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Resources to Abandon Your Cube

Table of Contents:

The 'Should I Quit My Job' Survey

If you answer yes to more than two of these questions, you should consider abandoning your cubicle and finding fulfillment outside your job.

  • Are you made physically ill by your job?
  • Does your job make you depressed on a daily basis?
  • Do you morally object to the company or position you are working in?
  • Do you feel like you could do more, or be better outside of work?
  • Are your dreams fading while you punch a clock?
  • Do you think you are stuck, without the ability to abandon?

Diversion of life | ATC

The ' Is It Feasible' Survey

So, you are thinking about abandoning your cubicle. Good for you! While your heart may be in the right place, lets make sure you can safely abandon your cubicle without endangering your future or harming those you love. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you'll have a bit of negotiating and planning to do before you can abandon your cube.

  • Do you owe money?
  • Do you have dependents?
  • Do you have a serious illness that you need constant care for?

If you answer yes to the above, read on for some tips. If you answered no, then skip this and go to the next section.

Tips for becoming travel-ready:

  • See if you can get a deferment on your loans
  • Instead of quitting, consider taking a leave of absence from work
  • If you have dependents, consider waiting to travel or home schooling them from the road. Indeed, it would be very educational!
  • If you are ill, look into destinations that offer constant care, or see if you can find a nurse who will travel with you

Quitting vs. Taking Extended Leave

Quitting your job means you'll have more freedom and time on the road, but less security and no real plan for when you return home. Taking extended leave from work means you'll be on a time budget, but will have something to return to and a source of income awaiting you. In this economy seriously considering the latter option may be a smart move. While quitting your job means you can go where ever you want on a whim, it can also mean you might run out of money in Bangkok and be stuck working a few months to pay for a return trip or to fund your next leg of the adventure.

Unencumbered vs. Travel Work

Are you considering taking your work on the road with you? That may be one good way to extend your trip by having a source of income while traveling. In fact, this is what Lauren does by writing while on the road. It can be great, but also means you can never be too far from a computer or internet, which can often rule out visiting far-flung places.

Arrow Sign | ATC

Travel Insurance

If you've decided to take this adventure called life to the next level, you should consider how you'll stay safe while traveling. Here are a few companies that offer travel insurance.

Insurance Co. What they Offer
Essential Travel UK's leading online Travel Insurance providers
Highway to Health Focus on travel insurance for short to six month trips.
7 Corners Focus on American expats and longer-term travelers.
Insure My Trip Compares prices and deals at various travel insurance sites.


Navigating across several countries can be difficult for even the most seasoned travelers. You might want to take a bit of the edge off by going through a visa agent. Here are a few visa procurement services we would recommend.

Visa Co. What they offer:
Visa HQ American-specific site that will get visas for your trip for almost any country.
ZVS Visa service used by many fortune 500 companies.
Travel Docs Focuses on visas and passports, as well as travel insurance.

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Many first time travelers wonder how full-time travelers manage to go all around the world without any language ability, or background in the regions they visit. The short answer is that they use well-researched guide books, supplemented with online research and language tools.

Guide Co. Pros Cons
Lonely Planet
Comprehensive guides that offer language, culture, history and detailed by-city guides with maps
Many travelers use these guides, which means places not covered by LP can be missed out on
Rough Guide Comprehensive guides by region or country with a focus on out-of-the-way areas Not ideal for people traveling by car. Not updated yearly
Bradt Heavy focus on top sites like parks, historical monuments and beaches A bit low on information for how to move about, sleep and eat
Fodor's Great for travel with groups or where hotel rates and nicer restaurants are the aim Does not cover all countries, focus on prices and necessities instead of sites
Berlitz Full of information about your destination, including a bit of cultural and historical information. Heavy on language focus and essential in rural areas Low on travel information like where to stay, what to see, etc. Mostly a survival guide on language and customs.
DK Travel Laden with pictures, maps and information on destinations by country and city, fun to read and look at, and easy to get inspired by Low on actual travel information. May be better for people who travel by reading, not by visiting a new place


Traveling is made all the more fulfilling if you can speak the language of the places you visit. Even if you only master a few sentences, it will mean a lot when you are on location.

Language Co. Pros Cons
Rosetta Stone Great for visual learners who want to learn survival language skills before a big trip You have to be sitting at your computer to use Rosetta, which makes it less portable. Expensive
Mango A great website dedicated to teaching languages to eager, web-savvy learners Online program you have to pay to use, which makes you less mobile
Berlitz A well thought out program that attempts to make something foreign seem connected to your life Focus is on reading and writing to learn unless you do an in-class course
Pimsleur Great for auditory learners or anyone hoping to become fluent. Focus on repetition and learning by hearing Not good for visual learners. Expensive

coffee cup | ATC

Supplies & Equipment

You don't need a lot to life a good life. Nevertheless, there are some great travel accessories out there for camping or simply long train rides. We have all of the equipment we've tested and used listed in our gear store. Check it out!

