How To Quit Your Day Job And Travel The World

How To Quit Your Day Job And Travel The World

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Four years ago on a sunny April morning, I slinked into my new office building, suit slightly too big, 24-years-old and clueless. It was my first day working at a large, prestigious bank in downtown Boston. The first day of the career that would ostensibly define the rest of my life.

I felt strangely powerful as I collected my new security badge and gained access to the sleek silver elevator. This was it. I was finally a real, live, functioning adult.

But that sense of power vanished once I was led to my new cubicle. Grey, sterile, joyless. I looked around and noted the smattering of other ambitious 20-somethings about me, awkwardly stuffed into cheap suits and business attire. Some worked furiously at their consoles, invigorated. Others slinked in their chairs, lifeless and a paper jam away from putting a shotgun in their mouth.

I would soon be one of the latter.

I sat, nervously sipping my energy drink as I waited for my new supervisor to come train me for the morning. She arrived around 8:30AM and by 9AM had shown me enough pointless procedures to make even the most drab college textbook shout with a vibrant life in my memory. I woke up at 6:30AM for this?

By 10AM I silently asked myself when the soonest I’d be able to quit would be. I was two hours into my lifelong career choice of finance and I was already contemplating an escape route. “This is not a good sign,” I thought next.

I quit six weeks later.

I would love to tell you leaving the bank was one of those triumphant movie moments, where I walked out of the office with a sly smile and Kevin Spacey fist pump. The reality is I felt like an idiot. I trembled as I put my two weeks in to my manager. When he asked what I planned on doing instead, my shaky reply of some sort of dating advice website blog thing sounded just as ridiculous to me as it probably did to him. By lunch, the news has spread around my team. Most of them were so confused, they awkwardly avoided talking to me and didn’t say goodbye. I imagine they believed I had just flushed my future down the toilet. Part of me believed the same.

I get a lot of emails from readers asking me how I manage to travel the world without holding down a so-called “steady job.”

The short answer is the internet. Aside from this blog, I run a number of websites and projects that earn money. I wrote a book. And I also did quite a bit of freelance work for a few years.

Many people dream about dropping out of the rat race. They want to let go of the career ladder and find a way to spend more time doing what they love. I wholeheartedly endorse this life decision. Although I felt stupid when I left the bank and would spend most of the next two years scared out of my mind, broke, and working all hours of the day and night, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.

There’s already a lot written out there in this area: quitting your job, making money online, starting a business, vagabonding around the world, etc. A lot of it’s great. But a lot of it doesn’t talk about the emotional realities — dealing with doubt, finding the motivation, addressing the strains on your friends and relationships. I want to paint a realistic portrait of this life change. There are a lot of challenges, both mental and emotional, but I encourage you to take the leap.

Why You Should Terrify Yourself

Honest question. Do you love what you do?

If the answer isn’t a resounding, knee-jerk, “Yes! I live for this shit,” then I encourage you to seriously consider doing something about it. That may sound extreme, but seriously, in 100 years you and everyone you know are going to be dead and your great-grandkids aren’t going to get misty-eyed remembering how you got that quarterly bonus or a corner office. This is your life and every breath you take is killing you. Stop screwing around.

Chances are the thought of leaving your day job terrifies you. This is normal and expected… good even.

When I left the bank that day, I had only a vague idea of what I would do. I had been writing a blog and posting on local forums about my dating life and adventures with women as a young bachelor. I developed a bit of a local following and actually made some money dishing out advice to men and speaking at a few single’s groups around town. It wasn’t anything close to a full-time living, but I knew it was a new market that was growing quickly. And with some hard work combined with my savings, I (naïvely) believed I could have a full-time business up and running within a few months.

It turned out to take almost 18 months for me to earn a full-time steady income. I went broke a number of times, was supported by my ex-girlfriend for a time and then moved back home with my mother. For most of 2008-2009 I worked 10-16 hour days and the majority of my projects failed and made little or no money.

It was stressful to say the least.

People ask me what motivated me through this period. The answer is terror. Complete and unequivocal daily terror. I was absolutely terrified to fail. Granted there was some love in there as well (I loved my job and still do). But that’s also where the terror came from: the idea that I would never make money doing what I love; the terror that I’d have to go back to living off a job I hated; the terror that I would have wasted two years with nothing to show for it; the terror that all of my friends and family who thought I was crazy would be proven right.

This fear kept me up at nights, and more importantly kept me up at nights working.

I’ve met a number of people over the years who want to quit their jobs, to start their own businesses, to develop new streams of income. And they’re scared. Obviously. They should be. But instead of leveraging their terror into action, they spend all of their time planning and planning and planning and not doing anything.

90% of your plans are going to fail no matter what you do. Get used to it.

It’s not because we’re poor planners, it’s because there are simply too many unknowns. And the only way to uncover the unknowns and adjust for them is by getting out there and failing. So yes, you should be terrified of failing. And that is why you should do it anyway.

