How I Quit My Job and Became a Full-time Travel Blogger

It didn’t happen overnight. That’s for sure.

It’s not like I woke up one morning and just called it quits. Well, actually, it was kind of like that. I woke up one dreary morning, and as I was forcing myself to get up, I caught something painted on the ceiling — my future. Of course it wasn’t real. Of course I imagined it. But as I lay in my bed looking at the big white canvass above me, I began to realize that this was not the life I wanted to paint. I just could no longer beat my alarm clock and wait for it to ring just because I dreaded to wrap myself in another business attire and do the whole 8-5 routine.

     

It’s not that I hated my job. I loved it. It’s just that I didn’t want it to be the only thing I did. I loved traveling a little bit more. And since I couldn’t do both at the same time, I had to choose. That morning I chose to quit my job.

But not so fast. If I was going to do it, I would have to do it right.

I never planned to be a travel blogger. If my college self would see me now, he’d be like, “What the hell are you doing with your life? There’s an effin’ career ladder in front of you, effin’ climb it!

My whole love affair with plane tickets and seat sales started in 2007. My grandfather passed away, and I had to fly to Puerto Princesa to attend his funeral. In the middle of mourning, I could not help but be blown away by the sheer natural beauty of the place. On my flight back to Manila, I promised myself that I would return, and this time enjoy it. A couple of years later, I was able to do just that.

I began going on weekend getaways more frequently. Work hard on weekdays, travel harder on weekends. I was happy to be trapped in that clockwork. The more places I set foot on for work, the more I was inspired to work harder, save bigger, and eventually go farther. But as my destinations became brighter, my corporate job appeared and felt bleaker. And it led to that morning in 2010 when I just found myself staring at the ceiling.

Some people — braver people — would just file their resignation right away. But I wasn’t one of ’em brave people. There was so much at stake, so it needed some careful planning. It took a long time, but the wait was worth it when I was finally ready.

Here’s the process that I went through to quit my job, presented through the questions I asked myself and what I did to address them.

1. Is traveling really what you want?

Passion has become a buzz word since I hit mid-twenties. I always hear it in interviews, speeches, and even random conversations with friends. Is this your passion? What are you passionate about? Funny enough, they were the first questions I asked myself. I needed to be sure if it was really the life that I would want to lead. Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?

For the rest of my life? Not sure about that. But travel was what I enjoyed immensely. It was definitely what I wanted then, and it is still what I want now. I knew that it was something I could do for a long, long time. It didn’t matter to me if it was something I could commit to for a lifetime. What mattered to me was this: I wasn’t happy then, and I needed something to change.

My point is — If you’re not happy, do something about it. If you need something to change, change something. Don’t wait for things to happen for you, make them. Even if it takes time. Even if entails big changes. Don’t fear change. Change is life. You’ll never “live” life if you keep avoiding it.

corporate slave

 

2. If you quit your job, how will you support yourself?

Of course, you need to work, one way or another. You can’t just buy a plane ticket and beg for money when you’re there. (You could do that actually, but come on.) If your target destinations are those requiring visas, then you’re screwed if you’re unemployed. Thing is, there are so many opportunities out there. SO MANY. You just have to look.

What are your skills? Can you write? Can you take good pictures? Can you do graphics? Can you develop websites? Are you up for virtual assistant-kind of jobs? There are thousands of jobs online, and if you’re patient you can make it a steady source of income.

Why online? Because it is location-independent. You can work from anywhere, and you can start even before you quit your job. Try to do it in the evening or on the weekends, and see if you’re fine with that kind of set up. After all, that’s how it usually turns out on the road most of the time. You travel during the day and work at night, preferably with a bottle of beer in one hand. Haha.

There are other opportunities on the road. I have met a lot of travelers who teach English when they travel. Some work at farms in exchange of food and lodging. SoloFlightEd worked as a waiter at a resort in Malaysia for a couple of months to get by. What’s that old saying? Aaah, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Photo: Scratch Map Philippines. Available for P1350 at Quirks!
Photo: Scratch Map Philippines. Available for P1350 at Quirks!

