9 – 5 Travel’n
It’s no secret that I love to travel. I follow a lot of travel bloggers who are of the same mindset and share a similar passion. I noticed however; when I read blogs, they begin by saying “I quit my job to travel.” For me that’s not a possibility. I worked extremely hard in college to attain an education and have a career, so I could pursue my dream of becoming a designer. To stop doing what I love doing everyday, in order to have the leisure to travel almost seems ridiculous; impossible; and unreasonable. There are a few bloggers who work while they travel and that is awesome. I don’t know if it’s the same as having a full time job with all the benefits or trappings (i.e. health benefits, dental plans, a 401K retirement package). So, the dilemma is: am I going to be a Brand Manager or am I going to travel full time? That’s where my question lies and my pursuit begins, “how to travel while retaining my full-time job?
This was not a challenge for me in the first, or second, or even the third year of my career, because I honestly wasn’t as interested in travel at that time. In the fifth or sixth year with my employer, I got an amazing opportunity to travel to China and to Thailand. That was my first long distance visit to faraway lands, as previously my travel experience was a four hour hop to Jamaica and other Caribbean Islands. Now this sixteen hour flight and trip really opened my eyes to new possibilities. After that experience, I’ve been able to travel to several other countries including Europe and visited Poland, Germany, Italy, France and then on to England. I later did some island cruises to Puerto Rico and several islands of the West Indies.
Although it takes time out of a 9-5 work schedule; with careful planning, long distance travel is achievable. This became my quest and developed into a passion. Now the challenge is real – balancing my commitment to my job while taking time off to travel. I will share my experiences.
Most employees are given an allocation of vacation days and technological advances makes the implementation of flexible work schedules, working from home, working on weekends, and working extra days in order to earn days off is worth exploring. For example, if you work 40 hours between Monday and Thursday, or 40 hours between Tuesday and Friday, then suddenly you have a weekend that starts on Friday and extends until Monday. The one drawback with that is because of the limited time, you may have to do trips closer to home, travel within the country you live or maybe even take long road trip. These short trips can be amazing. If you live in the United States, you may even be able to pull off a trip to the Caribbean or to Canada. I have found that whenever one travels to a different country, getting on a ‘hop-on-hop-off” bus is a great way to explore and hit all the highlights. From there you can now make informed decisions about how and where you spend your time and your money.
Now when it comes to vacation time you usually get two weeks off. This time could now be used for a trip to Europe, Asia or a Caribbean cruise. If one is flexible enough to include a long weekend (that you earned by racking up a 40 -hour work week in four days) in that time slot, then you have extended your vacation by an additional four days.
When you take vacation; you do not necessarily need two full weeks in one location. You get to the location, explore, and have an amazing time, always mindful to make the best use of your time (e.g. if you decide to spend a week in Asia, make sure that your days are fully packed with things to do). If for example you get there on Thursday, my first suggestion would be to rest up from your long flight, and start your activities on Friday morning. Now you have another five or six days ahead to do all you plan to do. You could even add another location destination before its time to head home.
In keeping a full-time job and travelling, you are definitely making plans for your future. That sense of security is one thing that forced me to make plans to balance both of these passions in my life. If I were to quit my job to travel, then the prospect of owning a home, having medical insurance and a retirement plan would be farfetched; although I admit that there is a possibility that you could own a home and rent it out while you travel, and in doing so earn an income.
There are people out there who like me require full time employment, but also love to travel. Let us explore these possibilities together.