty of hostels who cater for older crowds, just make sure you do your research as there’s nothing worse than beer bongs, body paint and drum&bass when you’re trying to catch up on your Sudoku.

I generally don’t stay in too many hotels or resort style accommodation unless i’m somewhere that has a currency that’s makes it viable, however if this is your thing or you’re not staying somewhere for too long (or you’re just plain loaded and don’t give a fuck), go nuts. In my opinion swapping your widescreen TV at home for one overseas is not exactly my idea of experience based travel but it is really nice to splurge every so often. Travel to your own style and if hotels fit in with that style, book away, there are plenty of great hotel finder style sites like: Agoda, Hotels.com, Expedia or Kayak to get you the best deal.

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find more flight price aggregator websites online now than you’ve had hot dinners. I like to use wego.com as it will search the other major site portals like Kayak or Expedia as well as the airlines themselves and generally gets me pretty consistently cheap flights. Otherwise there are similar sites like Expedia, Kayak, Hipmonk and Travelocity that do the same thing, try a few out, some will also include hotel finders but compare and use what works for you. Do I use a travel agent to book flights? Sometimes, I generally use agents to help me plan but this really depends on the tip itself, here’s a great bit of info about the pros and cons of buying a round the world (RTW) ticket. Some trips are more conducive to being booked yourself using a series of one way flights, other trips, where you have a set amount of time or destinations in mind may be better suited for a RTW style ticket. Generally I’ll get flight advice from an agent then book the flight online or even pair agent against agent if they have price matching policies to get an ultra low priced flight.

General Tips before you’re set

Pretty basic but just ensure you have one and that it is valid at least 6 months past your last destination. I wrote a post about applying for a passport recently which explained just how annoying it can be, so make sure you do it early, long before your flight.

Make sure that you know the visa specifics for each destination you’re heading to on your travels. It can be really frustrating applying for some of the less touristy destinations but on the other hand there are some really handy visa agreements between countries, like Europe’s Schengen Convention which can really simplify things, just ensure you look into it before buying any tickets. I use VisaHQ to check all visa requirements.

Depending on where you’re going you may need to be immunised against certain diseases. I would strongly recommend seeing a travel doctor before heading off, and ensure you see one early enough as some injections need time to be effective or additional booster style shots to ensure you remain immune over longer periods of time.

A gigantic pain in the ass but unfortunately a necessary one, especially when visiting the USA, who’s healthcare system is about as crooked as Robert Mugabe. Make sure you have unlimited (or effectively unlimited) medical as in the USA you are literally one accident away from bankruptcy. I use WorldNomads  who have been pretty extensively recognized as the best international travel insurer by organisations like Lonely Planet and National Geographic.Travel Documents

There are been hundreds of good posts on money management for travellers, check out a few of the best ones in the link section or just get your Google on. I use a credit card with zero fees across the board internationally (yep it’s awesome) called 28 degrees but this is probably only available to Australians, I load it up with money before I leave and withdraw cash out as I go, I use online banking to transfer cash from my bank account  to keep it paid and topped up. Look into similar credit card products in your relevant country for similar cash versatility.

Another good option is online bank ING Direct, I use an ING direct account to keep an emergency fund of $1000 with a separate bank card (kept separately from my main cards/cash) for emergencies only. If you are travelling with a partner, ensure you have a card each and both have access to the account. I generally use a traveler’s Money Belt to keep my money safe on on my person, and ensure that I have multiple copies of important documents, again kept separately as well as digital versions in the cloud. I also have 2 spare credit cards that I can use if I need to. I’ve found that Mastercard is more accepted internationally than Visa with Amex being a very distant third (by a long way).

Here’s how Tim Farriss does it, he claims to travel with less than 10 pounds, the point here is that you should pack as light as you are able. The old cliche of only taking half the stuff you think you’ll need is actually a pretty good way to go about packing. You will always accumulate stuff as you go, even if you try not to, so account for it by taking less to start with. Here’s a general list I use:

5 pairs of undies and socks
2 pairs of shorts (including bathers, which for me double as shorts too)
2 pairs of long pants – jeans and cargos
A few shirts including a long sleeve shirt
Good walking shoes
Flip-flops + hat

If you’re going somewhere cold obviously jackets, beanie and thermals are included also. Don’t forget that unless you’re planning on going to the Antarctic you will be able to buy stuff as you go so don’t stress about leaving something behind. Here are a few other small things I like to make sure I pack.


4) Don’t miss the flight!

Travel the world picture

Think about where you’d rather be?

