Why I quit my job to travel longer and slower
Everyone loves to travel. Or at least I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t. Many times we travel to do/see specific things, but most of the time we travel to escape from reality. Especially for city dwellers (I’m from sunny Singapore btw), we travel to get away from the work that never ends and the monotony of life.
The problem though, is that we have limited annual leave and it’s difficult to justify spending all that on one or two trips. The breaks are just too precious so we often cram many things into a short period to make the most out of it. Unless it’s a quick weekend getaway, we usually come back from a trip a little exhausted because we were rushing from one attraction to another. Then comes the holiday hangover where we become unproductive for a week and spend endless hours looking at travel photos or dreaming of the next destination.
Tired of being stuck in this eternal loop of working months before a short and expensive (trade time for money) holiday, I quit my job of a year. 10 months on and I’m currently in Ecuador doing a 76 days trip around South America. Between then and now, I’ve also done at least five trips ranging from 5-21days (I digress but If you’re wondering how I’m sustaining it, check out the about me page).
This is pretty extreme and I’m not suggesting you do the same (unless you can/found a way to do it too), but it gave me the opportunity to travel longer and appreciate the beauty of slower travel.
Which is why I decided to list down the reasons why it’s better to travel longer and slower. Even if it means having only one main trip a year and not doing as much “activities” during each trip.
(1) You see more
You know the famous minimalist saying that less is more? It applies to traveling as well. By doing less, we have more time to focus on each thing and see more. It’s amazing how much one can discover about the country, attitudes of the government, and unique cultural quirks just by observing the locals.
Spending longer at each place also increases the chance of that perfect serendipitous travel moment that we’re always searching for.
(2) Chance to do things again if something screws up
Something always goes wrong whenever we travel because Murphy loves us too much. Whether it’s a late bus, rogue tour agent, or simply bad weather, hiccups can make or break a holiday. Can you imagine going all the way to another country for an activity but not get to do it cause someone/something screwed up? Setting aside more time for travel gives you a second chance to do it again.
(3) You actually recharge
The point of a holiday is to recharge so you return refreshed and ready for new challenges right? Rushing around makes you tired and doesn’t help refresh you for sure. Our senses get overloaded and we get tired before dinner.
Slow down, take a chill pill, chew your food, sleep enough and relax.
(4) There is time to contemplate about life
One of the best thing about being on a longer holiday is that you finally have time to contemplate about the meaning of life or whatever it is you are concerned about.
Apparently being in an entirely new environment typically tricks our brain into some creative contemplative overdrive.
Whether it’s due to the stress free environment, or the excitement and uncertainty being in a new place, we finally have the chance to unlock the mysteries of our mind. I exaggerate but you get my drift.
(5) Quality time with your loved ones or yourself
Traveling with your loved ones is one of the best ways to create new shared memories. But rushing around tires us out, and we end up talking less and becoming more irritable. You don’t want to let one sour moment spoil the entire memory! Even if you’re traveling alone, being tired makes everything around you less enjoyable too.
(6) It makes you a better person
A short holiday is almost always comfortable and enjoyable. Even if it’s not, it’ll be over in an instant. But being away from home in an unfamiliar environment for a longer period of time is a great way to discover more about yourself.
Whether you’re alone, with your friends or partner, living away from home brings up all the unconscious good and nasty. And learning more about yourself and others help make you a better person.
Think a friend needs to read this or disagree with some of the points? Comment, share, debate!
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