While scrolling through Instagram, I often wish that I could quit my desk job and discover the world like the awesome travel bloggers that I follow. These urges are particularly strong when I have a vacation coming up shortly. With a spate of articles titled “Quit Your Job and Travel in Your Twenties” or something along those line, quitting your job to travel full time seems easier and more practical that ever.
I could be typing up a resignation letter right now and hopping on the next plane out of here but instead I’m writing this blog post. Why? Because I’m a calculated risk taker. I’m not privileged enough to have family money to fall back on should I mess my life up so I cannot afford to make decisions on a whim. But if so many people are quitting to travel in their twenties then it must make sense, right?
Not exactly. Many travelers will tell you that you don’t need to have to have money to travel. You can backpack, hitchhike and budget travel your way across the globe but here are a few reasons why I haven’t quit my job to explore the world.
A weak passport
Most people who you hear about leaving everything behind to travel are from well developed nations with a decent economy and a powerful passport. They may not realize it but where you are from can have a profound impact on how easily you can get elsewhere.
The Jamaican passport is one of the least powerful passports in the region. Ranking only 50th worldwide, Jamaicans can only travel to 79 out of 196 countries visa-free. If saving up enough money to travel wasn’t enough of a hassle, you can now add visa fees and requirements to your list of worries. Due to the country’s struggling economy and the poor reputation that Jamaicans have developed abroad, most countries have strict requirements which must be met before a visa is granted. Most common would be a job letter to prove significant ties to your country and that you’re able to pay for your onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit. Living day to day without no clear idea of how you’re getting to your next destination or even where your next destination is don’t look good on a visa application.
I like nice things
My preference of nice things isn’t designer clothes but the ability to indulge to my heart’s desires while I’m away. I am not a budget traveler and never will be. I’ve stayed at my fair share of dingy hotels but I’m more than willing to spend on a luxury hotel whenever I can. For me absolutely no expense can be spared when it comes to food! Some days I’ll go from fine dining to food trucks, depending on how I’m feeling but I never want it to be because I can’t afford anything better.
I’m also a compulsive impulse buyer. I like knowing that I can spend a few hundred dollars on a EdgeWalk at the CN Tower or a bungee jump in Macau without impacting the rest of my trip. Do I need a golden time turner, a wand from Ollivanders and 1/2 a pound of Bertie Botts? Well, any self-respecting witch or wizard would know that the answer is yes!
Gotta prepare for emergencies
I’ve learnt first hand how important it is to have an emergency fund.
Life can be a real bitch sometimes and when it throws you a curve ball, it’s going to hit you hard and quick. It could come in the form of an accident, an illness or a pink slip…whatever it is, you need to be prepared.
As twenty-somethings, we all want to live in the moment and have fun which is why so many of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck to maintain the party lifestyle. Rarely do we think about the challenges that we have to face until they’re staring us dead in the eyes. Many of us are still relying on our parents to get us out of tough situations but think about this — as we get older, so do they and one day you might find that they’re the ones in the tough situation.
If there is one piece of advice that you should take from me, it is to save up for emergencies.
I have no patience
Right after graduation, I looked into the idea of teaching English in another country. There is an insatiable demand for English teachers especially in Asian. Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is fairly easy to get into and a lot of traveler see the world while getting paid that way but it was definitely not for me.
I am not patient or understanding enough to be a good teacher and not selfish enough to screw up someone else’s education just so I can go on a trip.
Life after travel
What happens after you’re done traveling? Where do you go?
People underestimate how much traveling can change you. Each trip offers you a chance to grow, to get insight into new cultures and to seek new opportunities. After experiencing big cities and wonders of the world, what can a small island offer in comparison?
As it is now, I’m already outgrowing this island lifestyle. I would never want to return if I were to leave on long term travels but I’d have no choice at this point in my life. I don’t have enough assets or experience to make somewhere else my home base so I’ve chosen to use my twenties to build on those instead of going on unsustainable adventures.
I would much rather let my restless spirit rest every few months than to let it die from static island life.