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Quit Your Desk Job And Travel The World

By Jess Barnard

I quit my 9-5! I am following my dreams! I have my own business! I am ready to create the life I want! I am going to travel the world! I’m booking a flight off impulse – don’t try and stop me!

Wow, I thought so many of you remote working travel people were full of it, but this really is the best decision I have ever made for myself.

A few things that had crossed my mind whilst scrolling “travel influencer” type content on social media:

  • “That is so impractical.”
  • “This is the epitome of do it for the gram.”
  • “You did not sleep there!” (please check out @youdidnotsleepthere on IG.)

Excuses I repeatedly used to not take the leap to independent work/travel (even though I wanted it with all my heart):

  • “I’m building a 401K!  I should really not give this up!” (I legitimately still don’t know what this is or why I need one).
  • “I have a consistent salary and company health insurance. Stability is key. I better stay.”
  • “This job is preparing me for the next job… when I get that one I’ll make more money, be able to save, and travel/go on vacation when I really deserve it.”

But the thought that crossed my mind most often was:

  • “I wish I could do that.”

Oof, those six words:


Wishing sucks. Those words don’t feel good to think, let alone say out loud and admit to yourself. Envy is a gross feeling. Especially when you’re unhappy or wanting a change that doesn’t seem feasible. But then again, you’re also fully aware that… YOU AND YOU ALONE ARE IN THE DRIVER SEAT OF YOUR OWN LIFE. YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN IF YOU REALLY WANT IT. YOU HAVE FACED CHALLENGES AND TAKEN THEM HEAD ON. THIS IS NO DIFFERENT!

Sometimes practicality is just a straight up dream killer. That free spirit inside of you is urging you to do something scary, take a bigger risk, fight for whatever it is that makes you feel ALIVE. You know when people say, “I feel excited to wake up every morning and do work that matters to me”. Or, “When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” Okay, now that second one is really cliché – but there is definitely some truth to it. Many can attest.

I’ve grown to be a practical person in order to protect myself. I’ve taken “smart risks” only. I feel like I completely smashed any free spirited nature of mine in order to survive. To have a good job, make money, eventually make more money, and be happy.

OKAY, OKAY YOU WERE ALL RIGHT, MONEY/TITLES DO NOT BUY HAPPINESS. Geez, a woman has to figure that out on her own, alright?

Plus, its kind of tough out here for a single, nearly 30 year old woman to try and discover her own greatness, true potential, and success all while society is constantly telling her to “consume, consume, consume! Work harder than men! But look good while doing it. But like… not too good. Seize and say yes to every opportunity even if you’re not being compensated appropriately or equally! If you’re not overworked, you’re not doing it right! Juggle life, but act like you’re not even trying. You can have it all! Be confident and direct… but like… don’t come off too pushy…”

Okay, I know you’re not here for my feminist rant. Back to the travel bit.

So I did it! I quit my desk job and I took the leap to freelance work and gained this incredible new sense of independence. It’s an entirely new set of challenges and fears, but I wake up every morning excited to begin my day. Along with that, I am starting with a journey home. The place I was born but don’t really know. The place where my roots reside. I am kicking off this new way of life with 6-8 weeks in the beautiful country of the Philippines. It’s not quite country hopping, but with over 7,100 islands it sure can feel like it. Someone once told me, if you want to find yourself, and know yourself better, always start with your mother.

It’s been over a decade since I have spent a significant amount of time with my mom. I am ready to get to know her; you know, as a person. Ask her questions. Understand her worldview. Understand her life as a farmer, entrepreneur, and all around boss lady. As one of the youngest of 16, a former housekeeper for the President of the Philippines, and owner of a coconut plantation… I am preparing myself for some solid gold storytelling.

After that? Well, sir or ma’am, thank you for asking. Stay tuned for my dream round the world AirTrek coming up later this week! In the meantime, if you’re dreaming and wishing to travel the world, and battling excuses not to do it, why not map a dream trip of your own? Try playing around with the AirTreks Trip Planner Tool. See what happens.

Wow, you made it to the end? Can we be friends now!? Follow me here: @jesssbarnard

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