When I wanted to leave the bank, a number of friends and family members suggested that I continue to build my business on the side until I had a steady income. In hindsight, I think if I had done that I would not have made it. Giving up would have been too easy. I wouldn’t have had the time or energy necessary to do it. That ever-present fear motivating me would have been gone.

The terror that jumping in head first gave me was my most powerful asset. I was committed. I’d win or die trying. I sold my possessions (video games, computer, furniture, guitars, everything). I stopped most of my hobbies. I lost contact with a number of my friends. I knew all of these things would return once I became successful. But failure was not an option.

Intellect is great. Work ethic is great. Ability to adapt is definitely necessary. But you also need the emotional drive to push you to achieve your dreams. Everyone’s had the feeling where you know what you should do in your gut, feeling it and wanting it, but not having the emotional drive or wherewithal to actually get up and do it. So you continue sitting in the desk you hate day after day, year after year, waiting for something that’s never coming, trapped by your comfort and safe in your mediocrity.

Terrify yourself. Use it as your ally. Give yourself no option but your dream.


“There’s no reason to do shit you hate. None.”

Planning Your Escape

OK, that’s all well and good, but let’s talk about reality. Especially if you have kids, house payments, car payments, student loans or health problems. What do you do?

1. Sell all your useless crap and get your financial house in order. Excess possessions are counter-productive for pursuing a remote lifestyle. And they’re often counter-productive for achieving happiness in general. If you own something that is eating away at you financially (furniture, car, etc.), consider cutting your losses and getting rid of it while you can. Debt is the devil. I wrote an entire post on getting rid of excess crap you don’t need here.

Doing this may make you squirm at first. Or you may be sitting there (once again) thinking I’m a total nutcase and unrealistic and you could never get rid of your super-double-upholstered Italian sofa that just ties the room together, but fuck you, sell it anyway. There are a million sofas in the world, your life experiences happen once. Get on it.

In extreme cases, this may involve selling your house. That may sound insane and may be completely unreasonable for you, especially if you have a family. If so, then rent it out. Obviously mileage may vary depending on who you are and what your life circumstances are. Why be miserable and financially stuck in a house when you can be happy and free in an apartment? Boom.

2. Figure out your source of income. People seem to believe they’re trapped within the typical 9-5 career track but in fact there are a lot of options. In the US, we’re rarely exposed to the options we have outside of our nations borders (minus the military). You just have to be willing to take some risks and work a bit harder.

An incomplete list of options to get your ass abroad and exploring the world:

  • Join a volunteer organization. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and putting yourself in some extreme environments, then volunteer organizations, both NGO’s and otherwise (i.e., Peace Corps) are always looking for help. You’ll most often be sent to developing countries, but some developing countries are surprisingly pleasant to live in (Thailand, Colombia, Philippines, Peru, etc.). Once you’re on the other continent, bouncing around from country to country is rarely more than a $50 bus/train/plane ticket away.
     
  • Teach English. The pay is low and the work is hard, but this will get you a paid trip to another continent and often with really good vacation time. Asia and Latin America are the go-to continents for this with no experience or foreign language required. If you teach in Europe, you’re going to have to know the destination language at the least. A friend of mine taught English in South Korea for six months, took the money she made and went to India for three months, then taught in the Philippines for another six months and then bounced around Southeast Asia for a while after that. Not a bad experience.
     
  • Find a source of mobile income. Poker. Stock/options trading. Freelancing. Consulting. Internet marketing. Blogging. Graphic/Web design. Writer/journalist. These are all professions I’ve run into on the road. These are all forms of income which can be earned regardless of location (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few). Some of them have a steep and long learning-curve, but there’s never a better time to start than now.
     
  • Start an online business. This is a massive topic which other people can cover much better than I ever could. But internet start-ups can often be created and managed from anywhere. In fact, there are a number of start up “incubators” around the world where internet entrepreneurs congregate in places with high qualities of life and very low expenses (Chiang Mai in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Medellin in Colombia, etc.).
     
  • Convince your company to let you work remotely. Not an option for everybody, but if you’re a programmer, developer or designer, then this could be an option for you.
     
  • Get transferred overseas. Another option if you work for a large international corporation such as Procter and Gamble or Yahoo! is to get transferred to various locations around the world. You can often gain a lot of vacation time by working in other countries as well which will allow you to explore.
     
  • Find odd jobs as you travel. This is easy in some countries and impossibly hard in others. But finding jobs in hostels, bars, restaurants in cities you travel to can be done to support yourself wherever you go. A number of people do this. It takes time and effort and obviously is quite stressful, but it can be done.
     
  • Work on a cruise or for an airline. Seriously. These people have amazing flexibility with their time at sea and where they get to go. I met a woman who worked on a cruise in Costa Rica and she had been to over 75 countries, living in a dozen for more than six months. She was in her early 30′s. Same concept applies to working for an airline but to a lesser extent (and far more jet lag)
     
  • Start your entire career abroad. In a number of developing parts of the world, particularly Asia, there’s an extremely high demand for university-educated Westerners for high-paying management positions. Countries like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Singapore, are importing a lot of western talent. Not only can a recent college graduate skip multiple rungs on the corporate ladder by moving to one of these countries, but they can see a major quality of life increase at a lower cost-of-living. Let’s just say that making $60,000 a year in Shanghai goes a LOT further than making $80,000 per year in New York City.

