“6 Reasons Why Not Quitting Your Job To Travel Is A Waste Of Your Life.”
Yes, this is a real headline. And yes, we too find it absurd. Alex and I received an email from a close friend last week, asking us to write a response to this article she’d read that “made [her] want to vomit.” I swiftly clicked through and – surprise, surprise – also had a visceral reaction.
The gist of the article is, in part, what you might imagine: time is the one commodity you cannot get back so use your youth wisely, don’t settle for society-inflicted monotony, push yourself out of your comfort zone, etc. etc.
Here’s what I think: Yes, you should move around to gain new experiences. Yes, you should travel often. And no, money is not everything; life experiences are wildly valuable too.
But you do not have to quit your job to have a fulfilling life.
First off, if you’re like me, quitting your job is not a feasible option. Sure, I want to travel and experience all this weird life has to offer, but I must work to do so. Beyond that, there are plenty members of my generation who receive abundant hand-outs that afford them the ability to simply quit their jobs and travel, but there is also a crop of 20-somethings who are hard-working individuals and delight in their work.
To all of you in the latter crew: RESPECT. Be proud of your professional drive and do not feel that working is “a waste of your life.” Work to fund your own travel, build a life without a paycheck from mom and dad and see how incredible that independence feels. Travel on your own dime – or for work! – and I guarantee the experience will resonate far more.
And beyond work being a necessity for many, it is also an opportunity in itself to discover who you are and what is important to you. Want to "experience it all" in this lifetime? Work is a big part of this, and vilifying it will not lead to some meta self-realization or long-term happiness that is unattainable for the entirety of 9-5ers.
Getting wrapped up in work so it becomes all-consuming is certainly detrimental, but work is not inherently bad. I preach balance in life, doing it all. And work is a big part of that, too. Find something you actually enjoy doing and that allows you to travel alongside it and you will be just fine.
Header photo taken on a flight from Paris to New York, after a wonderful business trip.