It’s 3 p.m. You’re in your usual post-lunch fog, pouring yourself a caffeinated afternoon pick-me-up. You’re feeling overworked and under-inspired. And you keep thinking that someday, you will take a break from your routine to get out there and experience the world. That day might be sooner than you think. Because the time may never feel quite “right,” here are eight compelling reasons to stop dreaming and start doing.
It will show your strengths.
Here’s the thing. It takes guts to quit your job. It requires courage to leave your comfort zone for an extended period of time. And it takes a certain type of person to recognize this, and do it anyway. A leave of absence on your résumé shows future employers that you are a risk taker, innovator, and bold decision maker. It demonstrates that you aren’t afraid of a little struggle, and don’t flinch at thinking outside of the box. Forward-thinking employers value brave employees.
It will teach you stress management.
Few things are quite as stressful as being: 1) stuck on a broken-down bus, 2) for six hours, 3) with no cash or snacks on you, 4) in the middle of the night, 5) in the rain, 6) with a backpack full of soaked clothes strapped to the roof, 7) in a country where you don’t speak the language. Suddenly, getting caught in traffic and missing your yoga class back home seems like less of a big deal. Long-term travel comes with some serious challenges, and navigating them successfully will make you a master at staying calm under pressure. This trait will suit you well in both personal and professional settings.
You can afford it.
Seriously. It may sound cliché when people suggest skipping your daily Starbucks latté to save up for your next trip. But when you run the numbers, you’ll see that small changes add up to big savings. And traveling in developing countries is CHEAP! The average night in a budget hotel costs what you likely spent on lunch today. Also, never lose sight of the fact that most of your bills are a choice. Car payments, gym memberships, organic produce deliveries… the majority of us simply can’t afford every single thing we want in life. So if a leave is what you’re craving, make the sacrifices to make it happen. And while we’re on the subject…
Money will come and go your entire life.
It’s true. You make it, spend it, earn it, waste it, save it, lose it. Every month, money is coming in and money is going out. But you know what only goes? TIME. There’s no paycheck that is going to replenish the years you have left in your life. So, switch up your perspective, and begin spending your time as carefully as your money.
It will make you more interesting.
Have you ever heard the old adage about hiring someone that you’d like to have a beer with? Be that person. Taking time away from your career to engage in more worldly pursuits will give you tons to talk about. And your prospective bosses will take notice. Millennials and their experience-craving, remote-working, passion-pursuing ways have changed the way employers view their workforce. Don’t be afraid of taking a break from your day-to-day to do something amazing.
Nobody will notice how long you were gone.
What feels like a momentous life changing departure for you is but a momentary blip back in the office. Time goes by SO much more quickly when you’re in a routine, each day blending seamlessly into another. It is pretty much guaranteed that when you return from a long leave, most people will be surprised that you are already back. They may even be working on the same project, complaining about the same broken copy machine. When every day is a new adventure, time slows down infinitely , and you’ll be shocked by how little you actually miss.
You will learn applicable skills.
Have you ever negotiated a taxi ride in a foreign language? Managed a budget over three months in six currencies? Coordinated countless flights, visas, and vaccines? If you can’t demonstrate how the skills acquired while traveling translate to the working world, you aren’t trying hard enough. You could even tailor your journey to your particular industry, with volunteer or creative projects along that way, reenforcing that you were on more than a personal mission. So much can be learned outside of the office.
You will regret the things you don’t do more than those you do.
At the risk of sounding trite, it’s true. Nobody lays on their death bed wishing they went after fewer of their dreams. You’ve probably got a handful of decades left on this planet—What better time is there than now to make the most of it? It’s far better to have a life filled with “oh wells” than “what ifs”.
Have you ever taken time off to travel? Are you thinking about it?