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Keeping travel a secret from work | Don't Ever Look Back

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Keeping travel a secret from work

Keeping travel a secret from work

If we had our way, we would go up to the roof immediately and scream out to the entire world “WE’RE SELLING EVERYTHING, QUITTING OUR JOBS AND GOING OVERSEAS INDEFINITELY!”. But unfortunately this is the real world, where secrets about our true intentions must be kept in order to protect the daily routines of our respective jobs.

We can only imagine what would happen if our employers found out about our deep dark secret – that we are going to resign in about 6 months to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. If they found out now, we’re sure every move we make at work would be watched and scrutinized, every legitimate sick day taken would be questioned to the point of interrogation and job satisfaction for these last few months would almost certainly decline.

This is why we’ve decided to keep our round-the-world trip plans confined to ourselves, close family/friends and the travel blogging community at this stage (hrmm, secretive, we know!). As our departure date approaches and the excitement grows, keeping these amazing plans a secret from the people we work and interact with on a daily basis is becoming much more difficult than we ever would have thought!

Daily we are put into situations or asked questions that we must dodge around or answer untruthfully in order to keep this secret. Here are some examples of the questions we often are asked, as well as our not entirely truthful responses and what we really want to say.

Question: Why are you moving back to your parents’ house?
Our Answer: Rent is so expensive these days so we’re doing this as a short-term measure to try and save some extra money for a down payment on a house.
What We Want To Say: To save money to travel the world, baby!

Question: Why are you selling all your stuff? Why not just put it in storage?
Our Answer: The cost of storage is nearly more than the cost of our belongings, plus we probably would want nicer things when we do buy a house.
What We Want To Say: More money for travel!

Question: What did you get up to on the weekend?
Our Answer: Not too much, just did some things around the house/went for walks/<insert free activity here>.
What We Want To Say: Avoided spending money so that we can save it now and spend it overseas!

Question: Do you have any upcoming holiday plans?
Our Answer: Nothing confirmed, but we might go overseas for a couple of weeks next year.
What We Want To Say: Yep. We’ll be traveling indefinitely starting in June/July next year.

Question: We’ll get you involved in <insert work project, training, etc> next year.
Our Answer: Sounds great, I look forward to it!
What We Want To Say: Don’t waste your time, I won’t be here then… sucker!

These are just a few examples and often we do slip-up and have to quickly correct ourselves to avoid revealing our secret. How the hell are we going to keep up this charade for another 6+ months? Surely someone will put the pieces of the puzzle together – all of the little things we’re doing like selling our belongings, moving back to the parents’ house, regularly talking about travel at work and the constant web surfing of travel sites must be pretty strong hints of our intentions regardless of how discreet we try to be!

For those who have been on the same journey, how did you keep your secret from work? Time will tell how long we’ll be able to keep ours!

Flickr Photo: RaymondPhotography


  1. Posted November 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    As soon as I saw the title of this post I smiled…I kept my secret for over a year! In fact, they still don’t know I decided to leave for Oz in May 2010 WAY back in January 2009 O:-) Just needed more savings under my belt to make it work.

    At first it was easy with just telling my immediate family and a few very close friends. Starting late fall 2009, I told a few more friends. The day I secured the visa (February 5, 2010), I emailed just about all of my friends to tell them the news (most were hearing for the 1st time). And I didn’t tell work until the end of March.

    The fewer people who knew, the easier it was to keep quiet. But once I started talking about it on a daily basis toward the end of 2009, I almost slipped up at work — simply because I was so open *outside* of the office. And, I was promoted August 2009, so when we talked about the future and various projects, I had to answer questions carefully (like you said above) and be very mindful of everything!

    One day at work I forgot completely and said something about Oz out loud. One of my best friends was also a coworker and was the only one at work who knew. Thankfully we were in my office but the door was open, and he was waving his arms wildly trying to get me to realize what I’d just said. When I finally did, I felt ridiculous. Somehow, no one heard me!

    When I finally did tell work, they were shocked because they didn’t see it coming, but they understood because it made sense, as I was known as the “international traveler” of the office (a title that wasn’t difficult to earn anyway 😉

    GOOD LUCK to you two keeping it a secret for SIX MORE MONTHS 🙂 <3
    Heather recently posted..No Macaron Left Behind

  2. Posted November 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment… if there wasn’t the need for saving, we’d be on the next flight outta here!

    Telling our family wasn’t the easiest thing… I think there’s something about mom’s that don’t like being far away from their children. Apart from family we’ve only really told close friends so far and plan on revealing all once we’ve booked tickets (about 2 months before we leave) – this travel blog is where we can share our thoughts for now and is a great outlet to get awesome feedback from others. 🙂

    I might be assuming but it may be more difficult to keep a secret being a couple as it’s all we talk about most of the time we’re not at work! Then trying to be completely different people when we’re at at work is extremely difficult as we sometimes tend to speak before we think!

    I think there will definitely be a follow up post to this – hopefully we’ll be successful at keeping this secret for a little while longer yet!

