You’re Not Too Old to Quit Your Job and Travel the World

Quitting your job and travelling the world is the new black. It’s more trendy than craft beer. As a Generation X-er,  I don’t remember anybody doing this when I was in my twenties. If people travelled at all, they backpacked around Europe the summer after college. I didn’t even know many people who had travelled outside of Europe. Things have certainly changed.

The reasons why travel is more common now is an entire post itself, so I won’t delve into that. My interest is the age thing. My Facebook feed is bursting with articles about millennials who have been to every country by the age of 25 or college students who somehow manage to visit twenty countries every year or “20 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young” or “Why You Should Visit Country X in Your Twenties”.

Why can’t I go to country X in my 40’s? Why isn’t anyone writing about reasons to travel for any other age group?

Ain’t No Hate in My Game

Please don’t assume I’m a hater. I say good for them. I recognize that the job market is a different animal now and that not everybody follows the cookie cutter undergrad-grad school-professional path that I did. There is a whole industry surrounding social media; One that has created digital nomads and opened doors for a whole different lifestyle that wasn’t even thought possible twenty years ago when I was just using the internet for the first time. (gasp!)

I sometimes wish I had done the “traveling-around-the-world-in-my-twenties” thing. There was always school, or getting that second master’s degree or busy paying off student loans, or working overtime so I could pay loans. I had my crazy moments. Taking two weeks off grad school to do an African safari was not exactly normal. I had no money, just good credit. Every break that I had, I went somewhere. I sort of knew then, what I definitely know now:

Time is a luxury and it is unpredictable. You never know when you suddenly won’t have time.

I’m not trying to sound morbid, but as a nurse, I see things. People assume they can wait until retirement or after their kids go to college or for some pre-determined time frame that seems convenient, but things don’t always go as planned.

I’ve worked full-time while travelling for many years now. It’s been great and I don’t want to sound ungrateful. My school and work life has led to me having a good salary and good vacation time, both which enabled my wanderlust.  I’m extremely lucky. I’m not as opposed to this “lucky” word as many of my travel blogging colleagues. Yes, I worked extremely hard. You think becoming a nurse practitioner, then a nurse anesthetist is easy?  Luck refers to where I was born, to the family I was born into, and the opportunities that came my way. Life is a combination of luck and hard work.

Timing is Everything

The time thing has really been on my mind lately, especially with all the uncertainty in the world. I truly want to see everything…to visit every country, and not in some crazy checking-off-a-list manner. At age 42, I need to get moving.  I’ve only been to fifty countries so far while cute blogger girl in her twenties has already been to 80 for God’s sake! I’m way behind!

After my divorce at age 37, I decided that I would travel more. The only problem was a few life complications that made taking three months to backpack around the Stan countries a bit challenging. You know, those things like a mortgage, student loan payments, and pets.  I eventually adjusted my life to travel more and was successful.  I did a long weekend in Paris for my 40th birthday and then went to Hong Kong for 5 days, working the days immediately before and after, because who needs to sleep? This past year I hiked Trolltunga, hiked the Inca Trail, and then Rainbow Mountain, while recovering from food poisoning.  I met a 63-year-old woman who was also hiking the Inca Trail and actually kicking my ass.

Being older doesn’t mean we can’t have epic adventures.

Now I want to take things to the next level. After finding out my car lease and apartment lease are both completed on same date, I viewed that as a sign that I should take the plunge. My wonderful parents have agreed to take care of their grandchild (my dog) and let me move some boxes into their garage. I sold my furniture, paid off my debt, and purchased a first class ticket to Singapore using miles that I’ve hoarded.  I plan to visit Southeast Asia for three months, then do agency nursing for a month to replenish funds, then off for the next few months to wherever I decide.

Read More Beginner’s Guide to Flying for Free

Trying to Live the Dream

I am ready to live the twenty-something dream I never lived, but now I’m doing it with wisdom, experience, and best of all…money. I won’t be budget travelling or sleeping where I may acquire bed bugs or be sold into slavery (although I like to think at my age, I’m not the demographic sex traffickers are looking for).  Having a career for over 15 years means that I’ve been able to save and now I can indulge a little.  Finally…the silver lining to being older!!

I am ecstatic about my sabbatical from life and I’m curious about how many people of my generation I will meet doing the same.  So listen out there! Millennials, keep doing your thing. You’re killing it and giving other generations inspiration. Boomers, if you’re retired and healthy, travel and own it. Gen X’ers…we are the forgotten middle child. Not in our carefree twenties, yet nowhere close to retirement. That doesn’t mean we can’t live the dream too. It just takes some creativity. For those who can’t simply take off, I have spent my whole life working full-time and travelling so check out the rest of my blog to see what is possible!

