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Published on November 8, 2018

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40

How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40

Have you dreamed of traveling the world? Totally changing directions and quitting a job for someone else? If you’re savvy, organized and willing to embrace the simple life, it’s easier than you think.

You might be wondering how you can be part of the digital nomad phenomenon. Especially with the increased focus on curated travel photos that seem to feature everyone under 40. Fortyhood in a world addicted to youth can seem scary and isolating. People treat you like 40’s not old – if you’re a tree, type of deal.

First is to ditch that thinking and anyone around you who implies it. There are many vibrant forty somethings out there traveling and creating change. Plenty of us who have chosen to create a life full of travel, living our bucket list and feeding our travel addiction. Just check out these forty something bloggers making it happen.

Quitting your job and traveling the world takes some planning. And after 40, you’re in the perfect position to make your leap. Realistically, it depends on what you want to get out of your travels. Are you taking time off? Do you want to make a living traveling? Do you already have resources in place? What mobile skills do you possess (or are willing to learn)?

Whenever I talk about travel and people ask how I do it, it brings to mind the words of author Brene Brown:

“I define vulnerability, as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

When is the last time you did anything big that didn’t include those three things, travel or not? You have to be okay with uncertainty to travel for a living.

Travel is important for recharging creativity and rebooting ours minds. And here’re plenty of reasons why you should quit your job and follow your dream. So, here are the best tips to making it happen for you:

Plan Ahead – Get Simple and Flexible

If you already have the financial resources and you’ve been planning this for a while, you’re already ahead.

I recommend others give themselves a year to simplify their lives. That includes logistical items like defining a budget, selling belongings, subletting or selling property, itineraries, list of contacts in each location, country visas, travel insurance, possible work permits, bank notifications, auto bill pays, spare debit card, extra passport photos, mail services, unlocked cell phone, electronic equipment and more.

It pays to be organized in travel and have back up’s and redundancies. The confidence of having a backup if something goes wrong can relieve a lot of stress. Travel can be stressful, even for the most laid back person.

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Trust that you’ll meet a lot of people along the way and most of them want to help you. I’ve had the most interesting experiences with locals, from finding the best hidden food spots, to secluded beaches, and authentic rituals.

Being open to share your time with locals in balance with being a tourist can offer you the best viewpoints. And if you’re looking for connections, this is a great way to do it. Attending local networking events, expat groups, meet-ups and parties can lead to job offers, volunteer opportunities, travel buddies, training options and even romance if you’re looking for that.

Create a List of Top Destinations and Budget

It’s good to dream, so don’t hold back. Decide on a destination list, ranked by importance, interest, convenience, cost and time. Dig deep, there are a lot of destinations out there, and it’s key to have an idea of what you want to accomplish in each.

If you’re planning to travel the world, staying out of larger cities and hitting lesser known countries allows you to travel further for your money and experience that is truly new. Why not the Himalayas or Bolivia, instead of Barcelona or Iceland? Forego Costa Rica for any of the Stans – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, or Krygyzstan. Who wants the same instagram photos as everyone else anyway?

I recommend having a contact list of tour providers in each location as a backup, but to talk to the locals for great deals. Utilize travel apps to track and plan trips, miles, Sygic App , Matt’s Flights , Lounge Buddy, Trippit, Trip.me and Waze for starters. All of which I’ve used.

Now what is this all going to cost you? That depends on how you like to travel. The average world travel costs $2,000 USD a month, for a simplified lifestyle. You can get away with $1,200 USD in some countries like Portugal and Dominican Republic.

This is a good number to start with, but I did mention back up’s right? So add 25% to that. You can have this is that bank, or have a start with plans to take your work remote, earning along the way.

Go, but Not Everywhere

You may not want to hear it, but it’s likely you’ll get tired of traveling. You’ll miss your familiar town, your local coffee stand, friends, family and being able to snuggle in your own bed and binge on Netflix. So keep it flexible but be good to yourself. This is not a race around the world.

Consider the seasonality of countries, high season is more expensive. What’s the weather like where you’re going? Do you have the gear for it? What’s the best time to visit your favorite spot?

A quick google check can lead you to weather patterns and likely seasonal crowds. You may dip into your budget for new clothing or technical gear to experience a spot, and then pass it on to the locals.

I like to look for extreme sports to add to my bucket list, stay in warmer weather, get lost in the anonymity of a language I don’t know, and experience local festivals. That all goes into my trip planning. From La Tomatina in Spain to the Spirit Festival in Bali.

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Whatever your passion may be, I recommend implementing it into your travel planning, and possibly making it part of your remote work structure. Curious souls who want to travel the world are usually multi interested, multi talented explorers, so I’m sure there’s no shortage of goals in your planning.

Embrace Slow Travel

Career and family landscapes have changed across the world. Travel tools are more accessible including Uber and other convenient technology.

