Why I Wouldn’t Quit Work to Travel Full-Time

I’ve been devouring travel blogs for years, long before these bloggers were massively popular. I remember waiting in line to meet Robin Esrock, the Modern Gonzo, at the University of Alberta to learn ANYTHING that he had to say. I attended an event with Ian Wright and hung on every word he said, every illustration he shared, every inspiration that I could tuck away until the next trip. From a young age I wanted so badly to be a full-time travel writer.

quit work to travel

By age twenty-eight, I’ve now traveled to more countries than I have years of age, but I’ve learned something about myself. I do not desire to be a full-time traveler. This isn’t to say I don’t continue to adore travel blogs written by full-time travellers, but I now know that it’s not the life for me, and that’s okay. 

There are plenty of blog posts out there telling you how to quit your job, save money and travel the world. Call me a negative Nelly, but here’s the complete opposite to that post.

I Love My Job

I’m one of those lucky people (some call them strange) that don’t see work as a chore, but rather an exciting challenge. Serendipitously, I ended up working in community investment. Basically, I work for a major corporation and manage a portion of our charitable budget. Some people might think that means just writing cheques and “kissing babies”, but it’s so much more than that. There are a few incredible non-profits that we work with who are making such a difference in the community, so to be a part of that change in some small way is thrilling for me.

Through my job I’ve met inspiring people. I now have more mentors than I can count (again, lucky me!), the nonprofits I work with are thinking and working in innovative ways, and I get to learn from other industry leaders. Occasionally I even get the opportunity to travel, seeing non-profits around the country or North America, and I can even squeeze a little recreational (and blogable) travel into trips like those. Why would I want to give that job up?

I’m a Shitty Long-Distance Friend

My husband and I did long-distance for three years before he finally moved to Canada and that was enough for me. What I struggle with is maintaining communication with friends long-distance. Time zones are tricky, Skype calls can be ruined by a shitty wifi connection and Facebook messages just aren’t the same. I just suck at keeping up with people’s lives from afar, besides from commenting on the odd photo upload. I suck. I admit it. As a result, it means I really start to miss my friends and family. I admire those people who rock long-distance communication.

I Despise Packing

“PacSafe” became a dirty word on our three month Southeast Asian travels. We were the weird people who feared our laptops being stolen so invested in the wire mesh bag to protect our valuables while we were out galavanting, but the repeated nuisance of locking and unlocking our bags, folding up the unfoldable mesh and carrying it around became tiring. And that’s just one thing that went in our luggage.

I also like wearing a mix of clothes, but packing for carry-on size restricted my choices. Ahem, admittedly I have no style, but I’d like to feel that I have a wider choice in my fashion, n’est-ce-pas?

We Missed our Fur-Babies

I’ll admit it! Many a night David and I would pull up our iPhoto library and look at pictures of our cats. That’s not weird, right? Totally normal.

quit work to travel

Come on!

Pet-carers will totally understand me. We missed our cats so much, they were like phantom limbs, missing cuddle-monsters that we couldn’t wait to hold. (Big shout out to my Mum for taking care of them for three months!).

I’m Budget Averse

I’m not an extravagant traveler, unless of course I’m cashing in Aeroplan miles for five-star hotels, but I am also not the $50 a night traveler like the infamous Nomadic Matt. The only way to maintain my kind of travel budget is to either go for a shorter amount of time, or to make oodles of money that you’re not counting pennies. Even on my non-backpacker budget, we still tracked every single Kip, Dong, Dollar or Baht spent. It was tiring.

quit work to travel

We can budget, but we also know what it’s worth to spend money on, like cruising the beautiful Bai Tu Long Bay in Vietnam.

I’m Not Meant to Be a Full-Time Traveler, AND THAT’S OKAY!