If you have actually read all the way down i’m impressed, and pretty sure you don’t need any more convincing so hurry up and quit your job, plan your trip, start packing and hit the airport. If you’re still not sure, go back up to the objections and reread that section then head to the links section to see just how easy things like planning have become. Always remember that your cubicle will still be there when you get back (if you still want it), and life will go on just fine without you. I can’t even list the number of people I’ve met, who after leaving their jobs to see the world have had absolutely no regrets about the decision, now compare that to how you would feel if you didn’t go.. I hope the view of your office wall is nice!! Go and see the world and when you eventually come home I guarantee you’ll be glad you went and you’ll have a bucket list a good bit lighter.

Missed anything? – Let me know in the comments.


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55 thoughts on “Quit a Career to Travel the World

  1. Reply Melissa Oct 9,2012 5:04 am

    Funny how I actually live in central Honduras and I feel scared to leave and travel alone.

  2. Reply taz Feb 25,2013 1:11 pm

    Hey just wonted to know your thoughts i got $2000 dollers to start my trip its going to take about $1400 to get out of the usa if i cant get a working ride on a boat $600 is all i will have when i land that going to be good or do i need to save more ??

    • Reply Pete Mar 1,2013 4:02 pm

      Totally depends on where you’re going and for how long. Somewhere like Aisa, that $600 can go pretty far, especially if you try and do things on the cheap. Do you have any more details on your plans?

  3. Reply Dwayne Mar 4,2013 3:21 pm

    Love this Pete! Thanks for the tips.

  4. Reply Dave M Mar 8,2013 5:23 pm

    I travelled the world from late 1974 to early 1978 but didnt get further than the Far East (after Europe and Asia) as you find yourself spending much more in each place when you have no specific timetable. I used to go with the flow. I am a qualified Accountant and just handed in my notice as I wanted to see other countries and cultures – I was just not bothered about my career. Four years later I got back into it and have had a pretty successful career. I must endorse the travel light policy – initially I started with a ruck sack, tent etc. Soon changed that – the only thing missing from the list is a diary and book (only one as you swap them). The other thing to mention is whether you travel with someone or alone. I did both. Alone is more interesting but sometimes disconcerting. You need to be a good judge of character and must watch out for some nationalities who have a reputation for ripping people off.

    • Reply Pete Mar 9,2013 2:26 pm

      Thanks for the comment Dave, I totally agree about how an open timeline affects your movements. I think also the benefits of travel will often give you an edge in the work world. Great call about the diary, but being a nerd at heart, I’ll replace diary with smartphone and book with Kindle, simply due to the flexibility these products give. – Actually i’ve been meaning to write a post about travel companions. This is actually an area I think that can cause some dramas in relationships especially with friends, often spending too much time with someone can cause a few issues. Travelling alone has it’s advantages too but also it’s drawbacks as you mention.

  5. Reply Johnny Mar 14,2013 12:13 pm

    I have recently got back from travelling from Singapore to England overland for 2 years. Never found language a problem even in the remotest parts of China (Kazak border. Booked flights 1 way and did visas as I went. Also, a key is understanding requirements to extend visas helps a lot. China for instance allowed me to extend 3 times and it took 24 hours each time. Kazakstan wouldn’t allow extension at all.

    Over the 2 years I spent $26000 and stayed in reasonable quality hotels, hostels all the way.

    If you are thinking about it just do it.

  6. Reply Leah May 17,2013 6:03 pm

    I love most of this but it’s obviously written from the point of view of a single man 😛 Therefore not all of it is true for everyone. The bit in particular I’m thinking of is where you say “Fact: It’s never going to be the right time, things will always crop up and life always gets in the way.” Yes… and no. I look forward to travelling for a year or two (or who knows, maybe more?) one day, but I don’t want to do it now. Why? Two main reasons: 1) I want to have bought a house before we go, so we can rent it out to use as income. 2) My husband and I are in our mid-20s and hope to have kids in the next few years. As we want me to be a stay-at-home mum, this means if we are going to afford a house on one income we need to be working and saving as much as possible now. My husband works in IT and so has potential to work online on the road, but I don’t really. Also, while I look forward to taking kids on the road, I don’t want to be HAVING kids on the road. I want to be at home in the city I grew up in, near family, when I have babies and small children.

    Therefore, in order to pay off a house as soon as possible and have kids at home near family, I would rather not go off and travel long-term right now… unless my husband scores a nice-paying job which he can do remotely 😉 We could travel, come home for a few years to have kids, then keep travelling! I don’t want to travel forever, I love being near my friends and family too much, but I look forward to spending a good chunk of time doing it 🙂 (And we are thinking of doing a working holiday to the UK for a year or so before kids!)