You can combine a number of these strategies. Sometimes you can just take off with your savings and begin to figure it out as you go. Someone can leave with their life savings, start a blog on the way, do some freelance consultant work online, work some odd jobs here and there, and by the time their savings run out, they have a modest location-independent income. But as always, Google is your friend. There’s no shortage of websites and resources on NGO’s, internet start ups, marketing, expatriation, backpacking, vagabonding, etc.

3. Calculate your “Escape Velocity”. Do some research and choose your first destination(s). Do you want to try an internet start up in Asia? Work for an NGO in Central America? Backpack through Europe and pick up odd jobs on the way? A lot of people come to me and say, “I want to live abroad, how can I do it?” Well it depends where you go. You can live like a king off $1,000 in Thailand or the Philippines, or spend that much in a week in Brazil. It depends where you’re going and what you’re doing.

The other factor is your financial obligations. If you have debt back home you need to factor that in. If you have health problems, then you need to do a lot of research on that as well. The good news is if you’re an American, you’re going to save a LOT of money on health care by leaving the country.

Calculate the amount you need to earn passively per month to survive wherever you want to go. This may involve getting a job once you’re there. It may involve saving up a bunch of money now and selling stuff. It may involve creating passive streams online. Either way, budget it out so you know when you’re ready.

4. Pull the trigger. Once you know your target level of savings and/or location-independent income, work towards it with everything you have. This may involve killing your day job off immediately in order to free up more time to work for it. This may mean setting a financial goal for the day you can put your two weeks in.

Get creative and don’t have an ego about it. A friend of mine decided to throw himself into this lifestyle 100% and moved back in with his parents for almost a year before he got on his feet and running. I lived on a friend’s couch for a while. Later I moved back in with my mother until I had enough money to buy a plane ticket to Argentina. Once I was there I could live well off about half the income I needed to live in the US. From there I built my business up further.

But, like I said, planning will only take you so far. Plan the best you can, but then then throw yourself into the fire. Leave yourself no option but to come out on top. It will be hard and nerve-wracking, but that’s how you grow. That’s how you squeeze all of juice out of life. Terrify yourself. Then laugh about it.

Further Reading:

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151 Comments

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  • Reply

    MackDamage

    3 months ago

    Great Advice Playa!

    I’m actually living out in Latin America and it’s the greatest move I’ve made in my life after living in SF California for 23 years . It’s the best move that I have made thus far, I have sen different angles on the chip game that in Latin America people are NOT capitalizing on.

    I may write a post about it on my blog sharing my full experience.

    Good post though all around!

    Peace…….

  • Reply

    Erika

    3 months ago

    Really enjoyed this article. You are right that sometimes people just need to take the leap and get started and leave themselves no other option but to succeed.

    My online biz almost failed in June 2010. The advice I was getting from people was useless. They wanted me to create glitzy sales pages that were not me, learn how to be a fast-talking salesperson at conferences (not me), and make sales calls. I was pretty much about to give up on my dream.

    And then I did a bunch of work on my belief system, and my biz turned around to six figures in a matter of a few months. It’s true people can live more cheaply abroad, and that’s a wonderful option if that’s what they want to do. It’s also true that nobody needs to sacrifice their house or their home country if they truly love living there. Eliminating limiting beliefs allows the income ceiling to rise quickly to match whatever lifestyle best suits what they want at that time. We all tend to think in much too limited ways, and not realize the options that are actually available to us.

    Glad you stuck with it and congratulations on your amazing success. You are way too much a free spirit to be wearing a suit and a tie and answering to some “boss” who is also just another brick in the Wall.

  • Reply

    Megan S

    3 months ago

    Inspiring sentiments, but very little practical, specific advice for those of us who don’t know a thing about starting a business or have any of the skills relevant to internet-based work (website design, advertising, stock trading, etc).

    I’m 27 with a master’s in environmental/agricultural science, no current job prospects, very little prior work experience, only a little in savings (student loans), and a strong desire to travel the world, make a positive impact, and/or not stress about money for once (even wealthy?). I have a handful of talents I’m moderately good at (science, writing, dancing/circus performance, art, teaching topics I’m interested in, understanding some Spanish, and giving advice on nutrition or sex) but I have zero understanding of internet startups, business savvy, etc.

    I’ve read quite a bit of your blog, and I think we resonate on most topics, and I’ve traveled to a handful of exotic places for research, leisure, or helping a friend on a film project. I can’t shake the truth that most entrepreneurs fail, and that I’ll likely still be broke and directionless 5 years from now, no matter how many inspiring blogs I read about starting your own business.

    Thoughts?

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      3 months ago

      You’ll regret not trying far more than you’ll regret failing.

