How To Runaway As An Adult

by The Runaway Guide on March 10, 2011

old travelerA lot of you older folks are probably thinking, what is this guide, what is this madness?  I want to runaway, but not like this.

Admittedly, my guides are on the extreme side. However, no matter how old you are, you can runaway too! You can pick up, change your career and change your life! All you have to do is believe and have the courage to do so.

I once met a 65 year old Irish man who, 10 years earlier, had decided to embark on the backpacking trip he had never taken in his youth. He was one of the most enlightened people I have ever met.

What Hinduism Says

In fact, the dogma of Hinduism actually promotes running away. It posits that after 20-30years of societal obligations, it is now time to withdraw from society, and seek the true meaning of life. And that this requires a pilgrimage out into the world or into nature. According to Houston Smith, on Hindu conceptions of retirement, “Must the human spirit be indentured to society forever? The time has come to begin ones true adult education, to discover who one is and what life is about.”

At the extreme, this implies that one must completely forgo the ego and live as a beggar. On the other hand, it can be interpreted as simply a removal from ones society in order to better comprehend the self. So, if Hinduism rings true for you, than your golden years are when you are actually meant to travel.


The Oldest Major Religion In The World

If you’re, according to Sinatra, “young at heart,” open to adventure, tired of the rat race, and enjoy the teachings of Hinduism, it may just be time for you to runaway too. In this guide, I will present you with a series of runaway travel options that range the spectrum from the extreme to the extremely comfortable.

1) Become Homeless

Homeless!? What? This reaction is understandable. Homelessness is a word with a rather negative connotation. Our whole lives we have looked down on the homeless as failures or weak. While this may be true for most homeless people, some are the antithesis of this. The latter are people who are well educated and sober but due to an inner calling or terrible accident, have decided to resign from society.

For instance, one man I met lost his entire family in a car accident. So distraught over this, he preferred a life of solitude and contemplation.

Practically speaking, the best place for you to become homeless is the South of France. The climate is beautiful, the bread and cheese are compliments of the state and there is a great tent community along the beach. More, the French government will provide you with, regardless of your nationality, 500 euro, deposited monthly into a special bankcard. So, if you’re broke and don’t mind camping, going homeless in southern France may be the path for you.

Homeless Squat Antibes, France

Homeless Squat Antibes, France

2) Work A Yacht:

This sounds more like it right? If you’ve ever wanted to travel the high seas of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, working on a luxurious private yacht may be your ideal. There are a few different positions where age is not an issue. Depending on your experience, you can apply as an engineer, chef or maid. All of which pay considerably and provide you with free room and board. The best places to seek out this line of work are the harbors of Spain, Southern France and Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, refer to the following runaway guide, “How To Work On A Luxury Yacht.”

Become a maid, cook, or engineer at any age!

Become a maid, cook, or engineer at any age!

3) Volunteer

Two of the most accommodating and well known agencies are the Peace Corps and United Nations Volunteer program. The Peace Corps generally consists of recent college graduates but has many older professionals as well. Basically, it is a 27 month commitment. You can pick what region of the world you would like to go to but can’t pick the specific country. They will provide you with a stipend and language courses and at the end of your service they will grant you 6500$ to help you get back on your feet. Another great volunteer program is the United Nations Volunteers. The UNV is more oriented towards professionals. Unlike employment in the UN, you won’t need an advanced university degree. So if you have experience in any relevant field and believe in the goals of the UN, you may want to consider signing up with the UNV .

4) Go Backpacking

Finally, you can always go backpacking. There really is no age limit. Whether you’re 18, fresh out of high school or 65, there are no prejudices among travelers. They are a community of people from all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and ages who share a single passion. Travel. If you ride a motorcycle or row crew, then you are probably already familiar with this. When you are flying down the 101 freeway in California at 101 mph, you can’t help but smile and wave to other bikers. The freedom and euphoria is shared. And the same goes for travelers. So don’t think you are too old for backpacking or worry that you won’t fit in. You are never too old and you and your life story will be a source of intrigue for other travelers, I guarantee it.


