Quitting Your Job to Travel: Interview with Zak Davis

Travel blogger Zak Davis and his wife, Liz decided to quit their jobs, sell their stuff, and spend a year traveling the world. Now after being six months on the road, Zak shares how they’re able to afford their journey abroad after quitting their jobs, and what they would have done differently.

Travel Junkie: Why did you quit and decide to travel?
Zak: My wife and I have talked about wanting to do extended travel for probably 10 years. For a long time, we couldn’t make the pieces fit together (jobs, money, family, etc.), but in 2015 we both found ourselves ready to make a significant change, so we decided to go for it.

What was your job before quitting to travel?
National Sales Manager for a NY-based craft brewery

How can you afford to travel?
We’re both in our 30s – somewhat older than most travelers we’ve met – and spent about 10 years working, first in San Francisco and then in New York. Over the years, we both saved money so that when we decided to travel and created our budget, we already had what we would need.

How long have you been traveling? And have you had any jobs since?
We’ve been traveling for 6 months. Haven’t had any jobs.

Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by The Wander Year.

Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by The Wander Year.

What is your favorite country so far? And why?
Colombia. It was high on both of our lists, and friends had told us that it was an amazing country, but we didn’t have much expectation. We fell in love with Medellin, and it was the first city we talked about trying to stay in for more time.

What is the hard part of quitting your job to travel?
For me, I had worked at my company for 8-and-a-half years, and my boss was one of my best friends. It took me many months to build up the courage to talk to him. For my wife, it was much easier. Since we don’t have kids and don’t own a house, it was pretty easy to make a clean break.

What advice do you have for people wanting to quit to travel?
Just do it. I haven’t met anyone who has regretted it. And 20 years from now, what will you regret more – traveling or staying with your job (which will probably be different anyway).

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
I would have spent more time researching the cost of international travel, especially in Central and South America. It ended up about 30% of our overall expense for the first four months.

What sets you apart from the other travelers?
As you know, there is not much of a travel culture in the United States, like you see from countries like Canada, the U.K., Germany, Israel, etc. So for us, a sabbatical was never an option. I think work culture in America makes quitting seem like a major setback, but we don’t see it as anything but a value. Also, we’re a married couple, which is somewhat unique. We’re together 24/7, often in communal living situations, which means we’ve really had to step up our communication. On the other hand, I always have a partner, which I think helps with feelings of homesickness.

You can find out more about Zak and Liz Davis at their personal website, The Wander Year.