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HOWTO: Quit Your Job and Travel the World.

By 5 dolla in Culture
Tue May 19, 2009 at 12:58:52 PM EST
Tags: Culture, Travel, I have seen things you people wouldn't believe (all tags)

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door, You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Its really a simple thing to go out and see the world. Planes are flying to interesting places all the time. You just need to get on one. I'm not really an expert on this (but who is?), but I'll try to give you some advice and maybe some encouragement before you go out of your door.


People will think you're crazy. Your parents will worry. You will miss your friends and you're friends will miss you. But everyone will be envious of you.

This can be good and bad. Its good in that people will encourage you to go, because they wish they did when they were younger. But it can be bad in that people will be jealous of you and try put down your plans. "Thailand? I heard only pedophiles go there."

Whatever. Your good friends will support you. Be sure to post your photos on a blog or Facebook so they can keep up with you're adventures.


Tyler Durden once said "Your possessions end up owning you." You will understand this all too well. If you're gone for an extended period, who's gonna look after all of your stuff? Who will feed the fish, the cat, or hamster? You will have to lend a lot of stuff to friends, keep some stuff at your parent's house, whatever. Be prepared for not getting this stuff back after you've been gone over a year.

You will need to have a good backpack. Yeah its a cliche and maybe you don't wanna be like everyone else, but its the easiest way to get your stuff from the airport to the hostel and back.

You need to think really hard about what stuff is necessary and what is just a luxury. Separate things into different two different piles: Need-to-have and Nice-to-have. Most of the Nice-to-have stuff you will just have to leave. It sucks but you have a hard limit on what you can bring: 15kg.

Why 15kg? Many airlines require that you are less than 15kg. Also do you really want to be carrying that much weight through god knows how many airports? Trust me, you will save time and energy if you keep it under 15kg.

Get a scale, weigh yourself. Add 15kg. Now weigh yourself while holding your backback. Are you over? Gotta take some stuff out. Look through the Nice-to-have stuff you're carrying. Do you really need that Spiderman 2 extra features DVD? Do you need so many pairs of socks if you're going to be in a tropical country? Trust me its a lot easier doing this at home than at the airport when you're already running late for your flight.

What do you Need?

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy tells us that the most important possession any traveller can have is his towel. Just as THGTTG is right about the meaning to life, the universe and everything, it is also right on this point. Many hostels will charge to hire a towel so its good to have your own. Also your towel you can use your towel as a pillow on long flights. It can be used as a blanket on the buses in Southeast Asia when they crank up they AC to the point of giving their passengers hypothermia.

For clothes you will need lots of changes of underwear. Maybe four t-shirts. A Jumper and a longsleeved shirt. Two pairs of pants. You can wear pants a few times. T-shirts maybe a couple of times. But I don't know about you, but I like to have clean underwear everyday. I may be a dirty backpacker, but I have a little bit of class.

Depending on your first stop you may want to carry even less clothes. You can buy clothing for cheap in Southeast Asia, so you can just buy some more shirts and pants when you get there.

I've heard of the hardcore travelers that only have two changes of clothes including what they are wearing. They wash one change in the morning, leave it to dry while they wear the other. Next day they clean the other, and repeat. But I'm a lazy bastard and so I only want to deal with my laundry once a week.

There is going to be some things you'll need in some countries but not in others. In Australia you are going to want some camping gear and a good saw for getting firewood. People will think you're crazy for having a saw, but at every campground, the easy to et firewood will have already been taken by the 50 people that have camped there that week.

A good knife is also something I find useful. The knives at the hostels are often dull and useless so having your own sharp knife makes cooking a hell of a lot easier.


Learn to cook. This will save you a lot of money and you will get a lot of satisfaction out of eating a great meal you cook yourself.

When you get to a hostel, check the kitchen for what is available. There is usually a free food shelf with stuff other backpackers left behind. I've seen people cook entire meals out of what was left on the free food shelf. But if you don't enjoy ketchup sandwiches you are probably going to have to spend a little money at the supermarket. But sometimes you can find some interesting spices or sauces that you'd otherwise not try on the free food shelf which will make for an interesting meal.