Travel Websites

If you are looking for web resources for traveling, look no further. Here are some of the web's biggest and most well-known travel sites, and what they have to offer a potential Cube Abandoner.

Website Pros Cons
Matador Travel Great place to meet travel friends, read travel blogs and forums and surf great destinations You have to sign up, it laden with ads, another social media site
Lonely Planet A great place to find basic info on your destination, as well as one of the best forums for travel The company is now so big it dominates international travel, destinations not covered get missed
Cheap Flights Featuring a variety of discount airfare, hotels, and vacation package for cheap. They have separate US and UK based sites. Check comparison websites to make sure you are getting the best deal.
Direct Holidays UK based website focusing on family vacations to exotic locations and tropical islands all over the world. Holiday destinations seem to be limited at the moment, but still feature interesting locations such as Turkey, Egypt, and Spain.

You can also find information on this website, as well as several of the travel journals and blogs on our blogroll.

English Teaching Resources:

Teaching overseas is a great way to be able to afford living abroad while making a bit of cash and expanding your resume. To get a teaching job overseas you'll need a college degree, and usually a teaching certificate called a TOFEL or TOSEL.

Company What they offer Focus on in-house learning through colleges and universities. Expensive
ITTT Focuses on quick, online and with a tutor classes that you can complete at your own pace. Cheaper option
American TOSEL Broad range of focuses, and they help with job placement. Expensive

Expat Resources:

If you are considering living abroad for any duration of time, you'll need to do a bit of research in your destination to find other expats, clubs or info on how to find an apartment, a job or info on transportation. Of course, living abroad is not just about expat communities, but it is one option for social interaction.

Website What they offer
Expat Exchange Help if you are moving overseas for work, including real estate, schools, and health
Escape Artist Information on living abroad and thriving as an expatriate.
Expat Network An ideal place to start looking for work, info on money exchanges and communities abroad
Expat World A political site about living abroad, with newsletters, information and tips

You'll also do well by searching for local expat publications or city pages, as well as English-language newspapers specific to your area.

Airplane | ATC

Travel Social Media Tools:

With social media reaching new hights, the travel industry is not immune to the advances of technology. Below are some sites that may help in your travel planning, meeting friends, or making your trip more comfortable.

Website What they offer
Dopplr Share your trip plans with friends and maybe you'll end up being in the same place at the same time
TripIt Email TripIt your plans and they formulate it into an easy-to-ready itinerary that you can share
Seat Guru Shows interior layout of planes so you can request a seat you'll be happy with
Upcoming Shows events in areas where you'll be traveling so you wont miss out
Trip Advisor Real travel advice from real travelers
Trip Wolf A vast resource os travel information combined with expert travel tips
World 66 User-generated travel guides that people can comment on and ammend
Gusto! Travel tips, deals and discounts posted by travelers
Bootsnall Organic, independent travel blogs, tips and guides

Of course, using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace can help you stay connected with potential travel buddies, or simply share your travel stories with friends and family.

Staying Connected:

Traveling around the globe does not mean you can't stay connected with family and friends back home. Here are some of the best ways to have your cake and eat it too!

Company What they offer
Skype Free PC to PC, and low-cost international calls made through your computer
Pingo International calling cards at backpacker prices
CCC International country calling codes

Use the social media tools in the above section to stay connected via the web.

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Others Before You:

Its been done before by many very amazing people. Learn about some of the world's most creative and inspiring cube abandoners, here.

No Cubicles | ATC

Being Responsible

Abandoning the Cube is not about abandoning responsibility. We think it is best to travel without strings attached, like a mortgage back home. We also don't suggest travel for people running from something, instead of running towards something.

How we did it:

We abandoned our cubicles quite easily because we have little debt, no dependents and are healthy enough to travel long-term. Meanwhile, we do everything on a minimal amount of cash we earn on the road by writing, which means we break even when we travel.

Who we are:

Mike and Lauren abandoned their cubicles in 2008, learn more about them and their travel adventures abroad, as well as what inspires them to travel, here.


Laughing is the best medicine. If you need a quick pick-me-up, check out our humorous images from around the world. These can also be a great inspiration to hit the road again, for anyone weary of the 9-5.


Maps are one of the most important things a traveler has on hand while abroad. Make sure your maps are well-researched, up-to-date and easy to read. Check out some of the maps of where we have been, but these are just 'broad idea' maps and should not be used as a travel guide.

Travel blogroll:

There are many travel bloggers out there who can offer great advice, open dialogue about interesting destinations, and tips on where to go and what to avoid. You'll find a list of worthwhile travel-related sites on our blogroll. If you want more inspiration than what you find on ATC, this is a great place to start!