This is the kind of photo I’m referring to in the paragraph below (taken in Bhutan)
If you, like me, follow a lot of travel blogs and websites, I’m sure you’ve seen it: that image of the person standing somewhere beautiful, looking free and happy and contemplative; perhaps their arms are outstretched, or they’re reaching up to hold on to their hat just so. I’m not criticising – I’m guilty of this pose, too (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C), because of the mere fact that it adds some dynamic to your photos, and also, if you’re like me, you don’t have to worry about what to do with your face (I swear my eyes are closed in half of those taken). But sometimes – more than ever, these days – that photo is accompanied by a headline that says something like, “I quit my job to travel and am now my own boss” or “I quit my job to travel the world and am now happier than ever”, and so on, and so forth. I feel like Business Insider and Buzzfeed do some variation of this almost weekly.
When people talk about “quitting your job to travel”, I have this image of someone unhappy in their job – probably a corporate role – and wanting to break free to try something new. Wanting to have adventures. Wanting to be in control of your career. Imagining a life where you can work from anywhere – I’ve never heard the phrases “location independent”, “digital nomad”, and “working remotely” as much as I’ve heard in the past year. And I can see the amazing benefits of all of those things; I’d personally love to have that freedom and that independence. I did have those things, when I travelled continuously for almost two years, and they were some of the happiest times of my entire life.
Happy and carefree (and damn arms outstretched) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
And yet, if you Google that phrase “quit my job to travel”, while you’ll get a few positive articles, you’ll also get a whole lot of “DON’T quit your job to travel” or “I quit my job to travel and now I’m going home” or “why quitting your job to travel actually sucks”.
Because, as much as I love the idea of that freedom and that independence, there’s no denying the downfalls of leaving everything behind and trying to forge your own path. Unless you’re wealthy enough to not have to work, you’re constantly going to be thinking about money. Travelling continuously and without stopping can take its toll, physically and emotionally. It’s difficult to maintain personal relationships if you’re constantly moving. It can be hard not having a home base, a steady diet, a regular doctor, an easy way to file taxes, or any of the other conveniences we get used to living in our home or adopted countries. Not to mention just how much damn work you’ll be doing. That photo of the person relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, their laptop in their lap, a big smile on their face? Article after article (and friend after friend of mine) will tell you that’s a farce. More often than not, it’s late hours, little time sightseeing, and constant anxiety about clients paying you on time or if the place you’re staying has good enough wifi. In fact, I even talked about why “quitting your job to travel” can sometimes be awful advice in a recent podcast.
Early morning walks in Prague, Czechia
If you have been following this blog for any period of time, you may have sussed out the fact that I am not a full-time blogger. While blogging has been a continuous force in my entire adult life (I started my first blog at age 19, in 2003), I have never dedicated my life to it. Despite the huge rise in travel blogs, and despite the fact that I get around an email a day about how to become a blogger and/or professional writer, I have always had a separate full-time job and/or been a full-time student while I’ve maintained this blog. I’ve placed such a high priority on travel (and write almost exclusively about travel) that it may seem I’m always on the road, though, so I understand the confusion. The exception to this full-time work? The years 2011 and 2012, when I spent 19 of those 24 months travelling through Asia, Oceania, and North, Central, and South America. In those days, I had no idea that blogging was a thing – I just did it because I loved having a record of my travels.
The same goes for social media. I’ve never tried to be a vlogger or an Instagrammer, and when I get labelled an “influencer”, I get this weird feeling in the back of my throat like I want to gag. At the end of the day, this blog is still just a record of my travels, a place to upload photos, write some stories, and have some fun. It still boggles my mind that other people want to read it, because it’s always just felt like a place to be myself – I often question if everything I write just seems vain and self-serving (*cough* this entire blog post *cough*). It also boggles my mind that companies want to pay me for my work, because it’s never felt like work. It all just feels fun and natural and easy and personal. The thought of being some massive blogger who needs multiple assistants and guest writers seems overwhelming and scary, and it’s not for me.
That being said… this blog and everything that comes with it is my favourite thing in my life. It brings me such joy, and I’ve made so many amazing connections through it. I want to dedicate even more of my time to it, even more of my life to it and the travels that support it. And so… I’ve decided to quit my job and become a travel blogger.
