Quitting a job you hate for a life of travel and exploration is scary, but life changing… and here’s the big secret – anyone can do it.
There are some key steps you need to take to quit your job and work remotely. We will simplify the process, based on our experience doing this, we took the big leap to travel full time in August of 2020.
First of all if you hate your job – you are not alone. We (Chris and Bec) hated our jobs and dreamt of escaping the 9 to 5, to explore the world instead.
We would spend every weekend out camping and most of our money flying to new countries. For us, a change of lifestyle was needed.
And we have good news for you – you can make it happen, regardless of your occupation. Chris was FIFO and Bec was a social worker… now, we travel for a living!
We’ll give you a step-by-step process to help you break free from the shackles of a job you can’t stand anymore, so you can live a life of travelling and remote work… Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
8 Steps to go from a job you hate – to travel as a lifestyle
An important note on health and well-being first:
Before starting, if your job is affecting your physical and/or mental health, please seek professional help and change your job as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, workplace trauma is a common problem, especially in Australia/USA/Britain (read more about the topic here).
It happened to Bec (see below):
We are natural beings and many of us don’t work well being cooped up in stressful environments. It takes its toll on our health, and studies have shown this:
- According to the Human Rights Commission, 25% of workers take time off for work-stress-related reasons.
- The World Health Organisation found that 15% of workers suffer from mental health problems in the workplace.
These are just the reported cases… These numbers are likely MUCH higher.
I (Bec) needed to quit my job because of the toll it took on my mental health. Finding support was the best thing I could have done for myself. It not only saved my life but set me up to succeed with a much happier future.
If you’re going through the same thing, mental health counselling, psychology and coaching can help you find healthy coping mechanisms, and improve your mindset, career, relationships and life altogether.
Here’s the best advice I have after what I went through:
With that said – the following steps may look and sound easy, but it’s important to take your time with each one.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are our dream futures, this is an empowering journey where progress, no matter how small, leads to your ultimate destination.
1) Reflect on your current situation and set goals
Before making any life-changing decisions, take a step back and reflect on your current situation. Ask yourself these 10 questions:
- How do I feel about my current situation, and how long have I felt this way?
- Why do I dislike my job? I.e. because of the people, the actual work, the salary, the hours…
- What would fix this problem? I.e. is it time to look for a new career? New job? New side hustle?
- What are my values? Am I currently living by them? Common values include peace, courage, honesty, empathy, respect, creativity, and kindness.
- What have been my happiest, most satisfying moments? E.g. spending time in nature, challenging myself, helping people, living a balanced life, travelling, spending time with family…
- What do I actually want? I.e. online work, travel more, more time with family, to start a business.
- How does remote work bring me closer to my goal?
- If I am still in the same position next year how does that make me feel? E.g. happy, unsatisfied, frightened, neutral…
- What is currently holding me back from achieving my goal(s)?
- Out of 10, how satisfied am I in life right now?
Answer them quickly, just jot down a couple of thoughts and move on.
This self-reflection gives you clarity on what you want to change and achieve.
Afterwards, you might even feel a sense of urgency to make a change. This can be the spark of motivation needed to get started.
This is also a good time to set your goals of what you ACTUALLY want. Here are some prompts to help you (thanks to Notes by Thalia for some of these ideas):
- What is the why behind my goal(s)? What will achieving my goal(s) give me?
- Where do I want to be in 12 months’ time? Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, career-wise?
- What do I want to achieve in the next month and quarter? Write it somewhere you will see every day.
- What small steps can I take today to move closer to my goal(s)?
- What am I most passionate about? What do I like to read/learn about?
- What am I naturally gifted at? Where are my skills, what do I know the most about?
- Do I want to continue on that path? Or change it?
- What excites me the most about reaching my goal(s)?
- What can I do to overcome the things holding me back from reaching my goals?
- What skills, knowledge or tools do I need to achieve my goal(s)? How can I go about getting this?
- What habits or routines can I establish to support my goal(s)? Consider daily and weekly practices.
- How can I stay motivated and committed to working towards my goal(s)? Is there someone I can do this with and check in with? e.g. a family member, partner, friend, coach, workmate etc
- Out of 10, how satisfied will I feel once I reach this goal?
If your main goal is to work remotely so you can travel when you want, this free guide will help you get there:
Get the FREE guide: 30 Ways To Work Online So You Can Travel When You Want
2) Start with a job search for remote work opportunities
Have a look at what’s out there! Some people want to continue working for someone else and others want to start building their own business.