We’re all pretty well-attuned now as to why I’m not meant to travel full-time, right? Now, does that mean I can’t be a travel writer? HELL NO it doesn’t. In fact, I think I’ve got more exciting opportunities at my fingertips this year thanks to my short three-month adventure and my plans to travel closer to home. By keeping my full-time job that I adore, I can now spend my vacations as I wish on the budget that I wish to spend without the guilt of trying to scrimp pennies.

What do you think, fellow travel-lovers? Am I weird for not wanting to up and quit my job to travel full-time?

BEFORE you think that I don’t love the full-time travellers (I do, I do!), let me leave you with a list of my favourite go-to full-time travel bloggers and how they make a living at it.

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5 Responses to Why I Wouldn’t Quit Work to Travel Full-Time

  1. michellavigne44 February 1, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    I agree with most of your reasons for not travelling full time. I love my cats and missed them as well on our recent 4 week trip to SEA. And forget budget.

    Other reasons for me; I appreciate traveling when I do it a few times a year for short periods (there is law of diminishing returns); I only make money when I work (and I like money); I like connecting with my “homies” in person; I like feeling like I belong instead of being an interloper.

    But I love the contrast of travelling to places like SEA. You sure appreciate home and all we have here in Canada and having won the “birthplace lottery”.

    I’m a friend of Michelle Gallant. She turned me on to your post at our Christmas party in Calgary. I followed you the last 4 weeks, as I was travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia with my wife. I really enjoy the variety of your posts. I admire the courage you had to put your “Depression” out of the closet. I am a sufferer as well. Its embarrassing to say it out loud and THAT is screwed up.

    I had a blog… http://www.mclavigne44.wordpress.com. Check it out…

    I loved blogging. It was my first time. Cool to be able to share thoughts, experiences and photos as I went along.

    Michel Lavigne

    • Victoria Smith February 2, 2015 at 12:26 am #

      Thanks Michel! So glad you’ve enjoyed the blog and thank you so much for your comment on the traveling with depression post. It was a nerve wracking thing to put out there, but I’ve only had positive feedback so far, encouraging my theory that the stigma will fade in my lifetime. Your pictures from SEA are fabulous. We never made it to Phu Quoc but everybody talked about it. We chose Nha Trang for our beach stop instead, and it rained!

    • Jeanne July 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

      The exteiprse shines through. Thanks for taking the time to answer.

  2. Lisa July 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    Makes total sense that you need an anchor, a job you love, a place to call home, where the cats are and soon your family. I wonder if the thrill of traveling also is about the change in location, routine, people? …but becomes tiring after a while. Changes are good.

    I’m at the other end, where the home is established, kids are grown and educated, pets in their twilight years….the travel bug for me is very strong. I do realize though that a home base will always be needed. Travel for 6 months, back for 6 months and off again. As far as quitting my job, there comes a time when you no longer want to work on someone else’s schedule, that your experience tells you that there are better and smarter ways to do what you’ve been tasked to do. It’s time to leave the job! Contributing to your community or communities afar feed our souls and lift us up. Staying In one place for a while can really make a difference.

    Kudos to those that carry their home on their backs. I hope they will know the joys of setting down roots, raising a family, caring for an old dog after 15 years of loyal friendship. Each experience in this life can make us realize that the more we know, the less we know.
    Thanks for your thought provoking blogs! ~ Lisa

    • Victoria Smith July 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      I totally agree – stage of life plays a huge role in it. I could see taking more time for long-term travel once our kids are grown (all it’s doing is growing in my belly at the moment!). Where we’re at now, we ‘need’ the jobs and the stability, and we truly also want it at this stage. Later in life, I can completely see the 6 months on, 6 months off.

      Are you planning to do this soon? Sounds VERY exciting. Where is top of your travel list? You’re obviously at a very well established place in your life, which is fantastic. Obstacles like keeping a home base become much more manageable. Renting out your home on AirBnB for example, or for 6 month leases becomes possible, allowing you the best of both worlds. Exciting times ahead for sure.

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

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