5 Unexpected Reactions When I Quit My Job to Travel

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

I always hear those stories “how I quit my job to travel” or, “I graduated school, didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I decided to travel”.

Well, perhaps my story is not much different, but maybe it is. I graduated from my postgraduate program knowing what I wanted, or so I thought. I wanted to be in a field of compassion, where I helped those in need. Besides, being selfish is a trait no one likes, right?

Wrong. Let’s be honest, if you’re always thinking of others before yourself you will begin to forget about all the things that you want and deserve in life.

I quickly got 2 jobs in the field of acquired brain injury. Fulfilling? Sure, but tough. I soon became burnt out, anxious, and worried.

When you work with people who had a normal life until they acquired a brain injury, your vision of life changes.

My dreams, which I have always put on the back burner— “I’ll do this when I’m older,” was always the response— soon became top priority.

What if my life was destined to change at the blink of an eye from some sort of freak accident?

Maybe I had become frantic. What I do know is that, thanks to my jobs, following my dreams became the number one top priority in my life, and I have no regrets there.

I Quit My Job to Travel

quit job to travel lake

I had been planning my escape from my jobs for 6 months prior to making the big move.

I planned out a rough idea of what my life would look like once I quit my job to follow my dreams. I booked a trip to Ireland, I booked a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, I planned a backpacking trip around Europe again (this time solo), I dream of going to Egypt, and I plan to get TEFL certified this year and live abroad somewhere entirely out of my element.

I knew that I was being selfish making the choice to quit my job and travel the world. But it got to the point where my body and my soul, no longer wanted it and started needing it instead.

At work, I started to slip and talk about traveling and seeing the world. Co-workers began commenting on my secret adventurous spirit.

Fearful of the reactions I would receive, I still decided to make the ultimate move and quit my job to travel anyway.

One thing that I did not see coming was the wave of support, respect, appreciation, motivation and friendships my work family supplied me with.

Here is a rundown of what I did not expect and what I am thankful for when I quit my job to travel.

What I am Thankful For When I Quit My Job to Travel

Support

I am one of those people who has always over-planned my life far into the future. Why? Perhaps because I fear the unknown, I mean who doesn’t really? I am fearful of not knowing how my life will pan out, worried about consequences of living in the moment, and scared of finding myself at square one again. This played true on the upcoming days of my ‘big resignation’.

I worried myself over how I will do it, how I will respond to each of my bosses reactions (which I was 100% certain would be negative), and how I would handle myself in the aftermath when I was required to tell all my coworkers that I quit my job to travel the world. I’ll admit, I was a bit embarrassed to tell my hardworking, ambitious coworkers that instead of applying for the new position opening, I was quitting to travel the world, the hippie lifestyle, live out of a backpack, the off-the-beaten-path-journey-of-a-lifetime experience.

Again, I was 100% certain that I would be scorned, scrutinized and perhaps get laughed at. Thank you Society for your unhealthy emphasis on what ‘social norm’ is.

Unexpected Reactions

What I had not expected was what actually happened. All my planning and worrying was for nothing. My boss became a teary-eyed friend telling me that she will miss my work ethic but was so excited and happy for the decision I made to follow my dreams. My coworkers were excited and jealous of my decision.

I was asked many questions about things like where was I planning to go, how much money did I save up, where did I get the strength to do this, and some coworkers even gave me advice on places to go as they were well-traveled themselves. Older, more weathered coworkers whom I was never able to get close with were finally talking to me in-depth. It was like they saw me as an entirely different person now; no longer the young and naive newbie but rather the strong, ambitious and adventurous girl that I had kept hidden from the world in fear of rejection.

A Job When I Return Home

When I handed my resignation in, the last thing that I ever expected was my bosses each personally offering me my job back when I return (if I return) from my adventure.

This moment really opened my eyes and shed some light on myself. Perhaps I have always been a little too hard on myself and there is a possibility that I never give myself credit for things I deserve.

That being said, I have always been a hard worker and strive to be someone who is fun, reliable and easygoing to work with.

