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

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 23rd, 2018 2:22 pm
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Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2394 posts
427 upvotes
Toronto
poleman wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 12:36 am
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.
Do you think you can tell us what your wife does? Also, how many years ago was this? One of my friend left to travel back to his home country for 6-7 months, and he had some trouble job hunting when he came back. This was a year ago and he majors in psychology.
Newbie
Dec 10, 2011
62 posts
48 upvotes
514
winner2000 wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 11:43 am
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?
Sure, we need machines to work..not people.
Newbie
Jan 15, 2017
50 posts
49 upvotes
Yolo.

When I was earning in my early 20s, I wanted to save up $75k to travel the world for a year with my girlfriend.
It didn't end up happening, but I ironically ended up with a gap year on my resume anyways due to other personal circumstances. I followed that up with an MBA, and nobody cared. Literally not a single person asked me to explain the gap on my resume (though I concede that I have no way of knowing if it led to not being selected for interviews).

Now, I can afford to take the year off with savings, but the opportunity cost is too great to justify it, nor do I think I have the stamina to trek through multiple months of travelling. I agree with other posters that you probably aren't in the prime of your earning potential yet, and this is early enough in your career that it shouldn't make a material impact to your lifetime earning potential. Taking a career break for 3 months, 6months, or even 1 year is not a major setback or risk. This is a risk... I have been fortunate to travel to many corners of the world, and I have yet to regret a single trip. If you love traveling, there is no better time. Have fun
Sr. Member
Aug 10, 2010
504 posts
118 upvotes
Mars.
thisischris wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 8:40 am
He said 3-6 months off. Hardly a set back at age 25.
At 25, I boosted my earnings by close to 30%. That was within a 6 months timeframe. Don't be so sure.
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1114 posts
312 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 9:52 pm
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.
This is what most people seem to think, but I think it's a terrible idea. If you want to do travel, do it while you are young, because once you are old, your knees hurt, other pains etc, and best you can do it ride a senior bus to staged events.

I love to travel and easily put in 6 weeks every year (4 weeks vacation + flex days + holidays). With some planning can easily make two big trips a year if I wanted to. Now, I'm 34, so older than you are, but I still travel like mad. Longest trip I did was 8 countries in Asia in 7 weeks when I was about 22-23. At that time I started working and was only 6 month in when I decided that I wanted to do this trip (breaking up with a long time girlfriend was the reason I wanted to go somewhere and get away). The company liked me, and I basically said I need 7 weeks off to do traveling and asked if it's possible to go away for this time, unpaid, and come back. The management liked me and let me go, and then I came back to that job 7 weeks later and resumed my work. I was ready to quit if they wouldn't let me, so I had that in my back pocket. I can't imagine being gone for longer than that. By week 7 I was pretty much ready to come home. Once you travel the world, over time, you realize that Canada is pretty great. I love travelling and have been all over the world since I first started travelling at 22, I just do it 3 weeks at a time, and multiple times. Pick a country, go there for 3 weeks, travel around, and come back, repeat the next year with a new country, and soon enough, you travel many great places, there is no real need to rush it and get it all done at once. Travel is expensive, so unless you are working somewhere to make money, it will drain you over time. If you have to work while travelling, it isn't really travelling in my opinion. Over the last 12 years I have quadrippled my salary, with all that travel, so if you are good at what you do and provide value to the company, they will work with you to make it work. A great company does help, and all 3 I have worked in for the last 12 years never had issues with me leaving for 3 weeks at a time.

If your company sucks and isn't flexible, then just quit and go travel, come back and look for one that values work/life balance.
Member
Jun 19, 2007
313 posts
33 upvotes
Halifax
superangrypenguin wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 9:52 pm
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.
Haha. I read your first sentence and thought "ah he gets it" then the rest, and you went 180 degrees from the direction I was expecting.

In other words, I would say: Don't be silly. Do it in a heart beat. People will judge you for doing it, some negatively, some positively.

