Thursday, November 12, 2009

Should I Quit My Job To Travel?

Dear Danielle,

I am considering quitting my job as an executive assistant at an advertising firm to travel the world for a year. I am 32 years old, single and living in New York. Many of my friends have gotten married the last few years, and I feel like my life is just staying still. My job is OK, and I make a fairly good salary, but I always dreamt of being a journalist, not an assistant. I feel like I just need a break from my life for awhile. Plus, I have never travelled extensively except for a few trips to Mexico, Canada and France. I want to explore on an African Safari and visit South America. I would blow most of my savings on this trip - but with no kids and no commitments, I am feeling like - what do I have to lose? Am I crazy for considering quitting my job or should I embrace my travel impulse while I am still young and free?

"Girl with the Travel Bug"

Dear "Girl with the Travel Bug,"

As someone who loves and craves travel, I can empathize with your desire to see the world. However, considering the economy I think it would be the wrong move to quit your job and deplete your savings. Sometimes many smaller trips (weekends or a few weeks at a time) can do the trick as well as extended ones. Save up your vacation days (if you haven't done so already) and start planning your dream trips. Even if only one major trip a year can happen in terms of your work schedule, it will give you something to look forward to. I suggest you take language lessons or dance lessons - or whatever you choose - that tie into the next trip you are planning on taking. For example, if you are planning a trip to Brazil start taking Portuguese lessons. Who knows, you might meet a guy with similar hobbies/taste as you in one of these classes. Most significantly, if you always dreamt of being a reporter - leaving for a year isn't going to necessarily make that dream happen. Focus on actions you can take in your day to day life to make you feel more excited and passionate about life. Start writing for a local paper or attend networking events for journalism professionals. Start developing a writing portfolio. Whatever you do remember travel is often a state of mind, so staying in New York for now and keeping your job doesn't have to mean complacency.

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