Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How to Quit Your job and Surf the Dream

It's everyone's perfect fantasy, right next to a threesome with Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly.

Give up everything you've got and drift to where the wind takes you.

It sounds like a huge effort, like it's almost too hard, but the fact of it is that you're really only 5 months away from making it a reality.

How do I know?

Well I've just done it.

Plan your trip......

Okay, that might be the wrong word. Fudge something that resembles a trip together so you've got something to work towards. It doesn't matter if you change it, hell I changed mine 3 times before I set foot in the airport.

Get your passport.......

Even if you're not going for 2 years, these things last for 15. Just get it done!

Buy your ticket.......

This is very important. You've now taken your first real steps towards leaving. You now have a reason to make your lunch each day instead of buying it, skip on the last pint and not buy that really cool 42 inch flat screen you've been eyeing off the past 2 weeks.

Apply for visas........

If your $ isn't going to carry you for 12 months you're going to want to work to get some money. Although cash in hand work is always the best way to go, it's not always on offer. It cost me $232.00 and took 4 days to get my work permit for the UK. Be warned to get this done early, I've heard it take up to 6 weeks.

**Note for the UK Visa** If you say you're trip starts on the 20th June but you don't get to the UK until December beware!!! This visa starts the day you say your trip starts, even if you don't arrive in the UK for 6 months. I ended up going with the 2 year visa which allows me to work incidental to my holiday for up to 12 months.

Take Spanish lessons......

Que? (pronounced like manuell from Faulty Towers, Keh?) Not going to Spain? Spanish is spoken throughout Central America..... Going to Indonesia instead? The take Indonesian lessons. Oh, so you're going to Paris...... do I need to go on?

Learning the language before will give you a much needed leg up when you arrive. Okay, so you won't have a clue what the taxi driver is saying when he rattles on about how his wife left him with 3 kids for a bus driver, but you will know how to ask for food, water, hotels, where the waves are ? And no matter how much you think you can't remember, it will come back to you when you arrive. It's better to know a bit and forget then not know at all...... right?

Get a second job........

But I'm leaving to get away from work, why would I want another job? The more money you can save before you leave means the longer you can be away living the unemployed life and enjoying life.

At the moment you're already working and miserable, why not be just as miserable and earn more money?

Carefully chosen, a second job won't bring you to the point of giving it all up. I got work at one of my local pubs situated right next door to a backpackers. You could spend the weekend drinking, socialising, trying to impress and meet the barmaids while hitting on backpackers. Or you could spend the weekend serving beer, socialising, meeting and working with the barmaids while the backpackers try and hit on you for discount drinks.

You get nearly all the benefits of a night/day out at the pub without the hangover...... and you get paid for it. Plus you will get staff drinks when you do decide to have a beer, and generally get a knock off beer when you finish anyway.

Plus now that you have pub experience you'll breeze into any pub job in the world, Aussie accents mean you're a shoe in.

Buy what you will need for the next 12 months..............

How do I know what I'll need for 12 months?

Well here's what I started with
  • Backpack (65 litres should be fine, 75 at a pinch. You don't want to look like a german backpacker do you?)
  • Tech Towel
  • Toiletries
  • 2 pairs of shoes, including the ones on your feet
  • 3 shorts
  • 3 t's
  • 2 long sleeve shirts
  • 1 pair boardies
  • jeans
  • Underwear - personal choice but under no circumstances should you be wearing the backwards, inside out, or backwards inside out..... you never know when fantasy #1 might come up
  • Guitar (I wouldn't go without it, travel is like a muse for me)
  • Surfboard (if you're planning to do a lot of surfing take your own or buy one there, renting will cost you $15-$30 a day)
  • Digital Camera
  • Video Camera (I'm a videographer at heart, it's a must for me(
  • IPOD (or some listening device, really should be in the musts list)
  • Laptop (I need something to edit the video with)

Shoot up........

Incase you're a heroin addict, it's not what it seems. Go to your GP and find out what immunisations you might need and get the proof. Some countries won't let you enter if you have not got proof of some immunisations.

Quit your job!

Short of stepping foot off the plane at your first port of call, this could quite possibly be the most fun par of the entire trip.

This will require some tact though, you don't want to burn the bridges you've worked hard to build over in your working life. Keep the letter short and to the point, and make sure that you include your reasons for leaving and thank your employer for the opportunities.

If you're planning on working while traveling make sure you ask for some references and see if you can put them down as a referee.

Throw out all your crap........

If you're anything like me, you've got too much shit! Clothes that you never wear, dvd's that you never watch, and paper work which you got 10 years ago.

Be ruthless, keep nothing but the essentials but remember that you've got to find somewhere to store it while you're away. Best bets are mates with big shed's or mum and dad's place.

Tie up loose ends.............

That's right, and there's lots and lots of them. Start changing the address on the bills 2 months prior to travel to ensure you get them all.

If you have life, health, car insurance check to see if you can put them on hold for a year, that way you won't have to go back through the 1st year without claims again.

Have the trip of a lifetime........

Are you still here? Go! Get lost. Get on the plane and get out of here. You're done.......


Dilip Ramachandran said...

good work - might be doing it sometime in the next two years, who knows

Birdman said...

Go for it Dilip!

Best thing I've ever done, and it has opened up the door to more opportunities, adventures and friendships then I ever thought were possible.