Read More How I Travel So Much

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About The Author

csaradar

42 COMMENTS

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  4. Susanna | 9th Feb 17

    Awesome! I’m 47 and divorced as well and with two teenage daughters.
    I cannot quit my job(yet) but I travel when ever I can and spend my savings for airplane tickets.
    Hopefully one day soonI just take my packbag and go!
    Good luck!

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Traveling whenever you can is great. That’s what I’ve doing. And someday you will have your moment and your gut will tell you:)

  5. Diane | 8th Feb 17

    I took a gap year in 2013, at age 55. Travelled solo for 6 months of it. Best thing I’ve ever done! If you’re at all able to swing it, I can’t recommend it enough. At any age.

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Yes an adult gap year is such a great idea. Young people can’t have all the fun!

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Adult gap year is so great! Young people can’t have all the fun!

  6. Jenn | 8th Feb 17

    I so get this. I am 57 and blessed with a job that lets me travel for 28 straight days. I spent a month in the Galapagos Islands and loved it. In three more years I say goodbye to work and hello full time travel. Who knows we may cross paths. Great post.

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Wow that is incredible. I have yet to see the Galapagos. I hope to cross your path!!

  7. Andrea Bisconti | 8th Feb 17

    Thanks for this post!! I’m 49 and rearranging my life for long-term travel. My son is in college and I’m freer than I’ve been in 20 years. I, too, sometimes wish I had done this when I was younger, but i don’t regret anything. This is my reality and I’m on my way now. With only about 10 countries under my belt, I’ve got some catching up to do!

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Yes! We can’t have regrets. We can only do what you are doing…rearrange things to live our passion So happy for you!

  8. Linda | 8th Feb 17

    I love this! Thank you for speaking to my heart! I am 50 and I have been thinking more and more about quitting my job and spending some time traveling and blogging. I live in Japan and I do spend most of my weekends exploring this beautiful country, but I have such a long list of places I want to make it to…. someday. Thank you for this post.

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      Living in Japan must be amazing. Japan is on my very long list! I feel like we should be “living” more while we are young and working later to keep our minds active when maybe our bodies are not so much….am I on to something?

  9. Michelle Platt | 8th Feb 17

    Totally agree I’m also a nurse mid forties with grown up kids. I only do agency nursing so I can travel for 3 months each year. Last year I spent 3 months travelling around Europe, this year I’m off to Africa for 3 months. It was scary leaving contracted work but life’s to short and is for living. Enjoy your travels will look forward to reading your blog x

    • csaradar | 9th Feb 17

      So happy to hear that lifestyle has worked out for you. I’ve been playing it safe for so long. This is a new experiment for me but I love the way you are doing it!!! Thanks!

  10. Val | 5th Feb 17

    OMG is the best thing I’ve read in a long time!!! You have breathed fresh life into my blogging efforts! I am 52 and keep thinking why are only millennials being featured for theirs world wide travels?!

    Your story is very inspiring !! I have not made fear choices financially .. so not sure I can quit and travel but this definitely has kicked my butt to seize the day and travel more… sharing this all over …love it!!!

    • csaradar | 6th Feb 17

      Hey Val! So happy you enjoyed it. That’s the whole reason I write these things! Our generation isn’t a focus of the travel industry so we have to make ourselves a focus!

  11. chikonahoka | 5th Feb 17

    I am technically Gen X-er and basically got to the same point as you. I feel somewhat sanguine about it. I also feel like maybe I should have done this earlier. But there again a lot of the advances that make is so much easier, didn’t happen until fairly recently either. I do feel like I did my life backward, ticking off the super responsible, professional achievement bit super early, and now doing the exploration part at the ‘wrong’ age…

    I think we would travel and write a bit differently than the millennials, though.

    • csaradar | 6th Feb 17

      I feel the same. Like I did things a bit backwards but there is a silver lining to that and I hope our generation can find it! I think we should just forget our ages and go for it!

  12. Robin Soto | 5th Feb 17

    So excited for you! I did my I-don’t-think-I-can-have-a-fulfilled-life-selling-duplicating-machines moment when I respectfully declined the much envied entry level marketing job I was offered at Xerox and joined the Peace Corps. This was the 1980’s mind you, not the moment when anyone, including my parents, thought there was any merit in going off “to save the world.” It changed my life forever. It also changed the trajectory of my career. It is the reason I met met you, the reason I do what I do today and the reason I live to travel. Though I don’t measure my travel experience in the number of continents I have visited. I love the idea of going somewhere where the sights, smells, and physical sensations are unrecognizable. I have had cultural experiences in the the States that rival anything that I experienced in West Africa. I will look forward to checking in on you and what you have discovered as a citizen of the world. Cheers!!!