  3. Posted November 13, 2010 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    It never happened like that for me because I had lined up a job overseas and the period before leaving went by quickly. I would say be prepared for some strange comments when the secret does come out. Even though I had a job lined up overseas, I still had many people telling me that it would all go wrong and I would be back within three months. Nine years later, I am still here!!
    Natalie recently posted..Haci Bektas – Seek And Find

  4. Chris
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Absolutely love this. I just told my employer about my rtw trip last Tuesday, and I was convinced there was awkward tension between my boss and I until there was a meeting we both had to attend yesterday. Doesn’t seem as bad now, thank God. Anyways, your 5 ‘Questions’ hit it on the head, I fall into each of those category. And you couldn’t have been more right about telling close friends and family first, but yeah once it gets within 2 months I promise you stop caring. Good luck!

  5. Posted November 13, 2010 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Everyone outside of work knew I was leaving, but I didn’t tell anyone at my job (except for 2 close friends) until I announced that I putting in my 3 week notice. I had moved back home about 6 months before, but it didn’t raise any bells because I was (am!) still in my 20’s and people still move home all the time at that age. My boss was British and when I told her why I was leaving, said that she couldn’t picture me leaving for any other reason. She did a WHV in Australia when she was younger and I was known in my little department for traveling, so that comment made me really happy. Now that I am home when I see her, she still says it!

    Good luck!
    Rebecca recently posted..New Zealand – Bank

  6. Andrea
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Funny: John’s been going through the same thing for years now. It is difficult as well because we both hate lying and I am also friends with some of his co-workers. So glad I’m self employed this year!

  7. Tran
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Huh-larious! Loved it!

  8. Posted November 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    OMG this is too funny, I couldnt stop laughing!!! I do the same damn thing, Ill answer the questions with lies but in the back of my mind Im like “ja ja ja its cus I am leaving to travel the world FOR-EVER bitches (and the evil laugh continues)”!!!

    Im not going to lie I have told quite a few people at work about my plans to leave at the end of July and well most of them dont believe me so I just brush it off.

    But UGH ITS SO HARD NOT TO SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOF TOP!!! I so cant wait for my LAST DAY cus then I will send an email to the floor letting them know what I have bene up to and what I am doing and let themknow that they too can BREAKAWAY~
    Jaime recently posted..THE CONSEQUENCES

    • Posted November 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      Haha glad you enjoyed this post! Sometimes when things at work get a little tough we just want to drop the big secret and tell them to suck it… but have to keep a little self control!

      I’d love to see more people follow in our footsteps, but we’re breaking away from the norm and not enough people have the courage to do that… it’s sad, but it’s reality! If we can inspire one person to break away it will be all worth it! 🙂

  9. Posted November 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone for your comments! We appreciate them so much!

    @Natalie – we’ve already had a wide range of responses for the people we have told – some will be excited for us, others won’t show any interest whatsoever and the remainder will think we’re crazy for leaving our lives! Congratulations on making it for so long, maybe we’ll find somewhere that we absolutely love and want to live for a while but we will have to wait and see.

    @Chris – thanks. We’ve got pretty good bosses so hopefully that won’t be an issue when we do drop the bomb, we’re planning on giving plenty of notice so that we can be replaced and train our replacements if needed.

    @Rebecca – yeah we’re still in our 20’s and a lot of people are still living with parents, maybe we are overly paranoid because we know what the truth is! Our bosses love to travel so I’m sure they will understand and be happy for us (but deep down disappointed we’re leaving at the same time!)

    @Andrea – fortunately for us our work and personal lives don’t overlap too much. I have mentioned our plans as a ‘possibility’ when speaking to a close colleague, but I don’t think he took too much notice at the time!

    @Tran – thanks for the nice comment and the stumble! 🙂

  10. Posted November 14, 2010 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    We kept our secret for a while and then slowly told family and, about 6 months before we left, we asked our bosses for leave of absence. I was completely overwhelmed by the support we received! I had been given advice to not tell until the last minute and I was SOOOO nervous but we hear not a single negative comment. Our bosses were completely supportive and we both secured leaves from our jobs. It taught me that people are more supportive and loving than I could have ever thought and, now that we’re back, we are being completely transparent about our future plans to move away (yes, even to my boss). Maybe it’s b/c we’re older? (in our 40’s) And, of course, now that we’ve done something big everyone believes us when we say we’re going to do something. Good luck!

    • Posted November 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      That’s fantastic – we would love to ask for leave but we have no idea how long we’ll be away for! Don’t think work would be too impressed if we came back after 12+ months and expected our jobs back. I’m sure if we revealed everything now that work wouldn’t begrudge us, but it’s just not worth the hassle.