 

3. Are you willing to sacrifice?

Was I sure that this would turn out all shining, shimmering, splendid for me? Hell, no. If anything, I was quite sure I would have to give up a lot of things. Think about it. Trading a full-time career with travel is going to leave you with tectonic adjustments. Can you picture yourself surviving a lower-paying or inconsistent job?

You might be asking: if I give up my job, how am I going to afford travel? The answer, sacrifice. Many people think traveling is expensive. Well, it is expensive. Relatively. But it is NOT as expensive as others say it is.

The biggest financial boulder is always the plane tickets. But even that is not that big of a problem anymore. SEAT SALES ARE REAL. Trust me. Almost all the tickets I use I get from seat sales. You just have to know how to do it. Here’s how —> How to Book CHEAP Fares.

Once you make it past the airports, it’s a lot easier. Hostels over hotels. Street food stalls over restaurants. Buses over planes. Backpacking over prearranged tours. You’ll be surprised how inexpensive it is to travel.

Still, it demands that you give up a part of your lifestyle. For example:

If you’re the type who needs to have a cup of Starbucks coffee each morning, you’ll see how much more you’re gonna save if you ditch the habit. And you will pick up many lessons like this along the way.

But money isn’t the only problem. Relationships will be affected. Are you prepared to spend a lot less time with your loved ones? Are THEY prepared, too? Are you supporting your family? Are you in a committed relationship? Make sure they understand.

 

4. Do you have a Plan B?

Let’s say, it doesn’t work out for you. What are you gonna do?

This is why you shouldn’t burn bridges. Close them, but not burn. In the off chance that travel isn’t for you, at least it is easy to reconnect with the life you abandoned, hopefully this time with a different perspective.

In my case, I made sure that before I quit, I was confident that it would be easy for me to find work even if I go freelance. I did my best to excel in my full-time job, enough to be noticed by potential clients. I made sure I had a powerful body of work, an impressive portfolio.

I hated working full time then, but I did not hate my job. I loved marketing. I loved what I was doing. Travel is my greatest romance, but marketing is my first love. I kept in touch with my marketing roots even on the road. And they are both very rewarding.

Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong

 

5. No question: Just do it!

If you think you’re ready, then what are you waiting for? If you’re in your mid-20s like me, what’s stopping you? You’re young, not many responsibilities, not much to lose. There is no better time.

Quit it, and book a ticket to somewhere awesome!

Again, this is how I did it. I do not intend that you follow this, but only to offer a peek at the process I had gone through. Other travelers did it differently. Many of them just jumped into it blindly. That’s great, you know, if you think it’s for you. It’s just that the semi-obsessive-compulsive in me just had to plan the whole thing. And that’s okay too.

At the end of the day, all travelers want the same thing — to fly. I wanted my spirit to soar but not by climbing an imaginary career ladder; I want a real mountain, a real summit, a real adventure around the world. Far beyond the pigeonhole that was my office. With a much wider view than from the top of that fuckin’ imaginary ladder.

Maybe one day I’ll be back. I sometimes miss my corporate life terribly, to be honest. Maybe. One day.

But for now, I think I’m staying outside, where I could wake up and see not a blank ceiling but wild clouds chasing the blues away. It’s always a great sight.


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Comments

  1. Marge says:

    More or less we are the same… I can see myself in you. I love to travel, i love photography and to finance all these I work as a VA(Virtual Assitant) so that I can just bring my work anywhere I go and enjoy traveling 😉 Hope we can travel together soon 😉

  2. AJ Poliquit says:

    Bravo! Another corporate minion bites the dust. 🙂 I like how logically you did it and make it sound so effing effortless. I’d love to look at the ceiling as a canvas like you do, but it just reminds me to pay for that roof over my head. The call of the road has not been compelling enough to whisk me away from my career (maybe cuz I’m not in the corporate world), but I’ll keep a mental note of this when the travel bug bites.