These are just a few of the options that lay waiting for you. If you have the courage to chose one, you will surely have a blast and, perhaps, even discover a deeper sense of self. It will be frightening at first but it will quickly get easier. So why not take a chance, break the mold, do away with conceptions of age, and runaway too!?!?

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

David July 22, 2014 at 11:44 am


I have the urge. The bite. The need. Wanderlust flows through my veins like oxygen. However, one huge obstacle stands in front of me. Fear. I’m afraid I will get somewhere and have no way to return home. Or to move on. I’m just afraid of running out of funds. Any suggestions on how to conquer this beast and set out on my life adventure?


The Runaway Guide July 30, 2014 at 4:40 am

Hey David, I know what you mean. It’s definitely scary at first. But you just gotta go for it. Because the more you trust and go with it, the more everything tends to work out. I’m going to write more on this in future articles.


teribern July 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm

What about WWOOF-ing? World Wide Organization of Organic Farms…My daughter and I WWOOFed for a month in New Zealand. It was heaven…
The deal is: 30 hours of (mainly farm) work a week for room and board. Every situation is different, but New Zealanders seem to really understand this mode of running away. WWOOF-ing is everywhere, though.


The Runaway Guide July 9, 2014 at 4:13 am

Hey, WWOOFing is awesome! I should do an article on it. I hear NZ is a great place for it. Cheers!


Marika Barnard June 22, 2014 at 4:12 am

Hello. I am a 36 year old woman from Britain. I was born and brought up in Singapore and I have traveled the world, and worked as a travel agent for a few years. I have a 7 year old son and have tried to give my son a stable life with a boring 9 to 5 job. But my desire to travel is too strong and I am desperate to pack a bag and run with my son. I use to have no problems running when I was on my own but I am very worried about doing it now with my son. I want him to see the world and experience what I have growing up. Have you met anyone on your travels who has run with their children? and do you have any advice?




The Runaway Guide June 25, 2014 at 7:55 am

I know a bunch of travel bloggers who travel with their kids. Most of them work online and make money through their blogs or other online enterprises. Check out yTravelblog and


E May 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm

The “majority of homeless people” are not “weak” or “failures.” You should spend time with those less fortunate and gain some compassion. Life is complicated. You have looked down on homeless people your whole life? Not cool. And you don’t know jack about Hinduism, friend.


The Runaway Guide May 18, 2014 at 6:23 am

I’m not sure how well you understand english but that’s kind of the point I was making. I’ve been/lived with homeless people for many months. And having studies Eastern Religions in college, read much of the Bhagavad Gita, and lived in India for 5 months, I like to think I know something about Hinduism.


Ginette May 10, 2014 at 8:57 am

Turning 50, single, empty nest around the corner and have this urgent desperate need to run away!!!!!


The Runaway Guide May 11, 2014 at 3:10 am

Do it!!!! Lake Atitlan, Gautemala! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed :)


roberto February 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm

The Runaway Guide. ever since I can remember, I’ve always hated being confined in one spot, and that spot is the average human lifestyle. I want to leave and explore everyone and everything I can. I am 19 and want to drop everything and be homeless. after all, my god, jesus christ was homeless. I want nothing more from this world but to fellow in his steps. I guess I’m saying, Pray for me and my pursuit for god. thanks for reading. god bless you and your endeavors.


The Runaway Guide February 27, 2014 at 3:21 am

Hey Roberto, I think you should go for it. Try it out and see if you enjoy it first. Being homeless can really suck at times, but it makes you appreciate and it makes you think. It forces you to cultivate a strong will.