Things you need to consider before hand though is how much do you need the job? What is your real value and what do you bring to the table? After doing oil and gas engineering (A proper "fancy job") I was long tired of the stress, hours, and a 6 figure salary I couldn't enjoy. While waiting for a lower stress transfer while contemplating quitting for a few years, I fortunately got laid off in 2015 and got severance on top of my savings.

Now, I didn't need the money, developed decent skills, was better and willing to work longer/harder than most, so I always had options. Is that you?

I intended to take a year off after the layoff, stretched it out to 2, got a job mainly from boredom, thinking about hitting the road again having worked for a year. I also took a year off after school, again same people said same things. I ignored them.

In my experience there are two types of people professionally. The people who follow the set, predictable, boring path. Typically middle management, HR drones, office wieners who's yearly highlight is a week in Mexico where they indulge in a second cocktail. People a couple paychecks away from insolvency, gov't workers, etc. Avoid them. Boring people with garbage stories, who think they're smarter then you, then become embittered when they aren't a millionaire despite "making all the right moves". They tend to look down on free spirits. Envy maybe? Who knows or cares. These were the people giving me shit for not applying to jobs in my last year of uni. "You're not taking your career seriously!" they'd mutter. Convinced no one would look at me for a job after a break after school, because that was their mindset, and when they become hiring managers, they'll likely be like winner2000. Other people like me, and the people who hired me, think the opposite. Travel is a great opportunity to learn, develop yourself, and do things that a regular job gets in the way of. These uncreative souls aren't the right fit for certain companies and jobs, but likewise, neither you for others. If you want to take a year or two off, just have a good answer for what you did with the time. Did you do some cool courses? some great adventures or treks? sail around the world? Hell, even funny stories about doing lines of blow off hookers in Thailand will get you in further than "a nice stable career history and progression" depending on the crowd.

Whatever you do, have a plan. Work your ass off in your 20s and have 7 figures by your 30s so you can do whatever? Great. Take a year off to do something? Also great. Start a business and spin the wheel of success vs desolation? Even if you lose you had the balls to try. How will that something make you more valuable going forward, and to what crowds? So many people just meander aimlessly down the path of least resistance/least discomfort making the moves the think other people expect.
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1114 posts
312 upvotes
seadog83 wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 11:02 pm
Haha. I read your first sentence and thought "ah he gets it" then the rest, and you went 180 degrees from the direction I was expecting.

In other words, I would say: Don't be silly. Do it in a heart beat. People will judge you for doing it, some negatively, some positively.

Things you need to consider before hand though is how much do you need the job? What is your real value and what do you bring to the table? After doing oil and gas engineering (A proper "fancy job") I was long tired of the stress, hours, and a 6 figure salary I couldn't enjoy. While waiting for a lower stress transfer while contemplating quitting for a few years, I fortunately got laid off in 2015 and got severance on top of my savings.

Now, I didn't need the money, developed decent skills, was better and willing to work longer/harder than most, so I always had options. Is that you?

I intended to take a year off after the layoff, stretched it out to 2, got a job mainly from boredom, thinking about hitting the road again having worked for a year. I also took a year off after school, again same people said same things. I ignored them.

In my experience there are two types of people professionally. The people who follow the set, predictable, boring path. Typically middle management, HR drones, office wieners who's yearly highlight is a week in Mexico where they indulge in a second cocktail. People a couple paychecks away from insolvency, gov't workers, etc. Avoid them. Boring people with garbage stories, who think they're smarter then you, then become embittered when they aren't a millionaire despite "making all the right moves". They tend to look down on free spirits. Envy maybe? Who knows or cares. These were the people giving me shit for not applying to jobs in my last year of uni. "You're not taking your career seriously!" they'd mutter. Convinced no one would look at me for a job after a break after school, because that was their mindset, and when they become hiring managers, they'll likely be like winner2000. Other people like me, and the people who hired me, think the opposite. Travel is a great opportunity to learn, develop yourself, and do things that a regular job gets in the way of. These uncreative souls aren't the right fit for certain companies and jobs, but likewise, neither you for others. If you want to take a year or two off, just have a good answer for what you did with the time. Did you do some cool courses? some great adventures or treks? sail around the world? Hell, even funny stories about doing lines of blow off hookers in Thailand will get you in further than "a nice stable career history and progression" depending on the crowd.