  3. chi says:

    i wish i could do the same.pero mahirap pag may partner ka na hindi yan ang passion..haayyzz

  4. Tere Lazaro Bernardino says:

    being laid off at work, I was thinking of doing the same. I already have a travel blog about the places in the Philippines I have been. I agree that there are many considerations before being a full-time traveler or travel blogger. Very nice article. 😀

  5. Batchuy Dorado says:

    You got my radar there! Its quite a good read.. Feels the same here, i hope to find courage like you did.. Keep it up Godspeed!

  6. Paula Nieto Serapio says:

    I can totally relate…. Good job.. God bless and good luck in your endeavors.. 🙂

  7. johnny says:

    before you did this, where do you live? Did you live with your parents or do you have your own place like an apartment or mortgaged house? … coz I was thinking if things don’t go as planned, you would have to go back somewhere you consider your home for support, where most probably family members can help you stand up again or start all over again, a place to sleep while finding a new job and food to eat while out of job. Please email me thanks for sharing part of your life.

  8. weRsolesisters says:

    This totally resonated with me! #2 was a real challenge. But when I quit my job to travel, I realized that I wouldn’t want to go back to corporate again. So I did everything to avoid that. It’s almost 3 years for me and still no high heeled pumps in sight! Cheers to doing this for as long as we can. Thanks for writing this awesome post Yoshke!

    • Hank Klinger says:

      Awesome!! I would love to write for you sometime, how do I go about this?

      I live for travel, I’ve been traveling now about 8 years. North and South America, and some of Europe 🙂

  9. Charmaine Naval says:

    Very inspiring entry and very timely for me:) I never wanted to grow old in the corporate world + i love traveling and photography, i just have to muster enough courage like you had. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  10. Ed Escueta says:

    It’s been a year when I also resigned from my office-based job. and I’m now enjoying location-independent lifestyle from an online graphic design job 🙂

  11. Lizjoy says:

    Following..love the easy to understand posts. At 22 I had the chance to travel but got married. Now Im catching up on my missed adventure. I wish you many more years of exploring..cheers Liz

  12. malinda malacaste aloloidz says:

    my dream work too. im travelling but only locals..here in the Philippines only, the least travelled by people…Luzon Mindanao and little of Visayas, but want to do more….thank you for your tips..amazing..am fifty and kicking and alone….yeah.

  13. nori says:

    Thank you. Just that. I am not going to go as far as quitting my job, but I will give travelling (alone, if need be!) another stab come 2014!

  14. Reyza Marxel Kennedy says:

    I love reading your blog… it helped me planning my first ever far away adventure… 🙂
    I love your post here seeing your passion for traveling… I would love to have that same flare as you do… It inspired me more to be a travel blogger, but reading this post now that I’m unemployed (got out of med school last year and dedicated the rest of the year at Red Cross) made me realize it really is cool to be FREE but then again the “luho” of traveling needs $$$ hahaha… It’s somewhat opposite from others who read but the more I am urged to find a job! Well a job that’s flexible and allows long vacations, but as a nurse medyo malabo… hehehe…

    None the less you inspired me more with travel blogging and continuing travel even with short distances… Thanks and more power!!!

    • yoshke says:

      Hi Reyza! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      I do hope you would find a job flexible enough to accommodate your travel plans! You can always start with nearby destinations, like you said. All the best! 🙂

  15. Lilith says:

    You’re an inspiring person. It’s true that nothing can stop you from doing what you really love. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Appreciate this post. 🙂

  16. den says:

    i really wanted a job that i will enjoy as well like travelling. after the day i went to boracay last year i said to myself that i want to go somewhere beautiful and relaxing. only 24 yrs old and a corporate slave. i want to start travelling more this year. wishing to accomplish it by the year ends and want to document all by having a travel blog also. now, thinking of quitting the day job and pursue travelling but need funds for this. 🙂

