With the world now more connected and accessible than ever before, it’s no wonder our generation is spending more and more of their time travelling. Yet with pressures to buy a house, build a career and settle down still ever present in society, what mental hurdles do you face when you decide to quit your everyday life to travel for 12 months? Here’s a rundown of the 6 main doubts and fears I’ve had in the run up to my trip and more importantly, how I’ve overcome them.
1. Will taking time out to travel harm my career?
Okay, now I know people take career breaks for all kind of reasons, and taking one to travel has become the norm. The ‘all work no play’ mantra of previous generations is no longer the status quo. Plus, companies are becoming increasingly saturated with people who have also travelled and will completely understand that gap in your résumé. That being said, this was still one of my main concerns when deciding to quit my everyday life to travel.
I’ve found one of the best ways to overcome these doubts is to consider your trip and new-found free time as an opportunity to develop your skill set. Start a blog. Get really good at photography. Work freelance whilst you’re away. Even volunteer for a worthy cause. That way you can show how travelling has helped you grow not just personally but professionally too. As a digital marketer I’m planning to use my trip to grow my current travel blog and its social media accounts.
2. Shouldn’t I spend the money on the deposit for my first house?
Society tells our generation we should be putting our money into getting on the property ladder like our parents did. Therefore, saving up enough money for a house deposit, but instead using it for my trip is a decision I’ve certainly doubted. However, when it comes to travel, there’s no time like the present. Realistically, I’ve got plenty of time to be tied into a mortage that’s probably going to span decades, but only now can I head off to explore the world without any strings attached. So seize the day! Plus saving to travel has given me a great advantage for when I do save for a deposit. I’m great at budgeting now, and know what and how I can cut back on my lifestyle to save what I need (goodbye bottomless brunches *sob*).
3. What will people think?
I shouldn’t care what people think, right? But as a society, realistically, we want the approval of our peers. I was lucky in one respect – my family and friends got on board with my trip straight away (as I knew they would). However, the prospect of quitting my job and what my colleagues would say was something entirely different. So, after a few weeks of feeling: (a) guilty about leaving and (b) stressed out about telling my company, I decided to bite the bullet early and give extra notice that I was planning to leave. And honestly, I shouldn’t have worried at all, as when I did, everyone was really supportive and positive about my decision. So, all I would say is this. At the end of the day, don’t panic about reactions you haven’t had yet, accept that some people might not get the whole travelling thing and that’s okay – it’s your life not theirs – but most people will probably think what you’re doing is amazing (that’s because it is!). Plus you never know what opportunities might come out of it too – hello freelance work!
4. I’ll miss my friends and family too much
There’s an easy solution to this one really. Travel with them! Whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, brother, sister or close friend, travelling with someone you know inside out means you’ve got a trusted companion, familiar comfort and moral support all rolled into one. I’ll be travelling with my boyfriend of 5 years, and honestly don’t think I could do it without him. Though I know plenty of people who’ve solo travelled too and loved it. But, travel partners aside, the thought of not seeing the rest of my close family and friends for 12 months is something I’ve still struggled with. Once I’d voiced this feeling, I soon realised they not only felt the same way, but were eager to come out to visit us during our travels! Yay! And once I’d made initial plans with my parents, sister and her boyfriend to visit us in both Asia and Australia, I felt so much better
about leaving. Of course, WhatsApp and FaceTime will also come into play for keeping connected with friends and family who we won’t see. However most importantly I’ve made peace with the realisation that there will be days when I’ll probably feel homesick, but the good times will certainly outweigh the bad.
5. Will it be hard to get back on my feet when I get home?
Okay. I know what you’re thinking. Why are you even considering this now, you’re about to head off on the adventure of your life! Well, being the compulsive worrier that I am, means this thought has crossed my mind a fair few times. So, what did I do to get over this one? Well discussing our return with friends and family about where we can temporarily stay when we first get back certainly helped. We’ve also put aside some of our savings to last us for a couple of months when we get home, which will take the financial pressure off when we’re getting ourselves back on our feet. And aren’t a few slightly tougher months when you return worth a whole year of exploring exciting new places and making lots of new friends? Yep, thought so.
6. But will I regret it?
Doubts aside, my deep-down instinct has always been that this will be an adventure of a lifetime and something I will never regret. Remember that doubts only stem from fear of the unknown, from stepping away from familiarity. And that’s exactly what quitting your everyday life to travel is doing. Once you’ve pushed through them you’ll know the answer to this one. The closer I’ve got to the start of my trip the more my doubts and fears have melted away into pure excitement to go and see the world. So as for me? I’d say there’s a 99.999% chance my instinct is going to be right. American writer Mark Twain once said “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” And I’m certainly not going to sit around to find out.