Travel is my first love, wine is my second… in Barcelona, Spain
Wait, no. That’s not right. In fact, the title of this post is a bit misleading, because I would never willingly quit the job I have. It’s too good – I learn a lot, I have a lot of creative control, my coworkers are amazing, I believe in my company, and I get to do what I love most every day in the office, which is talk about and write about travel. I’m definitely not that disgruntled worker sitting in a cubicle, hating life. But I’ve also recognised that, by having a full-time job, I’m not giving as much energy as I want to give to this blog and its growing opportunities. Over the past few years, with my job and the freelance opportunities that have arisen, I’ve managed to save quite a bit of money. It’s meant long hours, but it’s finally paying off… I can now afford to go down to part-time at my job in order to focus more on writing and travelling. On blogging and travelling. On doing what I truly love, all the time.
And yeah, I’ve said some of this before. I want to blog more, to write more. I want to write more helpful articles, because as much as I love writing narrative pieces, and want to write even more of them, I’m often emailed about practical tips like solo female travel in Central America, or if a certain country is safe, or what I’d recommend doing with a long weekend in London. But this time… this time I actually have the time to do it all. In fact, I have five days a week to do it, as I’m officially down to two days a week at my company. I’ll still be looking at other freelance writing options, but my entire schedule will be much more flexible and spontaneous.
So much more time… in Paris, France
What else do I have time to do? I have time to travel. I already travel quite a bit and am so appreciative of every moment of it, but in 2017 I want to travel more than I have in the past few years, checking out as many places as I can all the while enjoying my home base of London.
I feel like this post is all over the place – I’m sitting by the fireplace in my dad’s house in Winnipeg, Canada, a glass of wine by my side, and I’m just writing whatever comes to my mind. To be honest, over the past week with my family, I’ve barely thought about blogging and I’ve barely been online. But writing all of this now, and putting it all out there, just as I have always tried to do… I’m so fucking excited. There are so many stories I haven’t written yet, and so many opportunities I’ve had to turn down because I haven’t had enough time. I’m so excited to see what’s going to happen – with this blog, with the book I’ve written, with a half-empty passport – now that I finally have the time to match my ambitions.
So did I just quit my job to travel? Kinda. But no matter what happens, I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Travel led me to my adopted home, London, England
What do you think about ‘quitting your job to travel’? Have you done it? Do you think I will fail so miserably that I’ll look back at this day and think, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ (don’t answer that)
Good for you, girl! You’ll always be my #1 blogger inspiration as it was your blog that led me to actually follow my dream of travel and sequentially start one of my own to track my own thoughts. Looking forward to reading what you get into during 2017!
Aw, what an amazing comment to receive! Thank you so much, Laura, I really appreciate all of your kind words. Good luck with everything!
I love that first pic from Rio! Gorgeous !!
This sounds like an AWESOME arrangement! And I love how you aren’t totally going cold turkey and explained how crappy working on the road can be (but also great too). Congrats, this sounds like a great balance where you can achieve all your other projects and interests!
Jessica Wray! Fancy seeing you here 😉 going to wander over to your blog now too!
Thank you so much, Jessica! Hope you’re doing really well 😀
Count me along for the ride.
I’m now in a place where half my time is on non-travel-blogging-related work, and half my income dependent on it, and it’s such a comfortable balance that I want to stay here until I find something much better. I don’t want to be a full-time anything right now, so I’m embracing the juggling-act. It feels the most stable I’ve been for years – and since it sounds like you are getting something similar, I hope you feel the same way.
Saluting your commitment, your talents being put to excellent use, and your pragmatism. Go get it all.
Thank you so much, Mike! That’s so great that you’re feeling so stable and happy about things in your life, always great to hear. 🙂 I look forward to following along all of your adventures, too.
Hi Brenna! I love this dialogue. In my case I’ve decided to “quit my job” in New York and start a new job in Moscow. I also LOVE travel and living in a different part of the world, immersing myself in a foreign culture and hopefully learning a new language and new travel opportunities will satisfy my desire to see and experience the world! Privyett! ❤
Thank you so much, Beatrice! I wish you all the best in Russia 😀
I have never had to quit my job to travel. My passport does not allow me hop on a plane and just travel.
If given the opportunity, I think I will be one to quit my job and travel and make money off travel.
All the best in 2017.
