How To: Quit Your Job and Travel the World

(Hate your job? Want to travel more? The only thing stopping you is you.)

Vivo

“I’m going to move out at the end of the month.”
My roommate stared at me. “Where are you going to go?”
“I don’t know.”

Since I decided to take a hiatus from the corporate rat race to focus on my writing a strange thought progression followed. An escalation of ideas that can best be described in bullet points:

  • I met my friend Justin Sevakis for coffee and he offered to look at my resume and cover letter. He told me bluntly “I wouldn’t hire you.” He was right. Despite my work experience in marketing and as a paramedic my cover letter was too general. It was general because I didn’t truly want to work a job — I wanted to write. So I decided to make the investment in myself and take some time off. I can’t thank Justin enough for that.
  • I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek which may be my new favorite book. It’s a life hack that opens your eyes to the world and teaches you how to streamline your time. As Americans we believe it’s noble to work 14 hour days, never take a vacation, and relentlessly give ourselves to corporations – corporations that would drop us in a heartbeat when we no longer increase their profit margin. Why are we so loyal to them?
  • My official motto for 2013 became “A lion never loses sleep over the opinion of sheep.”
  • During my time off, focusing solely on reading and writing, I noticed how many hours I have in the day. I could easily get a part-time job somewhere to make a couple bucks to stop this hemorrhage of cash that is my apartment in Silverlake – but wait, that would go against what I want to do?
  • With nothing tying me down — or you for that matter — I decided that I could leave Los Angeles for a while and go live somewhere less expensive, like Montana (thanks Adrienne Wollman). Since I was writing a western novel for the NaNoWriMo challenge of Writing a Novel in 30 Days, perhaps it would be good for me to be around that kind of inspiration.
  • I checked Craig’s List for apartments in Big Sky, Montana and they were about $600. Not much of a savings from Silverlake.
  • My friend Veronica Rathbourn and I went to go see blogger turned novelist Matt Kepnes talk about his book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip. I bought his book.
  • If I really want to save money you know where I should go? South America.

I told my friend LC Lim my plan the other night over a bowl of ramen and she asked the question that many other sane people would ask: “What happens when you come back?” I assumed she was hinting at the fact that what if this whole writing thing doesn’t work out — what if this was all a big giant “failure”? The way I think of it is there is no failure in life. The worst thing that’s going to happen is that when I come back in X amount of time then I may have to go work that shitty corporate job – but at least I’ll have these adventures that I can always look back on. I know that the secret to life isn’t about killing myself to work long hours just so I can buy shit that I don’t need, in the end it’s all about the experiences I have.

Last time I left the United States I budgeted $5,000 that lasted me 87 days through Western Europe and North Africa. If you think $5,000 is something you can’t afford then add up all your monthly bills (rent, cable, phone, utilities, etc.) and it’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000-2000 per month. You don’t have to pay for those things when you’re on the road, it’s actually cheaper if you do travel.

So I’m going. There are a couple things I have to take care of first like selling a bunch of my stuff and finding a cheap plane ticket but I’ll figure it out in the coming month. The problem with making this public declaration and telling all of you guys this, is now I actually have to do it. Fuck. Now where did I put my backpack?

[If you have any suggestions for South America or budget tips for life on the road let me know in the comments down below.]

[Photo: Street art in Paris, France. I don’t remember if this was around Le Centre Pompidou or Montmartre. The quote roughly translates to “live in the transparency of death”. Leave it to a paramedic to say shit like that.]

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5 responses to “How To: Quit Your Job and Travel the World

  1. The links to the books mentioned are through the Amazon Affiliate program. If you decide the books are interesting and you’d like to buy them please click through the links. After providing 100% free content for three years, I figured it was time to make a little bit of money for all of my hard work. Thanks.

  2. Bold move, my friend. I like bold. I still sometimes wish I could do something similar – again. But I’ve had one South American jaunt, and in all honesty I still haven’t made sense of it all. Shoot, I haven’t even made sense of “much of it.”
    I wish you all the best in these travels. My only advice (I have some suggestions and contacts in Colombia if/when you’re interested) is: don’t try to write while you’re there. You mentioned the life’s-about-experiences thing. Well, make sure you stick to experiencing. Document – cameras are best, journals a close second – but don’t synthesize or try to develop commentary or perspective. I did that for months before I let go and just started listing what I did, who I met (names and physical/life-station descriptions), where I went and what I ate. I had grand plans of writing a novel while in South America. Fuck that. GO TO South America. Be there. Write it when you come back.
    Good luck!

    • Hey Ian, thanks. I actually was thinking of documenting it. But i’ll definitely take your advice for some parts of the trip. Perhaps I’ll just do it less often to “experience” it more as you mentioned. My brain makes sense of things more when I write things down otherwise the thoughts just swirl around in my head endlessly. I may hit you up when/if I go to Colombia.

      It’s been said that “fortune favors the bold” so I’m going to see what “fortune” lies ahead for me.

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