You want to travel, see the world, immerse yourself in other cultures… but you’re not sure being a digital nomad is right for you. That’s cool – I got you! I know many a young woman who likes the idea of quitting her job to travel, but the “just sell your stuff and hop on a plane part,” makes her think “No way…I am just too Type A for that.” It’s true that long-term travel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but being a digital nomad isn’t the only way to become a full-time traveler. There are many reasons to take a round-the-world trip. If you spend 50 weeks a year counting down to the 2 you have to get out and see the world, maybe it’s time to take this into consideration!
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Big Benefits of Long-Term Travel
You Can Travel More Slowly
Have you ever felt pressure on a vacation to go-go-go nonstop because you had limited time? When you only have a week or so to enjoy your destination, travel can turn into a whirlwind checklist of things to do and places to see. But the world has so much more to offer than any checklist can provide.
On a round-the-world trip, you can travel at your own pace and experience destinations in a different way. You can forget about ticking boxes off a checklist and simply enjoy being there.
It’s More Economical
One of the most costly aspects of international travel is simply getting there and back. Typically on vacations, I would not be able to visit India, Thailand and Japan all in the same trip. I would have to purchase pricey round-trip airfare to each of these destinations separately. On my round-the-world trip, however, I could buy one-way tickets from one destination to the next, seeing all these countries for a fraction of what I would have spent on vacations.
You’ll Have Enriching Experiences
You can have enriching experiences anywhere in the world, but on a round-the-world trip, you’ll inevitably rack up months of special memories. You will meet so many people, learn so many things about yourself and the world, and start seeing the world in a different way.
You’ll Have More Freedom and Control of Your Time
When I first started planning my own round-the-world trip, I saw travel writer Rolf Potts give a speech with this poignant topic: “Time is your only possession.” At the end of your life, you won’t be able to take material things with you; instead you’ll only have the memories you made. The only thing we truly control in our lives is our time and how we spend it. Taking a step back from the 9-to-5 working world can help you recenter and think differently about how you spend your time. Even if you do become a digital nomad and work on the road, you’ll have more control over when, where and how you get that work done.
You’ll Get to Know Yourself Better
Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience or just a long, boring bus ride, a solo round-the-world trip gives you lots of time with your thoughts! You might find this daunting or lonely at times, but you’ll also learn things about yourself you don’t normally have time to think about. Personally, I’ve dealt with an anxiety disorder most of my life, but I never thought about it until my round-the-world trip forced me to confront it. I might never have gotten diagnosed and learned how to manage my anxiety if I hadn’t traveled!
Gain More Confidence
Travel can be difficult, and the more you practice, the stronger and better you’ll get. Moving frequently from new place to new place — often dealing with situations where you don’t know anyone or even speak the language — will give you confidence and bravery you might not realize you have in you. My own round-the-world trip made me a much more decisive person.
Develop Unique Skills
Many young women are afraid that quitting your job to travel will ruin your career. It’s true that an unexplained gap can send a red flag to some employers. But a unique travel experience like a round-the-world trip shows so many skills that could make you an asset to the workplace when you return! Even if you don’t have a job that lends itself to remote work (like writing, graphic design, consulting, etc.) all the budgeting, planning and juggling details show off valuable skills. You can absolutely turn your career break into career success. Starting this blog on my round-the-world trip taught me a number of specific skills that helped me pivot from a hodgepodge of part-time jobs to a full-time career in marketing.
Specific Reasons to Take a Round-the-World Trip
So far, all the benefits of long-term travel I’ve spelled out are true for folks on round-the-world trips and digital nomads alike. So how do you know which type of long-term travel is right for you? These are some of the more specific reasons you should take a round-the-world trip.
- you’re super burnt out and you just want to travel without working for a while– even working for yourself would be too much.
- you have sick or aging relatives you want to return home for.
- you have a romantic relationship you want to return home for.
- you’re not happy with your current job but you’re not sure what you want to do instead and you need some time to figure that out.
- you’re not happy with your current job and you do know what you want to do instead but it’s still a traditional job you can’t do while traveling.
- you want to go back to school for a career change, like nursing – you just want to travel for a while first.
- you feel like you missed out on a study abroad or a gap year in college – you can take one now! Career breaks are like grown up gap years.
- you don’t like your current job but you do like working with a team in an office and you need some space before switching jobs.
- maybe you work in the service industry or childcare and feel like you don’t have the skillset you’d need to be a full-time digital nomad — that’s something I hear from young women a lot.
- you love your hometown and want to be more involved with your local community in the future after you travel.
- you think maybe remote work could be good for you, but you want to test the waters and make sure long-term travel feels right before you go ALL IN.
- you actually really like your current job, you just want to take a sabbatical to learn new things and enjoy a different experience.
This is just an off-the-cuff brainstorm. There are probably even more reasons to take a round-the-world trip or career break if that’s a better fit for you than becoming a digital nomad.
But if you’re not sure, just take this quiz to determine what type of long-term travel is right for you!
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