Post # 1
Hi bees!! Its been a while since I’ve posted here, but I’ve been reading and enjoying all the stories, wedding related or not, on and off. A lot has changed since we got married, we left our jobs a couple of months after the wedding, travelled for 7 months and we are now living in a new city, new country, and am not sure what is next in our journey! This is something I never thought I would do, but having my husband with me as a motivator really helped to get the guts to do this. Now that the 7 months are behind us though, I’ve been thinking about why more people don’t do this? It seems to be a very big stigma in North America, other places its more accepted.
Anyone else been through this? Anyone else looking forward to doing it again? Did anyone experience a negative/positive impact on your career? There doesn’t seem to be too much reading material on this topic out there that is actually up to date.
Post # 3
i think most people don’t do this because we depend on our paychecks each week so that we don’t end up starving to death under a bridge by the river.
srsly… your question comes across almost like this:
Post # 4
Well, I don’t think I said anything offensive and I am sorry if it came out that way. We woked very hard for a long time and continue to do so, there was no luck or inheritance involved, so please don’t take offence to my situation.
Post # 5
@gb4: i’m not saying you inherited it, but you seem quite far removed from people who are not in the same financial situation as you. You ask why more people don’t take that much time off and travel the world and be free as a bird… as if people choose not to take time off, when in reality we can’t.
Post # 6
@rosworms: Agreed. I think the only ‘stigma’ about it in North America is when people do it that live outside their means or expect their parents to pay for it when they’re young. The reason more people don’t do it is because very very few can afford to take 7 months to travel around the world. I doubt you’ll find anyone that would say “take half a year off to travel to exotic places? BLEH, sounds horrible, who would ever do that?”
I know you didn’t mean to sound offensive just…understand that you’re very fortunate (and hard working, yes, but also fortunate) and maybe rephrase your question to just ask if there are any others with similar experience as to why everyone else can’t afford to travel too?
Post # 7
Don’t worry. People here have been getting really offended over really small things lately. You clearly meant no harm.
If you’re talking about Europe, it’s much easier to travel there cheaply than in the states, and often safer. Hostels in Europe are not hostels in the states. o_O and trains are much more prevalent as well. Airline costs are a big bite. But once you get to somewhere, especially somewhere like Thailand, it’s not so bad. Most people just can’t afford to do it for 7 months, and still have money for a normal lifestyle here (a house, two cars, college bills, regular bills, etc). That’s my problem. Save it all, or risk some and travel?
You didn’t mention how you traveled for 7 months? Did you stay at lux hotels, hostels, or with friends/family? Bike, train, fly, all? May I ask how you were able to do it? 7 months of traveling seems like a dream… may I ask approximate costs and what you did/where you went? Did you guys pay for all of it? Sorry if it’s too many questions. I posted something similar about some traveling versus none, and someone called me entitled and got snotty when I menioned I’d worked 10 years between 16 and 26, when it was completely relevant to my issue. She was very snarky about it and said “no one is impressed” or something of that nature. I was like uh… wtf. Anyway, I wish my fiance and I could do this! If you could share how, even in a pm, I’d greatly appreciate the details =)
Post # 8
@gb4: I was off work for almost 1.5 years. It allowed me to do some soul searching, volunteering and to truly think about what I wanted to do with my career. After my career break I went back to my previous industry. I stayed there for 6 months before getting a position at a nonprofit. Working to help the less fortunate fulfills me. I don’t think I would have ever went after my true passion in life as aggressive as I did had I not been on a hiatus. My hiatus was not planned but having enough in savings to support myself without changing my lifestyle was a blessing. Most people don’t take the time off work because they can’t afford it. Most people can’t afford to miss one paycheck without getting behind in their obligations. Be happy that you were able to have such a wonderful experience. I sooo wanted to come live in Europe a few months during my hiatus but my mom wasn’t having it!
Post # 9
I think it is a valid question, no need to get touchy about it…
My nieghbor did that a few years ago. She wasn’t rich by any means as she worked as a secretary, she just made it a huge priority that it was something she wanted in her life. She worked for a few years to save up, and took off for Aisa for a year where she could live on the beach for less than 5 euros a day. In an ideal world I’d love to do that, but there are other things I’ve made the decision to spend my money on.
