One question I often get asked is: How come I get to travel across the world and still get to keep a job?
There’s nothing special about me really. I am the same as most young people my age. I work full-time from Monday to Friday, pay my bills, do grocery shopping, study and sometimes have a bit of social life.
But I travel – and travel a lot.
After my trips, I come back every Monday morning and continue my daily work routine.
I read travel blogs and I get inspired by people who have left their jobs and travelled the world. It’s an amazing feat and I want to do that as well someday. Often, there’s this voice saying that I take the same leap, but my practical mind always wins and says that it’s not yet time.
Why? There are many reasons and it’s possible that you may have the same hesitations. I’m young and I have just started my career. And perhaps I’m too scared or practical to afford such a big leap. Besides, I enjoy what I do for work and as of now, I have no plans of leaving. I have debts to pay and I think I’m not yet financially stable to take such a leap.
So how can you travel and still get to keep your work?
First make a choice to actually WANT to travel.
Every new year, my Facebook feeds contain resolutions from my friends and their desire to travel. Everyone seems to want to travel. But the drive fades out because of work, money or other reasons. And as the year ends, some would sigh and say “Oh, I will make travel happen next year”.
BREAK THE CYCLE! Plan ahead and make it happen.
Plan in advance when is the best time for you to take a break from work and ask your boss for a vacation leave. Merge it with public holidays to save on your holiday counts.
Book a flight (even months in advance), buy a guidebook, research and even book hostels or search for a couchsurfing host. Do everything that will force you to travel. If you can, book trips with friends so you have people to plan a trip with. If you can’t find anyone to go with, go by yourself and make friends when you get abroad.
SAVE. Don’t use lack of money as an excuse not to travel.
One of the excuses I often hear is that people could not travel because they don’t have the money. You don’t need to be rich to see the world.
Money is crucial in our lives but it should not be used as an excuse from achieving our dreams.
Control your spending. Do you need the newest iPhone? Think twice. Use these savings to plan a big trip. Or if you are really short on cash, travel small and visit a neighbouring country, island, state or city.
Arrange if you can ‘work virtually’.
Thanks to the conveniences of the Internet, virtual offices are possible.
I’ve worked ‘virtually’ for one and a half years in the Philippines. It was a positive experience for me; working away from an ‘office desk’ didn’t have any negative impact on my productivity and output level (I hope so 😉 ).
And working abroad means that you have the weekday evenings and the weekend to explore and travel.
Changing environments often encourages you to be motivated. Why sit in front of your boring desk if you can do work in the beaches of El Nido, for example. There is the downside of course that you have to work – but with a view like this, I don’t think you’ll regret it!
Ask your boss if you can work for 1-2 weeks virtually, and often if they trust you enough, they would say yes. You can do almost everything virtually – check and answer emails, make phone calls, attend meetings and even do presentations.
Travel doesn’t need to take long –do it on weekends.
You don’t need to fly 12 hours or take a month-long holiday for it to be considered as ‘travel’. There’s no standard duration nor distance for a trip to be considered well, a trip. For me, the essence of travel is when you take the extra step in order to know and discover a destination regardless of the time spent nor the location.
I’m a fan of weekend travels and I’ve done it on several countries in my list.
There are times when I think that these days weren’t enough. It’s true – but there’s no stopping you from coming back there again.
You can go to a neighbouring city or a country across the border and still do what all other travellers are doing: exploring, ‘travelling local’ and getting drunk. 🙂
And finally, if you have an option: WORK ABROAD.
Find a job abroad that you like and apply. There are lots of opportunities available for people to work abroad. The salary may not pay well or the position may not be as prominent – but hey, at least you are in a new destination!
I’ve done most of my travels in the past four years while having a full-time job. I never stopped from actually having one. And if I add all the travels I’ve done in the past four years, it will equate to almost one year of being on the road (yup, almost equivalent to me travelling for one year around the world). For me, there are no differences whether you travel for one year or one weekend.
But I still manage to earn a living, go forward with my career and be happy. There are no secrets really. Happy travels!
How do you balance work and travel? Do you have any other tips or advice to share? Feel free to comment below!