Ask yourself this - if you just stopped doing what you're doing right now and went off and did something that you always wanted to do for one year before returning to your current life, what is the worst that could happen?
The common answer I hear is that what if I can't find a job again, especially in this economy? But if you are actually qualified to do the job, I'm positive you will find another job. And if you are not to begin with, then maybe another career path should be considered. The point is that we simply shouldn't let fear be a prison cell which dictates how we should live our lives.
How I did it and my experience
I always had a list of things I want to do written down somewhere. It is usually in my "Someday/maybe" folder. In April of 2012, I decided that "now" is as good a time for "someday/maybe" as it'll get, so I took the plunge. When I decided to quit my job to take on a trip around the world and learn martial arts I was interviewed by another blog. The interview here explains my reasoning quiet well. And here is my farewell email to the world.
Everybody is kung-fu fighting...
Two quotes that inspired me to do this -
Some have asked me why didn't I just do an MBA which is seen as more acceptable way to take some time off while still doing all the traveling and life experiences (some have even called the MBA the Asian gap year). I think MBA is definitely an worthy pursuit for most people. In fact, I've taken my GMAT already several years ago with scores that would get me in a top 5 program, but as I progressed in my career, the thought of switching out of finance did not sound appealing to me at all. Maybe I'm just a closet masochist, but I actually quiet enjoy my finance career!
When I eventually pulled the trigger, I was blessed with lots of support from everyone around me including my parents, my boss and my friends. The planning was very time consuming but being organized helped to contain the mess. I was able to knock the things off my list one at a time
My one year travel plan -
- Three month of muay thai training in Chiang Mai and Phuket
- One professional muay thai fight in Phuket
- 2 week backpacking trip around Myanmar (the land of thousand temples, with no cell phone services and no ATMs)
- 11 days to bicycle around the island of Taiwan
- one week to finally visit the west coast, where i've never been before
- couple days at home in NJ to attend my high school reunion
- Travel around south america (peru, brazil, bunerous ares, argentina, easter islands)
- Several month in Brazil to learn BJJ and surfing
- travel through europe on the way back to HK (will go to rome to see the Colosseum to see first hand the arena for one of the oldest fighting competitions in the world)
- hk for a week to recharge before making my way to korea for some tae kwan do training for several month
- back to HK to conclude my trip
How I would suggest you could do it too
The disclaimer is that this is probably not for everyone. Conservatively speaking, the target audiance for this trip is someone in his/her twenties, have some money saved up, does not have a family, and who is able to stomach some degree of risks.
- Make a list of everything you want to do, including the things that you are afraid to do. Plan out how much time you need. 1 year is usually enough to do most of the things.
- Wait for an proper moment to quit your job (such as recession/now, gotten laid off, changing careers, going back to school, etc). Be accommodating and don't burn your bridges! People will be shocked by your decision, but most will understand and support you
- Quit your job and then announce to the world what you are about to do so that you are committed and can't backtrack
- Taking care of the little things
- Now that you are unemployed, buy travel insurance
- Look at the recommended vaccination for your destination and get them done asap.
- Realize that you don't need much of the material things that you accumulated over the years and throw them out or donate them. Put the rest in storage (i use hk storage)
- Rent out your apartment
- Miles for redemption flights
- Make photocopies of all your important documents and save the softcopies on your computer/usb. (I use evernote)
- Open a safe deposit box and put your valuables in it, such as gold bars, silver coins, family heirlooms, special edition pokemon cards
- Get a international drivers license
- Get the required visas
- Pack as light as possible and then get out of here!
- Option - keep a blog and update the rest of us
Thank for reading. Follow me on this blog, or join me on my adventures!