Whatever you do, have a plan. Work your ass off in your 20s and have 7 figures by your 30s so you can do whatever? Great. Take a year off to do something? Also great. Start a business and spin the wheel of success vs desolation? Even if you lose you had the balls to try. How will that something make you more valuable going forward, and to what crowds? So many people just meander aimlessly down the path of least resistance/least discomfort making the moves the think other people expect.
What he said. If you are good and confident in your skills, then you got nothing to worry about this gap. Just say you were doing a cultural exchange. I love to travel precisely for this, learn other cultures, food, and you look at people completely different. In a multicultural country like Canada I think it's a big asset to have, rather than being a drone in the office grumpy at everyone else because of this or that.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 20, 2015
97 posts
10 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Thanks everybody for the feedback! I didn't include the fact that I had taken a year off after graduating from university to teach English abroad. In this time, I took many week-long trips and probably traveled for a total of 10-11 weeks, including the trips that I had taken after my contract had ended. I only get 3 weeks of vacation at my current firm and I just really miss the freedom I had abroad.

After resuming my regular life and starting a corporate job, I have been taking about three exotic trips a year. (9-11 days each) Although they are enjoyable, I just feel like spending a week and a half in faraway places such as Peru or Iceland isn't long enough and I always end up not completing everything I had wanted to do (eg. I hiked Machu Picchu but I didn't have time to visit Lake Titicaca)

I still have a year to decide but I'm mainly looking for personal experiences as I'm curious if anybody else has done this before. In the end, I will make the decision myself but I'm just hoping to read more stories since I don't know anybody in real life who has done what I'm planning to do. Thanks a lot!
Member
Jun 28, 2011
239 posts
40 upvotes
VANCOUVER
I've done this and I don't regret it one bit, despite all the naysayers telling me how I wouldn't find a job that would pay as well when I got back, etc.
I was in my early 30s at the time and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner on a working holiday visa to Australia in addition to travelling.
You only live once and you've your whole life ahead of you for work and if this is calling you, take heed.
btw, when I got back and began looking for work, no one questioned the gap in my resume.
Go for it and have fun!
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 26, 2003
27825 posts
1919 upvotes
Winnipeg
winner2000 wrote:
Feb 12th, 2018 11:43 am
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?
i was always under the impression that is the case, but not quite sure why.
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2008
786 posts
148 upvotes
Markham
6 months is a very short period. You could just say you were on sick leave and nobody would care, or tell the hiring manager the truth, who probably also wouldn't care. Anything up to a year I wouldn't question. Realistically, your career life-span can go beyond forty years. It would be ridiculous if you didnt have a few gaps here and there. Take it from someone who hires full-timers and hasn't had an employment gap in 20 years (I spersonally don't care too much about travel).
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User avatar
Feb 7, 2006
1874 posts
252 upvotes
seadog83 wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 11:02 pm
Haha. I read your first sentence and thought "ah he gets it" then the rest, and you went 180 degrees from the direction I was expecting.

In other words, I would say: Don't be silly. Do it in a heart beat. People will judge you for doing it, some negatively, some positively.

Things you need to consider before hand though is how much do you need the job? What is your real value and what do you bring to the table? After doing oil and gas engineering (A proper "fancy job") I was long tired of the stress, hours, and a 6 figure salary I couldn't enjoy. While waiting for a lower stress transfer while contemplating quitting for a few years, I fortunately got laid off in 2015 and got severance on top of my savings.

Now, I didn't need the money, developed decent skills, was better and willing to work longer/harder than most, so I always had options. Is that you?

I intended to take a year off after the layoff, stretched it out to 2, got a job mainly from boredom, thinking about hitting the road again having worked for a year. I also took a year off after school, again same people said same things. I ignored them.

