While some people may daydream at their job about walking out in order to pursue a life passion or travel the world, there are those who have actually done it. Whether they switched careers to be able to travel or stopped working completely, they all made extreme life changes to live what they felt was a more fulfilling lifestyle. Find out the advice and stories from people who took this big step and learn the result of their decision.
You Don’t Have To Live In Luxury
While some are more fortunate than others and can afford to fly around the world or live comfortably during their travels, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, you have to make it work with what you have, even if that means living on the edge.
Tessa Ely and Dillon Vought are a great example of this. They spent a year and a half driving from Alaska to Argentina in a 1975 Volkswagen bus that they bought for $500. After planning on doing some extended travel, the couple bought the bus and saved $15,000 for their entire trip. From there, they worked with what they had, living modestly throughout their trip.
There’s Never A Right Time Or Place
One of the most important realizations about making a huge life change is that it doesn’t always come when you expect it, and it may not seem like the best time when opportunity strikes. Maria de Lima was becoming increasingly unhappy and bitter about her life. However, after getting her yoga teaching certificate, things unexpectedly changed.
A man named Jorge Branco asked her to join him traveling around the world as a yoga instructor. She agreed and now spends her days traveling and doing what she loves. She claims that “There will never be a right time or the perfect opportunity” and doing something that scares you usually pays off.
Don’t Be Afraid Of People Judging You
People who are already locked into a career or aren’t considered to be an impulsive person might be afraid of what others think if they quit their job or change career paths. Yet, sometimes, you have to put those fears secondary to your happiness. That’s what Omniya Fareed Shafik did in order to travel the world solo.
She claims that many people in her life don’t support her decision to travel the world, with some even considering it a waste of time. Regardless of what other people think, she’s doing what she wants, proclaiming that “People are going to talk and judge and have stuff to say. Life is short – live your life the way you want.”
You Don’t Have To Go Alone
While many of the stories from people that made the jump to go travel are about people going alone, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, it can be nice to bring someone along that you want to share your experiences with. Making the journey with another person can also make the experience easier, all-around.
For example, Alysia Dean and her boyfriend Michael Love went together on a 90-day road trip across the United States. Along with their dog Rusty, the couple visited 38 states and made memories together that will last a lifetime. Chances are, neither would have had as good of a time if the other person wasn’t there.
Use The Internet To Your Advantage
Whether you’re planning a trip or are already traveling, the Internet is an invaluable tool for advice and information. There are plenty of websites that offer good deals on room and board or some of the best local spots. Some travelers even start a blog or specific Instagram account to document their journeys. They might even lead to some money to support your travels!
Take Johnny Ward for instance, who has traveled to all 197 countries, while also managing to make $1 million. How? He started a travel blog that became so popular that he didn’t just make a living off the advertising revenue, but was able to profit from it. The Internet is your friend.
Think About How You Want To Travel
There are countless ways to travel whether it’s by land, air, or sea. While some people prefer to fly or take trains, others like to drive themselves, giving them full control over their travels. It’s important to consider the methods you want to use to travel because how you get places can sometimes be half of the adventure.
Zach Both, who wanted to pursue his dream of filmmaking while traveling, decided to convert an electricians van into a mobile studio. This allows him to work while on the road. Both is someone who put a lot of thought into how they wanted to travel and it really paid off.
Find Something That’s Worth Working For
Finding something that you are passionate about is the key to starting over. It’s important to find inspiration before making any rash decisions. Allison Fleece and Danielle Thorton are the founders of Whoa Travel, an adventure company for women. The two met on a hike to Kilimanjaro to raise money for a women’s school.
They were so touched by their experience that they decided to team up and start Whoa Travel. They strategically planned their business so that they didn’t need any upfront capital and relied on some savings and freelance work to make it through the first two years. Allison encourages people, “When you find something that lights you on fire, you just have to do it.”
Ask Fellow Travelers For Advice And Deals
Before you go, it’s always a good idea to do some prior research to learn about the best locations to go to, places to stay, or other helpful travel tips. During your trip, asking other travelers about where the best deals are, where to go, and other helpful advice is key to keeping your experience interesting and affordable.
Travel + Leisure’s Erika Owen experienced this first hand after meeting two fellow travelers in Norway. While she was spending tons of money on food, plane flights, and experiences, the experienced travelers gave her pro tips on how to eat for free, and opportunities to work for her keep in a local’s home. It never hurts to ask!
Being Inherently Happy Can Be Worth More Than Money
Trading money for happiness is something many people who leave their old lives behind must accept. Today, Julie Deffense is a wedding cake designer in both Portugal and Florida. While she originally worked as a magazine publisher in the US, she found her passion for baking and cake design while in Portugal.
However, Deffense admits that “There were many times I wished I had stayed in the U.S. and followed a conventional path and earned lots of money. But deep down I know I wouldn’t have been as happy.” Now, she doesn’t regret her decision whatsoever because no sum of money could buy her happiness.
Think Outside Of The Box
Sometimes, in order to make your dreams a reality, you might have to make some sacrifices. This is the case for Brittany and Scott Meyers, who now live on a self-sufficient sailboat which has proven to be much cheaper than living in the suburbs. The couple are the owners of Aristocrat Charters, a sailboat company in the British Virgin Islands.
