We have quit our jobs to go on the road and become full-time travel junkies.
I still cannot believe I’m actually typing those words.
Yes, Tom and I have both quit our perfectly good, well-paid jobs in Switzerland to go and live in hostels and AirBnB’s with a backpack.
For us, it feels like this has taken such a long time to happen but because we have not told many people, it has come as a big shock for some! This post is one of the most personal things we have ever put onto the internet, but we would like to share with you how we have come to make such a life-changing decision to embark on full-time travel.
When did this desire for full-time travel start?
Tom and I have been together for the last five years, and since we have been a couple we have both loved to travel. Our first trips together were close-ish to our home in Switzerland and mainly city breaks – Berlin, Barcelona, Prague, my beloved London. I also had many opportunities over the years to travel on business, to Russia, parts of Africa, all over Europe and to India.
In 2013, we took our first big trip together – a combined safari and beach trip in Kenya and Tanzania. Then in 2015, we took a three week trip to Asia, visiting Bangkok, Bali and Singapore. From that trip onwards, we both knew that we wanted to travel more.
But being on holiday is not the same as full-time travel
For me in particular, it was more than that. My career is in HR and was spanning more than 11 years at that time. I had spent my entire career focused on gaining as much experience and moving as far up the corporate ladder as I could. This ambitious attitude was mainly driven from a belief that had been instilled into me since childhood – you work hard all your life, save enough money and you may be able to retire on a comfortable pension in your early sixties. If you don’t work hard and don’t save, you’ll be consigned to the life of a state pensioner – scrimping every last penny to afford to sit in front of a gas heater and occasionally treat yourself to a tin of baked beans for supper, and probably die of hypothermia for your efforts.
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Having just come back from this amazing three-week trip around Asia, and facing the prospect of waiting 12 months until we could do another long trip, I started to feel like I was trapped. The next 30 years of my life at a desk slowly burning myself out about projects and deadlines just for the comfort of knowing I can retire into a comfortable arm chair at the end of it? Suffice to say, the prospect wasn’t thrilling me.
Stuck in a rut, trying to find an easy way out
At the same time, I had no idea how to change this or what I really wanted to do. It was just a sudden and deep dissatisfaction but without any useful outlet or direction. So without really thinking too much about it, I just started making some small but significant changes in my life.
I stopped spending money. Not completely, I still bought everything necessary like food and things that needed replacing. But whereas previously, I would have quite happily gone out every weekend shopping for new clothes, makeup and “things” for the apartment, I just stopped buying everything unless I could rationalise that I really wanted or needed it. All the money left over at the end of each month, I put into a savings account. I quickly discovered there was far more slow-burning satisfaction in watching the savings grow than in the momentary glee of coming home from the city with a pile of shopping bags.
Some life-changing decisions
A month or two later, Tom and I both quit smoking. At first, we really struggled and were starting to snipe at each other a lot. After seven days of this, I decided to put a temporary hiatus on the “no spending” rule and went out to buy a pair of running shoes and some exercise gear. A couple of months later, we ran our first 5k, then our first 10k. Although our commitment to the exercise routine is not always consistent, to this day, neither of us has started again and I can honestly say that quitting smoking is one of the top two best things I have ever done for myself (moving to Switzerland from the UK seven years ago is the other one!)
We booked and did another three-week trip almost a year after the Asia trip – this time to Central America. We took backpacks and moved around a lot from place to place during that trip, covering a total of 8 destinations in Panama and Costa Rica. When we came back, we knew for sure that we were now on the final countdown and it was only a matter of time before we would give ourselves the chance to do some full-time travel. We set a deadline for the end of 2017 to have quit our jobs and started travelling.
We started researching in earnest the lifestyle of the digital nomad – do people really make money online? We found out that yes, they did. Not just hustling by on a minimum wage either. People who are creating lifestyle businesses that allow them to live and work when and where they like. Some of the sites and people who inspired us most are the Location Indie podcasts (still love the enthusiasm of Jason and Trav!) Goats on the Road, The Planet D, Sean Ogle and Authentic Food Quest.
