Everyone is an individual and has their own motivation for wanting to take some time out and travel, perhaps for weeks, perhaps for years. Of course, the format of travel will also vary with the individual and your personal circumstances: travelling on a budget in a motorhome is a very different experience to taking a world cruise, or to volunteering in a school in Africa, for example. Most people we meet who are travelling for a long period of time are retired, but not everyone; some are like us and have a long working life ahead of them.

One of the biggest questions I had when researching this trip and reading of other people’s experiences was: why? Why do people take off and travel around? I read blogs and books, but not many gave a reason for the actual motivation behind the trip (update: see end of this page). This is perhaps understandable: it’s a private thing and once it’s published on the Internet or in a book, it’s public, forever, for everyone to read. However, I’d like to try and explain our ongoing motivation for taking the trip, although it remains something of a mystery to me too!

We both left well paid, secure jobs to come travelling, in the midst of the greatest economic world crisis of our generation. Brave or foolish? We don’t know, time will tell. All we know is we were almost 40, and our lives were missing something. We have no children, by intention, since neither of us had felt the urge to start a family. We had good careers, and a great bunch of friends, but something was still missing. We’d managed to pay off the mortgage on our 3 bed Midlands home, and that seemed to be the clincher. A desire for excitement, adventure, to escape the ‘rat race’, to ‘find ourselves’… these all seem like cliches but I think they best summarise what happened to us. We suddenly had the ability to save the money we needed to take such a trip, and an asset we could rent out to also help us. Among all of this thinking, a good friend’s father passed away, my first experience of death, which also left me asking the question ‘am I doing the right thing with my life’, and leaving me with a fairly certain answer of ‘no’.

Whatever the original reason, we found the hardest part of our trip was actually making the decision to do it. Who takes a ‘mid career’ gap year? Would it ruin our careers? What would our parents, friends and family think? Would they be OK while we travelled around? Would we miss them so much we’d have to come back quickly? Would we be able to find work when we came back? Would we actually enjoy life ‘on the road’? Would we be safe? Could we really afford it? How would we cope with our relatively poor language skills? Would our house be destroyed by wayward tenants?

Once the decision was made, we just ploughed on with it and within 2 months we were on the road. Have we regretted it? Not yet!

As I write this, we’re about 40 days into what we hope to be a 360 plus day trip. In those 40 days we’ve had more new experiences than we have had in years. We’ve taken more risk, which has meant we’ve felt and worked through some minor hiccups, but on the whole the payback has been breathtaking. We’ve met some inspirational people, and been dumbstruck at the helpfulness and friendliness of locals, and seen some amazing places. We don’t know what we’ll do when we return (I continue to worry about this more than Julie does), but one thing seems certain: we won’t regret our decision.

If you’re thinking about taking a break from your career to travel, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and will offer whatever advice we can, should you want it.

Thanks, Jason

Update: other travellers we’ve found who’ve shared their motivation stories…

Family Trek


  1. Sounds fun Jason, though I can’t help thinking this is why people have kids! Mine are grown up now but they do make it all worthwhile. Little else does in my experience – and I’ve travelled a lot, and had a very, er, eventful life.

    I’m sure you’ll get a job when you get back… give me a shout when you’re home and I’ll see what I can do. No promises of course but you’ve got a lot of in-demand skills, and I’d be keen to try and help out.

    best wishes


    • Hi Nigel. Yep, not having kids has made us a little anchorless (if that’s a word). This is a great experience though, not regretting a minute of it. Thanks for the note about potential work in future; I’ll be in touch. Have a great xmas break. Cheers, Jay

  2. The last thing anyone wants is getting towards the end of their lives with huge regrets about what they did not do. We only have one life so it makes sense to make the best of it. The biggist issue that holds us back is fear, fear of the unknown and fear of failure.Conquer the fear and get on with it!!(Just like Jayson and Julie)


  3. we are enjoying following your journey. You will never regret such an amazing trip. We went off for a year on bicycles with a tent in 1993-4 and it changed our lives.
    we now have a motorhome and go off regularly for long trips in that and are planning a longer trip like yours so it is fascinating to follow your journey.

    We are looking forward to reading of your adventures in Eastern Europe. We cycled across it for 4 months and loved it. Loved Slovenia – so green and beautiful with lovely little towns, also Hungary – historic town of Pecs, Lake Balaton, Storks on nests everywhere, Hortobagy National Park and Kiskunsag Nat park, Slovensky Raj Nat Park in Slovakia where you could traverse waterfalls on ladders and beautiful limestone gorges, High and Low Tatras mts in Slovakia and the old wooden churches of Carpatho Ruthenia in the East. Also love Czech Republic – beautiful countryside and towns.

    have a great trip
    best wishes
    linda Reid and Allan Harris

  4. Hello,

    My husband and I also left our top-paid jobs two months ago to go motorhoming for a year (we are starting our trip in August). He is an architect and I am an accountant and we are both in our early forties. Although I am incredibly excited I am still petrified about how the market is going to be like when I come back. Also, I have no idea of how this is going to affect my career. It has now been 2 years since you did the same. Could you please share your experience when you came back?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Susana

      Our experience of coming back and finding work again was much better than I expected, in fact it was very good, after 2 years of (mildly) stressing about it. Both of us had work within 2 months of returning, albeit on temporary contracts. I’d decided before we left I wanted to go self-employed, so this has worked out very well for me. Ju effectively took a pay cut, but also a stress and travel reduction and no longer works unpaid overtime. Financially and from a work-life balance perspective, it’s all come together.

      We did get some push back that we had been out of the market and our fields for 2 years, but nothing like as much as I expected.

      The toughest challenge for me was accepting the change from almost-total freedom back to the 7:30 until 6 routine. I’d suggest you work out a strategy to handle this while you’re away. We did it once we got back (we are working on a financial freedom target).

      The other plus point for us was, possibly, luck as the UK was coming out of recession as we returned.

      The final point: when you come back you might simply not want to go back to doing what you did before?

      Cheers, have fun! Jason

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.