Should I quit my job and travel for a year?
Here's the scoop. I'm 24, I have a good job making almost $50k a year, I live in a city with a low cost of living (my share of the rent is $250 in a nice apartment). I have $35k saved in the bank, with about 10k in car loan debt. By March or April of next year I will have between 45-50k in the bank.
I'm very tempted next year to quit my job in March or April of 2009, travel the country and canada, and do wwoofing. I could afford to do this for a year (or more), and still have money left over.
The reasons I'd like to do this are:
1. I'm having severe suspicions I'd like to become an organic farmer someday. I've done some hardcore high scale organic gardening in my backyard, but never anything for profit. Wwoofing would help me learn about this.
2. I never did anything "fun" in college. I never studied abroad, I never travelled. I finished school in 3 years because I took classes during the summer.
3. I'm very burned out in my job. I'm sick of working, and 9-5ing. I want to have some fun. I have suspicions that sitting at a desk has caused my current back problem.
My job as an insurance adjuster is pretty in demand, so I'm sure I could find work again (probably for more like around 30k a year) after I finish, if I want to go back to 9-5ing. I also have a degree in teaching (elementary and high school) in case I want to pursue that. Travelling around work isn't a big option, while I have 2 weeks of vacation a year, it's hard to take more than a couple days at a time due to the workload.
My biggest worries?
- Life right now is comfortable. I have a great (although high pressure) well paying job, a great roommate (I'm very picky about noisy roommate).
- I can easily save 12-15k a year. If I keep plugging away like this, I probably could buy a house (or farm) in cash in a couple years (houses are cheap here)
- I'd like to apply to the skilled worker program in Canada. If I quit my job in March 2009, Canada will only let me apply if I know basic conversational french as well. If I work there until Oct 2009, I won't need to know any French.
- I have a bad back, which I'm HOPING gets better but currently is aggravated by driving, big time. (Although this could be a reason FOR doing it, as what if my back gets worse? I'd have to do this while I'm young.)
-and... What if I HATE travelling long term?
I know I have to make the decision on my own in the end, but I figured I'd ask for people's thoughts, in case they had been in similar places as me.
One of the RTA Moderators is doing that -- Right now!
What's the worse that could happen if you spend the year traveling? You might have to "start over" but that's what you want to do anyway.
One of the Great American RoadTrip Forum Moderators, UKCraig, made that exact decision and hit the road for a year-long- around-the-world caper. His comments and planning threads can be read here.
Some of his field reports are begining to come in -- here is one of them.
You and I have similar thoughts right now!
I am considering doing 6 months traveling around the USA also. I would only have a 6 month limit due to the visa as im from the UK. I am also fedup with all the office work, and usual BS so fancy becoming a free spirit for a while!
If you decide you are going on a road trip (motorcycle) and don't feel like going solo.... i might be up for a riding partner! :P
Only thing that could be bad to me is you not explain it well in your interviews after your year of travel. Having a gap in resumes can seem off but if you explain it well, I'm sure it would be great!
Have you tried a chiro for your back? Or Acupunture? After I got thrown off a horse a little over a year ago, a combination of those two things made it a lot better and get the muscles back where they should be.
The real world will always be there
I'd say go for it, the real world will always be there. Its impressive that you've been able to get onto such solid financial footing at such a young age, and certainly it can be hard to get away from that security. However, it will only get more difficult as you move forward in your life, presumably working farther up the ladder at work, and possibly personal or family obligations in the future.
Take advantage of the freedom of youth, you're only a couple of years out of school, and even if you have to go back to square one with your job, you've show you can pretty quickly climb back. At this point, the worst thing I could see happening is that you decide you don't enjoy your time on the road, and you go back home, and live off your savings/roadtrip fund while you look to get back into your career.
No wonder you're confused
You have so many options. My life is like that sometimes.
I just took off two months (although I work for myself so it wasn't that simple) and am now traveling 10,000 miles across the US with my 8 year old son.
Just know that whatever you pick isn't etched in stone. There is always a "plan B". You seem like a smart person who can solve problems. My main thing is to not let FEAR control your decisions or life. You NEVER know. Worse comes to worse, you'll get on the road and your back will be too much. Take an airplane home and ship your car back. But, everything may work out with a trip and you have to be open to that possibility.