    • Reply

      brent

      2 months ago

      Megan, No One can do the work for you, which is what you’re expecting by wanting Mark to tell you how to successfully start an internet business. This you will have to learn on your own. If you’re scared to death of failure and not knowing what to do, that’s actually how you should feel when you start an adventure like this. It’s the perfect motivation to stay disciplined.

      And once you’ve decided to begin, put your ideas out there ASAP and look forward to the feedback. Bad feedback is an excellent thing at the beginning, and you should hope to get a lot of it–that means people care about your topic. Now obviously, use this feedback to make your thing better. Repeat this process. Self-educate at the same time–use Google to try and figure out what you don’t know rather than simply asking one blogger for all the answers. Anyone can do it if they realize what I just wrote. Just start.

    • Reply

      Manish

      1 month ago

      Hi, I think that is where you are not able to come out from that scary 9-5 slots and are afraid of putting the head becasue u are assuming you will fail…but if you look at the article carefully, planning is most important. do proper planning and then put your head…..one or two failure can not determine your desitny..

    • Reply

      N.D Jesus

      19 weeks ago

      I heard agriculture is booming soon!

  • Reply

    Winston

    3 months ago

    I wrote a similar article to this called “7 Alternatives to Having to Work a Regular Job You Don’t Like”:

    http://intellectualexpat.blogspot.com/2012/10/alternatives-working-regular-job.html

  • Reply

    Kris

    3 months ago

    Thanks so much for this post, and for providing a number of concrete ideas on how to support myself while living abroad. I’ve just started a blog, which I want to turn into a business at some point. I know it will take years before I can turn that into a full-time income, so it’s nice to know there are other options available as well to support myself if I want to transition from my day job to living a location independent lifestyle.

  • Reply

    tobyfarrell

    3 months ago

    OK…I am crying right now.  I hate my job, hate my life, want to get out.  But I am in maybe a more difficult situation than most…or maybe not.  
    I’m 40 years old and I don;t have a college degree.  Book learning just wasn’t my thing.  I love to learn hands-on, but I never bothered to get any practical skills, either, so I’ve been a call centre flunkie, waiter,  or retail rat my whole life. 
    And now I work for , and live with, my ex.  I worked in a luxury hotel for years, but my recent experience has been that I am too overqualified-yes, I’ve actually been told that!!  Another manager who didn’t hire me told me that I would make the rest of her staff look bad. 
    My last day on the job is December 31,  but I am having very little luck finding anything else.  I can afford to get a TEFL certificate, but would have nothing left after I paid for the course. 
    Positives about my situation…1.  I have less than £1000 debt.  2.  I am a very fast learner and great with people.  3.  I love to travel and don’t have a huge lot of stuff to deal with before I take off. 
    Negatives…1.  My credit rating is only just at the high end of ‘OK’.  Not terrible, but not fantastic either.   2.  I hate social networking, blogging, facebook, etc.   I have a facebook page, but I never get any futher than reading others updates.   I just don’t have time for that, and relying on it for income would be nearly as bad for me as being chained to a desk.  3.  My writing skills are crap.  So crap, in fact, that the main reason I haven’t already applied for a TEFL course is that the entrance essay terrifies me. 
    I am quite passionate about so many things…food, different cultures, the environment, but I am absolutely terrified.

    • Reply

      Grant58

      3 months ago

      @tobyfarrell
      Just an idea for you.  Try to share yourself with others on Youtube.  You would be surprised how many people around the world are in similar situations (some better, some worse) than yours and want to connect with you to share ideas, to help you, or to learn from you.  I started creating Youtube videos about a year ago and I’m shocked how many people watch them.  I can’t believe anyone would be interested is what I say, but they are.  I’ve done a horrible job at consistently creating new videos, but I am convinced that if I did, I would have a lot more viewers.  Your first video could be summarizing your story (5-10minutes) and ending with a few questions like: Are you in a similar situation? What are you doing about it? What has worked for you?  What has not worked?
       
      You would be surprised how helpful people are.  Be aware that there are a few immature idiots on Youtube so be prepared for that and let those comments go.
       
      In future Youtube videos you could show people how to do things you are good at.  For example you said you are great with people.  There’s a reason you are good with people.  Share the skills it takes to be a good people person (how to be good listener, how to be empathetic, kind, caring, how to be helpful, etc.)
       
      Check out a Youtube channel at youtube.com/user/RickVanMan.  He chronicles his life and simply shares it with people in frequent videos.
       
      Just some thoughts.  I wish you well.
       
      Grant

    • Reply

      Russ_Garcia

      3 months ago

      @tobyfarrell Hey man, thanks for your courage to post this comment, it very bold to put yourself out there like this and lay it all on the line. I commend you for that. Keep your head up in your situation. Sometimes things feel hopeless and out of our hands but they never are. We are in control of everything and where there is life there is hope. 
       
      You mentioned that you are passionate about food. In what ways? Cooking food? Photographing food? Not writing about it though, right? The great thing about food is that people all around the world gotta eat :) I’ve been living in South America for about 3 months now and their regulations on what it takes to open a food stand/cart are wayy more lax than (sounds like you’re from) the U.K. 
       