… to novice bloggers
We started the TripGourmets blog last summer and discovered that there is an amazing community and dozens of networks for people who love travel, food, culture, adventure, sunsets, remote working, freelancing, personal finance, entrepreneurism, productivity, learning, fitness, photography, mindfulness and minimalism as much as we do. Some of you even read our blog! 🙂 In the short time we have been doing this, we have already connected with some fabulous people online and even had some in-person meetups right here in Basel.
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As our network grows, so we learn more and more, so the blog gets bigger and so much more we realise that this is something we really love doing.
Stepping into the unknown
So in June, we finally took the plunge. Both of us quit our jobs, and our apartment. At the end of September, we will put all of our stuff into storage and after saying goodbye to family and friends in Switzerland and UK, we will embark on full-time travel for as long as we can. It’s scary and nerve-wracking and oh-so-bloody-exciting all at the same time.
We will write a lot more over the next weeks and months about our upcoming full-time travel experience, and the process of financing, planning, preparing and packing for the big adventure. The short version (by now well-practised) is that we will start in Vietnam in South-East Asia and India for 8-9 months. Back to Europe next July for a family wedding and then… who knows?
A word from Tom about our plans for full-time travel
So Sarah already described in detail why we want to go out and start doing full-time travel. I just wanted to add my take on it as well. For me, moving from place to place was always a big part of my life. Since I was born, I moved house/hometown with my family at least 7 times. So going somewhere different (at least within my own country) is not really a new concept for me. To be honest, even though it was not always easy, changing places was always exciting for me. As a kid, I often went to sports camps and often I was the only one who was not homesick. Later I joined the scouts and I gained so much experience of going out on camps and adventures.
All that said, the first time I went on holiday abroad, I was more than 20 years old. Before that, coming from landlocked Switzerland, I had never seen the sea. I went to Rhodes with my mother for a week. The moment I saw the beach for the first time was the moment I wanted to see more of the world. Some years later I met Sarah and since then she showed me already so much of this wonderful planet. I cannot wait to get out there and explore more once we start full-time travel! I also want to see if all those great travel quotes are right 🙂
Facing the fear…
Was it difficult to quit my job? Yes and no. I have worked as a nurse for 10 years. This brings a fair share of good and bad memories by now. I have loved being a nurse. Helping people getting better after an illness or an accident can be very fulfilling. I had a great team as well. However, hospital politics can be exhausting. It is also sad that some patients don’t get the post-hospital care and rehabilitation they badly need. I plan to think about some business ideas to help people in this position when we are travelling.
…and taking the leap
I have to say that I am a bit nervous about going off to do full-time travel. Not scared or paralysed, just a tiny bit afraid. For the first time in my life, I’m going to say goodbye to Switzerland for who knows how long.
It reminds me of a moment when we were in Costa Rica. I’m not very good with heights, but we wanted to rappel a 60-foot high waterfall. When I was at the top of it, I had a little look over the edge and I was petrified. Am I supposed to go down there? My legs were shaky like never before, but I wanted, no, I HAD to do it! So I just trusted the people and the equipment and let myself lean back over the ledge.
This was probably one of the best moments of my life. I was so proud that I faced my fears. So yes, I am a bit nervous about what comes next. But we have each other’s backs. And I totally trust in our abilities to withstand any potential problems that could occur during our trip.
So please stay reading to join us on this life-changing experience of becoming full-time travel monkeys! If you are interested in our planning and preparation process, we would love to read your comments below! You might also be interested in reading how to make money while travelling.
