It has always been my lifelong dream to travel the world and get paid for it. A dream I share with many. Now after years of being too afraid to make the jump, too scared of failure, I have taken the leap. Here's why I quit my job to travel the world, and why maybe you should too.
Time to stop job hopping
Over the past decade, I have done every job under the sun to make a life abroad a reality. From aupairing in Australia, teaching English in South Korea, doing NGO work in India, interning in Canada, volunteering in East and Southern Africa to studying abroad in Europe, I have spent years trying out new jobs in an effort to keep travelling and to hopefully find the perfect fit. The problem is, no job that allocates a mere 20 vacation days a year was every going to suit me and my endless wanderlust.
Time to practice what I preach
As a strong advocate (to anyone who will listen) of living your dreams and never settling, I decided in August of this year that it was time to practice what I preach. I handed in my one month's notice for my PR manager job and decided it was time to go solo. Sitting in an office for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week was never my idea of 'living my dreams' and 20 measly vacation days was never, and I mean NEVER, going to be enough.
High cost of living in Ireland
The problem was (and is for many others I believe) that despite decent pay, I was really struggling to enjoy life back home in Ireland. I felt I was simply earning money each month so that I could afford to live in Dublin and pay for transport to get to work. Almost half my pay check each month was going towards rent and transport costs, and the remainder going on food, bills and the odd bit of budget travel. I was working so hard to make a living, that I was no longer actually living my life. This was not the life I had set out to live.
Inspired by other bloggers
When your lifelong dream is to travel the world and get paid, following in the footpaths of those that have taken that path before you is always a good place to start! Over the past 12 months, as my dream of becoming a full time travel blogger started to take shape and I slowly but surely started to build up the courage to quit by job, I started to follow all my favourite (and most successful) travel bloggers and online entrepreneurs a little more closely. Super successful Irish bloggers such as Carlo and Florence from Next Stop Who Knows were probably my biggest inspiration over the past few months and their encouragement and kind words did not go unnoticed. The fact that they hit their first 5 figure income (after two years of full time travel!) in August was a real turning point for me...if they can do it, I can do it!
The time was just right
I decided that if I was ever going to become a full time travel blogger and a budding entrepreneur, now was the time. Not next year, not in two years, but right now. I had some money saved to keep me going in case my plan totally failed but I also knew I would not find it too difficult to find another job as the offers had being flowing in on LinkedIn lately. My travel blog was also really starting to take off thanks to being shortlisted for various Blog Awards in Ireland and the UK, and I had started working with very big travel brands and PR agencies, with offers of paid press trips starting to trickle through my inbox. Just before I finished up, one of my articles got published on National Geographic. The time was most definitely right!
I had an 'unemployment plan'
As much as I would have loved to do something dramatic like quit my job with no notice and book a one way flight to Goa with nothing but a backpack and a compass, that was never going to happen. When you have worked towards something for what seems like your entire life, there is one things spurring you on more than anything else; the determination to succeed. Failure, in my eyes, was not an option. In order to succeed, as with everything in life, I needed a plan. As I had, and still have, no desire to work for anyone else for the rest of my life I have devised something I like to call 'The Unemployment Plan'. While it was mainly to satisfy my parents growing worries about how on earth I was going to finance myself without a full-time job, it was also to satisfy my own worries and to work out how hard I would need to work to make enough money to survive. I worked out how much money I could make from my blog, from advertising, from paid press trips and finally how many freelance writing assignments I would need to secure to become financially self-sufficient.
I am now four months into 'the unemployment plan' and my monthly income is growing steadily. Since quitting my job, I have traveled to nine countries on two continents, working from my computer as I go. I am very excited to see what 2016 brings and have big plans to maximize my free time by writing a travel memoir, looking back on what I have learned from 10 years of solo travel. Watch this space.
This article was originally published on Journalist On the Run.