  7. Reply Shanelle Jun 8,2013 12:45 pm

    Hi, thanks SO much for this information. While researching I stumbled upon this post. I wanted to know if you could tell me your favorite places to travel. I live in NYC and I’m trying to map my trip out now. I’m looking to get started in January 2014 for ideally 6months to 1 year… So im looking for as much advise as possible. I appreciate all feedback! Thank you!!

    • Reply Pete Jun 8,2013 6:44 pm

      Hi Shanelle, No worries at all, sounds like things are coming together, love NYC BTW.
      Well too be honest it’s hard to pick a single place. Everywhere is different and you can have good experiences almost everywhere you go, which is one of the best things about long term travel, often you have great experiences when you were really not expecting them and the things you were ‘planing’ on enjoying don’t stack up to you expectations haha.
      I loved Japan, simply because the culture is so unique and you can really dive deep into it. Europe offers a pretty unique experience since there are so many different countries in such a small space. I’m currently having an absolute ball in Ireland. Asia offers the best ‘value’ and there are some amazing things to do and see across Asia. I have yet to venture down to South America, however I’ve heard amazing things (also frustrating things, mush like Asia) I also particularly enjoyed travel in South East Asia.

      It really depends on a number of things: 1) Your budget 2) How you enjoy to travel (fast or slow..) 3) Your travel companions.
      I would say this though as general advice:
      – Set a daily budget that’s realistic.
      – The best time I’ve had on a road have been shared with other people (met them or companions).
      – Accommodation will be the biggest expense you have.
      – You’ll get really, really tired.
      – I enjoy breaking up accommodation between hostels and more private quieter places.
      – Cities are fun but I really enjoy getting out of them into the country.
      – Having a car is obviously more expensive but give you far more freedom, so maybe pick a few places to explore by car.
      – It’s absolutely 100% worth it.

      Hopefully this helps a little, if you wanted more specific info just let me know 🙂

  8. Reply Tiffany Jun 8,2013 2:55 pm

    Thank you. After today, I needed to read this. Amazing what you find when you search the web for “how to quit your job and travel”. Very informative and entertaining too. Departing in February is now my goal.

  9. Reply Laura Jun 30,2013 12:23 pm

    I’m only 17 and all I’ve done for as long as I can remember is dream about traveling the world. I graduate soon and am working on planning for the future. This article was extremely useful. I had thought about getting a Job saving enough money and then quitting but this article has helped me feel more confident about taking it into consideration as a major option. I truly want to go everywhere and am finding it hard to plan which places I want to see the most. In all honesty I just wanna get to Europe backpack and find my way around almost just going with the flow but feel that is not possible. I know i am still young but traveling the world is something I can’t picture my life without and I haven’t even done it yet.

    • Reply Pete Jul 1,2013 3:03 am

      Thanks for the comment Laura. That’s great! Go for it, you’re never too young to see the world, save a bit before you go as many places in Europe can be quite expensive compared to say somewhere in Asia. don’t worry about planning too much and too far ahead as things do change. Why not, set a saving goal, set and ‘leave by’ date and work towards that? It’s totally possible to go with the flow, especially when travelling in small groups or alone, but I like to make some ‘skeleton’ plans before I leave, giving me some form of structure to stick to. Good luck with things, let us know how you go!

  10. Reply Amy Jul 28,2013 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I visited America for 3 weeks in 2011 ans have had a buzz for it since. Something always held me back. This time I will do this. I am planning Thailand in Decmeber. I am going to teach English as I go along. I have no plan apart from this initial one. I know it’s the right thing to do as my heart is acheing for it.! I am planning on starting with 2000GBP and going from there. I am so excited and your blog had inspired me even more.! Thank you so much.

    • Reply Pete Aug 5,2013 1:44 am

      Hi Amy, thanks for the kind words, very glad the site has helped you with some travel inspiration! Sounds like a good plan, I have 2 friends who have just moved to Germany to do the same and are having a blast so far. I love Thailand, especially the north of the country, 2K pounds will take you pretty far in SE Asia as your costs will be very low, then if you could supplement this with working a little, money will only be an issue if you drink too many cocktails! So sounds like a fantastic plan, let us now how you go 🙂

  11. Reply Dara Aug 1,2013 6:09 am

    What about volunteering overseas? You mentioned working “odd jobs” but how would one find those? Everytime I come back to the possibility of long-term travel, I always find myself coming back to the idea of not only viewing the local population of the geographical location I’d be in but living in it like they do. However, I do not know exactly where to start. Many programs that coordinate volunteering abroad look fantastic on their website, but anyone can put up a picture of a happy smiling American on a site. Do you have any experience with any organizations in particular? Thanks for reading this!