Cooking isn't really that hard. Its mostly just trial and error. Its not hard to throw a steak or some fish into a frying pan with some onions and peppers, put some rice or potatoes into a pot and you will get a great meal.

And it is not all that boring to cook. There's always other people around in the kitchen you can chat to while you're cooking and women are always impressed by a guy that can cook.

Traveling Alone

There is no such thing as traveling alone.

Many people don't travel because they don't have anyone to travel with. You will not be lonely when you are traveling. Half the reason why you travel is to meet interesting people. Your fellow backpackers will be as interested in talking to you as you are in talking to them. You will meet some of the most interesting people you've ever met while traveling. They will think you are the most interesting person they've ever met too.

You hear a group of people planning to go out for a drink? Just say "mind if I tag along?" The answer will always be "Of course! The more people the better!"

You will see a lot of Koreans and Japanese who might seem unfriendly at first. But its really that they are just shy. You'll see them quietly reading their book but peaking over it and wanting to talk with people but not sure how to approach them. Go and talk to them and they will be very grateful that you made the effort.

Its just a Karma thing: try to make sure everyone else is having a good time and everyone will make sure you have a good time too.

Cultural Differences

Not a problem. In Asia, take off your shoes before you go into someone's house. Don't drink in public places in Muslim areas.

Learn to accept people's generosity without protest. This is hard for a lot of western people because we are so used to everything having a hidden price somewhere and think that if someone is giving you something it has to be a scam of some sort. Sometimes someone is offering you something simply because they like you and it makes them feel good to give you something.

Cultures are more the same than they are different really. If you are a laid back and relaxed person, people will like you. If you get angry and blow up at someone, people will lose respect for you. Just be cool and you'll be alright.

Share your booze and cigarettes with people and they are going to like you no matter where you go. Well maybe forget about the booze in Muslim areas but even there many people will drink, but just in private. Sharing your vices with people is a fast way to make friends.

Eat all the food offered to you. I've had people drive miles out of their way to take me to their home to have a meal with them. Once again, you have to be willing to accept generosity.

I suppose the most important thing to realise is that we are more the same then we are different. If you have a "them and us" attitude people will see that and reflect that attitude back at you. If you have a "we are all people" attitude that will be reflected back at you.


There are of course people you shouldn't trust. You have to follow your instincts on this one. If someone seems really desperate to get you to go somewhere then that sets off alarm bells for me. Its always good to know what someone's occupation is and where they work before you accept any kind of invitation from them. If they don't have a job then there's a good chance that their job is taking money from you.

There are no set rules to identifying a scam. If it seems to be too good to be true, then it probably is. If a really hot woman wants you five seconds after you met her you are either a hell of a lot better looking than me or you're about to be rolled. If someone you just met offers to take you on a tour of where ever for free, you're probably going to get a tour of some back alley.

Beware of the scams, but don't get into some kind of bunker mentality so that you're afraid of trusting anyone. If you find some good people and trust them, your experiences traveling will be so much better. You'll see things most people don't get to and save a lot of money because you'll be getting away from the tourist spots.

Don't Panic

As long as you have your health, some good food in your belly and somewhere to sleep, nothing else really matters. Just relax and enjoy the adventure.

When you travel you will see amazing things. You'll watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat. you will stare out the windows at Genkoan Temple and contemplate confusion and enlightenment. You'll camp under the stars in the Australian outback. Most importantly you will meet amazing people that you will share all of these experiences with.


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HOWTO: Quit Your Job and Travel the World. | 76 comments (48 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
My high school history teacher traveled the world (1.66 / 6) (#7)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun May 17, 2009 at 06:03:03 AM EST

I think it was just after he got out of college, in the early 1960s.

When he'd run out of money, he'd take a job wherever he found himself.