  11. Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I can so totally relate to this. My plans aren’t quite set in stone yet, but I’m working on it under the assumption that I will be gone by a certain date. I suck at keeping my own secrets, and I’ve actually told a coworker one part of my secret which unfortunately will lead her to all sorts of suspicions about the rest of it. I’m suddenly finding myself making things up to contradict what she keeps teasing me about, and I know it’ll get harder to keep it a secret as time goes by. I have no idea how my boss might react if he knew what I’m planning, so I’m not saying anything until it gets really close. Even though they all know I’m addicted to traveling, going on a long term trip just isn’t something Americans think about (for the most part) so I don’t think anyone would suspect that was part of my plan. Good luck with your secret keeping 🙂
    Ali recently posted..Ode To My Passport

    • Posted November 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Haha yeah it gets hard living the lie, my memory isn’t great at the best of times and sometimes I’m trying to remember what I’ve said to who and tangle my words. As we said above, it’s not worth the hassle of letting the secret out until it’s absolutely necessary, not like it will achieve anything apart from having that extra eye on you.

      I don’t think many people think about long term travel, us travelers are part of a very special group! I don’t see how people could _not_ want to travel, but each to their own I guess.

  12. Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Do you worry that someone from work might discover your website?

    I think anyone planning long-term travel goes through this stage — it’s very exciting and even though you just want to shout it from the rooftops, you keep biting your tongue. It’s like having this extra weight on your shoulders… just wait til you drop the bomb 🙂

    • Posted November 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      It is a bit of a concern – I try not to spend too much time on it at work and haven’t listed our surnames on here. Let’s just hope none of our colleagues search ‘Amy & Kieron’ in Google, then we might be in some trouble. 🙂

      At the moment it just feels like each day is just one day closer to traveling – it seems like such a waste of time, but it’s gotta be done unfortunately. Soon that time will come when we can drop the bomb, looking forward to seeing the reactions we get!

  13. Posted November 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Hahaha, this is all too familiar – I knew six months in advance that I’d been accepted to intern abroad in the USA but didn’t tell my job until 4 weeks before. Suckers. Should have given me a pay rise when I wanted one!

  14. Posted November 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    The funny thing is that everyone at our work (my old work, Shaun’s current) knows we are leaving, but have no clue when. They are avid readers of my blog so I have to keep certain details hush hush…. especially since Shaun is now a manager. *cough*

    Good luck with keeping it undercover!
    Erica recently posted..For Love and Travel

  15. Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    @Lynda – hehe a pay rise would go very nicely right now! The internship sounds amazing, we would love to work in the USA but getting a visa is near impossible and I left it too late after graduating from uni.

    @Erica – wow, that sounds like a bit of a weird situation! It’s great that your work are so understanding and supporting the blog as well. We’re having to bite our tongue a lot and often find ourselves stopping mid-sentence… we probably look like fools sometimes but we’ll be the last ones laughing! 🙂

  16. Posted November 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Awesome post. I had to keep my travels a secret… it only lasted for a few weeks! If anything, they were more grateful for me telling them I was leaving. It gave them plenty of time to find a replacement. Not sure that would be the case in every job, I think I just got lucky!
    Dan Collins recently posted..Sea World

  17. Posted December 16, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Haha, I know exactly how this feels. It is SO hard to keep quiet at work, especially when my boss says things like “next year, blah blah blah” and I’m thinking “there is no next year here”! I’ve told a few people at work and most are excited, a few seem to think I’m a little out of my mind, but overall most people that are on my page, so to speak, are very supportive.
    Kim recently posted..Help! Up To My Ears In Travel Gear

  18. Skott and Shawna
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Like everyone else who commented, we too feel your pain. Shawna and I both work in media sales for the same company…we represent 40% of the team, so when we leave there is going to be a void. We have hinted as much as we could to our sales manager that it is time for us to hire a few people, solely for “new business development purposes”, but the reality is that we are hoping he finds someone that will be able to take our place.

    In reality, we would love to let our employers know sooner, as they have been great to us, but once we give our official notice, we become a bit of a distraction, so we have decided we will give 4-6 weeks notice.

    In the event that anyone overhears us talking about “the trip”, we are supposed to be planning an exotic honeymoon, so that is our out…as far as they are concerned however, the honeymoon is 3 weeks long, as opposed to 65 weeks (or so!)

    PS. Awesome blog guys, we only hope ours will be half as good!

    PPS. We would love to be included in a future edition of rtwsoon…hopefully our site will be up and running in a few weeks.

    Happy New Year!

    • Posted January 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Hey guys, so glad you found our blog and delighted that you took the time to leave a comment! 🙂

      It definitely does make it a lot harder to leave work when you enjoy where you work and genuinely want the company to prosper and continue to do well after you depart.

      Would love to connect more with the two of you – do you have a Twitter account or Facebook? Looking forward to seeing your blog when it launches and including you in a future interview – if you need any help with anything blog or WordPress related, get in touch! 🙂

    • Skott and Shawna
      Posted January 4, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Yeah, we should absolutely connect…we don’t currently have any FB or Twitter accounts set up for our site….this goes back a little to keeping things top secret from work. Re: the WP-related stuff, appreciate the help, and may take you up on it…I am only marginally more tech-saavy than my grandmother, so it can be a challenge for us. Luckily I do have a brother in law who is saving us on this so far….

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