    • Reply Pete Aug 5,2013 1:38 am

      Hey Dara, thanks for the comment and very good question. Totally agree that the best way to get to know a culture is by living with/like them for a while. Volunteering is a great way to do this to a point. There are some things to consider when it comes to volunteering pro’s and con’s as it were. On the up side you will have a very unique experience, do something positive and meet local and fellow travellers along the way. On the down side, it is often actually fairly expensive to do, with the the traveller bearing sometimes large chunks of the costs, so in many cases the volunteer will pay a larger amount of money to go somewhere and help then they would have just by visiting the region not in any volunteering capacity, (not always true but it’s surprising), so there are budgetary issues to take into account to. From what I have heard programms canbe quite structured and inflexible too. Personally I have never actually done any OS volunteering (heartless i know!:) so I really can’t speak from first hand experience, just from observations of friends and people I’ve met who have done some form of volunteering while away, all have said largely positive things about volunteering but I think it comes down to what sort of experience you’re looking for as to whether you should give it a crack instead of just visiting a region on your own. I’ll see if I can chase up who they went through and let you know. Hopefully this helped a little.

      • Reply Laura Sep 24,2013 10:02 pm

        Volunteering really is an amazing way to really get involved in a culture. I agree that the costs can be an inhibitor when using a volunteering agency. Your best bet is to go straight to an NGO (non government organisation) without using an agency intermediary. It can be a little scary, but if you do your research and speak to former volunteers then it feels more secure.

        If you’re interested in East Africa then CALM Africa are great to work with in Uganda. They are a small, local group with a volunteer house. The cost to stay there is less than you would pay in a hostel in the region and includes all meals, accommodation, transport to and from site.

  12. Reply Elizabeth Aug 25,2013 7:50 am

    Thanks so much for the mention 🙂 I was raised in the nomadic, multicultural lifestyle that we are raising our little one. And although I must admit I am a bit odd (lol) I loved my childhood. Whether it was climbing a mountain in Kenya or studying for a summer at Oxford, it rocked. Your kids will love it 🙂 More and more families adopt this lifestyle out of necessity too, they just can’t afford the insane health insurance rates, house rentals in the US or UK, and the pay sucks. Simplicity has become my motto really, and that is what travel ultimately is: letting go of the BS and crappy products one owns and adopting a simple life.

    • Reply Pete Aug 25,2013 4:42 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, the less you want the more you have 🙂 Your childhood sounds great! I was born in HongKong and fluttered back and for between Asia and Australia for a while but it wasn’t nomadic at all really. I thin it’s a really interesting way to raise a family and more parents should explore their options in this regard. It’s funny how cheap it can be too especially when you actually break down your costs at home, granted you will probably need some income while abroad so some jobs/skills lend themselves to the lifestyle better than others but what a cool experience!

  13. Reply Meet Aug 30,2013 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the info Pete

    Me and my fiancee are planning to leave next year in November (for now and if I can resist after reading your article). We just bought a house (in June) and will be renting it out when we leave. Do you think the jobs we will get overseas will be enough to cover a part of our mortgage and still keep us going? I’m in Marketing and my partner is an Occupational Therapist.

    • Reply Pete Aug 30,2013 3:41 pm

      Cool, nice plan. Congrats on everything, sounds like you guys are going to be busy with travel, house and wedding all at once! Keeping the place tenanted will be the best thing you can do with the house I think. Working depends on where you are planning on going and also things like Visas in those countries. Where were you guys heading?

  14. Reply Tim Sep 4,2013 2:11 pm

    Great read and very reassuring information for anyone with that nagging dream to travel.

    Just one question, how do you upkeep the website on the road? Just search out cafe wifi to do your blog updates? And all your personal storage is through cloud storage?
    I’m guessing cloud storage hasn’t always been available and you’ve probably perfected things over the years, but what sort of tips would you have for things like setting up your phone contract, or managing your IT stuff as a traveler.