Somewhere in Europe he got a job as a tour bus driver, and drove it into the Soviet Union. He smuggled a bunch of Rubles taped to his leg. The Soviet border guards searched his bus, but he didn't get caught.

He was a movie actor in India. He got the roles because he was a white guy who owned a suit.


Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy

by loteck on Mon May 18, 2009 at 11:37:53 PM EST

"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich

[ Parent ]
"When he'd run out of money (none / 1) (#47)
by manjal on Wed May 20, 2009 at 05:14:22 PM EST

"When he'd run out of money, he'd take a job wherever he found himself."

yeah. try that nowdays.

[ Parent ]

Homeless people... (none / 0) (#48)
by k31 on Thu May 21, 2009 at 10:45:32 AM EST

...is an expanding sector. great job security. low responsibility. relaxed dress code.

Your dollar is you only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. He who has an EAR to hear....
[ Parent ]
some places its doable (none / 0) (#55)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 10:08:43 PM EST

notably in australia. you might only find manual labour jobs, but it pays very well and its no roblem to find something.

if you are a native english speaker you won't have much trouble getting a job teaching english in  most parts of asia.

its doable as long as you're travelling intheright places

[ Parent ]

Most parts of SE Asia I've been to (none / 0) (#69)
by Nursie on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:22:29 PM EST

Stamp "Employment prohibited" in your passport on entry.

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
HOWTO: take no responsibility for yourself (3.00 / 6) (#13)
by totmacher on Sun May 17, 2009 at 11:10:05 AM EST

and be a burden on foreign people

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus
you must be a lot of fun at parties (2.66 / 9) (#15)
by 5 dolla on Sun May 17, 2009 at 11:53:49 AM EST

[ Parent ]
yeah maybe i don't give in to the bullshit (1.75 / 4) (#33)
by totmacher on Mon May 18, 2009 at 03:50:13 PM EST

feel good rhetoric if it's based around the expectation that you rely on other people's good graces. i got nothing against traveling the world, i got everything against abusing other people's sense of charity

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus
[ Parent ]
I don't expect anything (none / 0) (#52)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 09:58:02 PM EST

some people feel good to give to others. Some people are intersted in other parts of the world. some people just want to practice their english.

You're to caught up in the culture of greed to really get it maybe. I'm not ayiing my lifestyle is for everyone, if  stayingwere you are makes you happy then go for it.

[ Parent ]

some people feel good to take from others too (none / 0) (#61)
by totmacher on Wed May 27, 2009 at 08:06:23 PM EST

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus
[ Parent ]
giving and receiving are both enjoyable (none / 0) (#71)
by SwingGeek on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 02:18:00 AM EST

What's the problem? Nothing in this article seemed to imply you should take advantage of people.

Have you ever heard of couchsurfing.com? It's a web site full of people who like to put other people up for no cost just for the interesting interactions.

[ Parent ]

Like he ever gets invited to any $ (none / 1) (#62)
by daveybaby on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:21:33 PM EST

[ Parent ]
I think it probably needs more (3.00 / 6) (#19)
by 5 dolla on Sun May 17, 2009 at 12:46:25 PM EST

so I pressed cancel.

and its still there.


with any luck (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by Del Griffith on Mon May 18, 2009 at 10:19:42 PM EST

it'll be here FOREVER as a reminder...

I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me

[ Parent ]

weird! (3.00 / 8) (#39)
by loteck on Mon May 18, 2009 at 11:39:50 PM EST

maybe its a bug, you should report it to rusty.
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich

[ Parent ]
i'm sure he'll fix it right away! (none / 1) (#57)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 10:25:25 PM EST

[ Parent ]
This calls for a Part 2? [nt] (none / 1) (#64)
by LodeRunner on Fri May 29, 2009 at 10:07:30 AM EST

"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner
[ Parent ]

a knife? in a plane?$ (none / 0) (#24)
by mirko on Mon May 18, 2009 at 12:30:39 AM EST

Finally I managed to make the decision that I would work on it. - MDC
we had to huddle together - trane
You don't use it on the plane. (none / 0) (#44)
by Scott Robinson on Wed May 20, 2009 at 12:47:07 PM EST

Checked baggage.

