I love the people who read this blog. It used to be like, 7, people. But now I have lots of college-age kids who check in for their daily dose of wanderlust.
So, you lovely college readers, why does it seem like you all want to drop out of school!? I get about 5 e-mails a week asking me if I think it’s a good idea. After all, since I followed my passion for travel you should too, right?
Remember how I told you guys I have a back-up plan? I got a degree that I don’t see as a waste. I even worked for a year after I got the degree to build my resume, and once I decided to move to India permanently, I still went out to Seattle to work for three months as a travel nurse, not only to build my resume but also to make some cash. When I recently went Home to Ohio, I made sure to keep my certifications up to date for nursing.
Believe it or not, my mom and dad don’t send me money to be living out here. As a travel nurse with expenses paid, plus working overtime (most weeks 5 or 6 days a week doing 12 hour shifts). I saved almost all the money I made but I will tell you that it’s starting to dwindle.
If you quit school to travel:
How will you afford to travel?
What will your backup plan be?
How will you enjoy this new passion of travel while you’re stressed about having no money and ending up in a ditch in five years?
Your parents will kill you.
You’re quitting. Why quit when you’re half way through?
I did do that… after college
I will never answer an e-mail telling someone to quit school…
and actually, if you ask me, I’ll probably just send you a link to this post!
Yes, I know you can learn more about life while on the road and it’s the real stuff, and you might never need that microbiology class you took. You might not even use your degree. I definitely don’t have a degree in writing as you can tell by my grammar every day.
As an American, a degree is something that is nice to have on the back burner. It’s a great accomplishment and it will be there when you might need it some day. I know how important a degree or two is for gaining employment in America. People from other countries sometimes have a luxury of not needing a degree for a job as badly as Americans do- and they definitely don’t have to go for Master’s and such like we do.
It’s not the same in other countries, but our culture has really made a diploma the number one most important factor in getting a job, while many other countries put personality, skills, and potential ahead of a degree.
In the U.S. without one (and sometimes with one) you could end up a hostess at Red Lobster making 10 bucks an hour. Although considering my lack of real income at the moment, that doesn’t sound half-bad. Sometimes I miss having a clock-in, clock-out job and a steady paycheck. I like knowing I have something like that to fall back on.
It’s a little different when I get e-mails along these lines:
“I am a senior in High School and I don’t know what to major in at University. Instead of taking out a loan for school, I’d rather travel for a year. I have 4k. Is that enough?”
This is a tricky one because it depends on the person.
How mature are you? At 18 can you really travel alone and not be scared or worried? Will you not feel left out when all your friends are in class or hanging out at frat parties? Do you really have no idea what you want to do for a career? If you do decide later to go to school, are you okay knowing that you’ll be older than everyone which will make you feel a little behind?
I’m not about spending 100k on school and was lucky to have a scholarship plus parents that helped with the rest. It’s a tough spot and not one that I feel I can be much help with.
You can stay in school and still follow your passion of travel.
Lastly, I want to let you know that you can go to school, get a 9-5 job and still be passionate about travel. You can still find ways to travel more than two weeks a year to Florida. Lots of people blog about this like, Cest Christine.
Think about what major is going to help you get a job that will involve travel, whether it’s fashion or international business. Most fields you can find a way to get abroad- but it’s something you need to decide from the beginning of your college career. You might need a minor; maybe you need a double major in another language.
What matters is making travel a priority, but just because I left my job as a nurse, doesn’t mean I think everyone should drop out of school or has to do it the way I did. I would NEVER have dropped out of school you guys!
This “Travel” life isn’t all roses
(Ok, it’s mostly roses.)
I won’t pretend likeleaving nursing was a decision made without a blink of the eye. It wasn’t hard to leave, but I definitely have these fleeting moment of panic when I’m watching money drain out of my account and no more is coming in. Being a masseuse is a nice way to earn money, but it’s not consistent. I’m actually working on a tiny side project now to make another form of income to supplement massage and blogging. By the end of the year, I probably won’t have made 25% of what I used to (If I don’t buy a pair of Aldo shoes every month) but it’s enough for India.
You have to realize that if you leave school, you have NO ‘fall back’. You might get out there to travel and realize just how much you love being home and having a normal life. You have to ask yourself: What about when I have kids? What about retirement? What about when I literally run out of money? What if all my job ideas abroad fail? I have looked into opening restaurants, guesthouses, taxi companies, cafe’s, now massage, blogging, and my newest venture that’s a secret… I considered nursing here, home health, day care.. the options were limitless but not easy to obtain.
It’s a risk I took, but I live with my boyfriend here and I’m not doing this all alone. It’s a huge decision to make, and I know I wouldn’t have ever left school- which is why I won’t advise you to do so.
If travel is your passion, it will happen. You don’t need to rush it.
I can promise you that if you have no money, no resume to fall back on (degree or not), you won’t enjoy travel in the way that I do. You won’t be staying in 5 star resorts. You won’t be eating at the nicest restaurants in town or drinking 20 dollar glasses of wine at the nicest bar in Singapore.
You see me post on Instagram and on here about all these amazing places- and I didn’t get them by dropping out of school. I got them by saving my money!
Ok, am I starting to sound too much like a mom now? I’ll stop before you un-follow my blog :)
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.
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