What ties you to your cubicle? Are you afraid to quit because you think it'll be the end of your career? Do you cling to excuses like, "I'll do it next year," or "I can't afford it?"
Maybe you're happy at your job, you love your life and you don't want to change a thing. But if you're reading this article, I doubt that.
If you feel yourself identifying to any of the signs below, it's time to quit your job and book a trip:
1. A strict schedule feels like a death sentence.
You wake up the same time every day, have the same breakfast and listen to the same podcast on the way to work. You take a break at noon and have a list of your regular lunch spots.
You're comfortable, but are you happy? Do you find yourself looking out the window, wishing you were anywhere but there? Do you pour over job postings? No one is excited to go into work every day, but if you find yourself dreading it more than looking forward to it, take a step back.
What were you like in college? Did you study and write your papers at the same time every day? Did you religiously hit a 6:30 am yoga class? Or, did you take a few hours off in the afternoon and drink a beer on the roof with your friends?
I worked a part-time job in college, went to (almost) all of my classes and held down leadership positions on our union activities board. I easily worked more than eight hours a day, but the freedom and ability to break it up made a huge difference for me. While traveling, you get to make your own schedule, and you're all about flexibility.
2. Your dream job isn't what you thought it'd be.
I always imaged myself in a "Mad Men" situation. I wanted to work in advertising, and I made it happen. Maybe I'll still work in the field someday, but the dream job I thought I'd nabbed didn't end up being something I loved.
It was more than just disliking the fact I was at the bottom of the food chain. There wasn't any flexibility to contribute in the way I would've liked. I didn't have the opportunity to use what I've always been told is my greatest strength: my creativity.
A lot of us have an idea of what we think our futures will look like. Are you staying at your job because you love it, or because it's what you thought you wanted? If you don't know the answer to that question, you need to figure it out. Traveling gives you time to think, especially when you travel alone. As cliched as it sounds, you deserve the opportunity to figure out and pursue what your passion is.
3. You don't want the life your co-workers have.
For the most part, I've always gotten along with my coworkers. I've worked with some truly talented people whom I greatly admire. I ended up leaving one job because when I looked around the room, I didn't want the lives any of my superiors had.
They all seemed so unhappy. They worked far beyond 5 pm, ate lunches at their desks and never saw their families (if they even had them) because they were married to their careers. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, have things (for the most part) figured out and have lives you think you might want someday.
You meet so many people traveling. When I went on a trip alone to Hawaii earlier this year, I was blown away by how many people talked to me. Every roommate I had in the hostel I stayed in was from a different country. I even met people from my city whom I had friends in common with.
Travelers are a diverse group of people. Being exposed to people different from you will give you some clarity on the kind of people you want to surround yourself with and the life you want.
4. You fell out of love.
People change. I know I'm nothing like the girl I was 10 years ago. I both figured out I didn't love my boyfriend anymore on a trip, and I turned to travel when we broke up. But, relationships aren't the only thing you can lose the loving feeling from.
Maybe the city you loved in your early 20s isn't doing it for you anymore. Maybe you feel like you have less and less to talk about with your friend group. And if you find yourself thinking about why you do the job you do, you fell out of love with your 9-to-5.
If you choose to travel, things will change. Change is scary to a lot of people, but it's not as scary as looking back on your life at 80 and wondering where the time went.
I don't regret a single trip I've been on. The older you get, the harder travel is to pull off. You might have kids, you might get sick and you might need to take care of your parents. Take a chance, and break up with a 9-to-5. If it's meant to be, you'll get back together.