I learned quickly from all this that no matter what choices you make in life, people will respect you if you give them a reason to respect you.

Respect and Appreciation

While I must admit that I am blessed with wonderful bosses, there was always one boss who stood out as a bit domineering and, personally, I was intimidated by them.

They only preferred to talk about work-related things while at work.

However, once this person found out that I quit and for the reason as to why, I was greeted with the most unexpected support, respect, and appreciation.

This individual explained to me their story, their love for travel and the adventures they went on as a young adult. The first time I have ever heard a compliment come out of this particular person was this day.

I was offered a job back by this person, and, for the fact being that I had always thought they did not care for me, this particular job offer meant much more to me than any other.

After talking to this boss for over an hour about travel, my plans, their past adventures and more, I knew that the decision I made was the right decision and I no longer questioned whether quitting my job to travel the world was a fool’s move.

I was even told by this boss that, if anything, my plans to travel the world will better my credentials and career.

I did not quite understand why or how, nor am I still too certain, but this particular individual assured me that someday I will understand. These words have stuck with me throughout my travels thus far, and I will continue to hold them close.

Motivation

The support and respect that I received from my fellow coworkers and bosses gave me the motivation I needed to pursue my dreams. While before I quit I was fearful, unsure and worried, once I took that big step and handed my letter in, the reaction I received was enough. Enough to put at ease the fears, the worries and the uncertainties of traveling and not working.

When I expressed my concerns to my coworkers, they replied with motivating advice that kept me sure that this was the right decision. It appears that fate was on my side this time. Since I’ve been gone, I have not ever once thought to myself, “this was the wrong choice”. If my coworkers would have been scornful to me, I’m certain I would be questioning my decisions all the way through.

Friendships

Perhaps one of the most important things that I did not expect to happen was the amount of friendships that I gained through the choice I made to quit my job and travel. My coworkers made it clear that they did not want to lose touch with me, and with the power of Facebook, it was easy to find a way to keep in contact.

It is surprising how close to someone you can feel when keeping in touch with them on Facebook. I have been able to keep a connection with coworkers and even grow some friendships. It is truly surprising how much distance can make people closer and have the heart grow fonder. Their kind words spoken through social media has pushed me to keep trekking on around the world so far and will continue to as time goes on.

If you have always desired to do something that breaks the barriers of ‘social norm’, then I say you do it! You might be surprised with the beautiful things life has to offer you. Jobs are waiting for you at home, money can be obtained when needed.

But what is awaiting you out in this beautiful world? What memories and experiences are waiting for you to obtain? Never sell yourself short of your dreams because you deserve to live them just as much as the other person.

Now What?

And now I find myself in Ireland. Why? I don’t know why. All I know is my wanderlust led me here. My eyes are wide and my heart is open. I am in awe. And now I know that I am ready for whatever this beautiful and crazy world has to offer!

I have already experienced ups and downs and I am taking each one day by day and embracing the uncertainties of life.

What is my plan? I don’t really have one currently, and that is the beauty of living free!

quit job to travel pin

Read More

Hi, my name is Lexie! I am passionate about photography and writing and enjoy using the two together in my blog Steps to Follow. I am a longtime lover of travel and adventure. I love spending my time outdoors hiking. I have recently quit my job so that I can dedicate more time to following my dream of exploring the world! I travel on a budget and I am always looking for the next best way to save money on the road. Follow me on this year’s crazy adventure: Next stop: Mount Everest!

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29 thoughts on “5 Unexpected Reactions When I Quit My Job to Travel”

  1. Lexie I absolutely love this post! It’s like a page out of my diary from two years ago. I was in the exact same position when I quit my job to go travel. Never would I have imagined how much support I’d get. Plus an offer to get my job back afterwards, too. I’m so happy to see this happens to you as well. You see yourself in a completely different light when you get all those amazing reactions, don’t you 😉 Thank you for this encouraging post and the best of luck with your adventures. Seraina

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  2. Lexie I couldn’t agree more with what you said. I think we all have a slight regret when the day comes to hand in our notice. Yet like you I was pleasantly surprised with some of the reactions I got, with one boss also offering to keep my job open for me.