      If you enjoy cooking I would recommend looking into that. I’d recommend not trying to go the route of working for someone but taking into your own hands and setting up your own cart. It wouldn’t be killer money probably but if you enjoy doing it and it allows you to pursue your passion in different cultures/environments then you should really consider it.
       
      It is terrifying at times, but you know what is more terrifying? Letting your whole life pass you by and never letting yourself to venture into the unknown and doing everything you can to make your dreams a reality. That was terrifying enough for me to come down here to South America at 25.
       
      By the way, you aren’t a terrible writer either. Your post conveyed a lot of emotion and was well-written.
       
      Best of luck man

    • Reply

      Roslyn

      2 months ago

      Good luck Toby! Do your research and really think about what makes you happy! Be brave, you can do it! :)

    • Reply

      Satesh

      22 weeks ago

      Toby, as the others mentioned, I commend you for having the courage to ask for help. I think more people in your shoes ought to follow your lead. Do you have any arts that you’d like to practice? Just because you can’t make money off of them – immediately – doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself even more fulfilled and inspired by initially expressing yourself artistically. I live in Boston, and met a guy not long ago who told me that he rents a studio space in an old factory building used for artists to work on their art. He said it is something ridiculously cheap for Boston – like $50/week. He has a bed, his art stuff, and a gym franchise (Planet Fitness; $10/month) next door where he takes his showers… AND gets a workout when he wants. Not sure where you’re located, but I hope a story like that can spark some ideas. Take a chance, and consider what’s the worst that can happen. And I mean consider the absolute WORST… I think you’ll find that it really isn’t all too terrible. You won’t die, and you’ll still have air in your lungs. Think about how big this world is. I have friends that moved down to Georgia to work on corn farms where the farmers put you up with a bed AND pay you for your work! I’m sure many tobacco farms in the U.S. and the Caribbean would do the same. Best of luck to you!
      If you have the time, and are open-minded, a book I’d highly recommend for you and anyone else is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.

  • Reply

    Carlo Cretaro

    2 months ago

    Great advice and lessons to be taken from this post. We all have choices that we can make if we really want to change our lives badly enough.

    I really enjoyed this article man. Thanks :)

  • Reply

    peter

    2 months ago

    Love this post mark, it gets me fired up.

    Our stories are very similar. After graduating from BU i worked in investment banking for about 4-5 years, it drove me crazy. I am now working on getting a freedom business going. Look forward to reading more from your site.

    Peter

  • Reply

    Ket

    2 months ago

    Guys, I just want to say, I quit my job nearly 2 years ago.. Since then its been a roller coaster ride and I do NOT regret the move – in fact the BEST move I made in my life. I can relate to this article and from my experience – don’t think, just DO it.. I call it PLAYING with LIFE.. That’s right, the more you play with life – the more wisdom, inner faith and trust you develop within yourself.

  • Reply

    Totardo

    2 months ago

    I will send a resignation letter to my Boss 2 days from now with Rp. 3000.000 money left in my account.

    I read your article, extract information I can understand, and clearly see that you are 6 months, but I am 2 years to have guts to leave my current company.

    My consideration is the shortness of our life.

    My triggers is in my recent life, I dont have repect with my life, of what Im doing. My life is meaningless.

    I feel the same with you Mark, terror, in the middle of crazy or not. That was driving me working until late at night.

    From now on, with Rp.3000.000, I let God lead my life from now on. This will make me respect every Rp.1000 that I have. I will sail to this wilderness and only God is my strength and hopefully finish as what God told me.

    • Reply

      brent

      2 months ago

      God is great because she gives you a purpose to serve something that is not you. This makes you feel like a good person and boosts your self-esteem. Having faith in and serving a God is much better than serving nothing. But what if th purpose you were serving was a goal that serves the human race instead of a God? What if everything you did, and the directions on how to live your life and what decisions to make came from thinking of the best way to accomplish a goal which serves the human race? In additon, this purpose doesn’t have to be for the entire human race–it can be for your friend who has cancer, or your friend who you just love very much, or your wife, or your son, etc. To me, these purposes are just as motivating as serving God, but in my opinion they are a much more helpful way of spending your time, energy and motivation.

      • Reply

        Totardo

        20 weeks ago

        I found a way! Recently I have done farming! God really helps me. Thank you Lord. For all of you guys don’t quit hoping. There are many ways to get money (in positive way). Just pray.

  • Reply

    Baco

    2 months ago

    While I’m almost a year late finding your post, it’s still extremely relevant. I’ve been in the corporate world for the past 5 years and know that I’ll regret it if I don’t make the 180 now.

    Thanks for adding extra motivation. I hope to share my experiences in a similar way — from a female perspective.

  • Reply

    Mauricio Mercado

    2 months ago

    Just one question… Why medellin to visit and work (dont get me wrong I love medellin)? why not cities like bogota or barranquilla?

  • Reply

    Michelle

    2 months ago

    Love this post! I’m getting more and more heavily involved with my online freelancing. Hopefully we can travel the world!

