I’ve traveled before in my life. I’ve spent six weeks in Europe and one month in India. I never truly gave this much thought before, but there’s a real opportunity for me to plan a year of round the world travel beginning this September. I know I want to quit my comfy job, and I will have at least 30K saved up. For years I had planned to have this money saved for schooling…but lately I’ve been thinking that a person only lives once, and I’ve had a dream for years of seeing each continent. A part of me feels I’ve never really let loose and let myself be free to explore not only the world, but to get to know myself better. I would consider it a year of adventure and self development. Right now nothing would feel better than to spend some time exploring who I am while doing something I really enjoy.
I could also go teach abroad, but there’s an appeal of travelling without responsibility. I’m 30. Maybe this is just some sort of mid-life crisis? Still there would never be a better time. I’m single, without property, and unattached. Am I crazy? Too old? Is this a waste of money? I’m curious…
oh good god man, do it! do it! If you can manage it without going into (too much) debt, and you want to quit your job anyway - well, I would barely hesitate. I know that other people may well disagree, but I don’t see how experiences can ever really be a waste of money. What else are you here for?
Maybe it is a mid-life crisis, but so what if it is? This might be one of the things you can explore about yourself while you’re wandering.
Do it now, before life gets any more complicated for you - before partners, children, stuff tie you down. A real trip like this is still one of my ambitions, but I’m going to have to wait now until the children are no longer dependent on me. I’m still going to do it, but it will be a different trip than yours.
Absolutely go for it!! You’d be crazy not to do it. (And what’s with this 30 “too old … mid-life”? You’re barely out of your teens. )
My only comment is that you want to feel financially free while doing this, so unless the logistics of economising appeals to you, I’d recommend an itinerary emphasizing lower-cost countries rather than “an around the world” trip including expensive Europe.
But do remember that you are 30, not 20.
And when the travelling is done, you’ll be back in the real world, out of money- and 31.
That’s an age at which people (i.e. employers) are going to expect things from you. They will , for example, expect you to be able to explain what you did, what you learned, how it benefitted you, and in turn how you can use that experience to benefit them(ie. make it worth hiring you.)
So plan your trip, and pick some worthy goals and destinations.
Don’t just hang out at youth hostels in Bankok or Katmandu filled with drunk 19 yr old Aussies and Brits who are looking for fun and a wild time.
You are 15 years too young for a mid-life crisis. I would put this in more in the “last fling of youth” category. I do not know if you’re crazy because I lack data, but wanting to take a year off for travel is not crazy. You are definitely not too old. Can you resume a career when you are finished with a year of travel? That would be my major concern.
I’ve thought (a little) about those things. I’m a teacher. I think anything that makes me more worldly would only benefit me as a teacher. Especially If I then decided to do some international teaching. I’m not really interested in trying to be a teenager again, but I do think a year of personal growth through traveling would be beneficial to me. Meeting people, seeing things, reading, trying things out of my comfort zone I think would not only boost my satisfaction with my life, but also give me some grounding for my return to a career. I would have gotten alot of itches out of my system I think.
Pretty much anything else you could buy you will forget or regret.
My wife and have always been careful with our money in all respects except holidays. We haven’t been extravagant but we have never denied ourselves on the basis that such things are what life is all about.
And I would suggest a mix of “classics” and “off the beaten path.”
“Classics” (like the Great Asian and European Cities, and I’ll throw in Israel because I live there and want to encourage tourism :)) – so you can “taste” the Old World and know what you want to see more of when you go back in 10, 15, 20 years.