I’m sorry to hear that, Lara – it’s true, I have to acknowledge the privilege that my Canadian passport allows. All in the best in 2017 to you, too 🙂
Good for you! Get out there and enjoy. I’ll be waiting to read all about your travels!
Thank you so much, Laura!
I’m insanely excited for you. Your blog has always been my favorite, so I’m glad that you have this opportunity to focus your energy on it!
Aw, thank you so much, Victoria! What a wonderful comment.
I quit my job to travel two years ago! I travelled for a year and then came back and incidentally got a job at the same place as I had been working before I quit. I did not work at all while I travelled, I opted to save up and be completely unharried while travelling. It took me four years to save but it was the most amazing adventure. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
That’s so amazing, Danielle! It sounds like such a fantastic adventure. 🙂
Brenna, this is amazing news… So happy that you are making your ideal life your reality. I look forward to all of the articles/posts that will result from it!
Thank you so much, Lauren! I really appreciate all of your support.
Congrats Brenna! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to follow along. As always, you have great balanced and insightful takes on these trends. While I definitely dream about doing something similar someday (especially on lousy days at work) I know I’m not quite ready yet. Besides, I do really enjoy my job, and I feel fortunate to be in a workplace/field (higher ed) with much more vacation time than many in the US get. My office is also very travel positive (is that a thing?) and we are always swapping stories. (One high-up recently decided to leave and open a guest house in Belize and everyone was thrilled for him–and we are hoping for discounted stays in the future!) Anywho, congrats again!
Thank you very much Paige – I always look forward to your comments on this blog! It sounds like you have a lot of fun things ahead, especially with a job like that. 🙂
Amazing! Love reading the blog and excited to see what’s next to come for you. Congrats
Aw, thank you so much, Heather! I hope you’re doing well 🙂
This is so exciting! Your writing, and your outlook on the whole blogging thing are such an inspiration for me. I’m super excited to be able to see content from you more often in 2017. Congratulations!
Aw, thank you very much, Lisa! I’m so happy that you enjoy the blog. 🙂
Good for you! I don’t think you’ll fail. You have the right attitude and excitement and determination, and I certainly don’t think you’ll regret it! Even if it doesn’t work out you won’t regret it because you’ll have tried. So many people never even try. And you have a job part time to help provide that cushion.
I quit my full time job in 2013 after a year in London and went freelance. I wanted to be in control of my life, and have more time to spend on doing things I enjoy, like my recently discovered love of travel! I work hard but it’s great knowing that some company isn’t taking 75% of your chargeout rate before you get paid peanuts… And if I want to write a report at 11am in my PJ’s, I can!!
One bit of advice – don’t lose sight of what you love and enjoy doing. The pursuit of money, like doing a travel trip mainly for the money, doesn’t always bring happiness and success! But I’m sure you know that already
All the best Brenna 🙂
P.S if you’d like to see Cambridge sometime it’d be great to meet you. There’s punting on the River, cream tea at Fitzbillies, wandering round the colleges, Pimm’s at the Mill pond…
Thank you so much for all of these very wise and very inspiring words, Rachel! I think you’re right, it’s easy to lose sight of what one really wants and just chase money, but I don’t want to do that. And I’d love to go to Cambridge one day! 🙂
Thanks again, and all the best to you, too.
Heyyyyy that list of destinations you want to travel to next year is now looking probable!
Best of luck to you Brenna. I’ll be looking out for your narrative pieces! They are aces.
Thank you so much! You have always shown me such support, I appreciate it so much 🙂
I usually don’t comment on blog posts but I feel I have to say this:
About two years ago I started reading travel blogs because I, too, love to travel and they used to give me inspiration, ideas and so on. In other words, they push my wanderlust and at the same time satisfy it while being at home, stuck in the demands of everyday life.
I have since all but stopped reading those blogs because most of them have turned out to be the ever repeating lists of corporate links or posts of the type “ten things to do when…”.
Your blog is refreshingly different. I love how you haven’t succumbed to the lure of affiliate links. Your stories are real stories “from the road”, talking of real experiences, not sponsored by some company or other. This is what I love to read. A little self-indulgence doesn’t hurt then – aren’t we all stage hogs deep within ourselves? But unlike others, you don’t seem to create content for its own sake, just to be “out there” and to attract clicks.
In other words: I hope you have a great time on the road five days a week and I pray that you won’t fall into the same trap as many of your fellow bloggers. Keep it “real”, it’s what sets you apart!