Wow! What a great story?! This absolutely inspires me more at this point since my husband David and I are on the move right now to take this nomadic journey and we’re excited. We hope to meet you both somewhere and spend some time together and talk about life. 🙂
Awesome news 🙂 Being nomadic brings so many great things with it. We wish you all the best for your nomadic life and it would be awesome to meet you once on the road. Have a fantastic day
[…] we announced that we planned to start our adventure in full-time travel, Darren had suggested we meet up to shoot an interview about our plans. Of course, we jumped at the […]
We absolutely love your story! I can only imagine how big of a decision it was to quit your jobs, but you guys are seeing so much of the world and gaining so many amazing life changing experiences! And I would say you’re pro bloggers at this point ?
Thank you for reading Stef 🙂 It was a huge decision but we don’t regret it for a second. Many thanks for the pro-blogger compliment too! It feels like a long journey and not sure I would say we are pros yet but we have sure learned a lot. We have a new post about the process of planning for long term travel in the pipeline – keep reading! 🙂
What a wonderful post! Life is too short to spend it doing stuff you don’t want to be doing. You’ve found out what it is that you DO want to do and you’ve taken steps to realise it. We did the same and we travel with ten of our children. Well done too on quitting smoking. I quit 15 years ago now and agree, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Looking forward to following you on this new period of your lives. Good luck and happy travels!
Hi Tania, thank you very much for your friendly words. We can only imagine how it must be to travel with 10 kids 😀 We think it is amazing what you do! Good job with the quitting to smoke as well. Live is so much better and easier without the grey smoke. We wish you many great adventures and also some calm moments for you and your family.
Have a fantastic day
We can relate to this too! We started our blog in August this year and it’s slowly growing… it is just so great to engage with other people who have come to the same realisation and are being brave enough to defy convention. We work as online teachers, so our income is there but it can still fluctuate, so we’re working out how to supplement ourselves with writing jobs or illustration roles as nomads! But our advice is hang in there – the richness of life on the move is worth it! Keep on going and sharing your stories, it helps so many others 🙂 Mark and Nate
Hi Mark and Nate, thank you so much for your kind words. Being an online teacher sounds like a perfect income while traveling. How do you deal with the WiFi situation in some places though? We often struggle with getting proper WiFi. We wish you so much fun and success with your Blog and will look forward to join you on your way as well 🙂 Maybe one day our roads my even cross, who knows.
Have a fantastic day
[…] of the reasons we chose to visit Vietnam so early on in our full-time travel adventure is that a boat cruise in Halong Bay has been on our bucket list for a long time. Our overall plan […]
Such an amazing thing that you guys are doing! We did the same thing back in 2015-quit our jobs to travel and it was the best thing we have ever done! At that point in time we had NO idea that a person could make money online and travel while working, so we came home and got jobs and started the saving process all over again. Now here we are hoping to also quit and travel again-but this time without having to come home and get jobs again! So excited to follow along on your adventures and see where your travels take you!
Thanks for reading Jess 🙂 Yes, the idea of not having to go back to working in a full-time job is a tempting one, eh? Although we have also tried to make sure that we haven’t burned any bridges with our former employers as well! I think regardless, travel will always have to be a huge part of our lives, we just love it too much. Here’s hoping that you and I both manage to achieve our dream of making it on our own!
