If you’ve landed on this article you may be confronted with a predicament: whether to stay in work or to travel. This dilemma is one many of us face at some point in our lives.
You may be straight out of school and are considering whether to do some traveling before you enter the workforce. Or, perhaps you have been working for 5-10 years already and have arrived at a crossroads – do you carry on and climb the ranks at work, or do you pause your working life to globetrot.
We weigh up the main things to consider:
1. Find out if your current company allows you to take a sabbatical.
A sabbatical is a great solution for those feeling bogged down at work or have itchy feet to travel, but don’t want to derail their career.
Luckily, many companies give their employees the opportunity to take an extended break and come back to their job afterwards – though forfeiting their pay. However, the length of your sabbatical can vary from company to company, with the opportunity to take six or twelve months off very rare – your job may not be guaranteed at the end, so you would have to quit.
2. Where do you want to go?
Your ultimate decision about whether you walk away from work or not depends largely on where you want to travel to.
If faraway lands entice you, you should think about the logistics of a long trip. For example, backpacking along the tourist belt of South East Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) will require a few months.
But if you just wanted to travel around one country it may only take a few weeks, in which you could keep your job and save up all your holiday allowance.
3. Look into countries where you can work as well as travel.
Australia is a popular country for Americans and Brits to travel to because it is easy to earn money out there while you visit. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 30, you can apply for a working holiday visa which allows you to travel and work in the country for up to two years.
Australia is also a popular choice because of its beauty, its weather and its lifestyle. The top places to visit include Sydney, Melbourne (which has been voted the ‘world’s most livable city’ for seven years in a row), Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Western Australia – though less populated that Queensland and New South Wales – is also a wonderous place to travel to, and when renting cars in Perth, you can drive to some of the planet’s most beautiful treasures.
4. Be sure it’s what you want to do.
It’s a huge deal to drop everything – your job, your life, your home – to go and travel the world. So before you make too many changes, make sure it’s something you definitely want to do.
People who take extended time out of work to travel sometimes experience a tougher job market when they return, so don’t be hasty in your decision. That being said, it would be hard to rush into such a large trip, as it could take months to save enough money to travel for a long period of time without working.
You don’t need to have set plans while you’re away. Most travelers and backpackers find that planning as they go is the beauty of it. But you should endeavor to plan your return date, so you can let you employer and others know.
5. Are you happy?
The most important thing to consider is are you happy?
Are you happy in your day job? Would you be happy to stay in that job for the foreseeable future? Are you progressing in your life right now, or are you stuck?
Sometimes, things can happen in your life that can warrant a drop-everything-and-go attitude. Other times, people may not understand why you would want to put your life on hold. All you need to know is will you regret it if you don’t do it? It’s your life, and you only live once, so seize the day and don’t waste another minute!