Thank you very much, I’m glad that you are still following along! I do already have affiliate links on the blog (just a few) and I will continue to link them when it seems natural to do so. I certainly don’t think the style of my writing or blogging will change much… it hasn’t in 13 years, so I doubt it will start now. 😉
Congratulations, Brenna! It’s always very exciting when you take another step to creating the life that you want.mEven if you already quite liked the one that you had before. I’ll definitely be along for the ride and I’m looking forward to reading about all the new experience and opportunities that occur as a result of your decision. Have loads of fun! 🙂 x
Thank you very much Ella – I really appreciate all of your support! 🙂
Yesssss Brenna go for it!!! 2017 will be amazing I’m sure. You’ve had the confidence to do something that I would really like to do in the future when I’m better placed work-experience-wise to pick up freelance jobs etc. I hope everything works out for you – I’m sure it will! Have a great Christmas and New Year!!
Thank you so much, Bethen! All the best to you, too. 😀
Congratulations, Brenna! I’ve watched this blog grow so much over the years — this opportunity is very much earned and deserved. Best of luck!!
I can’t tell you how much all of your support over the years has meant, Katie. 😀 Thank you!!
This is so exciting! I’ve always been a massive fan of your blog, so I can’t wait to see more content from you in 2017! This post actually resonates with me quite a lot. I’m at a point in my life where I can’t decide if I should work on my career more or save up over the next 6 months, quit my job, and travel for an extended time. While I absolutely love travelling and want to do more of it, I also love my home comforts and having the stability of a job. Either way it’s a nice problem to have I guess! On another note, will you be holding anymore meet ups in London next year?!
Thank you so much, Leah, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the blog! I understand that confusion… it can definitely be tricky to figure out.
And yes, I’m going to be holding another meet-up very soon… probably in February if people are up for it!
That’s amazing! I think that if you can make money blogging/traveling full time then why not?
Can’t wait to read more posts from you in 2017 🙂
Thank you so much, Christine! I really appreciate all of your support 😀
This is awesome! I don’t think you will regret it. It’s cheesy but most people regret the chances they didn’t take. I will live vicariously through your blog. It’s one of my favorites and I would read whatever you decide to write about.
Aw, thank you so much, Jill! I really appreciate your words and all of your support 😀
So glad to read this post. I have no doubt you will be successful in whatever you do, most especially if it involves your fabulous writing.
PS If you plan to have more time to travel, there BETTER be a Montreal trip at some point in 2017 😉
Ha ha – maybe not in 2017, but definitely in the near future! Thank you so much for all of your support, Marie 😀 xx
I don’t think you’ll fail miserably; Actually I think you’ll look back on this day and say: “Man, that was the best decision I made for myself, my passion and my career” 🙂 Congrats on being able to do that Brenna. I think you have the best of both worlds and I would LOVE to follow after your footsteps one day. Like you, I immensely enjoy what I do (I work as a research coordinator and it has NOTHING to do with travel) but I travel a lot. My ideal situation would be to continue doing my day job and earn some side income through some work that are related to my travels. We’ll see I suppose.
Aw, thank you very much, Pauline, those are very inspiring words! I wish you all the best of luck with your path, too. 😀
YAYYYY!!! I’m so happy for you, my dear. Way to live that dream. You’re an inspiration!
Lots of love xoxoxo
Thank you so much! Thank you for all of your support over the years 😀 xoxo
Good for you Brenna. You seem to have your finances together which I think is super important. You mentioned in previous posts how your dad works or worked in the finance industry and how he’s given you some pointers. As long as your longterm finances are sorted out I think it gives freedom for anyone to pursue their dreams without worrying about money. One of the things I love about your blog is that there are no advertisements and sponsored posts. I love how clean and honest this space is and I just hope that this doesn’t change once you start blogging full-time. I love how you don’t provide lists of things to do in places and it helps to reinforce my belief that travel is unique to every individual and you should explore and see what you want while traveling and not what some list suggests. All in all best of luck. I think you’ll do great! Can’t wait to see your published novel and follow along on your 2017 adventures via this blog and social media.
Thank you very much, Cindy! I really appreciate all of your kind words, and yes, I’m trying to get my finances sorted (though I am certainly worried about the future). All the best to you, too.