Cheryl February 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

I’m a 46 year old woman who has been dreaming of running away for years but can’t seem to get past the fear of letting go of stability, however unfulfilling, and truly live the life I want. I’m realizing for a lot of reasons that it’s getting down to now or never and coming across your blog was a great inspiration! I want to be able to look back at the end and be happy with the path I choose. Thanks again for the motivation!


The Runaway Guide February 19, 2014 at 7:08 am

Hey Cheryl, I’m really glad you found the blog then! You should totally go for. Norwegian Air has got some great tickets to Scandinavia at the moment, 200$ from NYC. But I would recommend Spirit Air to central America. You won’t regret it! Let me know if you ever need help planning :)


James February 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm


Came across this site feeling down and fed up with daily life. I’d love to drop everything and take the chance but I think fear would set it the day it actually happened. I live in the UK so would love to travel.


The Runaway Guide February 11, 2014 at 11:43 am

Hey James, you can do it brother. Just save up a bit and head out. Things always work out if you believe they will. Jump! and net will appear. God smiles on men who live without fear!


H January 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

!YaY! ThanX for this encouragement to older wandering wannabe’s! I made it to 4 continents of countries and 47 states of US before turning 20yrs but then settled into marriage/familylife for last 20 yrs… Am unfortunately free of alll others at this time (even my dog died this week!) Your article helps me believe maybe i am not to old for luxury yacht work!?! Please, advise as to what level of fitness a 40+ female should be in before attending a STCW? Do i even have a chance of being hired against bouncier 20something girls? (I do have experience running resort properties, event planning, and painting/staining restoration background…) So glad i found your site today!


The Runaway Guide January 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I hear ya, that definitely happens to most of us. You can definitely still do it though! If you’re in decent shape it should be fine. You gotta put out fires and do some swimming tests but nothing too rigorous. I think you have a chance. Some captains prefer older people cause it’s usually less drama on board. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions! :)


Mr D July 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

WOW! Sounds so great. I am tired. Economy has taken it’s toll. My spouse has not always remembered to come home after work. I am in the closet and just had a bad break up. If I didn’t have to take care of some high school students, I would be getting more advice. Your site gives me hope.
Thx Leif


Jose May 25, 2013 at 8:26 am

I have not seen the future in months. I see gray and feel ill or empty. I am in need of rejuvenation, my needs will not be filled here. What are your thoughts on dropping out of college 3/4s of the way into the degree program?


The Runaway Guide May 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Hey Jose,
If I were you, and were nearly finished, I would stick it out.
Life is long and there will be loads of time to travel and find happiness in the future.
You just gotta stay strong for now and stick it out!
There is always a future and if things are shit right now that means it can only get better.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any advice :)


Tracy May 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I am so happy to have found this. I am 43 years old, I gave birth to my first daughter at the age of 18, had three more children, and my youngest is 18 and dropped out of high school two months ago. Seeing as everybody but her is on their own now (and I’m divorced), I’ve been thinking of this route for some time, but only seriously for the first time now. I like the backpacking idea best, and I do have a motorcycle that I love to ride. I wonder how possible it would be for a 43 year old woman to travel across the US on a motorcycle and be able to pick up some paying jobs here and there just to get by? I feel so ready to walk away from everything that has tied me down for so many years and just concentrate on my own soul! The only thing I fear is that my family would never forgive me, or accept me back into their lives when I came back “home”. This is definitely easier to do if you are in your 20′s, no doubt about it!


The Runaway Guide May 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hey Tracy,
I’m really excited for you, you should totally go for it!
I think they will understand. Sounds like you have sacrificed a lot for them, they have to understand :)
Did you see the interview I did with Meagan?


Daren January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

This all sounds awesome. I’m 49 and just divorced. My kids are young adults now and off to collage. I have lived for others for the last 25 years. Now I just want to get the hell out of doge and live for myself. I feel like i’m 20 again and want to start over somewhere else with someone else. Would someone tell me to just fucking go for it !!


