Leaving almost everything behind to travel the world wasn’t an easy decision. I had some worries if this kind of travelling was something that I would be able to do. People think it’s just “quit your job and travel the world” but it’s not really that simple. There were people who questioned my decision, things I had to let go and constraints to overcome.
It took me a while before I made the decision to leave my comfortable life in Singapore. I’m sure some people took a lot less time to pack their bags and travel but if you’re still having doubts on that big dream here are some questions to ask yourself in order to get your head straight and finalize that decision…
Is This Something I Really Want to Do?
When Jon first asked me to travel the world with him, the only reason I thought “yes” was because I wanted to be with him. He told me to think harder, as following someone else’s dream will always end badly.
It is true in so many ways, that travelling is a form of self-fulfilment. There will be some lifestyle changes in this decision and you may have to make sacrifices along the way, so it is best to know that you are doing this for yourself and it is something you really want to do. You will be out of your comfort zone and meet so many different people on the road. You will be vulnerable and unsure of so many things that are all new. Are you up for all these? Do you want to do it for the right reasons?
My relationship with Jon remains a big part of the reason why I have decided to travel this year. We have been on a few short trips together (Thailand, Cambodia, Maldives and Philippines) and it has been a good experience every time, that I am sure it won’t be difficult in the long run. Other than this, I have come to realize that there are some experiences that short holidays cannot offer in the same way a month-long stay in one country can. I am so excited just thinking about all the possibilities that a long timeframe of travelling can offer – like learning another language and experiencing different cultures. I surely wouldn’t pass up the chance to speak Spanish fluently and see so many beautiful places on this trip! Let’s do this!
Is it the Right Time for Me to Do This? (Should I Quit My Job to Travel?)
If I could have taken a year long sabbatical I would have. Sadly, this was not an available option when I worked in Singapore. I also thought it would be a bit unfair to the company I worked for if I decided later on that I didnt want to come back (or if I couldn’t come back) so I resigned from my job as a civil engineer. Some people thought I would be wasting the easy life I had in Singapore, and that it was not a good idea take a long break at such an early stage in my career. On the other hand, I think it is best to do this now, while I am young and I have the time to figure out what I really want to do in life.
Long-term travel is not like a vacation from work where you pick up where you left off when you get back. You will not put your life on hold when you travel, and if you think you will, it may not be the right time for you to do this. Most people I have met would consider this kind of travelling but have been held back by financial responsibilities or are too afraid to leave their current position at work. It’s all about priorities. If you think you have the opportunity to travel now, why miss it?
Do I Have Enough Money?
There are quite a few blog posts out there on how to save for long term travel. Why? Let’s face it, travelling can be expensive and you need heaps of money to make this happen. You may have savings but it’s not exactly meant for travelling is it?
Money really concerned me since I only had a bit of time to save up for the big trip. Jon had planned for long-term travel by working as an English teacher in Singapore. Me? I had six months to save money from my salary as a Civil Engineer, I also had to cut-down on shopping and eating out in order to save more money. I am not sure how long my savings will last but we’ll probably figure out a way to travel for longer.
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What Will the Important People in My Life Think about This Decision?
Coming from a close-knit Filipino family, what my parents thought of my decision was very important to me. Although I had an idea they wouldn’t take it well, I had to tell let them how important it is for me to do this. Jon and I went to the Philippines last June for me to speak with them personally, and also for them to finally meet him. It was an emotional time for me then when I told my family that I will leave my job to travel. They had so many questions and doubts about the life chapter I was about to take. They did not exactly agree to the decision but in the end, after a lot of convincing they have (somehow) accepted that this was one thing I really wanted and this will make me happy.
What your family/friends/loved ones think about your decision may easily make you reconsider your plans. It may also be a cause of worry on the road if you have not laid out the details to them beforehand so make sure you let them know what you’ll be up to!
Which Places Can I Travel To? (Do I Need to Get Visas?)
Not everyone has free access to most countries (Jon is quite lucky with his New Zealand passport, which every country seems to love). As a Filipino passport holder, I have come to face the difficulties of having to apply for a visa for most countries we want to travel to. In 2 months’ time, I had to sort out the visas for US, UK, Shengen (Europe), Turkey and New Zealand. It all seemed impossible at first but I managed to get them all just in time. Of course, the situation will still be different when we enter these countries, so we’ll see how it goes.
If you need visas for certain countries, it is best to settle them ahead. You must also accept that some countries are more difficult to travel to than others so you may have to keep your options open for skipping some places you can’t go to.
I had a recent bad experience with immigration on my way back to Singapore after Jon and I had a day of shopping in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. My SPass (work visa for Singapore) had already been cancelled then so I was questioned about my purpose of travelling to Singapore from Malaysia. Jon went with me to the immigration office and although he obviously doesn’t have any issues, he was also invited for questioning. There was so much fuss over my return to Singapore as a tourist that an onward flight was requested and I was told to “Please leave, okay” by one of the officers, which I think was uncalled for. I guess this kind of situation can be expected when we travel, especially for countries with tight security.
Jon and I started our journey around the world on the 29th of September. I am truly happy with my decision to travel and the experience has been really overwhelming so far! I couldn’t be any happier.
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Is there something holding you back from your dream of long-term travel? If you are already travelling, did you come across the same difficulties in your decision to travel? Share your thoughts with us.