Don’t be one of those people who says “One day I would like to travel”. The chances are that you never will. There is never a perfect time, not when you first leave university or when you become an empty nester and the kids have grown up and finally left home. If you want to realise your dream, you have to make it happen and make time for it.
Many of us at some point have become tired of our jobs and have dreamt of quitting them to travel and have more freedom.
That is what happened to me. I was sick of my job, I wanted a career change and needed time off to find myself again. I loved being a photographer but I was tired of the pressure of fulfilling a new brief every day. I wanted an adventure, a new challenge, something that I could be proud of.
So how did I end up quitting my job and 24 months later having my first food and travel book published?
I have always loved illustrated food and travel books, the touch, the smell, and how the beautiful photography draws you in and almost take you there to experience new cultures and tastes. After discussing how I felt with Sophia, my French/Moroccan wife, it was obvious that producing a food and travel book about Morocco seemed the right thing to do. Neither of us were writers, we weren’t chefs, yet food seem to provide the perfect vehicle for us explore Morocco and to delve into its soul.
So how do you prepare to quit your job and to ride that rollercoaster of excitement and fear in following your dream? Before you put your money where your mouth is, resign and book flights, it’s a good idea to be clear about how you intend to do something different. It comes down to planning.
Here are some things you should consider before embarking on quitting your job and travelling.
Set your sights
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” (C.S Lewis)
Don’t solely rest on hopes and dreams. If you plan on making your travel goals successful, they must be specific and measurable, actionable, realistic, and have a fixed time span. A goal would include when, where, what do you plan to do, and how long you will be travelling for.
Having a clear written goal significantly increases your chance of achieving it.
Prepare before jumping into the abyss
Do your research. Connect with as many experienced people as possible and ask for advice. Calculate how much money you need to survive each month. It might involve getting a job while travelling, using all your savings, or creating a passive income stream online. The one thing you do need to do is to minimise your financial obligations at home. Start saving money, cut your expenses. We moved from our house into a small apartment to reduce our ongoing costs and to give us more flexibility with our timeline in case of unforeseen delays with producing our book. Another alternative is rent out your home while you are travelling.
In our case because we were planning on travelling and producing a book, our preparation included pitching our book idea to prospective book publishers. Our initial pitch was 56 pages of colourful photography, sample writing, example recipes, and how this book would be unique to all others. The story really became about Sophia and I, a newly married couple putting everything on the line to realise our dreams, and our relationship with Morocco.
Be confident, don’t worry too much about things that haven’t happened yet, but be genuine about why you want to do this. We had always wanted to do a book together, but we really wanted to have our own business creatively linking our two countries, Australia and Morocco together. We now have our first book published, “The Colour of Maroc”, which is a collection of stories inspired by the people, food and our experiences of travelling through Morocco. We have now also started a business that is linked to local charities to support education and sustainability in Moroccan rural communities. You can the results of our journey on our website.
Never give up as anything is possible. You will be surprised at how much ingenuity and creativity you have when you’re 100% committed to something. However, it can be a long path to reach your goal, so be prepared for some hard work and tears. Take one step at a time and don’t get overwhelmed by the scale of it all.
This may seem obvious, but when travelling overseas, learn some of the language of the country you are visiting. Even the smallest phrase can go a long way. A smile can go even further.
Packing it all in and leaving a career behind to travel is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Has it been hard, frustrating, scary? Absolutely, and yet I would do it all again.
Our journey has taken over 24 months to reach this point. Along the way we’ve learnt a lot about travelling and publishing a book, but more importantly we have learnt a lot about each other and that’s what it was all about.