[ Parent ]
Still illegal in some countries. /nt (none / 0) (#45)
by BJH on Wed May 20, 2009 at 01:21:52 PM EST

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
HIREZ OR STFU. (none / 0) (#59)
by vectro on Sat May 23, 2009 at 01:52:50 AM EST

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
alternative materials (none / 0) (#74)
by tashw on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:49:36 PM EST

Ceramic, bone, glass and plastic knives can be discreetly taken to a plane, if one wants to avoid the hassle of luggage check-in.

[ Parent ]
millman? (none / 0) (#35)
by /dev/trash on Mon May 18, 2009 at 06:41:10 PM EST


Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
-1, Rich people should go sight-seeing (1.00 / 3) (#36)
by Korean Loller Blader on Mon May 18, 2009 at 07:07:39 PM EST

at museums, not cultures.
D'oh! I can't seem to talk to the mod_
"Doing things the cheap way." (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by ionajn on Tue May 19, 2009 at 05:22:49 PM EST

I was a Hospitality Club host for a year or so and hosted some 50 people for free. Most of my guests used promotional flights and/or hitchhiked. One couple even made profit in total: They bought the tickets for 1 cent each, stayed at our place and ate for free and on the way back dropped the questionnaires they filled during their trip and got 20 euros each.

Such hosts are abundant everywhere around the world. Even better if you can speak Esperanto or have any other talent (e.g. not being a jerk).

that was Bilbo's quote. (none / 0) (#41)
by Ron Paul on Tue May 19, 2009 at 06:29:29 PM EST

This [Ron Paul] Diary! has brought Kuro5hin back to life! HUZZAH

Lame. (none / 1) (#42)
by lemonjuicefake on Tue May 19, 2009 at 07:43:47 PM EST

Really lame.

Towel Day (none / 0) (#43)
by Pres on Tue May 19, 2009 at 10:49:19 PM EST

Kudos for the multiple Hitchhiker's Guide references.

Next monday is Towel Day, don't forget your towel!

where is the part about quitting your job (none / 1) (#46)
by manjal on Wed May 20, 2009 at 05:09:49 PM EST

 you know, a lot of people can barely survive with the money they make at their job... you dont really cover how you are supposed to live for a year with no income whatsoever.

'oh, save it'... ok.

like i said. a lot of people can barely afford to live as it is. and they are not buying luxxuries that they can 'cut back' on. they are buying food and soap and gasoline.

well you can work while yo travel (none / 0) (#56)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 10:23:20 PM EST

If you can afford a pane ticket to australia you cango there and wrk while you travel for a year.

if yu have absolutely no money at all you can still make some good money teaching english in korea... as long as you'r a native english speaker.

There's a whole world of opportunities out there, but you can't expect it to come t your frnt door. you gotta get out thee to find it.

[ Parent ]

Unless you have dependents- (none / 0) (#68)
by Joe Sixpack on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 06:23:28 AM EST

if you are in the industrilized world, you can save up some money & go travel.

I went to India for a couple of month when I was 20 with money I saved from an almost minimum-wage job I had at the time.

I lived a poor student's life (which I wouldn't want to do now), but if I've managed to save up enough despite earing about $5/hour at the time (I didn't have a TV or a computer, I took the bus to work, lived in a tiny shitty apartment with 3 other guys & used the local University's library & computer rooms for free).

You vastly underestimate how cheap the 3rd world is, and overestimate how much money you *really* need to live in the 1st.

[ Parent ]

yeah whatever kid (none / 0) (#73)
by manjal on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 05:28:34 PM EST

  1. today aint then

  2. there aint no buses that run at a lot of peoples work times

  3. there aint always a local university

[ Parent ]
I have to corroborate Mr. Sixpack (none / 0) (#75)
by vectro on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 07:32:36 AM EST

A few short years ago, I was earning minimum wage and saving money. For a healthy person with no dependents, this is possible in all but the most expensive parts of the country. Dunno where you are going with the bus schedule bit.