  17. marie says:

    I’ve learned a lot from this Yoshke! Thank you for writing about it. Gustong-gusto ko gawin yung ganito and I must admit “fear” is holding me back. But after reading this, I got many valuable insights which can be of great help. Thank you! Keep it up! 🙂 😉

  18. Thanks for a great post! At 37, I’m just starting my journey in travel writing and blogging. I appreciate the practicality of your points. I’ve decided to set goals and markers, to be prudent about my own transition. I’ll continue to work my job (which I still enjoy and love) until such a time that income from writing can support my existence and allow me to contribute to my family. As you mentioned, there may be sacrifices along the way, including a more frugal lifestyle. But since my answer to your question #1 is a big YES, at least for the foreseeable future, then I know it will be worth it. And yes, having a Plan B is definitely a must!
    We all have different life situations, comfort levels and aspirations. We can’t all be full-time travel writers/bloggers, but I’m thankful for your post, for inspiring me to push and give it a try.

  19. Clarisse Santos says:

    Nice blog. Such an inspiration. I knew i want to travel more when i first went to Thailand last year for a concert, it was my first out of the country though, i fell in love with the place and would love to go back there again or explore other countries and it was followed by Hong Kong trip the same year. I am young at 21 and currently working here in Dubai, my work has always been the hindrance for my dream travels as i cannot go out of the country whenever i want to plus i don’t have the courage to do it because i don’t know anything aside from secretarial job. After reading this blog, i am considering to quit my job and go back to the Philippines where i have freedom to do what i want. Maybe ill just find ways how to feed myself and travel cheaper. Good luck on your future travels!

  20. Nvrmore says:

    Your way of writing is like…..ahmmm…like a poet, not just a simple narrative blog.
    I am just a student and still learning on the things on blogging.
    I am striving hard on freelance blogging and writing so that the time that I graduate next next year in college, I will pursue my dreams on travel blogging.
    http://www.adventurouspinoy.blogspot.com

  21. Jimee Hopes says:

    very inspiring !!!! but yes for me it will take time to quit my job and go travelling, but i really love what you have written some day i will figure out an option and will follow this. it will be like a dream come true, requires lots of guts. Thank You

  22. Migz says:

    im actually staring up at my brothers bed (double deck) wondering what to do with my life. I’m kinda stuck in a company for almost 6 years. Dont get me wrong. I love the work that i do but there’s something missing and something has to change. This post inspired me to plan for that change. thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

  23. A great read, thank you! We also escape the corporate madness and sold everything we had, which was the most liberating part of it all. We love living out of our backpacks with the most minimal of items and knowing that the sights we see are truly what we will remember at the end of our lives.

  24. Sara says:

    Very inspirational. Glad to hear someone else making this blogging thing work while following their dream and traveling. I’m on board with that and trying the blogging-so-I-can-travel thing too. Hopefully someday soon I can post an article just like this on my blog. Good luck and congrats!

  25. Emma says:

    Wow what an inspiration! I’m trying to do the same thing at the moment. I have a blog – thenotsobudgetbackpacker.com But Have really have only been posting for about 3 months. Hoping traffic drives up soon though. 10 months on the road tomorrow though. What a crazy life this is 🙂

  26. Miss Imee says:

    Great post! Very nice places to visit, I am planning to go in that place to relax and enjoy the nature. I will save money for it together with my family.

  27. Hoang Bui says:

    This post really impresses and inspire me who also have a dream to be a travel blogger. I am 27, a Vietnamese work as a marketer in Makati now. I’ve followed your blog for a long time, from it found some useful information in my last trips. Same as yours, my passport is a less powerful one that makes us difficult to get in touch too many dreamful destinations. So I wonder in the beginning to build your blog before got profit from it, how can you get a visa to reach them if you are unemployed and have no big amount in your account. Hopefully to received your reply!

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