    • Reply Pete Sep 5,2013 12:51 am

      Great question Tim. Well to be honest I find that it’s actually easier than ever to find internet overseas.. even in the remote Philippines (im talking proper rural) internet is only a short bike ride away.. ok it’s not that fast but it is usable.. most third world countries are kind of going through the internet revolution that the West went through in the early 90’s. The net is becoming very available for everyday people all over the world (usually though a cafe style place and wifi). I use the cloud more then ever, most things I use are through Google (since they are generally free), email, drive, spreadsheets, images etc… also I always bring a notebook with me everywhere I go, where I write posts among other things generally when I’m travelling, be it bus, trains or flights, so posts are usually sorted before I get online, I just need wifi or a net cafe to actually post things or check details. Things like phones I usually will run with local sims in either my iphone or a crappy local $10 phone so no contracts at all, which saves money. Also Skype is your best friend, as long as you have a semi good connection phone calls are easy and cheap, far better than buying a phone card IMO. I have tried going OS with a tablet and no laptop but I like to mess with things that a tablet just can’t really handle (yet), I love digital art and stiff that requires programs tables can’t handle or run well so I need something more powerful atm, I LOVE my iphone as overseas Google maps and other apps a smartphone can run are really, really useful. Generally I run with a small laptop and Iphone and that’s pretty much it for IT. Hopefully this answers your Q, hit me back if not 🙂

  15. Reply E Sep 8,2013 2:32 am

    Some people would love to do this but realistically cannot quit their jobs because, depending on their citizenship, visa applications may require proof of their employment and enough money in the bank to fully support themselves for the duration of their trip. Using vacation time rather than quitting, or securing a job overseas BEFORE leaving, would be the best way in that case. Just a word of warning. I speak from experience. 🙂

    • Reply Pete Sep 11,2013 10:58 pm

      Great advice. I have found that if you save up your leave (in a full time job capacity) you can get a very decent trip happening. I went to Japan on my leave alone 2 years ago and spent 5 weeks their straight. I was lucky enough to have an employer who was willing to let me go for that period of time yet I guess the point i’m trying to make is if you focus your time in one location you can get a very good feel/experience out of a destination with leave time only. The best part of doing this is that for most of it you get paid 🙂 The downside if that you only get so many leave days per year and if like some employers do you have to take ‘forced’ leave (usually around the holidays) then your time/dates are somewhat restricted..

  16. Reply Carly Oct 1,2013 4:53 pm

    Hi Pete,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great article and site.

    I am from Adelaide, 32 years old and very seriously considering packing up and going for a year. The thing I think that is holding me back is the worry about what I will do when I get home. I working in marketing/web design and have a good job, a new house with a shiny new mortgage, decent car, cat, and am nervous that by leaving my job I may have a lot of trouble finding one when I return – stupid I know, but still…not to mention what I will do with all my stuff.

    Did you have a plan when you first left to only be gone for a year? Did you have a contingency plan in place and then just decided to keep going?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply Pete Oct 11,2013 11:25 pm

      Hey Carly,

      Well to be honest I didn’t have too much planned, just thought I would pack it all in for a while and let the pieces fall where they may. Now 11 months later I would never change my decision for anything, the experiences i’ve had in the past (almost) year have been irreplaceable and it’s honestly been one of the best, most memorable times in my life. Everyone’s situation is different though, and I certainly had less ‘commitments’ when I left. What capacity are you in web design? Is it possible to do the job remotely? – If that’s an option it could be a great way to pay your way as you go. I wasn’t too fussed about getting jobs when I got home since i would be happy to move anywhere the work was (Again less commitments I suppose) so I guess I just presumed i’d have lots of options still. I had a great job before I left, well paid and with fun people, so we were in the same boat there. Certainly can’t tell you what to do, only that if I didn’t go I would have regretted it.

      Hopefully this helps a little 🙂

  17. Reply Mooshie Nov 4,2013 4:49 am

    Dude, i totally stumbled across your site today after 6 months of planning my second 1 year trip away. If only i had a website like this 10 years ago when i went on my first life-time experience.

    You have helped me explain to family and friends that it is more common to do this than they previously thought. People at work are inspired by me, now they read your website and are too thinking of ditchin these damn cubicle walls, flickin the birdy to the boss and heading to the airport.

    Thanks for re-assuring me that i am doing the right thing ( for me ) and quiting this god-forsaken shithole. Just wishing now i had a marching band to hire.

    I have 102 days to go before taking off without a return ticket home and i cant want to see the back of this place. In saying this, your website has alot of valuable information on it! Thank you! And trust me… if i get to go see that useless clock, i will be sure to film peoples reactions just so i can have a laugh!

    I hope you travel safe and explore a new country with a free spirit, knowing that there aint no boss to ride your ass! 😉

    Your fellow Nomad,


    • Reply Pete Nov 4,2013 9:55 pm

      Thanks Mooshie! Loved your comment, reminded me why I left in the first place, always great to hear from a fellow traveller! Stay safe and travel well mate, sounds like you have a great one planned!