    • csaradar | 6th Feb 17

      LOL Robin so you get it. I’m glad I got to be part of your journey:)

  13. Penny | 5th Feb 17

    You spoke right to my heart. I’m not old… I’m in my late 20’s but I’m a nurse and I come from India. Life here is different. Norms are different. So I studied, I worked, I studied again and then I married my high school sweetheart (that was different!). The next steps seem harder to take than the first because my husband introduced me to the world of travel. It is a struggle because we want to save for the future and yet travel while we can. It’s been two and a half years since we have been married and we have seen 8 countries (doing the 9th tomorrow) together. People say a lot of bull*** (excuse my language!) but you need to believe in what you want and see what works for you. I plan to travel till my legs give out, my bones creak and my skin shrivels. I plan to travel in health and in illness. I plan on traveling period!

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      Hey Penny! I am so happy to have reached you. Sounds like you and your husband have already had tons of amazing adventures together! So awesome. As a nurse you have so many options. Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything. Live your life your way! Traveling is worth it, but I think you already know that 😉

  14. Gloria Atanmo | 4th Feb 17

    Absolutely LOVED this post! So positive and empowering!!! Kudos to you and keep walking down your own path. You do it well 😉

    • csaradar | 4th Feb 17

      From one positive empowering woman to another. Thanks for your love:)

  15. Ashlyn Sargent | 4th Feb 17

    Love it! Totally agree that the timing just has be to right for it to line up in your life. Everyone is different! 🙂

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      For sure. And when those things line up you gotta go for it!

  16. Meg | 4th Feb 17

    This is beautiful! I whole heartedly agree that travel can be a part of your life at any age. I started traveling in my mid twenties and now I’m in my early thirties I have no intention of stopping, even though I look around me and friends are achieving ‘milestones’ in their lives I cannot relate to. Good luck with your sabbatical and enjoy your travels this year. It sounds as if you’re set for a fantastic adventure.

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      Thanks so much and I hope you don’t ever stop. Comparing ourselves to other’s milestones is so unhelpful!!!

  17. FoxintheForest117 | 4th Feb 17

    I loved every word of this! I did the whole undergrad-grad-professional thing and like you I spent every chance I got out doing something or traveling and saved, saved, saved the second I could. I took an internship in Malaysia and was paid pennies, but it was worth it just for the experience. I’m an architect by day it took me 11 1/2 years to go through the entire licensing process – lots of hard work! I found this to be very inspiring and make me look at wishing I had traveled more in my twenties in a totally different way.

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      This makes my heart happy to read your comments. So nice to know others like me “get it”. It’s hard to just give up a career we spent so much time working for!!! Hopefully we don’t always have to:)

  18. josiekelsh | 4th Feb 17

    Did I write this post? I could have! I am one year older than you and about to head off on twelve months of travel (to start with!). I have even also booked a first class flight to Singapore with points 🙂 I’ve done the work thing, my youngest child has just left high school and now it’s time to do what I want to do! Great post, and know there are more of us out there!

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      No way! That is so crazy! Can we meet up somewhere please??

  19. Cynthia | 4th Feb 17

    Such an amazing and inspirational post! As a fellow Gen-X’er who had a similar path (just different career) and is now exploring the world of travel (often, solo travel) in her 40’s I can relate to so much that you said. Good luck & safe travels – looking forward to your future posts!!

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      Hey Cynthia. I love that you were able to relate. I love finding others that are in my tribe. LOL

  20. Kiara Gallop | 4th Feb 17

    Totally agree with you! I’ve just turned 40 and I type this from the dorm room I’m staying in, in Copenhagen.

    I’ve never been married and I don’t have children so in my head I’m still in my twenties and that’s the way I continue to travel – on a budget so my money will stretch as far as possible.

    When I was in my early twenties independent travel was pretty much unheard of so I started my travels going on package holidays to Greece. I kinda wish the opportunities that are available to millennials now were available to me then, because I still feel like I’m making up for lost time at the mo! 😉

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      Good for you! I never would of dreamed of going off alone around the world in my twenties. Plus, there was no smart phone or google map. LOL. Those millennials sure are lucky. I feel you about making up for lost time. I also think I’m still in my twenties at times.

  21. Kathi | 4th Feb 17

    I love this post – it’s super inspirational for my own future, but also gets me very excited for my parents right now! My dad and I went to Tanzania together two years ago and hiked Kilimanjaro – he actually did it, while I had to give up on summit day… My parents are now both retired and in their sixties – I hope they will travel a lot more and further together soon 🙂

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      Your Dad sounds like a rockstar! You must have cool travelling genes! Keep on living the dream girly.

  22. curiouspidge | 4th Feb 17

    This is so awesome! I’m 40 next year (I have no idea how that has happened) and have never had the money or the time to travel for an extended period of time. And as time has gone on and I’ve accumulated a car, and stuff and at least an approximation of a career the idea of taking time out has got further away than ever. You’re an inspiration! And I love that you blew your airmiles on a first class ticket, you rock 😀

    • csaradar | 5th Feb 17

      I love knowing so many people are in similar circumstances and understand. I also don’t know how the hell I got to this age!!! LOL

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