Would you swap a corporate career for world travel?
Posted on 29 January 2020 by starttravel.co.uk
Given the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to begin a corporate career, the notion of putting it on hold to travel might seem frivolous - or even harmful to one's long-term career prospects.
But for some, the allure of sunny weather, pristine beaches and exotic cultures is too much: they decide to ditch the nine-to-five, with its long commutes and office politics, in favour of travel - and the idea of freedom that comes with it.
The phenomenon of swapping UK office life for world travel has grown in recent years. A survey back in 2009 by Office Angels revealed one in seven wanted to travel and work overseas. Since then, 'digital nomad' has entered the common vernacular - the idea that you can work from a beachside cafe or a hotel room or an airport lounge. Add to this the prevailing Instagram culture - of photo-documenting one's international adventures with a view to racking up dozens of likes - and the draws of life overseas are more numerous than ever.
Are you tempted to put your corporate career on hold in favour of sunnier climes and a more laid back lifestyle? For some it's simply not practical. For others, the question is: "Would that lifestyle suit me?" - or even more likely: "Do I have the courage to make the move?"
We've put together some of the main pros and cons of making such a big lifestyle change...
- You'll say goodbye to a regular pay packet, unless you can persuade your employer that you can do your job remotely!
- You won't have access to your current network of friends and relatives; you'll need to forge new friendships and connections overseas. In short, you'll be forced to leave your comfort zone.
- You'll need to ensure you have the funds to pay for your flights, food and accommodation. How long will your savings last? Will you need to give up certain luxuries in order to save up and make it happen?
- For long-term travel, chances are you'll need to find a way to make money. Of course, this isn't necessarily a negative, but does need to be considered. For entrepreneurs such as Stephanie Conway, Bali proved the ideal location to develop a new business. Others might teach English, or find another type of work. There are also options such as Workaway and WOOFF - which give you bed and board in return for a few hours' work a day.
- In some cases, taking a career break could make it harder to slot back into the workplace in the future (but see counterpoint in Pros section).
- Long term travel isn't for everyone. Despite tropes like "travel broadens the mind"; the influence of jet-setting Instagram travel gurus; and travel bloggers who insist that everyone should travel, it doesn’t suit all of us. However, it's a good idea to give it a go!
- You'll be able to explore places you've always wanted to; meet countless new people; and (in all likelihood) enjoy a more pleasant climate!
- You won't be tied to the nine-to-five or long commutes. You may be freed from expectations of friends, family or your wider society.
- If you choose an emerging economy such as Thailand or India, your budget will go much further than it would in the UK - or if you chose a northern European country.
- Exploring or living in a cheaper country could give you the time to do things you've always wanted: think photography, yoga, mountain climbing, learning a new language, or even writing a novel!
- If you become a 'digital nomad' and start freelancing for western clients, you may only need to work a couple of days a week in order to support a good lifestyle.
- A travel stint could help your career, as David Clubb, managing director of Office Angels, said: "It is widely known that many employers favour candidates who have travelled or worked abroad as it shows confidence and maturity."
You could use your skills and experience to do some good. E.g. volunteer to teach English in poorer communities, or give your time to an animal rescue centre.