Returning to work after vagabonding

cubicleWhat to do after that grand adventure abroad?  Back to the land of work?  Matador Life has an article about this topic called How to Get Back to Work After Traveling.

I have to disagree with one tip in the article, “swear yourself off travel for a year.”  For me, planning my next trip is one of the ways I remind myself why I’m working.  If I didn’t have that next trip to look forward to, I’d go nuts.

This is a situation I’m facing myself, as I settle into an office job after spending 5 months traveling around Southeast Asia. It’s a bit of a jarring experience to be in a structured environment again after having an unstructured lifestyle for so long.

How have you all re-adapted to the working life after a stint of travel?

Posted by | Comments (12)  | October 9, 2009
Category: Vagabonding Advice

12 Responses to “Returning to work after vagabonding”

  1. Dave Says:

    I haven’t figured this out yet, and it has been almost 3 months since I returned from my RTW trip. While the bad job market provides a good reason to remain unemployed for awhile, I shouldn’t be delaying the fact that I need to pay off some travel debt.

    I just hope that I can find a job that is more aligned with my interest in travel and blogging (vs the work I left behind in 2007).

  2. Scott Says:

    It has taken me a little more than five months to get a job offer. I wonder how many people looked at my resume and passed me by because they saw my “gap” was due to travel. Not that it really matters, but I would love to know. I would also like to know if it would have taken as long to find a job if this were a better job market.

    For anyone considering long-term travel I would advise them to assume they would not be able to find a job for six months after they return. If they can support themselves during that time I say go for it. And if there is eventually a better job market go ahead and shorten that time period to three months.

    Finally, for those interviews I did get I will say that my RTW travel experience was one of the primary topics. So be prepared to speak intelligently about it and use it to your advantage.

  3. Ted Beatie Says:

    I’m with you. While I haven’t had the luxury of being able to travel for months, I always start looking forward to the next trip, sometimes even while I’m away on the last one – usually towards the end. I work in a fairly high-paid career that offers me little true satisfaction. It is the joy I feel while traveling that makes it worth it. And unlike many of my coworkers, I use all my vacation, every year, and some years I take a few extra weeks of unpaid leave.

  4. Brian Says:

    That is the hard part for most people. Which is why many people don’t come back. They teach English, or the find a way to use the Internet to earn money or they find a corporate job overseas.

    If folks do want to get back to corporate life, check out They talk about transitioning back to corporate after an extended hiatus.

  5. Lauren Says:

    Anyone traveling right now should plan for minimum 6 months to find a new job. I have been able to turn my blog and web skills into a short-term contract job.

    I made sure to put my year of travel on my resume, and even went so far to reference it in the cover letter. No one has seemed concerned about it; if anything they think that it means that I’ve gotten the urge to travel “out of my system.” Shh…don’t tell them it doesn’t work that way.

  6. Craig Says:

    After a 25 year career, I knew I could not go back to the “cube”, so I quit my job before traveling South America for 3 months. I am now attending school full time to see what direction it takes me. My wife jumped back into work 3 days after our return. We started planning our next extended trip immediately in 2011 and have told everybody where we are going, including my wifes work. However, we are just leaving out the details of how long we will be gone on our next adventure.

    Of the 5 people we met along the way who had quit there careers all have returned to work. The range seemed to be 1 – 6 months to find jobs again.

  7. Can Work and Travel Coexist? A Lesson from Funk. — State of Place Says:

    […] it comes to work and travel, the groove sets up the […]

  8. Katie, Tripbase Says:

    My advice is to focus on all the great things about being home – do the things that you enjoy and be positive. And yes, there’s nothing wrong with booking another trip to give you a travel adventure to look forward to.

    Some more tips for beating the post-travel blues here:

  9. Lindsey Says:

    I agree with you about looking to the next adventure to quell the nontraveling blues. I was in a deep depression after my RTW trip ended. However, I had the opportunity to take small road trips here and there to see family and friends. I also found it comforting to talk with other travelers who were going through the same emotions. It’s hard to get back in the swing of things, no matter what way you cut it.

  10. Andrew Says:

    Do some little trips from home.Have you really explored the place you live in?Could you write a travel article about it as good as the one you wrote about Petra?