I love that you are always prepared to be honest about the bad as well as the good sides of travelling, and not completely black and white about it having to be travel and adventure vs home and stability with no compromise. good luck with whatever comes next!
Also – almost every day I get followed on Instagram by a new account offering to help me “escape the 9-5 wage slave life and build an income online to fund a life of travel by watching this Video” or something along those lines. I don’t actually want to quit my 9-5 but…Who are these people?! Is it a pyramid scheme? Is it a scam? Are there genuinely thousands of people sat on instagrammable beaches in Thailand smugly getting rich from “affiliate marketing”?
I’m genuinely interested to know if you or your readers know what’s going on because there seems to be an infinite supply of these accounts!
Thank you so much, Freyja! I’m really glad that you’re enjoying the blog.
And yes, I believe that a lot of these are pyramid schemes and/or scams. I think a lot of people proclaim to be experts in something when they’re actually just selling the promise of getting rich. I do know a few bloggers who have been quite successful, but each of them has worked HARD for many years. I really don’t think there’s a “get rich quick” scheme that actually works in this industry, despite what many people will try to tell you… just my two cents!
This sounds just glorious. So excited for you and to hear all the stories that come to be 🙂
Thank you very much, Victoria!
So excited for you!!! I need to do the same… one day! 🙂
Hope to see you in the new year!!! When and where are we going on our next trip?
Yes!! We definitely need to plan some adventures… xx
That’s just awesome. Good for you!
Yayyyyy!! 🙂 I’ve been following your blog for years and I’m so happy that it will be growing into something bigger. You were one of the first travel blogs that I ever came across and it is because of you that I realized that long-term travel exists and that balancing a career and travel is possible. I’ve been saving like crazy for a while and I’m happy to say that I will be taking off next year when I graduate (finally!!). Thank you for sharing your stories and being so genuine and open about your travels.
Aw, that’s amazing Melanie! Thank you so much for following along so far… and best of luck with your amazing adventures ahead! 🙂
I am so impressed with how you’ve figured out how to build a life of travel, meaningful work, having a home base in a place you love but also still maintaining a passion for exploration. It is AWESOME that your job is giving you this level of flexibility so that you can take more freelance opportunities! Looking forward to more activity on this blog as you take this next step.
Thank you so much, Melissa! I really appreciate all of your support and I hope I can start putting out lots of new articles. 🙂
That’s awesome, Brenna! Can’t wait to see where your new adventure leads you. 🙂
Thank you so much, Meryl! I really appreciate it.
This is amazing! I’m so happy to have just now discovered your blog, and I’ll probably be annoying writing on so many posts that speak to me.
I didn’t quit my job to travel, but I quit a job to take one that afforded me the money and flexibility to travel. In fact, we have no vacation time limit, can work from anywhere in the world, and we actually take a month-long trip together as a company every year just to basically shake things up and bring our whole global company together to see what kind of creative projects ensue. It’s brilliant, and amazing. Life has never been better.
I’m from the US, living in London, on my way back now from a trip I took to Glasgow (just because), and headed to Argentina next week alone, then Uruguay the rest of the time with my company. Your blog has now become my travel reading!
Can’t wait to see what you have time to write now!
Thank you so much, Katie! I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog. And WOW, what a cool job you have! Have an incredible time in South America…
I love this! I wish you the best in 2017.
Thank you very much!!
My heart is happy when sister’s heart is happy…and sister’s heart is happy when she travels!!! I can’t wait to hear and read about all of the adventures that this year will bring you! xoxo
Thank you so much, Zalie! I hope we get to travel together this year xoxoxo
So do I!!!
Good for you Brenna! As always, I appreciate all of your honestly and candidness in your writing. Go enjoy having the best of both worlds!
Thank you so much, Mo, I really appreciate it! 🙂
I’ve always dreamt about leaving my job to travel, but an unfortunately I have a lot of debt I need to pay off first. I don’t get to travel as much as I would like. To combat my wanderlust I’ve started by being a tourist in my own backyard. I love my hometown so much and I realized that I haven’t seen nearly enough of my city! I mean, it’s not Australia (which is my next trip I’m saving for) but there’s a lot to see and I’m excited!
Somehow I missed this post! Congrats and good luck with your ventures! I agree with a couple of the above comments though – don’t sell yourself out like so many bloggers do! I’m sure you won’t though – you don’t seem to be that sort of person at all, which makes your blog so refreshing to read. 🙂