  • Reply

    Gaetan

    2 months ago

    hey awesome blog I dont know if this the right way to ask you a question, but I dont know which business or venture to start. I already quit my job once to go traveling but i wasnt working during my travels so i had to come back home so i want to know what the easiest type of business to start is. i have an IT degree but dont like IT and always feel trapped when working 9 to 5. Please help.

  • Reply

    Yusef Wateef

    2 months ago

    I’ll testify that Mark was 100% on target with this post. When I was in college I spent summers teaching English abroad, then eventually I graduated and spent five years abroad teaching English. I came back to the USA to pursue a career in Money Management, I’ve been doing that for 10 years. Right now I am 35 and researching Business English positions in China. The pay is $2,000-$3,000 per month and living expenses are less than $1,000. The world is mine!

    I’m saving this post to share with friends,
    ~Watt
    http://YusefWateef.com

  • Reply

    Drew

    2 months ago

    Awesome post!

    I’m handing in my 2 weeks on September 5th, and have a plane ticket to Bali (from Vancouver) booked on October 1st! Can’t wait.

    Had I read this a few months ago I’m sure that plane ticket would be a month sooner :P

    Love the read and completely agree with it. Fuck this 9-5 BS, take the chance & GO!

    Cheers

    Drew

    PS.. If you fail, you could always teach English :)

  • Reply

    Michael Bruce

    2 months ago

    Hey Mark! This was an excellent read for me. I am a guy in the middle of selling EVERYTHING right now! I am finding out that having a degree would make things a lot easier.

    I am going to do the super yacht / cruise thing and then teach English with a TEFL. But I do not have a degree!

    So do you know anyone or any good blogs where someone travels the world for a living without a degree?

    Thanks again.

    • Reply

      bachelor

      2 months ago

      heck, I’m about to have a degree and I don’t know where to begin my search for how I can use it! What on earth do I google?

  • Reply

    bachelor

    2 months ago

    Where can I find out more about this: “There’s an extremely high demand for university-educated Westerners for high-paying management positions”?

    I’m graduating soon. This is really appealing to me. But what is this? I’ve never heard of people doing this. I wouldn’t even know what to Google…please help!

  • Reply

    Chad B

    2 months ago

    Another great article. Thank you for sharing. I started my journey in Australia and who knows where it will go from there.

    I highly advise the jump and like you say, get rid of the shit you dont want.

    Chad

  • Reply

    Roslyn

    2 months ago

    hey mark I love your honesty and frankness – appeals to my sense of humor! Thanks for so freely giving advice! I am currently going through a huge career change and am working towards having a life that I will love. It takes balls to do these type of things but I tell myself sometimes you have to take risks to get what you want. I took a big financial risk this year. I was working in a government agency but my dream is to be a dancer and have work that facilitates my dancing better. I turned down long term employment in a job that paid well but I didn’t enjoy and exchanged it for the unknown. I went back to temping and then found a job advert which I really wanted. I turned down more temping work so I could be available at the time for this new job. So two weeks waiting for call back then first interview, second interview and now I have the job! It got offered to me yesterday, I never thought this would happen but it has! I am a dancer and my goal is to be a professional dancer and on the side a dance teacher and exercise therapist. My new job is working as a exercise therapist in a community gym and I will be mentored by an awesome trainer. I am moving out of the ‘rat race’ and moving into a lifestyle that is going to facilitate with my dancing better. Yep its scary and yep I right now have zero dollars in my account and I am living at home with my mum and I owe $1500 on my credit card. In the last four months I have only worked four weeks! Not a financially sound move, at times I have been extremely worried about $$ not knowing when I will be paid. But sometimes you have to have a little faith that things will work out! I have used the time wisely while off work to work on my dancing and to clear a lot of clutter in my life. I am happy now because I am moving towards I live that I will love. After establishing myself in this gym my next challenge will be to have time to travel overseas to get professional dance training. I am not sure how I will work this but I will figure it out as I go. I am glad I read your post because I am making changes to follow my dreams and it has given me ideas for when I do more travelling and transition into being a professional dancer with my own dance company, Sorry about the LONG post! Love and peace :)

  • Reply

    Fralphprija

    2 months ago

    Wow! A great topic. I’ve been looking for some topics i could read about quitting my full-time job and to pursue my passion. And im on the part where i am trying to figure out if that would be a wise decision and this article helped a lot. Thanks

  • Reply

    Mike Maeshiro

    2 months ago

    Hi Mark,

    I just recently discovered your blog and I’m eating it up. I love your candor, insight and vocabulary. :) Thanks for keeping it real and spinning it with panache.

    I have a question, you mentioned in step 2 of “Planning Your Escape,” find a source of mobile income. You listed blogging as one of the options. Do you have any insight on how one can monetize blogging?

  • Reply

    Haseeb

    1 month ago

    Love the post Mark! Everyday I come to your website to read something new and you never fail to impress me. I heard about your website from your “Models” book (which I do not regret buying, by the way).