The Runaway Guide January 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Hey Daren,
Go For It!!! I’m serious, why the hell not. I definitely would if I were you, what do you have to lose?
When you decide where you want to go, let me know and maybe I can help.
Good Luck!


Carlo Cretaro August 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Hey Leif,

I did the volunteer option for 3 months in Africa…. Not through a rip off company but of my own accord and I loved it. Tough, but very rewarding! Great post this is. Thanks man.


The Runaway Guide August 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Hey Carolo, thats awesome. Glad to know you did it on your own. So much better that way. All the best!


Emily July 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

I am 23, and shortly after moving out on my own, my family needed me to move back and help them with the rent. Now, they are fine without my assistance. In all my years, my strongest urge has been to travel. Anywhere. Now, I have that chance. I want so much to take it, to taste that freedom that I’ve been craving. To try new things and experience life. But, I’m afraid. I am short, and have lived a pretty sheltered life thus far. I’d like to think that I have what it takes to make ti through if things went wrong. But, I’m scared that I don’t. I suppose this is completely normal, lol. For the past few weeks, all I’ve wanted to do was to steal away in the middle of the night. That must sound crazy, considering that I can leave as I please. I suppose that posting this is more therapeutic for me than anything, to write down what I haven’t told anyone before… If anyone has actually read my boring post and found themselves identifying with me, please let me know.


The Runaway Guide August 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hey Emily, you should totally go for it. Nothing will go wrong unless you let it. You gotta do what you want to and take time for yourself. Life is too short. If you need any help planning a trip, let me know. Best, Leif :)


Tom September 2, 2012 at 12:49 am


It sounds like we’re in the same boat, for the most part. I am 23 as well. Do you happen to live in the south of USA? If not, maybe someone else reading this does. I’m thinking of going on an adventure myself, but it’d be much easier with another person for back-up. Please contact me if interested.


Ben April 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Hi, I enjoyed reading this. I’m thinking of doing something similar myself, and the South of France thing sounds great. What is the protocol for actually doing it? I presume you have to register as homeless or something? For the bankcard and the bread!


The Runaway Guide April 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hey Ben,
First, you need to be at least 25. THen you register at the police station and they will get you in touch with french social services.


lisel April 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Hi ,finding this website and lore to France for years , just turning 60 ,just divorced now maybe the runaway thoughts can take place,I love camping, minimalism and living in Florida since 1974 ….A beach,south France,bread and cheese and camping with a 500 euro expense sounds like heaven on earth…Are you sure of this option? cause I’m packing my toothbrush and bathing suit!!!!Thanks for the information.


The Runaway Guide August 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Hey I’m pretty sure it is still possible. Although with the econ crisis itd be best to double check.


chris February 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I ran away from a not so called home 12 years ago. I had the time of my life for quite a bit but, then the homeless thing got ridiculous. This webpage has good ideas, I wouldn’t mind doing the volunteer thing myself.


The Runaway Guide February 22, 2012 at 3:18 am

Hey Chris,
thanks! I bet you have some good tricks too.


Raymond July 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I just ran away and it’s easier than you would think. I prefer to call it “running to” though… :)


Kim July 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Great article. There are so many different ways to run away. I’ve been thrilled to learn all of the volunteer and housesitting opportunities out in the world.


Nomadic Samuel July 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

These are great ideas! I’ve never had my own ‘home’ in my adult years and the concept of owning a place and rotting away in it for years to come is freaky. I’d take any of the above options any day!


rush May 31, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Hi Leif,
just wanted to clarify – you’re saying there’s opportunities for finding work on yachts and stuff in florida? i was just looking for cheap ways of crossing the atlantic as part to kick off my european trip this summer. actually doing it the old fashined way on a boat would be awesome. and funny, i thought about florida too for some reason. but if not florida, do you know any other ports/cities on the east coast where you think i might have any luck? living in montreal myself, i’m definitely going to check out the freight ships in our harbor, but really not sure any boats from here will get me anywhere in-around europe.