Quitting Your Job to Travel

I am now one step closer to my world-traveling adventures. On Friday, I walked into my vice president’s office, told him my last day would be at the end of March and handed in my letter of resignation. Yes, I actually quit my job. It’s an event I knew was coming but felt nervous about just the same.

Resigning from your job to travel is a powerful moment in anyone’s life. Many of  your plans, which have only been the vaguest of ideas until now, will soon be realized. Sometimes this is overwhelming, especially if you are usually conservative and perhaps a bit risk-adverse like I am. But, now that I’ve actually gone and done it, I feel like the world is full of wonderful possibilities.

So how do you go about quitting your job to travel? I suppose you approach it the same way you would if you were moving on to another company, staying home to care for your kids or returning to school to further your education. Here are some simple tips that helped me through this somewhat nerve-wracking process:

  1. Plan Ahead: It’s always better to think things through before you take action. But what if I hate my job, you ask? Then, this tip is especially for you. You should never walk into a potentially life-altering situation without considering all the consequences. Make sure you understand the cause and effect of what you’re doing.
  2. Be Respectful: Always be courteous and respectful when speaking with your supervisor or boss. Don’t burn any bridges on your way out, because your manager can help you in the future. He may offer himself up as a personal reference or see what he can do to hook you up with a job when you get back, both of which my VP did for me. Thanks James!
  3. Give Two Weeks (or More) Notice: Two weeks notice is the commonly accepted amount of time you should give your manager when you want to quit. However, I think it’s better to give her as much notice as you can. In my case, I gave my VP about a month. I would have liked to give more notice, but I didn’t have solid plans at that time. The earlier you tell your employer, the more time they have to find your replacement. It helps to ease the burden on you (because you’ll probably be asked to train the new person) and the company during your last weeks.
  4. Write a Letter of Resignation: The letter doesn’t have to be long, and in fact, I think something short and sweet is more effective. In the letter, state that you are resigning from your position and the last date of your employment. You can also note your appreciation for the time spent with the company. You don’t need to state your reason for quitting. You can save this for when you speak to your manager.
  5. Keep Doing What You’re Doing: Don’t start slacking off now that you’re on your way out. Continue working hard and completing projects by their deadlines. Leave your department and the company ahead and not behind.

If you’re serious about traveling the world and quitting your job is part of the process, I say go for it. There’s no time like now to live your dreams. Traveling will serve as an education in itself and will add skills to your repertoire for when you return to the workforce. You, and I, will hopefully come back with a refreshing outlook on the world and a new sense of what is possible.

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