I’m all about making it easier to travel, and one of the biggest barriers to taking the decision of travelling can sometimes be getting the support of family and friends. For some this may be easy, especially if you’re at a stage in life where it makes complete sense and you’re not sacrificing anything to make travel happen, or if you have parents that support you fully in travelling anyway.
But for a lot of us, that choose travel after years of finding the daily grind too much to bear, it means spending all of our savings, quitting our jobs, and heading off to the other side of the world. This isn’t exactly a lot of parents dream scenario… So in this post I want to talk a bit about my experience with overcoming this barrier to travel, and give a few tips that might make it less of a sudden bombshell to your friends and family.
So I come from a background where my parents didn’t really see the point in a Gap Year, which for anyone who doesn’t know is often the traditional year before or after university at 18 or 21 where you take a break for a year before more study, or getting your first full time job. For me, at that stage, I just wanted to go to university and move on to the next stage in my life, meet new people, live away from home for the first time etc.
At the time in my life when I wanted to travel, I was 25, 4 years into my career with a good job at a good company, and lots ahead of me. My parents’ view of travel hadn’t changed too much at this stage so it was always likely going to be tough breaking the news… However, luckily for the reasons below it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be, and they fully supported me in my travel adventure.
Tips for breaking the news you’re quitting it all to travel
1 – Make sure you’re 100% about it
This is SO important. If not more so for yourself. You need to know you want to travel, and know exactly why it’s the right decision for you. All of our parents want what’s best for us, even if it comes across in different ways sometimes. So one of the best ways in convincing anyone of anything, is to be completely sure in your decision. If you’ve gone through the decision 100 times in your own head and then come to a final conclusion with everything weighed up and thought through, then any questions you’re asked about your choice, will likely have already been answered for yourself.
I’ve spoken about this elsewhere on the blog before, but I think doing a mini travel trip is great for testing the water, getting a taste of travelling, and cementing your longing for travel. What finally got me off the fence, after being a jealous onlooker of other travellers for years, was taking two weeks to travel across the US, whilst still working full time, using my allotted holiday allowance to do so. That experience showed me that there was more I needed to see and experience, outside of the life I was living, and I needed to make it happen. That passion when you’ve been there, had a taste of the benefits it can bring to you, and as a result means you’re absolutely certain, is pretty hard to disagree with.
2 – Sow the seed
Coming from a sales background, this definitely helped as essentially you are selling the idea, that travelling rather than continuing a sensible job is a good idea. It shouldn’t come as a complete shock to your loved ones that you’re deciding to travel, ideally you will have mentioned many times that ‘you’d always wanted to travel’, or talked about your friend that went and saw massive benefits, or how having tried out travelling for a couple of weeks you’d ‘been thinking of taking a career break’ to try travel more long term. If the ‘I’m quitting my job to travel’ chat is 10/10 on the scale in shocking news, you want to start low and work your way up, by gradually expressing an increasing interest in travelling. So that when you do break the news, it isn’t actually a surprise at all, because they all knew you’d been thinking about it and banging on about it for ages anyway.
3 – Be practical
A lot of the time, the biggest worry will be that by quitting your job and spending your saved money, you’re throwing away your future in some way. So although this isn’t very fashionable advice, id you’re breaking the news to family and loved ones, it’s good to be practical and show that you’ve thought things through a bit more than just booking a one way ticket. It’s good to think about what you’re options might be when you get back, and have a plan to transition back into normal life. It’s also helpful if you have some sort of other savings or asset to fall back on for when you come back, so at least you have something to tide you over whilst you settle back into post travel life.
Unfortunately it seems that in today’s world you tend to no longer be rewarded for loyalty working for companies, so the fact that I had experience in my industry meant that whatever happened, I knew (backed up by being contacted by recruiters whilst travelling) that I could come back and get a job at the same level or higher. If anything, I made myself a more interesting, and stand out candidate having travelled and taken those risks, especially as I knew exactly why I was travelling and had been practical about my options when I returned. I’m really not spouting rubbish here, I’ve experienced this a lot. Often, the people that have been travelling, have found that the benefits of what they’ve learnt and how they’ve developed as people because of travel, has actually made them more appealing candidates for jobs.
So there it is, my tips on breaking the news that you’re quitting it all to travel. It’s a barrier that can be hard to overcome because naturally we want to do things with approval and support of those we love. So I hope this can help in approaching breaking the news, and make that a lot easier and less terrifying to do.
Have any of you got stories on breaking the news about travelling you’d like to share?
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