Start to notice the opportunities available to you, sometimes we can get blinkers on and not see what’s out there for us. Right now, there are +4500 jobs listed under “online”!
If you are keen to apply for remote work opportunities, first, update your resume to reflect more of your online skills.
If you are drawing blanks and REALLY don’t want to be an employee anymore, it might be time to start building your own business on the side.
There are 5 main options at this stage to start working remotely:
- Do the same job you’re already doing, but remotely. You’ll basically transition to a remote work environment. This is ideal if you enjoy your job, but don’t like your current co-workers or company.
- Career change. This can be the case for those who have careers that aren’t traditionally remote-friendly, like hospitality, tradies, etc.
- Become a contractor or employee online. E.g. online counselling, tutoring languages for a school, data entry project work, video editor, virtual assistant etc.
- Start your online side hustle. Begin that small business, selling on Etsy, teaching a language, teaching an instrument.
- Build an online business. E.g. Websites, digital marketing. This is the route we chose, and it’s as challenging as it is rewarding. The amount of freedom and financial stability you can have doing this is unparalleled.
None is better than the other, none are the “right” choice for everyone, but it’s important to have an idea of what you want. This will guide you in your search.
Note: If you aren’t sure yet, that’s ok too. Try one of the low-risk options to start working remotely and just travel to get the engine running.
3) Build up your remote work skills
You may have to learn new skills or hone existing ones to transition to remote work. Now is the time to accelerate your learning of these skills!
Even the richest people in the world are still learning, and they started where you are.
How to know which skills to work on?
The easiest way is by reading the job description of the job you want. Do this with a few postings to identify skills in common. Start there to determine what skills you can add to your list!
A better way is to talk to people doing the job you want to do (or employers hiring for that role) and ask them what skills are preferred!
You can check forums like Quora or Reddit, as they usually have communities for practically any type of job.
Here’s how we built our remote work skills
Chris originally worked on the mines and had NO previous online skills. He started learning digital marketing skills like website building, SEO, and more with the eBusiness Institute.
He found he really enjoys it and is naturally talented at it, too. This was his way out of the mines!
As for Bec, she previously worked as a social worker. She found she had a natural talent for social media, photo/video editing and written content. This helped further grow the online businesses Chris had.
Now, we are business owners, generating income by building, buying, selling, websites.
That’s how we’re now able to travel full-time and bring our work wherever we go! We learnt everything we know from Matt and Liz Raad from the eBusiness Institute.
They help beginners with zero online skills how to make money online, by teaching you a range of skills to help you get there. From digital marketing and website building, to more advanced stuff like buying and renovating websites for profit.
They’re now offering a free webinar where they teach the basics. You can watch it here:
4) Improve your mindset, health and routine to set yourself up for sucess
Now is a great time to begin working on your mindset (if you aren’t already).
Because if you are jumping into an online business, a side hustle, remote work, travelling full time, whatever it is… You need to have a strong mindset.
Things will get hard at some point. Who is going to pull you out of the slump and encourage you to keep going when it gets tough?
You can do this by reading and listening to business and mindset podcasts (we do this too!). Learn from people who have done the work and gone through the same challenges as you.
There is nothing more valuable and inspiring than that! One of our recommendations is the book “The Four Hour Work Week.” The author, Tim Ferris, also has an incredible podcast.
Coaching or mindset courses can be a great option too if you haven’t considered it. It can be costly, but it gives you coping mechanisms and tools to ultimately build your dream future. You are worth it (plus, you will make the money back ten fold).
5) Create a plan for financial stability
Take the time to evaluate your financial situation. Create a plan (e.g. 1-2 year plan) that ensures you can sustain yourself while transitioning to working remotely.
This is a crucial step for your stability moving into your new lifestyle.
We recommend writing up a budget. Look at your current income, expenses, assets and what you need to be able to live securely enough to quit your job.
Start paying off your debts to $0. You are better off moving into this lifestyle with less debt. If you have loans, credit cards etc, plan into your budget to have them paid off in the next 1-2 years and do not get into any new debts.
We saved over $20,000 and had no debts before hitting the road!
Obviously mortgages are a different story, but speak to the professionals (financial advisor, accountant, bookkeeper) for more advice.
Become aware of the figures you need to take the leap into working remotely.
I need $1000 per week to live comfortably travelling and working remotely. My side hustle needs to earn (x) and I need to get an online work opportunity paying (x). I have (x) savings to get me through.