  18. Reply Cindy Mar 27,2014 5:57 am

    Hi Pete,

    Thank you for this great article and funny pictures (I like the one with “how to quit your job”!).
    I think that the hardest part is to focus and think for ourselves. To be selfish. I mean by that, just to give a f*** about what other people think about our decision. The one saying “please stay a little bit longer until the end of XXX work project”, or “get a new step in your career before quitting, it’s good for your CV”, or “you should save a least 12k€ to travel a year, and afterwards what are gonna do?!”, or “wait a little bit before selling the apartment, it will be more valuable in 6 months”, or “stop trying to escape reality”….and more….

    Thanks for making me feel that I’m not crazy alone with that travel bug!

    I’m looking forward to be that free sunflower (my second favorite picture from your article, hehe)

    Happy Travels,

    • Reply Pete Apr 2,2014 9:57 am

      Thanks for the kind words Cindy! I’m really glad that my blog’s been useful to you and your decision to travel the world. I’m pretty much of the opinion that we only get one shot at this thing so it’s best to make the most of our time and choices. I think that if we don’t question that the decisions we’re making are a little crazy we’re living a pretty boring life and what could be worse then that..! Happy travels 🙂

  19. Reply Ali May 4,2014 7:33 am

    Hi Pete

    For someone who is on the journey, this is still useful. My biggest insight would be that not all days are going to be the same – some full of elation, some full of doubt. One has to be clear why he or she did it in the first place.

    Keep Walking.

  20. Reply AJ Jul 17,2014 12:05 pm

    Hi Pete,

    I’m planning to quit and travel alone for a few years. However I’m a female in my mid twenties. Would you still recommend couch surfing as a solo female? Any other travel tips for others in my situation? Also how do you deal with and overcome the days and nights when you just want to pack up and fly back to your hometown that’s familiar?


    • Reply Pete Jul 21,2014 4:27 pm

      Hey AJ, thanks for getting in touch 🙂
      Wow, congratulations on the big move. I actually get asked this question quite a bit. As a guy the issue of personal safety is probably less of an issue but it’s still something everyone needs to consider when staying with strangers. In my personal experience (my own and also other travellers stories etc..) it’s like 98% positive. I’ll say this, you’ll meet weird people, really weird people but I have not ever been an any situations in my travels where I felt endangered personally from a host at all. Ever. Yet I’m sure it does happen occasionally, I think you’ll be totally fine but if it’s a concern really check the reviews and only go with places with positive reviews. Same to be said for short term rental sites like AirBnB. If you’ve never done it before the first time will always be the hardest.

      As for general tips, I wouldn’t know where to start! haha maybe bring less then you think you’ll need, less is more when travelling. Always say ‘yes’ to things, don’t be afraid to sing Karaoke in another language in front of the whole village…

      Hmmm well about the down days.. there’s lots to say about these. I wrote a post about the ups and downs of long term travel and one about homesickness that could maybe help with ideas here.

      Best of luck with everything, let me know how you go!

  21. Reply Lauren Jan 21,2015 3:41 pm

    From your experience and/or from what you’ve heard from others (maybe some Americans?), how do people obtain health insurance coverage for a 12-18 month stint of traveling? I have checked some of the links on your resources page, but not extensively. Most seem to be traveler’s insurance, but I’m not sure about the scope of the medical/health coverage. I know traveler’s insurance is good for trip cancellations and baggage etc. The reason I ask is we will be going back and forth from the US to Indonesia and then Mexico for the first 6 months of our trip. Does travelers insurance cover you in your country of residence? I am definitely capable of researching this topic myself, but I figured I would start here to find a little more direction. I also know there is socialized healthcare in a lot of countries so that is also worth looking into right? I’ve never been without health insurance and when I quit my job I terminate my insurance also, so, you know, logistics logistics…

    • Reply Pete Feb 2,2015 10:04 am

      Hey Lauren, I almost exclusively have used these guys: http://www.worldnomads.com/ I found their prices and coverage some of the best around. I originally started looking at local insurers in Australia but their prices were ridiculous longterm. Found World Nomads after asking around the travel community a little. I made one claim with them for a camera we had stollen while in Europe and they were super helpful. Off the top of my head i’m not 100% sure if it covers you in your own country I have a feeling it will not. As for social healthcare this generally only applies to citizens of those countries but there are ways around this in many cases. The key 3 countries that you should make sure you have health insurance in are: US, Canada & Japan as healthcare in these places is ridiculously expensive so if you do fall off a mountain and it costs $1M to get you to a hospital and fix you up, you’re not going to get that bill in the mail.. Hope this helps, i’d start with World Nomads and go form there.

  22. Reply Bekah Feb 4,2015 1:07 am

    Hi Pete,

    What a great article! Definitely gave me some things to think about.

