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Last Updated on June 16, 2020

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

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Liz Galloway

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

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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