Don’t be reckless like us and quit your stable job at the first sign of profit. Turning that profit into a consistent income takes a while!
However, that recklessness gave us urgency… We had to make it work by any means. Also, Bec was sick and couldn’t keep working her 9-to-5.
That said, it was an emotionally difficult period. You need to work really hard, long hours. We have no regrets, though!
Still, don’t quit your job until you have a solid plan.
Either save up a LOT of money, or line up a new job before quitting your current role. If you can, consider dropping a day so you can start focusing on your online side hustle more!
6) Go on travel adventures – Start living the lifestyle now
Don’t wait until you deliver your resignation letter to travel and “be free”. You can start it all now, just live and breathe the lifestyle straight away! That is what manifestation is all about.
Take regular weekend trips nearby to quench your thirst for travel. Doing this will fuel your motivation, as you find different ways to make travelling your lifestyle.
Start planning which destinations you want to visit once you’re working remotely. If you want to visit them for long periods, consider factors such as:
- Cost of living.
- Visa requirements.
- Internet accessibility.
- Time zone.
- Political situation.
Or, if you need to be in one spot at the moment, go work at coworking spaces and cafes to meet others doing the same and live that remote work lifestyle.
7) Quit your old job and dive in
When resigning from a job, it’s important to be professional about it and try to leave on a positive note.
Here are some things to consider:
- Check your contract and determine if there’s a notice period outlined.
- Wrap up any current projects and forward outstanding projects to the right people.
- Write a professional resignation letter, expressing gratitude for the job opportunity and what you learned.
- Deliver your letter, preferably in person.
After this, your boss may want to have a conversation. They may try to convince you to reconsider or even give you a counteroffer – don’t accept it! It’s time to go remote!
More money, more benefits, or more <insert whatever here> won’t fix the real issue which is a lack of freedom. Remain strong and keep in mind why you are leaving in the first place.
8) Develop a remote work routine
By now… you should be sending job applications for a remote role, or even have one lined up. Or maybe you are going to do what we do (which takes time but hard work pays off).
Whatever the case, it’s time to create a routine!
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is not having your boss breathing down your neck to get things done. You have to rely on self-discipline and time management to balance work and play.
For example, we usually have full work days Monday through Wednesday, leaving the rest of the week for travelling and exploring.
Some weeks we may have to work more (or less!), depending on what’s needed at that moment. That’s what works for us, though.
You may find it’s easier to work a few hours in the morning and explore in the afternoon (or vice-versa). Take the time to find what works best for you – you’re free now!
Getting out and mingling (networking) is a big part of business, because it’s true that it is who you know. Go meet potential clients, partnerships and enjoy the process.
Still think it’s not possible? Here are two real-life examples.
A few years ago, Chris was a FIFO worker dreaming of travelling the world, while Bec was a social worker who worked so much that she ended up sick – literally, physically ill.
Fast-forward 5 years later, we are business owners and our lifestyle is all about travelling. In fact, that’s why we created Salt & Charcoal – to share our travels and how we got here, so you can do it too!
But the bottom line is: if a FIFO worker and a social worker could do it, so can you!
Is it OK to quit a job you hate?
Yes, it’s absolutely OK and necessary to quit a job you hate. More so if it’s affecting your physical and mental health.
Just make sure to understand why you want to quit, what makes you unhappy, and what things you need to have a more fulfilling life.
That self-awareness will help you make the right decisions moving forward. But first things first get out of there, there’s plenty more opportunities for you waiting.
Can I really find remote work opportunities in any industry?
Yes, remote work opportunities are available across most industries.
And even if you don’t have a traditionally remote-friendly career – i.e. programming, marketing, customer service, graphic design, etc -, there are ways to use your skills and knowledge for remote work opportunities.
What if I don’t have the necessary remote work skills?
If you lack certain remote work skills, don’t worry! There are literally thousands of resources (both free and paid) to help you learn and enhance them.
The bottom line
You don’t have to stay in a job you absolutely hate, that drains you, or damages your mental and physical health. There are other ways to reach your financial goals while also living the life you want.
Quitting a job you hate to work remotely and travel is an empowering decision that opens up a world of opportunities.
Yes, it needs careful planning, but it’s 100% achievable for anyone, regardless of background, education level, or even age.
It’s never too late to fight for the life you know you deserve. The journey may have its challenges, but the rewards of living life on your terms are worth it!
FREE Guide: 30 Ways To Make Money Online So You Can Travel When You Want
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