This has allowed us to make career changes in our 40’s, fly solo or take our families on the road. It has also allowed us to integrate into almost any country and enjoy what some call slow travel. I call it the right way to travel.

Spend at least a month in a location. Get to know what the locals do. Dress like a local, learn some key phrases. Bypass the tourist rat race of those who need to crunch everything into one week a year, and remember the day you decided to leave that.

We don’t just travel to take photos with iconic backdrops, we travel to see what is different from us, and how it is also the same.

Slow travel includes renting a house, enrolling in a course, volunteering, studying a language, finding your roots, lounging in a cafe and taking stock of your life, writing your book, or making those dolla dolla bills online.

There are plenty of options to stay long term, including the obvious Airbnb, House Swap and VRBO. But checking the local papers and walking the neighborhoods is likely to really get you into the heart of slow travel.

Remember the movie Under The Tuscan Sun? If she can do it, so can you.

Leave Possessions and Habits Behind

Remember when I mentioned uncertainty, risk and vulnerability, well here it is. Leaving behind all those things you accumulated as a “need” and realizing they are really unnecessary shifts your thinking. You’ll become a minimalist.

One suitcase, preferably a backpack is the way to go. A check-in bag, and a day pack will become vital in your travel habits. The amount of your gear is commensurate with your stress level. Fitting everything into a backpack and carrying your gear provides convenience, more safety (from theft) and ease.

While it seems only kids travel with backpacks, it’s not the case. Think of attempting to pull along a rolling suitcase through remote spots, dirt roads or jungles. You don’t want to find yourself there. Plus they are just as convenient in the city.

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A sleek backpack is not going to get a second look checking into a Four Seasons to do that brand review you were just hired for remotely. Besides any extra space, you have most likely houses your electronics that make it possible to work online. Again, take me word for it. Own your travel.

Little by little, you will also shed away habits like worrying about what you wear, collecting things, and rethinking your personal impact on the planet.

Yes travel has a big carbon footprint, but along the way you can volunteer, drop the habit of using plastic and eat unprocessed foods, all with a positive return.

Pro tip:

Pack 2- 3 interchangable outfits in mid tone to darker colors that are comfortable and durable. Things like “adventure” pants that keep you dry and can unzip to shorts, repeats of lycra or cotton t-shirts, yoga pants and scarves go a long way for the ladies, and a good pair or walking shoes and flip flops for starters.

Carry a basic first aid kit and repair kit with sewing items, gear aid tapes and patches.

Make Money Remotely

You’re 40 and just quit your job to travel the world, are you crazy? The majority of bloggers make an average $2 a day, while a few in the top make a six figure income.

If you’re looking to make money while you travel online, it takes persistence, stamina, flexibility and good ol’ fashion hard work. Most of the beautiful photos online are done by travel writers and flash packers who come in for a week or a weekend. Not the same as traveling full time.

Don’t worry, you can still make beautiful content (while still immersed in travel). It will just take more creativity.

Bloggers make their money in freelance writing, social media posts, brand partnerships, ad posts, coaching, speaking, e books, affiliate income, photography, licensing and product sales. The doors are open, you just need to walk through.

A few places to post and find remote work are Upwork, Fiverr, Writers Work, Freelancer, Remote Co, Idealist and Small World. If you’re in tech, you have even more flexibility. Coders and UX developers are in high demand.

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If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years of travel, adventure and writing, it’s that you can possess seemingly opposing skills — teaching yoga vs flying a helicopter, creating media content vs hosting adventure retreats – that will serve you well.

Some of my skills above provide me with grace under pressure, discipline, focus, organization and communication skills that make being a digital nomad and traveling that much easier. Uncertainly, risk and vulnerability, right?

Time management, organization, being financially savvy, willing to learn, communication and curiosity will all be required on your world travels. Your instincts, skills and passions are fueling your travel-lust and can also support you in your new life of travel and leisure.

Final Thoughts

Take what you can here, and get ready for your own travels. After 40, each decision we make is even more vital to our overall effect on life. But we are usually a bit wiser, free’er and more apt to assess the uncertainties.

Now is better than ever to feed our crazy and live off the road. We’ve earned it.

I don’t advise lightly about quitting your job and traveling the world. It’s not for everyone, and it can uproot your life in ways you never thought of.

And if you truly go off grid and spend years focused on travel, you have to start all over again when you return home. You will most likely come back a changed person but the rest of the world will seem unchanged.

Whether you’re creating a career change, had a major life event shift your world, or are following your travel dreams after taking care of a career and children; traveling the world after 40 is more than possible.

It’s waiting. It doesn’t matter if this is your third or fourth act, the curtain hasn’t dropped yet. Forty can be the new twenty you define, and I’m here to let you know it’s possible:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

Featured photo credit: Ibrahim Rifath via unsplash.com

More by this author

Liz Galloway

I'm an idealist, columnist & traveler helping people connect through personal discovery. Stay inspired!

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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