    Anyways, I am a current student at a university in the United States studying mechanical engineering and I’m dying to get out there and have either an international job or a full-time job in a country such as Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, or anywhere across the globe where I can learn a new language, interact with people of various ethnicities, and have an enriching experience. I am currently applying online to different jobs overseas and If anyone knows of any opportunities, please do let me know. I would definitely appreciate that.

    Thanks!

  • Reply

    Erin

    1 month ago

    You are absolutely amazing.

  • Reply

    Mitchell Reeves

    1 month ago

    Dude you are fricken awesome, cracked up several times throughout this article!
    As a 19 year old this kind of writing really speaks to me, so fuck yeah! Totally selling my couch now.

    • Reply

      Kokorodudu Dudu

      20 weeks ago

      You have a couch?

  • Reply

    Matthew

    30 weeks ago

    I love your site but no,

    1. Singapore is no longer as eager to hire educated Westerner professionals as it was a decade ago. There is now an increasingly strong anti-foreigner, Singapore-for-Singaporeans sentiment amongst the local population, and legislation has been enacted in recent months to ensure Singaporeans have priority. I’m a Singaporean expat in Switzerland, and the government is stepping up efforts to get Singaporeans overseas to return.

    2. According to Mercer’s 2013 cost of living rankings, Singapore ranks 5th, even higher than Geneva, Switzerland where I live. So I wouldn’t compare it to the other third world countries you listed in the same paragraph, particular if Singapore ranks 3rd in terms of GDP per capita in the world.

  • Reply

    Sebastian

    24 weeks ago

    Do you think you had to be scared and broke for two years in order to succeed at going your own way? What if you had worked at the bank for a year or two, saved up some money, and then quit?

    The responsible part of me says I should go work for a couple years, save up some money, and then pursue music. The cynical part of me wonders if I will still be able to successfully become a career musician without a ton of financial pressure to do so, and if I will be able to stand the stress and financial insecurity of trying to make it as a musician. I also wonder if I can really wait until I’m 24 to start the career I really want, lacking a music degree to use as a backup for a steady career in music education.

  • Reply

    Julia

    22 weeks ago

    Absolutely love ittt!!!!

  • Reply

    tamas

    17 weeks ago

    Hey, I am a 25 years dude. I am doing Msc of Marketing. Everybody look at me as stupid when i decided to be a poker pro and quit my normal job. Other day i found an opportunity to go London for a month. I could work in ATP tennis final. i didnt make any good money but I could met and talk with the Brazilian Ronaldo who was my ideal when i was a child. That means more than thousands pound to me. I took a picture with him, since i keep in my pocket and it remember me dont listen to the crowd just do what i really want cos i live only once. Never know what life brings to u!

  • Reply

    Jack

    17 weeks ago

    Hello Mark, I am curious, but were you working in an investment bank?

    Great article!

    Jack

  • Reply

    Samie

    17 weeks ago

    Hey, great article! I got here through your other post “10 things I learned by Surviving my 20s” … also a great article, the best “In my 20s” list I have read so far. I’m only 23 and currently teaching English in Spain (pay is low compared to what it costs to live and travel around here but I hussle and I’m doing fine). My contract is up soon and I’m looking in to options on how to continue living and working abroad. I obviously would love to start up my own business and create a way to bring in a steady, location-independent income, just not sure exactly what avenue to take yet… Anyway, this motivated me to make shit happen so thank you!! :)

  • Reply

    Maggie Fromm

    17 weeks ago

    I loved this article! I am going through a life change now, and everything about fear emotionally and mentally is very relatable. I just put in a notice to quit my job, and have started training to become a life coach. At the end of the month I am moving to Florida to live with my best friend and save money for the summer. In the Fall I am on my way to Melbourne, Australia on a year long working/holiday visa! My goal is to gain as much life experience as possible, return to the states and start my own coaching business.

    Thank you for all your articles; they’re very inspiring and helpful.

    Looking forward to reading more,
    Maggie

  • Reply

    Confused Doctor

    16 weeks ago

    Hi Mark, great article. You speak of a lot of things my fiancé says. He quitted a low income job and has decided to build his own music studio. He loves music. We have 2 kids and now all of the financial responsibilities of the family and the studio building are on my shoulders (we have no savings what-so-ever).

    I am a medical doctor. Don’t love what I am doing now but think that since I have put in so much time in getting to this point that I should find something in medicine to work for me. My father has just invested some money to help me get my masters degree in dermatology so I feel that if I turn away now I will only disappoint my family. I decided to do a masters degree first then see if that would give me a boost in the very competitive US dermatology residency.
    I cannot afford to quit and try build my own business because 1 parent in the family has already done that.

    I would have liked to do freelance writing or set up a blog but I am still ignorant as to how to set up a blog or do successful freelancing from my part of the world.
    Did I mention that I am not American? I am West Indian and live there. Working as a general practitioner in my country is limited and the salary is very poor. Ends don’t meet well.

    I love real estate, I dream of one day owning a real estate company and I also I feel I could be a great fashion designer if I knew how to draw and sew.

    If I quit my day job my kids will suffer and I cannot afford that. So right now I feel stuck in this unhappy place. For the sake of family!