    I am planning a long-term missions trip to Jamaica, probably for 6 months to a year. I won’t be traveling anywhere else, but I am still looking for information as to how I can live abroad for so long! Visa, passport, etc. I am completely new to this and would love any advice you have for me! Also, you mentioned the odd jobs you undertook to pay for your expenses. What kind of jobs did you have? What would you suggest for someone with a BS in Biology and very little work experience? (just graduating from college)

    Thanks and God bless!

    • Reply Pete Feb 13,2015 6:05 pm

      Nice one Bekah, sounds like you’re going to have an amazing experience! Honestly I would just get Googling for your local info RE passports and visas etc.. as these will really differ depending on where you live/are going. Advice for things like homesickness and adjusting to life on the road could get quite long. I’ll give you this bit of advice now though: Always say yes to new things. Don’t sit around the hostel or wherever you’re staying, get out and meet friends and do things, meet people, try new things and don’t be afraid to explore (within safe limits of course).

      As for finding work, I would start with something like Helpx (http://www.helpx.net/), not sure how much there is in Jamaica but there are a few other good services like this also, go and have fun with it, it’s a great way to meet locals and new people and really subsidises your travels!! Have an amazing time and if you want to send me a guest post I might be able to throw it up in the site or something 🙂

      PS. enjoy the ‘thinking mans tobacco’!

  23. Reply Ankita May 27,2015 1:04 pm

    Hey! I’ve been wanting to quit my job and start traveling since early this year. I don’t know why I’m still not doing it, I’m probably scared to travel alone a bit. That I decided to not give in to the lure of credit cards early on also doesn’t help much. And being an Indian I don’t know how difficult it can get to get visas for all the places I want to travel. But your story is inspiring to say the least. I’m a writer by profession who now feels indifferent to advertising after slogging in for 14 years. I really want to put my writing skills to better use and may be pick up an additional skill or two e.g. hairstyling on the go. I’m also a decent cook so that might also help me earning a small, quick buck as I go, right?

  24. Reply Jonno Ringwood Jul 15,2015 1:54 am

    Hey. What a great article. I know you wrote it a couple of years ago but I’ve just found it and you are spot on with pretty much everything. We’ve recently sold our house, got rid of absolutely all our stuff, quit our jobs, and left the UK to travel. Sort of decided that life was too short and we needed to get out there and do something. Europe for 3 months before flying off to Australia and New Zealand for 6 months so looking forward to that. Got a blog going but of course we have no idea if it’s any good.
    So have you visited Australia? Any tips? We’re off and running now with just one bag each and loving life. Best thing we ever did. The hardest thing was the initial decision to actually do something.
    Great article by the way, love it.

  25. Reply Kelly Aug 10,2015 3:31 am

    Hi Pete,

    I am already convinced to travel and am actually leaving on my first trip to India in two months, but I could ALWAYS use more inspiration and to know that I’m not crazy for quitting by job. Thanks for that, as well as all of the additional resources!


  26. Reply Prabhu Sahej Oct 23,2015 2:20 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Pete!

    I totally enjoyed your article and sooooo appreciate the time you took in prepearing and sharing it!

    Your article is very inspiring as well as reconfirming! I’m one of those who has regretted, for far too long, my decisions in the past to not be more spontaneous in my life. There were so many adventurous opportunities that presented themselves while my childen were younger yet any ideas I had in taking them on cross country treks or exploring a country in a van, were always shot down by my family and friends at the time. I had been told that I would be considered an irresponsible parent if I would have taken them out of the school system to travel. I was even told by a family member that they would have my children taken away from me if I would have gone ahead and sold everything to travel with them. Judgements and opinions from others really kept me down for most of my life… resulting in regret and faded spirit.
    It wasn’t until a little over 3 years ago when my best friend passed away, and it was then that I felt I lost my whole entire spirit. … with a three year struggle of trying to reconnect with something that would allow that spirit and/or joie de vivre to come back to life, I realize what a waste of time life can be when we do things for the sole purpose to make others happy. Decisions need to be made that reflect our own authentic self, not to satisfy others comfort zones.

    I am so very pleased to say, I’m finally letting go and diving into my own reality! I’ve managed to pay off my debt while making low wages and finding any small contract that I could handle and have also sold almost everything I own… all this for a one way ticket out of this somewhat pretentious life I’ve been leading! Your comment on ‘working for someone else to make them richer’ hits home for most I’m sure… well, I’m done with that too!