Off the Beaten Path, like treks in the Himalaya or the Andes, spectacular desert camping, etc… - Because you probably won’t be doing that again…
I’ve travelled a lot. 150+ flights of two hours or more. New Zealand thrice, Hong Kong, etc. Sure, it’s all fun and novelty and whatnot for a while, but sooner or later, every airport looks alike, and everywhere you travel (unless you make a conscious effort to get very far off the beaten path) has that same icky touristy aftertaste. And the thing is, a round-the-world trip isn’t some magical key to personal growth. You’ll probably come back at least as dysfunctional as you left. You’re certainly not going to meet the love of your life. You’re not really going to learn much about the culture of the places you visit. Most likely, the only thing a trip like this will teach you is just how much you hate airplane food and airport security checks, and that the rest of the world is just as fucked the fuck up as where you are right now, if not a whole lot worse.
Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that these trips were so darn expensive. You can’t put this on your resumé - and no matter how much people (yes, you, upthread, I’m talking about you) laud “life experience” and “personal growth” and whatnot, ain’t an HR employee out there in their right mind who’ll hire you citing “has taken a round-the-world trip” as a relevant qualification. If this is money you’ve been saving up for schooling, you need to think very long and very hard and do absolutely nothing on impulse, because spending the money here instead of on schooling could have some nasty ramifications for you future.
In my opinion, if personal growth is what you’re looking for, and you’re comfortable with spending a large sum of money, go work for a charity of some sort instead, during a vacation. Habitat for Humanity, the Peace Corps, something. That would even manage to look good on a resume someday. But don’t fall for the mass delusion that a couple of months hitchhiking and whoring in Southeast Asia or Europe will somehow change your very being. It won’t.
P.S: I realize this post is perhaps excessively curmudgeonly, and I apologise profusely to any offended whippersnappers. But this is serious stuff, Quasimodal, and if you make the wrong decision here, you could set your life back years.
There’s some validity here, which is why I suggested picking a few places rather than a Grand Tour, and perhaps less than the full 12 months.
The trip need not be expensive if you’re careful. You could teach English for pay. Or, when I visited Sihanoukville I noticed several Americans and Europeans in their 20’s getting room and board in return for bartending service.
The purpose of the trip may be less to learn about foreign cultures, than to learn about oneself.
Finally, I’ll need a cite before I accept that finding the love of one’s life on such a trip is impossible.
Thanks, I do need voices of reason in this time of my life. It’s really hard to know what to do. I feel like if I keep doing the same things I’ve always done, I will continue to get the same results. I’m trying hard to change my patterns. I could go back to school when I return, but I would need loans. I used to want to settle down, but my life changed so dramatically, that I don’t know if I believe it will ever happen. I’ve been trying to live in the moment more. Taking a trip always has been beneficial for me. I think it might give me some perspective. I could really come home whenever I feel like. Right now I’m on a short trip in Ontario, and i don’t want to go home. I am looking into a Habitat for Humanity gig this summer though. I’m also looking into teaching at an International School.
When I wore a younger man’s shoes, I traveled all around the western US, and did a stint backpacking thru Europe one summer. That was before I shacked-up, got a “career”-type job, settled down and got married, bought a house, got a dog, a couple of cars, then two kids, grown-up career, bigger house, more stuff, etc… All well and good - my decisions, but I do regret not doing more traveling when I had the chance.
Back then, I had all the time in the world, but no money to support my traveling. Now, I have plenty of resources, but no time. Not the amount of time I would want to spend either traveling around the world or getting to know a specific destination, at least.
There is truth to what Sampsiceramos says, but you are not getting any younger, and you are not dead yet, so why not take advantage now before the shackles of responsibility make a trip like this an impossibility?
Besides, if you do some teaching while you are on the road, that counts as something “productive” on you trip, should any hiring manager raise an eyebrow.
depends where you stay. small towns in asia and south america are dirt cheap, major cities are expensive.
my wife and i gave up our apt and jobs 5 years ago at 35ish and spend a year in asia, it was a fantastic experience. we weren’t really backpackers nor luxury seekers, i’d guess we ended up spending 40k+?
we looked for work later in the trip, but our fields weren’t very useful. if you have a certificate to teach English (qualifications help), work in oil exploration or finance you’d have a better chance to find a job.