    But now I have the freedom to pursue activities of choice because of realising the key to a rich life had nothing to do with working late nights and weekends trying to become a millionaire. I no longer have any regrets around the decision I made.

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  3. I want to try to be able to travel and live abroad full time, and I want to develop and hone my writing skills. Journalism was never something I had considered until a year ago, and I’ve already started drafting plans for a book or three.

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  4. Your blog is very interesting and amazing. it is incredible you had this great help in starting your wonderful journey. I hope to get same experience in my life.
    Thanks for sharing !!!

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  5. Wonderful story – good for you! I’ve done a a fair bit of traveling before but have now settled into a steady job I love. One day I hope to be able to travel at length again. All the best.

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    • Congratulations on finding the job you love. I think that’s the most important thing in life. We spend so much time working, you want to enjoy what you do. Travel isn’t everything, being happy and loving what you do is everything. And then you can trave as a perk. Cheers!

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  6. Great article Lexie, this resonates so much with me too. When I finally quit my stressful Finance job, I dreaded the response I would get from my fellow colleagues and friends….but instead I received love, support and respect for having the guts to do it! What an awesome feeling it is! I was also offered my job back whenever I wanted it – bonus! But hopefully won’t be necessary as my husband and I are also pursuing our blog, http://www.worldlynomads.com. All the best wishes to you for your future travels and we will be following along on your blog too!

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  7. Great post! I can relate in so many ways. Every time I thought about telling my boss I was quitting my career job to travel, I would physically shake. That was a little over a year now and I can’t believe how well the transition went leaving my job. I experienced many of the same reactions. Countless senior employees were saying that this is the best thing I could do. They had hoped to travel when they were younger, but life got in the way. My mindset is I want to live my life now and not wait for the possibility of experiencing the world during retirement. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  8. Congrats on your decision, Lexie! People can really surprise you when you are making big life decisions, whether for better or for worse. It’s pretty amazing you had such awesome support in beginning your journey. Best of luck to you on your new adventures!

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  9. What an interesting post! I have always dreamed of one day dropping everything and traveling the world, but it won’t be until after a solid amount of hard work. I wouldn’t want to leave if I didn’t know I was and will be financially stable, so for me personally, copious amounts of pre planning would have to happen before I travel. You are much more brave and spontaneous than me!

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  10. Just the same that I wanna do. Good luck!
    But I suggest not to go to Everest Base Camp. We had an massive earthquake there in Nepal and that place is one.

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  11. Hi! Interesting post, in my case it’s not about quitting a job but a culture. I’m taking my job with me, since I am an editor and I can work online, but leaving a country behind when you are a mother, that’s hard since it implies more and harder questioning, as kids will be moving from traditional school to homeschooling. Prejudice is still difficult to cope with in this area, specially in southern Europe. Hard task, but I feel we will all learn as a family, and we will all take advantage of this change, no matter how difficult it might be.

    Regards to all!
    Gabi

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  12. Wow 🙂 I am smitten 🙂 I am feeling like being in your skin right now! At first congrats on this great article and many thx for it !
    I quit 5 months ago and I was in tears , not knowing what exactly is there to expect from my plan on traveling the world … see it from a different perspective?! Only difference between you and me … I still don’t know because i will start 1st of August :))) yeahhhhh and ????scary. Ahh and I am already 42 years old … But who cares … I will do it and I am sure I will not regret it! Cheers stay safe always and enjoy life!

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  13. Great article! This is very inspiring and motivating! I have the same fears myself, as I am currently planning my RTW trip and hope to make a career out of it if possible. I’m hoping to leave no later then February 2016, I’m currently saving up and selling my belongings. My greatest fears are not having a “home base” and running out of money. But I’ve come to realise that life is not worth living unless you feel alive. Doing the same thing over and over and over for 10 years straight will make a decade fly by real fast without having anything to show for it except maybe a couple promotions and a new car. I’ve learned over this last decade that life is just way to short to spend doing the same thing every single day. Good luck Lexie! I’ll be following your site for updates!

