How I Quit My Job To Travel The World

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

One of the best decisions I ever made…

After years of dreaming about it, I quit my 25+ year career in Corporate America to solo travel the world full time. I thought it would be for 3 – 6 months. Four years later, it’s become a way of life. I traded life in a cubicle for views like Machu Picchu, Perito Moreno glacier, and the never-ending plains of Namibia.

I didn’t know it would happen, but traveling full time allowed me the time to ask myself “who am I”, “who do I want to be”, and “what do I want to do with the rest of my life”. These are questions you don’t get to ask when you’re in a “9-to-5,” bring home stress and then have to take care of the rest of your obligations. Except, due to working from home so much during the pandemic, you got the chance I did, albeit in potentially less enjoyable scenery. 

Machu Picchu.

Photo by Heather Markel, copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.

Watching articles come out about “The Great Resignation” it’s clear that it’s becoming normal, and more frequent, to quit good jobs. When I quit, people thought I was crazy to walk away from all the money and benefits. Now, more people are beginning to understand that success isn’t about having lots of money and the stuff you buy with it, it’s about finding who you are and having the courage to be that person, no matter what. You’ve begun to confront that you want more meaning and fulfillment in your life, and sitting at a desk job 40+ hours, or more, isn’t cutting it.

Dead Acacia trees in Africa


Photographs by Heather Markel. Copyright 2020

Now four years into full-time travel, I feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment than in my entire corporate career. I confronted sheer terror and ziplined 17 cables in Costa Rica. I solo traveled, by bus, throughout much of South America. I visited Machu Picchu and Easter Island, saw the big 5 in Africa, and drank malbec in Mendoza. I’ve learned how resourceful I am, and that the real world works very differently than I could understand from the comfort of a stable job. Instead of feeling pulled in seven directions, stressed out, overwhelmed and tired, I now feel centered, and have a deep sense of connection between my head and heart.

“I have a deep sense of connection between my head and my heart.”

Watching the sun rise on Easter Island.

Photos by Heather Markel. Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.

It wasn’t easy to change my life. In fact, I struggled for years with the “normal life” I was “supposed to” live. I spent years telling friends I’d quit and then not do it. I created a posh lifestyle and didn’t understand how I’d afford it without a job. I had a nice apartment, could buy whatever I wanted, and take nice vacations. The problem was, my life felt empty. I love my friends and family, but I felt like I was rotting away at a desk job where I couldn’t find the meaning and purpose of my time there, apart from money. I felt there had to be more to life than waiting until retirement to enjoy myself.

The northern lights dancing in Iceland.

Photo by Heather Markel, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.

I finally had the courage to quit and am so proud of myself for doing it. I thought I was just taking a career break to find a different job. Instead, I made a way of life I never imagined was possible. I’ve learned to follow my heart instead of letting my mind control my life. Pre pandemic, I got to 25 countries and 6 continents. Of all places in the world, my heart led me to New Zealand in February, 2020, and that’s where I’ve ridden out the pandemic.

Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo by Heather Markel, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.

The question I’m asked the most is, “how do you afford all the travel”, including being marooned in New Zealand for 18 months. To answer that, and some other great questions, I’ve put together a free training with 5 simple steps you can use to quit your job and travel full time, based on everything I’ve learned from my experiences. You can watch it free, no sign-up required, by clicking here. Enjoy! 

Whether traveling full time was your dream before the pandemic, or after, this session will help you understand how to prepare, what you need to know, and how to get your finances in order to make it happen. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the “How To Afford The Travel Life” eBook. You’ll also get an understanding of both what’s great about full-time travel and some of the challenges. You can also discuss planning help, and how to get the most out of your experience.

Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve all had a chance to ask the question, “what now?” If you’ve decided it’s time to quit your 9-to-5 to travel full time (or take it with you while you live nomadically), this program will help you address the core mindset, money, and planning gaps you have. This is the program that will help you acknowledge and overcome your fears about what’s next, figure out how to afford and sustain your travels, and feel confident about planning your adventure. Book your free session to see if you’re a fit!

You want to quit and travel full time, but when can you go? This eBook gives you all the formulas you need to calculate when you can quit and afford the travel lifestyle you want, in under and hour.

You’re finally serious about traveling full time, but you cannot figure out how you’ll afford it. Or, you’re just curious whether it’s really even possible to afford the lifestyle. Bootcamp is for you! We’ll go dive deep into savings strategies before you go, how to save on the road, and how to sustain your travels, as well as look at lots of work opportunities if you want to work while you travel! Includes a 3-day build your budget challenge to get you thinking about how to replace dreams with real logical steps to make it happen.

You know you don’t like your job, but you can’t figure out how to survive without it. Designed for frustrated professionals the program focuses on teaching you the key steps to shifting your work and money mindsets, and giving you the money and work strategies to pursue, leaving you empowered to quit with confidence and see that it really is possible to live happily without a stable job.

Most of what’s keeping you from what you want – full-time travel, a new business idea, a radical career shift – are your excuses. After one session with Heather, you’ll understand which excuses are holding you back the most, how to get them out of the way, and you’ll leave with an action plan that helps you set the foundation to pivot into the life you want.

You’ve dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you’ve learned that it’s a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you’re not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

It’s always been essential to understand your money, but if you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, now it’s even more important that you create financial empowerment. In this session, Heather will work with you to first understand your gaps in managing your money, then she’ll help you with the framework on how to ensure you can afford the life you dream of. You’ll get tips to save and budget, and also discuss ways to earn money that will shift you out of feeling like a victim of the times, to seeing the opportunities in front of you to begin making money in a different way.

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

If you need some tips on getting started, traveling safe, and saving money while traveling full time, go here! 

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.







Costa Rica


New Zealand









Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.