If you clicked on this article, chances are, you are a 20-something or 30-something full-time employee who feels like you’ve been tolerating the humdrum 9-to-6 life for far too long.
So here’s an idea: quit. Then pack your bags, and go travelling. Yes, make that drastic decision, be a little daredevil – you won’t regret it. Let me tell you why you should quit your unhappy job and travel.
YOU WILL GET TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD
Yes, yes, I know – this is such a no-brainer, right? But take a second to think deeper into this. How things are done, as you know them to be, are very different around the world. For example, breakfast is a meal taken between 6am and 9am, right? Well, the Nepalese don’t actually have “breakfast”, at 10am, they eat lunch. When they rise at around 6am, they have tea and biscuits and call it a “snack”.
Do you think the elderly here could hike up a mountain? Let’s not talk about Bukit Timah. In South Korea, I had hunched-over ajummas overtake me on a hiking trail – and I exercise on a regular basis! It showed me quite clearly that I don’t have to resign myself to inactiveness in my golden years – which, in all honesty, is how I would have viewed it if I were to base it on how the aged get by here.
And yes, you could hear stories about all of this – but wouldn’t it be better if you got to try everything yourself? The world out there is so, much, more than our little speck of an island and the things that we are used to.
YOU WILL LEARN NEW THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
I didn’t know that I could catch a fly with my bare hands. I didn’t know that I did, after all, fear heights a little. I always thought I had zero problems with it – until I stood at a cliff’s edge on a small mountain in New Zealand expecting excitement, only to feel my legs go soft and an urge to start crawling on all fours.
I didn’t know that there is a limit to how much I can take overseas and yearn to go home – I always thought the wanderlust in me could never be quenched.
I didn’t know that I would turn into a snapping psycho if we got lost and were wasting precious travelling time. Though I did learn that at the end of the day, there’s no harm done – what’s the point of getting mad at time that’s already passed?
YOU WILL FIND OUT IF YOU WANT TO STAY PUT OR RELOCATE
When I was 16, I visited an aunt who lived in Gold Coast. My family and I stayed with her for close to a month, and I returned home yearning to live in Australia. I am 26 this year, and as I matured throughout the years, a part of me considered that the desire to relocate was possibly something I wanted rashly as a naïve 16-year-old. Well, today, I still want to move.
In the last 10 years, I have visited several other countries and while I am now not so certain which country I’d end up in, my dream to relocate sticks. Singapore is great, and I am aware I am blessed to be born here, but it is not the place that makes me the happiest. Inversely, there are people who go abroad to find out that despite Singapore’s setbacks, they will never move. You can only find out which side of the fence you prefer when you’ve actually climbed over.
YOU GET TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS, EVEN CLOSE ONES
I did not expect to form a bond with a couple that I’d met on a holiday in South Korea in 2012. My boyfriend and I stayed at their place, which we found on Airbnb.com. For some reason, we really connected and still keep in touch via Whatsapp. This year, my boyfriend and I even planned a surprise visit for them. We had to create a fake account to book a room because we knew they would’ve wanted to let us stay for free – like real friends would – but we felt bad and preferred to pay. Similarly, I’ve heard many stories of friends who’ve met some of their best friends while travelling, in the most serendipitous situations.
YOU GET TO TELL COOL STORIES
I was once almost stuck atop a mountain fortress close to sunset, with no food and warm clothing in autumn. Thank goodness I found a detour – I was honestly beginning to panic.
I once met a fellow traveller who shared the same birthday and who was turning the same age as my boyfriend (whom I was travelling with) – we ended up having a mini celebration at his hostel where he cooked dinner.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY, OR TIME
Notice how I didn’t mention anything about some 6-month round-the-world trip? Did you automatically assume that? Travelling for an extended period of time doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money, or time! Take a break for a month and a half.
You can go WWOOF-ing (an international programme where you work on an organic farm in exchange for food and accommodation) or do other forms of volunteer work to keep costs low. After I left my job as a writer, I went to Nepal for three weeks to help out in a village farm and teach English in a local school.
The entire trip cost me slightly above $1000, airfare included. Hostels around the world offer free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work, five to six days a week – you can find openings on sites like www.helpx.net.
YOU CAN FIND A JOB WHEN YOU COME BACK
A month-long break is not too long a wait for your next employer, if you already have a job lined up. And if you don’t, listen – the world is not going to end for you. It really isn’t! If you want more security in place, quit between January and March.
A lot of people are moving on in the job market then, and there are sure to be openings you can fill when you return. When I came back, I had interview offers which I was sure I would be able to ace because of my prior job experience, but I turned them down because I was looking to do something new.
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
To wrap it all up, I leave you with this quote – by Randy Komisar, The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur - which I try to live by: “The most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.“
You can try to foresee and prep, as much as you can, for what will happen in the future, but the truth is, you’ll never really know.
Travel now – before you have children, before illness strikes, before you need to pay for your home loan, and car loan… And if you already have some monthly payments to make, it’s still not impossible to go – you just need to find a way to save more for the trip (and you really don’t need much!).
Travelling will do wonders for your soul, your being and your mind. So go ahead, take that plunge.
About the writer:
Ruby Tan used to write for Her World, and is now a freelance writer with a dream to travel the world. She believes that the some of best things in life don’t have to be bought. If you want to make a friend, share travel tips and advice, or even to discuss deeply about life, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org