Quitting your job to travel the world is definitely possible but it does take preparation. It’s especially true if you have a slew of material goods, debt, and among other things that could hold you back from traveling or worse — force you to return home while you’re traveling. Preparing does get frustrating and overwhelming but the process can also be quite rewarding.
– Are sure you love to travel?
Have you ever traveled abroad before? Before flipping your life around, take a few short trips to test the waters. It’d suck to find out that you actually hate long-term traveling when you’re already out there.
– Clean up your debt
While you’re still earning a decent pay, pay off as much debt as possible. I don’t recommend leaving your job before you could pay off as least most of your debt. It’s always going to be there so pay it off. See: Paying Debt VS The Travel Dream
– Have a general plan and exit strategy
I hate plans and I’m generally lazy to bother with them but with this, I was the opposite. I had it all laid out and was determined to let nothing stop me. I knew how long it was going to take to pay everything off, when I wanted to leave, how much money I’d have, why I wanted to quit, and where I wanted to travel to. It helped put things into perspective on how long I needed to stay at my job before I gave notice. The plan should be solid and well written out for your own reference. See: Story of Escaping the Cubicle Corporate World
– Use your company’s health insurance
Make every possible appointment for health checkups, teeth cleaning, medications, eye checks, and whatever else is covered. Mention you’ll be traveling around the world as they may recommend certain shots. If you wear glasses, get a second backup pair.
– Get information on your 401k and any stock you may have invested in the company
Find out if there are any fees for withdrawing your 401k if you choose to do so. Some company’s may require you to keep putting in a certain amount every month to keep your 401k. Some fees for withdrawing range up to 20% for tax then another 10% for early withdrawal from the total you’ve raised. It’s a hefty amount and should be researched thoroughly.
– Clean up your desk and empty your computer
Your work computer and everything around it is technically company property. Wipe out and backup anything you feel is essential. The moment you give notice, don’t be surprised to lose access to many of the things you had before.
– Work from home an option?
If you have a position that does most of the work on the internet, it doesn’t hurt to try to ask if you could work on the move. You’ll be able to get a steady income while traveling. If they’re not able to do this, well you were going to quit anyway. This works best if you provide them two options telling them that you have the desire to travel and either they could hire you to work remotely or you’ll be forced to leave the company.
– Two week notice or more?
Some company’s require at least a two week notice before leaving. Due to conflict of interest, you may not want to provide more than two weeks but that depends on the company you work for. If I had provided my company more than two weeks or if they had any hint that I was going to leave, the company would have laid me off. Just be nice when you give them notice.
– Prepare yourself for the speech
Easiest way to quit is to tell the truth. It’s going to be a long winded response as to why you’d want to quit so prepare to answer a lot of questions. In the end, most will likely say they wish they could do the same.
– Quit with dignity. Leave on good terms.
Work as normal. Don’t start to bad mouth everyone and start showing up late just because you’re leaving. I know you’re exciting about your trip and to finally leave but remember to stay professional. Not just because of karma but because you’re better than that. Many of my old co-workers are now fans of Art of Backpacking and add to the readership.