India is (or can be) extremely cheap, so the main expense in travelling there is in the air ticket.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

i'm confused (none / 0) (#49)
by the77x42 on Thu May 21, 2009 at 04:34:51 PM EST

this is a HOWTO. where is step one?

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

IAWTP (none / 0) (#50)
by Gruntathon on Fri May 22, 2009 at 01:59:55 AM EST

This is a HOWTO on travel the world. There was no quitting your job stuff here at all.
If they hadn't been such quality beasts (despite being so young) it would have been a nightmare - good self-starting, capable hands are your finest friend. -- Anonymous CEO
[ Parent ]
In the title. [nt] (none / 0) (#63)
by LodeRunner on Fri May 29, 2009 at 10:05:48 AM EST

"dude, you can't even spell your own name" -- Lode Runner
[ Parent ]

Travelling Alone. (none / 0) (#51)
by seanhbanks on Fri May 22, 2009 at 07:11:35 AM EST

You know, not everybody is some extroverted Facebook whore that wants to be friends with complete strangers. If I walk around on my own, it's because I enjoy it. That's why I am walking around in the middle of nowhere, to get away from your lot. I do not want to pair up with some gay tourist group. You're the fucking reason people hate back-packers and burn down hostels.

Besides, you can get free towels practically everywhere, no need to bring any.

Not in hostels (none / 0) (#54)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 10:04:31 PM EST

and not in many cheap guesthouses.

and if you don't want to meet people you're better off sitting at hme and looking at photos of interesting places rather than spend a lot f money to actully go there.

[ Parent ]

I forgot the most important tip of all (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by 5 dolla on Fri May 22, 2009 at 10:01:27 PM EST

when traveling in SE asia make sure you grab a roll of toilet paper from whatever guesthouse you're staying at. Most toilets (if youcould call a hole in the ground a toilet) don't have any and I  still haven't figureed out how to clean my ass with only a bucket of water.

poo in the bucket. (none / 0) (#60)
by the77x42 on Sun May 24, 2009 at 12:47:50 AM EST

"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
This material seems familiar (none / 0) (#58)
by vectro on Sat May 23, 2009 at 01:52:10 AM EST

I think it has been covered previously in greater detail.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
wikifail (none / 0) (#65)
by lostincali on Mon Jun 01, 2009 at 09:32:10 PM EST

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#66)
by vectro on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 04:13:31 PM EST

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
nevermind (none / 0) (#67)
by lostincali on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 06:10:57 PM EST

i misread wikipedia's failure to produce any information about the actual book as a search failure when, in fact, wikipedia's ISBN feature just sucks.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

That's the plan (none / 0) (#70)
by Have A Nice Day on Mon Jun 08, 2009 at 01:49:02 PM EST

Only without quitting the job, I'm taking it with me. After six months or so I just have to decide on a city to work from. Perhaps this isn't the in keeping with the spirit of what you're proposing, but it works for me. And I'll be doing it with a car. And good hotels if/when I feel like it.

Have A Nice Day may have reentered the building.
15kg (none / 1) (#72)
by drsmithy on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 03:57:57 AM EST

Why 15kg? Many airlines require that you are less than 15kg.

Which airlines are those ? I've done a fair bit of travelling over the last few years (albeit not as a backpacker) and the standard luggage allowances seem to be either 20kg or 23kg.

In the US it's even easier, since "carry on baggage" there seems to be anything up to what the rest of the world calls a full-size suitcase.

holy shit! (none / 0) (#76)
by Del Griffith on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 10:12:16 AM EST

I'm doing this now... too bad I wasn't first ...

I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me

HOWTO: Quit Your Job and Travel the World. | 76 comments (48 topical, 28 editorial, 0 hidden)
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