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Has anybody quit their jobs to travel (long-term) ?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 27th, 2018 4:36 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 20, 2015
102 posts
14 upvotes
Vancouver, BC

Has anybody quit their jobs to travel (long-term) ?

Just curious - have any of you quit a job (not a sabbatical) to travel for a long period of time (or just to take a break and stop working)? If so, what was your experience like with job hunting upon returning home considering your employment gap? (Let's just say long period is anything over 2 months for this question)

I am a relatively young professional (mid-20s) and in an intermediate position at my firm. I definitely don't have issues finding new work at the moment since I have good experience and education. However, I'm considering taking some time off to travel (3-6 months?) but I heard that human resource professionals tend to dislike gaps in employment history... After coming home, how did you deal with interviewers who questioned your employment gap and the reasoning behind quitting your last company? A sabbatical is not an option at my company and I definitely won't be able to go back to my old job after this trip.

I'm pretty happy at my current job but I just feel like it will be a lot harder to get away for a prolonged period of time once I settle down and enter the "mid-career" stage. It's been my dream to do a really long backpacking trip (South America) and I feel like it would be a good time to go soon. Alternatively, I could wait a few years and work my way up to a senior level position but then I feel like it would be even worse to take a long trip then? Any thoughts??
63 replies
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
183 upvotes
Mars.
Don't be silly. You're thinking about trading prime work time to go around and travel? That comes later in my life my young padawan.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
16463 posts
2107 upvotes
Why don't you just take a leave of absence rather than quitting outright?
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
2611 posts
460 upvotes
I know a lot of people who have done it and the longest gap I know of is 8 years, but that person accomplished soooooooooooo much in those 8 years personally and pursued a life long interest in writing children's books. Ended up publishing 10!

Easily went back to the workforce, when employers ask what did you do in past 8 years? Travelled ## of countries and published children's books that sold well.

Also know someone who spent a year scuba diving the world, teaching/volunteering, and more!

Really depends how you sell it and how you spent it.

If you can afford to do it now, do it now. Don't wait until you're older, burdened with more responsibilities like bills, mortgage, family commitments.
Newbie
Aug 20, 2017
66 posts
36 upvotes
You're still years away from your prime earning years, so if you think of it from an opportunity cost perspective, you may be better off doing it now rather than when you reach your late 30s. Just make sure you spend the time well, is all i can suggest!
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
183 upvotes
Mars.
maxppp wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 10:27 pm
You're still years away from your prime earning years,
You just don't know this.
Don't be a cooch.
Newbie
Aug 20, 2017
66 posts
36 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 10:31 pm
You just don't know this.
OP says he's in his mid 20s so if he went to college/university, I would assume he's been only working a few years. I think in most cases, your best earning years are ahead of you.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1580 posts
457 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
Not long after I met my wife, she quit a very good job and took off for Europe for five months. When she came back we got married and she landed another very good job. That was many years ago.
So my advice to you is to go. You won't regret it.
And there's lots of time to travel afterwards too.
Diversity is Our Burden
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 20, 2015
102 posts
14 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
poleman wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 11:02 pm
Not long after I met my wife, she quit a very good job and took off for Europe for five months. When she came back we got married and she landed another very good job. That was many years ago.
So my advice to you is to go. You won't regret it.
And there's lots of time to travel afterwards too.
Oh wow that sounds exciting! Do you remember how long it took her to find a job after coming back and if the 5 month trip was an issue when recruiters/HR asked about it? I'm not too familiar with HR practices and I've been reading a lot of mixed opinions/articles in regards to sabbaticals and taking time off.

I guess I'm just worried that it'll take me a really long time to find another job after coming back due to the potential employment gap issues... but yes, I probably won't regret it and I should just stop worrying for now :) Thanks for sharing!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 10, 2015
1580 posts
457 upvotes
Monte Creek, BC
At your age HR people should not see extended traveling as a hindrance, but rather a positive. Travel is one of the best education tools out there.
I believe my wife found a job within a month or less. But it really depends on your background and on the job market.
The only person not happy with her taking off for five months was me.
Diversity is Our Burden
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
1211 posts
451 upvotes
OTTAWA
Extended travel is a red flag for most corporate jobs. It can be explained away but the assumption will be you got bored easily, aren't committed to career and work and are a free spirit. Basically the stereotypes older people have about millennials generally. All that said it can be a great experience but just be prepared that it may slow you down more than you thought. If you don't have a credential but are a generalist it is even riskier.
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
183 upvotes
Mars.
maxppp wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 10:40 pm
OP says he's in his mid 20s so if he went to college/university, I would assume he's been only working a few years. I think in most cases, your best earning years are ahead of you.
I don't think you understand this. By giving away say, 5 years between say 25-30, how do you think the OP is going to get to his/her best earning years? Is that chump who is putting in his time just that, a chump? Of course not.

Prime earning years means more than just money.
Don't be a cooch.
Member
Jun 10, 2008
271 posts
145 upvotes
Brampton
superangrypenguin wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 8:09 am
I don't think you understand this. By giving away say, 5 years between say 25-30, how do you think the OP is going to get to his/her best earning years? Is that chump who is putting in his time just that, a chump? Of course not.

Prime earning years means more than just money.
He said 3-6 months off. Hardly a set back at age 25.
Jr. Member
Dec 30, 2012
162 posts
163 upvotes
Toronto
Consider doing a Working Holiday Visa. That way you can travel and earn some spending money along the way. Canada has agreements with many countries, including UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, NZ, and others (not the States, though) that allow you get a 1-2 year visa up until the age of 30 (or 35 for some countries).
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2006
1916 posts
284 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 1:58 am
Extended travel is a red flag for most corporate jobs. It can be explained away but the assumption will be you got bored easily, aren't committed to career and work and are a free spirit. Basically the stereotypes older people have about millennials generally. All that said it can be a great experience but just be prepared that it may slow you down more than you thought. If you don't have a credential but are a generalist it is even riskier.
Totally agree with this. Even being on the hiring side of things now, I often disregard resumes with long work gaps (especially for travel) because it is just so competitive out there. Why would I bother with someone with a prolonged gap in their resume (and not great tenure/experience like OP) when I can pick from a whole host of other candidates with solid, progressive work history?

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