11 Reasons Why I Haven’t Quit My Job to Travel the World

But everybody’s doing it…


Say a person quits their job to travel the world and doesn’t write a viral personal essay about the experience. Did it really happen? Given the ubiquity of the trope, I’ll assume you’ve encountered some iteration of the following headlines.

“Why I Quit My Job to Join Nepal’s Kopan Monastery — and Why You Should, Too,” says one.

“I Traded My $100,000 Desk Job to Brew Small Batch Kombucha in Remote Iceland,” boasts another.

“15 Reasons Why You Should Quit Your Job and Sail the Northwest Passage” offers a third.

Cynical though I may be, I’m hardly immune to the panicked feelings of inadequacy these articles inevitably provoke. Am I an uninteresting, Ann Taylor-clad square with no sense of spontaneity? Content in a prison of occasional complementary snacks and follow-up emails? A brain-dead corporate drone too reliant on my ergonomic desk chair to transcend, to wander? Allow me to defend myself. Below, 11 reasons why I haven’t quit my job to travel the world:

1. My dog sitter just accepted a job offer with Citigroup.

2. My parents kicked me off their health insurance two years ago and I’ve scheduled a dermatological facial three weeks from now.

3. Who will water my succulents?

4. I have a promo code for 50% off unlimited weeknight Lyft rides for the month of September.

5. Does Blue Apron deliver to Patagonia?

6. I forgot to cancel my ClassPass membership before it automatically renewed this month.

7. I’ve had no luck subletting my studio/converted three bedroom in Stuy Town.

8. All three of my credit cards are maxed out and any corresponding flyer miles are with Alaska Airlines.

9. I’ve aged out of Eurail’s student pricing structure.

10. There’s a precarious stack of fall/winter wedding invitations on my dresser, two of which require my attendance as a bridesmaid.

11. I recently invested in three pairs of decidedly office-friendly pants. But hey, at least I know what I’m wearing to work on Monday.

Feature collage by Lily Ross; photograph by GraphicaArtis via Getty Images.

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  • Taste of France

    Hilarious! The best way to travel the world is on somebody else’s dime. As in, get transferred overseas for a few years (obviously not all employers offer this option).

    • queenisdead

      Exactly. I’m a bit of a nomad so I specifically picked a field where my job and skills are transferable.

  • Molly D

    Every time I buy a pair of office pants, child me gets a little more sad, even though it’s these Sloan-Fits that allow me to travel. I wish people who quit their jobs would do so in silence. When they end up writing the “What I Miss Most About Income” articles I’m all ears. I’m also jealous.

    • Lolllll “what I miss most about income”. You win.

    • Katie

      +1 Sloane fit!

  • Natty


  • Oh man, those articles/essays/click bate KILL ME. The headlines should read “I quit my job to travel the world and my parents still pay my credit card bill and will bail me out when I come back broke and homeless” or “I can’t hold down a real job so I quit to “travel the world” (wink wink)”. Sry not sry I’m an adult who uses my PTO to travel and the income from my job to fund it. CHEERS!

    • Molly D

      “I quit my job so I could tell people I quit my job”

    • ThisPersonSleeps

      omg yes

  • Haha LOVE this!

    – Natalie

  • Rachel Liou

    LOL, how can you be uninteresting when you have humor like this. i say, keep your job if it makes you happy >50% of the time, then get the rest of your fill outside the office. work shouldn’t be your whole life.

  • kellymcd

    NUMBER 9!!!!! I recently took a two week trip to Europe (paid by me and with my big girl job PTO) and to my horror, when booking train tickets, found out I was suddenly too old for the Eurail student prices. Who arbitrarily decided 26 was old enough to not travel on student budget prices?! I feel like 30 years old would be much more reasonable

  • mariah serrano

    Can i get the promo code tho?

  • lily

    I know MR is on Li.st! This could totally be posted there!!

  • Caroline

    So much love for this. When I’m feeling wanderlusty I take the easier route and just change my desktop background to a new mountain/beach/wild animal picture. #lifehack!