Post # 10
@gb4: Hello! My FI and I taught English in South Korea for a year after we were both finished with undergrad. While that year was trying for many reasons, I’d love to be able to spend time overseas again. I’m hoping we’ll be able to do something in the next few years whether it is some extended travel time or relocating somewhere for a bit.
I can’t say that I really noticed a whole lot of impact on my career, especially since I hadn’t had any post-college working experience before working in Korea. While I wouldn’t say that it effected me negatively, employers definitely didn’t seem particularly interested in my overseas employment. They were more interested in whether I had experience here.
Where are you living now? I’m curious and would love to live vicariously through you. 🙂
Post # 11
Thanks for all the great responses guys! I agree with what you have all said. I know how fortunate we are that we have been able to do this. We made this a priority for a couple of years, planned it for a long time. It started with just looking at a map and thinking about all the places we wanted to see. Then we just had to save. We cut out restaurants 90%, we stopped buying clothes 90%, we didn’t take any vacation for like 2 years, we saved any birthday or christmas gifts, we never upgraded our 1 bedroom apartment, etc. generally, it was hard since it felt like it was just NEVER gonna happen. But we had to give ourselves a deadline and just DO IT. It was so hard for me to quit my job since I liked it and I had worked so hard for it, but I have now realized you can always find a job again. So I had to constantly make myself relax and try to enjoy and not stress about being unemployed!
As for the logistics, we stayed in mostly hostels, motels or low end hotels, and some horrible ones might I add. Also, we planned some of our trip around places where we knew people who were gracious enough to let us stay with them. We also used airbnb to rent rooms in people’s houses a good bunch of times. we took flights for the long distances but buses for the shorter ones, or trains, whatever was cheaper. We ate smartly too, tried to get the most nutritional foods and cut the useless food. This was hard though when youre surrounded by all this exotic stuff, and can only try one or two things! and shopping, dont even get me started with how much I had to control myself not to buy everything I could get my hands on. No room and no extra cash were good reasons though!
We are now living in the UK, and it is a place that we could experience something new without too much of a culture shock. If all goes as planned, we will come back home in a couple of years.
I must also mention that I too had student loans and other debts when I first graduated, it took me years to be able to get to this point.
I hope that answers most questions, but I’d still love to hear more from you guys.
Post # 12
My friend is doing this. She actually made only around $40K before she took off, so she wasn’t rich. But she had sold her house, her car, etc, paid off her student loans, had no credit card debt, so she had no monthly expenses. She lives very cheaply, and she has experienced more than I ever will (I am married with a one year old daughter); my traveling days are over. I admit I get jealous sometimes, but that kind of career uncertainty would bother me. I admittedly am the farthest thing from a free spirit, and the idea of not having a job would terrify me.
Post # 13
I think it is an interesting discussion. I had planned ot do this and was saving, but somehow ended up with a fiance and an immmigraiton process instead. Far less glamorous! I do live fairly “internationally”, and I live in a VERY international community (I’m a foreigner myself :p). A few of my friends have done this type of thing.
I’m not American, so I can’t comment on the American side, but I can speak in general.
I think there are definately two groups of people. The first are those who genuinly can’t afford to travel. If you are supporting a child on minimum wage, without any qualifications, a career break is not possible. For a lot of people however, it’s about priorities. I’m not saying that it’s the right decision for everyone, but absolutely possible.
Most of my friends who do it/ have done it tend to do one of two things. They either do what I do, and get jobs abroad. Working holiday programmes and jobs that offer sponsorship (frequently English teaching) enable visas and money making. In my situation, if I search, it tends to cost under $500 for me to get almost anywhere in SE or East Asia. Frequently it is much cheaper than that. It is often cheaper for me to visit another country than somewhere else in Japan. A few years ago I took a summer job in Germany. That enabled me to travel for a few months around Europe, Asia and the US, on 4 months of savings from my NZ teacher salary and the money I made in Germany.
The other thing people do is save hard, and spend little when they travel. I know of people who choose to work 50-60 hours a week. Again, not everyone can do this, if they have family to support etc, but a lot can. They then live very, very frugally when saving, and very frugally on the road. Typically, you can backpack arouund the world for a year $10-20K per person. If it is a goal, you can typically obtain that money. These people often (but not always by any means) don’t have much else in their savings, don’t own property and don’t drive anything particularly flash.
I’m not discussing the wisdom of the idea, just sharing how it is reasonable for someone who isn’t made of money to do these things.