This is great and my wife and I admire your guts. We have been considering the same, but we have kkids (16 and 8). What can you recommend for peple with kids? Btw, check out my blog whem you have some time (www.itsfoodoclock.wordpress.com)
Thanks for reading and for your compliment Juan! I will check out your blog too. Although we don’t have any experience travelling with kids, there are a whole lotta bloggers out there who have some great ideas for family travel. Check out our friends http://fullvanfun.com/ and http://www.thewannabegypsy.com/ who both have some great blog posts about travelling with families 🙂
[…] Charlie and Kristina at MapTrotting are a British/Lithuanian full-time travelling couple. Their inspiring story can be read in full over at their blog. However in short, they decided one day to quit London and now they travel and blog full-time. Their blog is packed full of tips for both travelling and blogging, providing inspiration and encouragement to us that we can do the same on our upcoming big trip. […]
I I love this! I may have welled up a bit;) So glad you are taking the plunge despite being a little scared! Not sure if you plan on kids but they do make it harder to do full time travel. I found my love of adventure after kids and a divorce. Part time is all we can do for now but one day we will travel full time. Can’t wait to follow on your adventures and take notes:)
Cathy! I am replying so late because of all the moving chaos, but your comment was so lovely I needed some proper time to send a proper reply. Thank you for your supportive and kind words – and for the welling up! We are so excited – still riding the emotional rollercoaster of departing for full-time travel but have no doubts that we are doing the right thing. I love that you found Frank and a lust for travel and adventure, and street art 🙂 We are so happy for you guys that you have decided to take the plunge into married life, and really looking forward to meet you both one day, who knows where! Take care, thanks again for your enduring support, and have yourself a great week ahead 🙂
It seems amazing!!!! Enjoy this brave and exciting jorney!!! My best wishes
Thanks Teresa for reading and for the wishes! It is sad saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, but we are really excited for the adventures ahead. Wish you a great weekend
truly inspiring and mindful Sarah and Tom – wishing you an amazing journey and looking forward to following you! It has certainly got me thinking, maybe not to travel, but what small adjustments I can make to have a high impact on fulfilling daily life and not just doing the expected!
Hey Pippa, thanks for reading and for your kind comment! It is amazing how even the smallest changes can have a big impact on quality of life 🙂 Looking forward to sharing all our adventures with our friends and colleagues as we go. Wish you a great weekend
I’m glad that you’ve taken the plunge. This is such an inspiring read for someone like me who’s still in a 9-5, though that won’t be forever. I’m happy to see you do this and wish you all the best as you travel full-time! Will definitely check back to see how things are going and to pick up on any tips you leave along the way. Thanks for sharing this and bon voyage!
Thanks for reading and for your comment Duke 🙂 Really glad you found it inspiring. We are swamped with move preparation at the moment but we plan to release more posts about the process of planning and preparation for doing something like this, not just practical tips but also sharing some of the emotional and psychological hurdles we have encountered. Feel free to let us know if there is anything in particular of interest, otherwise look forward to sharing more!
How exciting! We cant wait to hear about your adventures. We’re part-time travel junkies, but we’d like the part-time bit to get bigger and bigger over the next few years. Look after each other, stay safe and write lots!
Hi Nigel and Jane, thank you very much 🙂 We were part-time travel junkies until now as well and we know that you can see already so much with only travelling part-time. We wish you a fast growing of your part-time bit and all the best for your future as travellers. And who knows, we might meet each other once on the road 🙂
Have a fantastic day
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How exciting for you, too. It was like how we ended up fulltime RVing for 8 years!
Wow, that sounds exciting Carolina 🙂 Thanks for reading!
I am in the same boat as you are. The only difference is you are two guys while I am completely on my own. Just like you, I am too nervous. Hope we become as successful as we envisioned before taking the plunge.
Hey Archana, you might be a solo traveller but you are never alone in the blogging world… find us on social media if you want to stay in touch and exchange tips and stories along the way. Happy to connect, and thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 Safe travels
I can relate here and I can fee your excitement. I quit my job last year and travel for a year. That was the best decision and year of my life. Keep moving and reaching your dream. I hope, you could visit us here in the Philippines. You would love it here 🙂
Thanks for your comment Cai 🙂 It’s folk like you who have lived to tell the tale that have inspired us to take this huge step! Philippines is definitely on the list – we might make it this trip. Thanks for reading!
What a brave decision you’ve made. When we decided to do long-term travel we chose to save up from a while and then go on a trip before returning to our homes, but I would like to just plunge in and not look back if we were to do it again.