    I’ve purchased my one-way ticket to India (the starting point of my journey) and plan to live every day the way it was intended for me,… adventurous! ✈️… yes, I leave in 7 weeks from now and plan to continue forward through cultures, mountains, desserts, rivers and oceans…! Of course my resignation letter will be offered with the regular 2 weeks notice in about 5weeks… unless of course my boss happens to find this posting while relaxing on a lounge chair during her Italy retreat!! 🙀 I’m planning to couch-surf my way throughout India, Nepal, China, Thailand…, do a little wwoofing whenevr I can find the openings, volunteer at animal sanctuaries and help as many animals along the as I can and hopefully eventually teach yoga and/or arts (I’m an artist and yoga teacher) if the opportunity arises!

    My kids are all grown up now and are both beautiful people with there own passions for their lifetime. They are both very excited for this new mom adventure… especially after growing up hearing all the dream like stories of around the world! I can only hope that I may be an inspiration to them and that they never have to wait as long as I did to really go for what they believe in!

    So I thank you Pete, for your inspiration and courage to open up and share your ideas with us!
    I am sooooo very grateful!!

    Sat Nam. Namaste.
    Many, many blessings to you,

    Prabhu Sahej (my friends call me Prabs)

    • Reply Pete Aug 29,2016 6:40 pm

      Wow Prabs what a lovely response, thanks for the kind words and apologies for not getting back to you sooner, i’ve been out of touch with the blog of late. By this time you would have already been and maybe come back? How were things? I’ve love to connect and see how you went with the travels. I think the older we get the harder it is to take that first step but perhaps the hard it is the more important it is, anyway, don’t be afraid to reach out and let me know how you went (or maybe still ar going..).

  27. Reply Tom Nov 19,2015 1:39 am

    Thanks for this post Pete! I really need one to convince myself. I’m 24 years old who got working right after college. Big mistake… I decided I want to go travel now and I will go to Asia.

    I’m just so worried that I have no idea what I will do / visit. Did you plan your trip completely? Or just did what came by? How can I plan my visas and stuff, all these questions keep rushing in my head.



    • Reply Pete Aug 29,2016 6:35 pm

      Sorry for the late reply Tom, I must have missed this one. Nope I didn’t plan my initial trip completely out initially, just had a few flights booked in and out of various places then just went with the flow. I think the easiest part is finding things to do, just be open to whatever comes along, Google’s your friend here too. If you stay with locals, they will often help out in this regard. I think have a loose plan, find a few cool things to do/see and then just go with the flow.

  28. Reply Liz Mar 16,2016 4:47 pm

    Hi Pete,

    Just an FYI, WorldNomads does indeed cover you in your home country. You just have to be at least 500 miles from the address you have listed on your insurance certificate. I’m an American, taking a couple of years to travel, and found this out when I had to return home for a couple of months.


  29. Reply Kristina Apr 6,2016 12:11 pm

    I keep reading posts where people say they book one way flights to a different country but from my research, most countries require a visa and proof of your onward ticket. So how are they getting around that issue? Do they plan to stay until the visa expires and the onward ticket is the next country they plan on visiting with options to change flights as needed?

    • Reply Pete Aug 29,2016 2:34 pm

      Hey Kristina, yeh most countries will want to at least see that you plan on leaving at some point… I generally will do just that, book one way flights ongoing ie. USA to Canada, Canada to UK etc.. I’ve had situations where i’ve had to explain how I plan to leave a country but it’s never been an issue on actually getting in for me to date. If you’re worried about this buy a ticket to your next destination and keep that as a ‘hard end’ to that country, book and plan inside that deadline to your hearts content. Other options are buying a refundable ticket (usually for a little more) and change or refund as needed when your plans change. If you’re not flying international a cheap bus or train ticket to an adjacent country for the end of the visa period should be enough to satisfy customs officials.

  30. Reply Carla Apr 12,2016 7:01 am

    Hi Pete! Great post!
    Do you have any recommendations for someone with a dog (×2) – that is really the boat consideration for me!

  31. Reply Denisestarr Jun 11,2016 9:33 am

    I have 2 dogs that I can’t leave behind. Do you think there will be many obstacles in finding places to stay when not wanting to sleep in a tent with the 2 dogs? They are both 65lbs each. Thanks in advance for the advice!

    • Reply Pete Aug 29,2016 2:26 pm

      Good question! Depending on where you’re based in the world I think the answer changes. There are a growing number of places hostels etc.. that actually cater for animals and pets, do a bit of googling with your destinations, unfortunately though they’re still fairly uncommon, depending on location. If you’re happy driving, what about explore doing the motorhome/caravan/van thing? You can live quite comfortably out of a caravan and the pets then wont be a problem. Otherwise Airbnb and Couch surfing have hosts who would be fine with pets, just make sure you ask them before you arrive.

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