  • Kristien

    This makes me feel a little bit better, as someone who DESPERATELY wants to quit my job (actually, I’d be happy with just that part) and travel the world. My husband and I visited Europe for two weeks last year (which we consider ourselves very fortunate for), paid for by our hard work and savings, and I most definitely developed wanderlust. I’d give anything to drop what I’m doing, pack my essentials, and book a flight to Switzerland/Sweden/Czech Republic right-fucking-now. But I also have a mortgage for a very cute house, and jobs (that allow me to earn enough money to go to Europe for two weeks) are difficult to find. The only person I know who *actually* travels regularly is 30 and still lives with his parents, and they pay for everything. Other friends took teaching jobs in China and Vietnam out of college, which is probably a pretty cool way to see other countries, and sometimes I wish I’d done it too. So when I see these articles, it makes me think there’s something wrong with me, that I haven’t figured out this great “secret” to successfully quitting my job to travel, but I also remember that very, very few people actually do this, and they rarely do it without financial assistance from others.

    • *sigh*, right?

      (Haven’t even made it off my continent yet … am dreaming about it all the time, too 🙂 So I decided to save till my 50th birthday and invite my husband to California – it is a great excuse, after all (he got invited to London for my 40th)

    • Marissa

      As someone who is doing the teaching overseas thing, the secret is that you have to be willing to give up everything else in your life. While you’re away (months or years at a time) you won’t be able to see your family or friends back home at all. If you have someone to travel with you have only them, all day everyday, and random strangers you meet. You will have a massive gap in your resume that will inevitably hurt your career when you return back home. You don’t have a house or many possessions because everything needs to be able to travel with you. You have no structure or regularity to your life. Things like comfort food, access to a gym, even laundry are sometimes hard to come by depending on where you are and what day it is. You are also often in a country where you are different and you will never fit in and you are reminded of that everyday. People stare at you, you won’t know how to do simple tasks like buy headache meds or get the waiter’s attention at the grocery store. Leaving home was the hardest thing I’ve ever done because you are giving up everything you have back home. It’s absolutely worth it and its exciting and you do a lot of cool stuff but it is also terrifying and uncomfortable and not for those who expect to be the same person when they go home. The secret is you have to be willing to trade everything else in your life for the chance at adventure.

  • Alison

    You have to water succulents?! That explains so much.

  • Aoife

    This is fantastic! Most of my friends have traveled for months at a time and have lists of countries they have visited on various forms of social media.
    I often find myself chasing to catch up with them instead of focusing on the things I’ve accomplished

  • Sarah

    Great article!


  • PCE

    I love this. Particularly the credit cards being maxed out and wedding invites stacking up…

  • queenisdead

    Traveling is fun, but it’s exhausting after a couple of weeks. I like to be able to come home to my comfy bed and relax for awhile.

    There’s always a drawback. You give up a personal life doing this kind of thing. I’m sure remote Iceland is beautiful, but I like hanging with my friends and family, too.

  • I fucking love this post! And so needed to read it now. I’ve only just finished my first month at my first full-time graduate job (which I’ve probs mentioned in every comment on here) and I feel so overwhelmed. I didn’t want to get sucked into it, I had some unrealistic vision that I’d work for a year and then move to France to do a Masters and live happily ever after, working in a lab or something. I don’t even know what I want to do with myself. But travelling costs! And all those posts that say “travel for free” aren’t actually travelling for free…. you still have to be able to afford flights… not to mention food!

    I feel reassured reading this 🙂

  • Kat C

    So much yes. Stability and health insurance are underrated. I’ll happily stay at my corporate job until next year when I can take my hard-earned week of PTO and then peace tf out.

  • My boyfriend is going on exchange to the other side of the globe (quitting his super job and our super apartment – i am now homeless *cries*) and I’m staying in the country that was until recently our new country. I’ve been agonising over it. I guess my paid yoga subscription should be enough reason to not feel like a loser here!