Thanks Rhonda… We currently veer from mad excitement to extreme jitters! We have given ourselves 9 months initially, but will see how we feel after that – trying to keep free and easy but it’s not so easy for a planning freak like me 😉
Thanks for reading and for the encouragement.
Congratulations on such an incredible journey Sarah! And thankyou for sharing such personal relfections with us. We traveled full time for a period of 3 -4 years and are settled again now, we loved it and it was one of the most incredible periods of our life. I completely relate to your comment about finding more satisfaction in slowly watching your savings grow than in instant gratification from meaningless “things” – you may find that full time travel is actually a lot cheaper than it was living in western society at home!
Looking forward to following your adventures – Meg J
Thanks for the encouragement Meg… we follow your blog and it has been big inspiration for us! Yep, given almost all countries are cheaper than Switzerland, I’m pretty sure we will lower our cost of living.
Thanks for reading, and we too are looking forward to sharing all our adventures and learnings!
What an exciting life journey you are starting out on. I always love to hear what inspires people to make life changing decisions but the reality is you never know until you try so good on you for having the the courage and determination to give it a go. Looking forward to hearing more of your journeys as you get underway.
Thanks for your comment Toni… we will be posting a lot more once we get going. Full-time employment really doesn’t leave much time for blogging but that will soon change! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Congrats on this new chapter of your life and for taking a big step! Goodluck to your adventures.
Thanks for the wishes Karla 🙂
I am so excited for your adventure!!! Congratulations on having the courage to do it – that’s not an easy one! I also admire how open you both are in this life-changing decision that you are going to make. Please continue sharing your story and inspiring us! Safe travels and all the best! Xx
Thanks Trisha for your comment 🙂 Don’t worry we will share everything, just tell us if it gets to much 😉 Thank you for reading our post and have a fantastic day.
Congrats on taking such a big leap and for trusting that you have the ability to make this goal a reality. Even better that you’re doing this together! I haven’t traveled long term but I have and do travel solo and people always ask if I’m afraid. Of course, the unkonwn is a little scary but what lies beyond that fear is fantastic self-confidence and empowerment. Best of luck on your travels!
Thanks Jackie for your comment! Travelling solo also takes courage, even if it’s short term, especially as a woman. I have done this on business but that is a lot more sheltered than independent travel so you have my admiration. Stepping into the unknown is nerve-wracking but we are so excited as well. Thanks for reading!
How exciting! Enjoy every second guys. I can totally relate to a lot of your motivating factors – I quit an amazing corporate job in Dubai earlier this year to move back to UK, but I’ll only be travelling part-time and working on my blog when I’m at home. That’s what works for me. Well done for following your dreams and taking the plunge!
Thanks for reading Dannielle! I hope the move back to the UK is working out well for you 🙂 Corporate life can be great to build up skills and experience. But years of back to back projects and watching older colleagues retire after 30 or 40 years doing the same thing, makes you wonder if there shouldn’t be more to life. Thank for your comment and have a great weekend 🙂
You guys are embarking on the adventure of your lives! You must be so excited (and just a little bit scared). When I left for South America by myself last year, a lot of people asked if I was scared – I guess I would’ve been if I’d stopped to think about it! I think the best advice I have for you is to just focus on what you need to do and what’s within your control. There’s so many things outside our control – it’s just not worth wasting time over. All the best!
Thanks for reading Michelle, and for the tips! It is a big thing – not just on the practical side but on the emotional side too… as the date gets closer, we are having to start preparing for goodbyes which is tough. But trying not to chew on it too much and focus on all the new and exciting adventures coming our way! 🙂
Inspiring! I found myself nodding and agreeing with everything you said… just have to be brave like you two and just go for it! I wish you both safe and happy travels, I’ll be following your incredible journey with much interest 🙂
Thanks Suzy for following and for the comment ? We are bags of nervous energy right now but so excited.
I love following your travels too, you and Rob have done some very inspirational trips recently 🙂 Stay in touch xx