Although they initially worked in recruiting and sales, after taking some time working for the sailing company Windjammers and sailing the Caribbean, they knew this was what they wanted to do with their life. So, they sacrificed a “normal life,” which is what most people need to do to accomplish their goals.
Make Some Lifestyle Changes Before You Go
Planning and saving are some of the most essential things before going on a big trip. Taking the proper steps to make sure that you have enough money and knowledge will always benefit you in the long run. But, in order to do so, you may have to make some sacrifices such as cutting back on your spending or working extra hard to make the money that you need.
Cassie De Pocol, who is the fastest person to visit every country in the world said: “Lots of planning – and even more saving – went into making it happen: I pretty much had to give up my social life, no going out.” Even then, she ran out of money and had to get creative.
Don’t Limit Yourself
If you’re planning on making some serious life changes and possibly traveling the world, you might as well give it your all. Don’t back down from opportunities and be sure to step outside your comfort zone. Traveler Amy Truong is based in Hawaii and founded her own travel agency called Up and Explore. Simultaneously, Truong works remotely in software testing.
Yet, when she’s on one of her trips, she’s all or nothing. She’s been known to scale mountains that have been closed to the public or bribe officers to explore abandoned buildings. She claims that “The thing about traveling is that you don’t want to say ‘no’ to what could be a great adventure.” That’s some good advice to live by.
Find Smart Ways To Spend And Save Your Money
Although walking out of your office and onto a plane to a different country sounds inspiring, you do need to have your finances figured out. Whether you’ve been saving or have a way to make money while traveling, managing your money should be one of your top priorities.
There are smart ways to both spend and make money during your adventures. Dean and Julie Couchey who call themselves “Two Fat Americans” traveled to 20 countries together before their first wedding anniversary. They relied on loyalty programs such as Ebates and credit cards that give you cash back to finance their travels. Their smart thinking allowed them to travel with ease.
Be Inspired By Others
Another crucial aspect when deciding to make a major life change such as quitting your job to travel the world is being inspired by others. Testimonies from others who have already taken the leap can be inspiring and help push you to do the same.
For example, Victoria McEwan and Elaina Bird started a travel and lifestyle website called The Freedom Travelers, aimed at inspiring others to do “Escape The Desk” as they say. On their website, they even have a free travel calculator and other resources to help you plan your trip.
Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
While summoning the courage to actually buy a plane ticket and put your old life on hold may be daunting enough, that’s not all that it takes. Traveling requires you to step out of your comfort zone and do things that maybe you wouldn’t normally do, whether that’s trying new food or meeting new people.
In the case of Rishdeep Thind, who left his job to photograph the world using 360-degree technology, the hardest part for him was interacting with other travelers. Being an introvert, he wasn’t as outgoing as others he met on the road but managed to overcome his fears and now has beloved friends all over the globe.
Save Your Vacation Days
If you aren’t planning on completely quitting your job or uprooting your life, it’s important to save your vacation days as much as you can. This way, some people can use them all at once and maybe even get paid as they travel!
However, it’s important to speak to your employer or HR to know exactly how your company deals with vacation days before making any real plans. This is exactly what Dean and Julie did saying, “We were the typical Americans that had saved many many weeks of vacation and luckily we were able to get it paid out.”
Stay With And Get To Know Locals
When traveling, there are often opportunities to stay with locals instead of a hotel or hostel. This is one of those opportunities that you don’t want to pass up. Not only is staying with locals usually cheaper, but it’s a great way to learn the local culture and people.
It also shows that you respect the people and are curious about how they live. Melissa Roy, who is attempting to travel to 100 countries, frequently uses the Internet to connect and find housing with locals from all different countries. She claims that “Engaging with locals for three days is a fuller experience than staying for two weeks.”
If You Have Kids, Bring Them!
Taking some time off to travel isn’t just for adults with jobs. If you are a parent and have the desire to get off the grid and travel, this is a perfect life opportunity to give your children the experience and knowledge of a lifetime.
Whether you’re planning on pulling them out of school for a bit or going during summer, it’s an experience they won’t forget. Sarah Blaine, an attorney and former high school teacher, is taking her two daughters around the world. However, their itinerary was based on the curriculum of their state, a much different education than sitting in a classroom!
Live On Your Own Terms
Realizing that the 9-5 grind isn’t for you is one of the first steps in seeking out change. Nadia Aly, founder of Scubadiverlife.com, can’t imagine only getting two weeks off a year. She doesn’t think “humans should live like that” and believes people should live on their own terms. Yet, before she decided to change her life, that’s exactly how she lived working in tech and doing social media marketing for Google.
After winning an online contest to go scuba diving in Fiji, she fell in love with diving and decided to create a website for the scuba diving community. Now, aside from running the website, she leads underwater photography trips around the world proving that new experiences can spark inspiration.
Play It Smart While Following Your Dream
Another key tip is to think smart about your decision, and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. This is exactly what Eulanda and Omo Osagiede did. They are the founders of Hey, Dip Your Toes In, a food, travel, and lifestyle blog and content creation firm for traveling bands.
Before starting the company, Eulanda worked as a dance teacher, and Omo a risk management IT director, which he still does along with their company on the side. However, they didn’t just drop everything but instead, made a plan. They advise others to do the same saying “Have some savings. Don’t just walk away from your job. You have to have multiple streams of income.”