  • Reply

    LeftCoastRider

    16 weeks ago

    Hi Confused Doctor,

    I understand your position, as I am in a similar one now – married, have a house, my wife relies on my income, but instead of children we have 5 dogs. However, unlike most people here, I am older (50), already spent my 20s and 30s traveling, and I have started several businesses. Now, I want to start traveling again, so I am taking steps to do so. You have an AMAZING skill – one of the most important on earth! You can be a doctor anywhere. However, knowing that your husband already built a music studio and realizing that you may not be able to move, I would encourage you to follow your other passion: real estate. You say you are in the West Indies, which is a great place for people to vacation. Even if you have very little money, if you do have good credit, can you leverage that to buy a vacation house in a desirable place on your island? If so, you can start advertising online and renting it out. There are other variations on this theme as well – tourism is one of the largest industries on earth, and there are myriad ways to engage your passion for real estate and tie it to tourism. And depending on which island you are on, there are lots of other possibilities also. Your first step is to understand your own skill sets, your passions, the advantages/disadvantages of living where you do (assuming that you cannot currently move) and any short- and long-term goals that you have. Then tie them together…there are always possibilities, we just don’t always see them from our current mindsets.

  • Reply

    Youngbutnotsoyoung

    15 weeks ago

    @leftcoastrider @confused doctor.
    I feel I am in a similar situation to both of you. I am 27, married with a house and expecting my first child. My wonderful husband supports me and I have failed at this and that while never stopped trying. I did a masters in liberal arts, then I tried some graphic design, got my real estate license…but nothing seems to be it. Yes, I have the luxury of not being financially pressured since he takes care of me, but I do feel tied down with all the “things”…the nice house, the furniture, the dog, the car. We are pretty frugal, we don’t buy buy buy, but I wish I could live a more mobile lifestyle. I don’t know if most people reading this blog and jumping into these adventures are just in their 20s and single. Although most seem to be looking for practical advice (how to I get the money to travel the world?) I am looking more for emotional advice: how do you convince someone who has been working hard (like both of you guys) to just pick up and go, and figure things out on the way, and the kids. I like my life, I am not stuck in a 9-5 job I hate and I am super happy doing the stereotypical housewife chores. I just wish I could somehow travel more and be around people I like more. We recently moved to suburbia and it feels so lonely out here… I am involved in church, and I know my neighbors, but it just feels like I am the youngest person around. Everyone is in their late 30s at their youngest.

    Any thoughts, particularly in how to have a family (and a good and wholesome family) but also have a little more adventure?

  • Reply

    Jimmy

    12 weeks ago

    Mark,

    Quick question: Thinking about starting an online business and have been daytrading/swing trading for a few years now but have done it in one location. If I start traveling all over the United States and possibly abroad what happens to taxes for federal and state if I become a nomad with no residence? If you have a website handy that you could let me know the ins and outs of that would be great. If not I will start scanning the web for answers to my questions.

    —-Just found your blog/site last week and have been really enjoying your posts. Appreciate it all. Enjoy.

  • Reply

    Jimmy Singh

    9 weeks ago

    Hello Mark… My Name is Jimmy and I am from India. While searching for jobs over google. I found this website. Really Nice article. I also want to share my experience. I was working for a Web development company here in India. I worked for two years in that company. Some months prior to the end of my two year job. I got a chance to visit London to attend a marriage of my cousin. So I applied for a leave. But the company boss rejected that leave. Visiting london for an Indian boy is like a dream come true. I didn’t want to miss it. So I thought of resigning from my job and go for my dream country. I also made a plan that when I will come back from london I will start doing freelancing. Soon I went off to london. That experience can never be forgettable. Love that place. After one-and- half month I came back to India and started looking for work as a freelancer (Freelancing for website development). It was not a good start because getting work in freelance industry is very difficult. Freelance websites like odesk, PPH, guru, freelancer all are full of bidders. And chance of getting work is very minimum. I applied for jobs on all websites. But all in vain. Never get a single reply. Now sometimes I think that, choosing a vacation over job was a wrong decision. Don’t know what is right….

    Your article is good. Like you said that we can teach english, Go to some asian country and do work there. It is very easy for people living in countries like US, UK ,Australia, German to get job in any other country. And I am sure they will never get refusal. But this is not same for others. I applied for jobs many times in these countries. I didn’t get any. The system is so complicated. Anyhow…. I enjoyed reading people comments and also writing here..

    Thanks
    Jimmy

  • Reply

    sue

    6 weeks ago

    Hi Mark, great article. Love reading it. :)

    My question is, what about for people who have family obligations? Like people who are married and have small kids. Of course a decision as big as this must be mutually agreed with your spouse, right? What if your spouse don’t want to work overseas because they already have their business locally? How about the kids?

    I think this is one of the dilemma why some people are very reluctant to pursue their dreams.

    Looking forward to hear your opinion on this.

    Thanks!

  • Reply

    Vijay

    4 weeks ago

    Loved it.. every word .. :)

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