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  14. I am fully agree with you. I want to quit the full-time job as I doing now. Thus, I enjoy traveling and explore new places. Great article!

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  15. An inspiring article with lots of beautiful photos! My boss was also pleased for me when I told her I was leaving to go travelling and said ignore anyone who is ever says anything negative about leaving a job to move on. It’s a good thing to leave somewhere for something better. I hope you are still enjoying your travels.

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  16. A great way to quit the full-time job is to work as freelancer. Thus, you can work and enjoy traveling and explore new places. Great article!

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  17. Hello Lexie, I am feeling very happy after your blog post. I also have a desire to explore the world and someday I will definitely do. I am also happy for you that you have respected your desire and hence also get appreciation, motivation from others specially from your bosses and friends. I wish to have such amazing friends, bosses in my life.

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  18. I always get such a mixed bag of reactions! Some of these I recognise, but there’s always a lot of- what are you going to do when you get back to ‘normal’…

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  19. Lexie – you will not regret this! We quit our jobs in late 2013 and have been traveling since. When we quit, we didn’t quite know what we wanted to do and if we’d manage to start making an income online but we said to ourselves – what is the worst that can happen? That we will see the world and come back broke? That we will have traveled for a year and have to go back to Australia? That doesn’t sound so bad does it?

    Enjoy your travels! I’m very impressed that you’re headed to Mount Everest. I look forward to hearing more about your story 🙂 — Radhika

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    • Great advice! Speaking from experience, there’s nothing wrong with coming home broke. We tried to make travel a full-time career two times before we finally hit a winner. We came back from Asia after 7 months with no money in the bank and then we did it again after 6 months in Africa. Both times we tried and failed, but they set us up for where we are now. Plus, we got our jobs back and went back to the drawing board. We’re better off for it too. We have retirement savings and we have careers that we now love so we’re not praying for retirement anyway. It’s awesome.

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  20. Great post Lexie, thanks so much for sharing! I had a similar experience when I decided to take a break from my career to go travel through 15 countries.

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  21. Great post, inspiring and honest. I think we can all be surprised by the outcomes of situations we find difficult or frightening if they are things we feel we are really being called to do. Your happiness is not selfish, its probably the greatest gift you can give to the world!

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  22. Hi Lexie! I adored this post! Seriously this was exactly what I needed to hear. I feel like I’m you before you quit your job. I have ALL of those same feelings and I fantasize constantly about leaving corporate america. Thank you so much for this post!!! Where in Ireland are you at right now? I interviewed for a volunteer job/internship in digital marketing in Dublin. I have my 2nd interview tomorrow but I’m still not even sure if I can legally do it. And I don’t think the organization knows either. I’m considering enrolling in college there just so I can live there and do the internship/volunteer job. How long will you be in Ireland?

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  23. Great post Lexie, thanks so much for sharing! I had a similar experience when I decided to take a break from my career to go travel through 15 countries. I still need to write about it on Visit50.com

    I can empathize with this completely – ”
    it got to the point where my body and my soul, no longer wanted it and started needing it instead.”

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  24. Nice to know about your story…… who doesn’t want to travel the world? but it is difficult for most people to make a decision that you took…….. you are a successful traveler and can be a good motivation for other people looking to quit job and plan traveling the world…….. nice, informative article………..

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  25. Love your article! I am about to quit my job to travel in 2 weeks, super excited, I too don’t have much of a plan, I think that’s part of the beauty of travelling and having freedom.

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  26. I had every single one of these. My boss surprised me when he also offered me a job when (if) I return to London.

    The unexpected reaction was my father- totally against the idea… “What about your pension…your career….?”

    Almost a year in and hope to make this last longer 🙂

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    • Congratulations Stefan. I hope your dad comes around. We always say, pensions aren’t guaranteed in this day and age. We prefer to hold our retirement in our own hands and put away a nest egg on our own.

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