"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." - Maya AngelouI discovered Maya Angelou when I was 15 because one of my favorite artists, Fiona Apple, loved her. Thanks Fiona and thanks Maya for providing such a powerful quote.
Most people are born with an interest in travel that never subsides. The fact that blogs like Chris Guillebeau's, Gary Arndt's, or this one (on a much much smaller scale) are as popular as they are is proof of this fact.
The problem is that most of us, and I fell into this trap too, put it off. Either for 1-2 weeks at a time on a yearly vacation or "until some day when X happens." Whatever eXcuse (get it?) you have for continuing on living a life you're not thrilled with, it's unfounded. There is always a way. (I just set myself up for a slew of "but, but, but my situation is different" comments/e-mails.)
In another post I will present to you the "how." Here now, I present to you the "why": 21 reasons you should quit your day job and travel the world ...
- You'll become more open minded and learn to treat people with more respect. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Unless, maybe, you stay in sanitized resorts. But since not many people can afford to stay in sanitized resorts long term, this isn't even an issue.
- Your job is dragging you down. (In very rare cases it's not, and that rules.)
- You're unhappy.
- Slaving away is getting in the way of your dreams.
- Traveling long term is cheaper than living wherever you're living.
- It will stretch you to do things you didn't think you could do.
- You might not have any big "revelations" or "aha moments" but you'll have a blast anyway.
- If you have kids it will set them up for a life of independence instead of setting them up to be cogs in a machine. We need more children who are exposed to how most other people live instead of sanitized first world society. I met a British family, 5 kids aged 6-16 and their Parents, on the train up to Chiang Mai. The kids were having a ball experiencing all these new things and I could already pick out leadership qualities among each of them. In addition, they were incredibly respectful, which I'm finding less and less among children.
- You can eat your favorite foods in the countries where they originated.
- You'll experience new foods that will quickly become your new favorites.
- The best fruit in the world, Jakfruit, is plentiful and cheap in Thailand. (OK, so that was a specific case for why you should travel to Thailand as opposed to anywhere. Whatever, Jakfruit is the best fruit in the world. I discovered it while in the Daintree Rainforest in Northern Queensland, Australia.)
- Even when it's dangerous, it's not as dangerous as some people would have you believe. I've felt more fear walking the streets of Detroit with $10 in my pocket than walking around Mumbai or Bangkok at night with thousands of dollars in gear and cash on my person.
- You will stumble onto awesome events like Holi and Songkran. Who doesn't love a week-long water fight? :)
- This site makes a lot of good cases for saving your tax dollars by living elsewhere.
- You will meet, and make friends with, people who you would never have met staying where you are. Most of us only associate with people in our immediate geographical areas. I call it Friendship By Geography, and it's incredibly sad.
- Facing your fears is good for you. And you will face all of them, sometimes in a single day, when traveling. How many fears do you face on a daily basis at your day job? How much do you grow as a person at your day job?
- You will no longer have to participate in office politics or water cooler gossip. If that's the kind of thing you enjoy then why are you reading this site in the first place? :)
- You will have more time for your family, friends, and maybe more importantly, for yourself.
- You will become a master of fake sign language. Also known as Traveler's Sign Language. It's frustrating for a spell, but when your communication is finally understood it's an awesome feeling.
- Even if you never become fluent, learning and using a few words in new languages is fun. My favorite thing in the world is now the Thai bow/greeting. I know the way I say it is probably horrible, but the old lady who runs the best veg restaurant in Chiang Mai (Save Thunya on Nantaram Rd just outside Chiang Mai Gate) always treats me like a king when I come in. I know she appreciates my limited Thai because she speaks approximately 3 words of English so we're in the same boat. I wonder if I can use the Thai greeting everywhere I go? :) If you think it's difficult learning new languages, Benny at FluentIn3Months.com has the best course available on the topic: click here to get the Language Hacking Guide.
- You owe it to yourself to be Ridiculously Extraordinary. Most day jobs would not be categorized as such.
What have I missed? I know there are many more good reasons to quit your day job and travel the world so leave them in the comments below ...
Also, no excuses in the comments. Only positive thoughts please. ;)