Many themes keep coming back in the motorcycle travel forums.
One of the things that seems to worry people is, coming back after travelling for a long period of time. How to find another job? How to quit work and maybe a successful ( if unfulfilling ) career? How to resume your life at the end of the trip?
Each traveller I have met (and I have met many!) is different and has different circumstances. I can only talk for me in this subject.
The first time I decided to go travelling for a year, around South America, risigning was a tough decision to make.
It had been so hard for me to build some sort of career. I went through years of minimum salary temp. jobs in France, after university, unable to get a permanent job. In France, unless you know someone and are part of some Business school and its network, it is extremely hard. Youth unemployment was, and is still, huge.
Then, I moved to London, finally landing a permanent job, in a big company. Through hard work and very long hours, studying and going through a lot of grief at work, I made my way from the bottom of the ladder to a decent wage… yes, resigning was hard. Would I find a job again? Ever? Would I get the opportunity to even resume a career I had spent over 10 years building?
It was scary. I hated my job, but I still needed to work after my trip.
I took the plunge, and Alistair with me. After a year around South America with the bikes, we came back home.
We found jobs, quickly and at the same level than when we left. Since then, we have come and go many times. We now both work as contractors, giving us much flexibility for our trips.
My CV has more holes than a Swiss cheese, and yet, I seem to be very much in demand, in my industry. At least for now.
What most overlanders will have is a sense of purpose, independence, problem solving skills, the hability not to panic when the SHTF… all qualities that are in demand. No boss wants to worry about their staff. Turn up on time, do the job well done with minimum fuss, don’t made demands, be nice to everyone and at all times, even the one you would love to punch in the face… That big gap in your CV should not be a problem.
My first overland trip changed me. I learnt a lot. It made me confident enough to apply for jobs I would have thought beyond “my level”….
Do you come back to your previous life? Not really. You may appear to… but everything will be different.
For me, the only way to keep my sanity at work these days, is to plan the next trip!
The hardest part of any first long trip is not the trip itself and its challenges. No, the hardest part is making the decision to go, making that leap unto the unknown, plunging way beyond your comfort zone. That is the very hard part.
As one guy, who had never done anything or gone anywhere, told me angrily, “anyone can do it”! Indeed, anyone can travel overland by motorbike, yet, very few chose to. Why? Because that leap of faith, that jump into the unknown, is too hard for most to comtemplate. However, without risks, there are no rewards.
Can you jump?