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

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  • Mar 27th, 2018 4:36 pm
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[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 20, 2015
158 posts
63 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
198 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
16616 posts
2318 upvotes
Why don't you just take a leave of absence rather than quitting outright?
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4687 posts
2806 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
37 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
198 upvotes
Mars.
maxppp wrote: 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
37 upvotes
superangrypenguin wrote: 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
2243 posts
856 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.
No political content in signatures (Who did I offend?)
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 20, 2015
158 posts
63 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
poleman wrote: 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
2243 posts
856 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.
No political content in signatures (Who did I offend?)
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2757 posts
1460 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
198 upvotes
Mars.
maxppp wrote: 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
468 posts
334 upvotes
Halton Hills
superangrypenguin wrote: 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.
Deal Addict
Dec 30, 2012
1098 posts
1147 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
2286 posts
874 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: 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?
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2009
2638 posts
518 upvotes
Toronto
poleman wrote: 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.
Jr. Member
Dec 10, 2011
159 posts
154 upvotes
514
winner2000 wrote: 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
67 posts
74 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
Penalty Box
Aug 10, 2010
781 posts
198 upvotes
Mars.
thisischris wrote: 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.
Don't be a cooch.
Deal Addict
Jul 21, 2005
1793 posts
902 upvotes
Alberta
superangrypenguin wrote: 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.

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