In my experience there are two types of people professionally. The people who follow the set, predictable, boring path. Typically middle management, HR drones, office wieners who's yearly highlight is a week in Mexico where they indulge in a second cocktail. People a couple paychecks away from insolvency, gov't workers, etc. Avoid them. Boring people with garbage stories, who think they're smarter then you, then become embittered when they aren't a millionaire despite "making all the right moves". They tend to look down on free spirits. Envy maybe? Who knows or cares. These were the people giving me shit for not applying to jobs in my last year of uni. "You're not taking your career seriously!" they'd mutter. Convinced no one would look at me for a job after a break after school, because that was their mindset, and when they become hiring managers, they'll likely be like winner2000. Other people like me, and the people who hired me, think the opposite. Travel is a great opportunity to learn, develop yourself, and do things that a regular job gets in the way of. These uncreative souls aren't the right fit for certain companies and jobs, but likewise, neither you for others. If you want to take a year or two off, just have a good answer for what you did with the time. Did you do some cool courses? some great adventures or treks? sail around the world? Hell, even funny stories about doing lines of blow off hookers in Thailand will get you in further than "a nice stable career history and progression" depending on the crowd.

Whatever you do, have a plan. Work your ass off in your 20s and have 7 figures by your 30s so you can do whatever? Great. Take a year off to do something? Also great. Start a business and spin the wheel of success vs desolation? Even if you lose you had the balls to try. How will that something make you more valuable going forward, and to what crowds? So many people just meander aimlessly down the path of least resistance/least discomfort making the moves the think other people expect.
LOL

I appreciate your opinion, but with all due respect, as much as I enjoy and appreciate travel personally, myself and many employers are still not going to hire someone for a $80-90k+ job who decided to take a gap year in the early/middle stage of their career - especially when they have no special or unique skillset. You can call us boring and stale all you want, but our duty, obligation & what we're paid the big bucks for is to hire the best and brightest for an open role; typically those who take a 6mo - year+ off are not ones who fall into that category. The competition is fierce in the roles I hire for (finance/FP&A/accounting), and quite frankly traveling the world for a year doesn't add much value to your background or skill set from a career perspective. Obviously for different careers it may, but for finance roles, not so much (I'm only speaking from a corporate finance POV obviously).

Also FYI: People - such as myself - can still travel to great locales for multiple weeks at a time and still hold down a job. We're not all going to Mexico and saving our pennies to splurge on a drink.
Sr. Member
Sep 29, 2008
644 posts
85 upvotes
Mississauga
All this obsession with work is ridiculous. Sure if you were engaged in creative work under your own control then it would make sense, but slaving yourself away for decades working for someone else is not desirable. We do it because most of us do not have a choice. If you can afford to take time off to travel and live life a little then by all means go ahead, you will not regret it.

As for finding work again, I don't think it will be a major problem as long as your skills are relevant. I know quite a few people in tech who took long breaks but are back at it no problem because their technical skills are still in demand. If some hiring manager is overly obsessed about the gap in your employment then they obviously want robots and not creative, well rounded workers. I wouldn't want to work for them anyway.

I would recommend that while not working in a professional capacity that you keep your skills up to date. Work on a few personal projects if you can.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
4097 posts
1743 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
unowned wrote:
Feb 14th, 2018 8:02 am
6 months is a very short period. You could just say you were on sick leave and nobody would care, or tell the hiring manager the truth, who probably also wouldn't care. Anything up to a year I wouldn't question. Realistically, your career life-span can go beyond forty years. It would be ridiculous if you didnt have a few gaps here and there. Take it from someone who hires full-timers and hasn't had an employment gap in 20 years (I spersonally don't care too much about travel).
Don't say you were on sick leave - I think that would be a huge red flag for most hiring people.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 14, 2003
10320 posts
130 upvotes
Mississauga
Youth is wasted on the young.

How happy are you right now? Are you fulfilling a lifelong dream, or escaping a bad situation. Be honest with yourself. The former is aspirational; the latter is just your fight/flight mechanism in full gear.

Consider that you're not sacrificing six months of earning potential now - you're losing it at the end of your career, which is potentially the highest earning time. You're also losing step with your peers.

Conversely, as previous posters have said, you have an opportunity to maximize your enjoyment of the vacation while you're young. You don't have a wife or kids. This is probably the only time you can actually do this.

Choose wisely.
4chan melts your brain.

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