I know, I know you’re probably thinking “here’s another story about someone who is traveling full time while making money through blogging, coding, writing, teaching, webinars, etc.” I promise you, it’s not.
Shortly before graduating college I landed an exciting internship for a large NYC firm – where I currently work full time. So there I was, living what nowadays seems to be every college graduate’s dream: paving a dream career path full-time, in one of the greatest cities in the world. I vowed to follow the advice of many of my corporate superiors: save a lot – work, work, work – and have no days off. And that’s exactly what I did until one day I just felt worn out. I was taking the same train to and from work every day, I was spending anywhere between 40 and 70 hours in front of a computer screen every week, and overall I was just an exhausted mess. My fear of letting down my superiors lead me to taking only a measly 4 day break in the Caribbean. I felt like I was letting myself down by breaking the intimate promise I made when I first started working: not taking any days off to prove that I am a hard-working and diligent employee.
Fast forward to today, since that short Caribbean trip – I’ve been to over 17 countries. If you read this far, you may be in the same predicament that I was in last year.
Here are the four important things that I learned while creating a fine balance between a full time job and a full time travel itinerary:
More info: elonatheexplorer.com
1. Value YOUR Time
I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 10 – at that time I didn’t quite understand how much there is to see and experience in life. What I do understand now, however, is that we have no control over what life throws at us and I would HATE to know that I wasted all this time tirelessly working and saving – but not feeling, experiencing, learning and seeing the world around me.
2.Trips don’t have to be long
It’s a common misconception that long distance trips have to be for long periods of time. It’s also a common misconception that traveling has to be for a week (+). The niche of my adventures is traveling long distances on long weekends. Working in corporate, I have a set number of vacation days so I definitely use them wisely. I take two/ three days off at a time and combine them with a weekend thus creating a long weekend. Limited time off should not compress your borders.
I quickly realized that I want to experience as much as I can possibly can while I am young. New and exciting experiences became a necessity to me much like food and water. I often work long hours and reward myself with short trips after a successful completion of a project. I began spending less on outings and saving more. In this process I became a better person overall. I spend the free time that I have with close friends and family, building strong and meaningful relationships. I focus on things that matter like community service, educating myself, working out, etc. I learned that so many things that I own and think are important are actually not so special after all – so I sold them, thus saving some more money for future trips.
Many people think that taking time off is frowned upon in a corporate environment. I tackle this misconception by working really hard and constantly asking for new projects and tasks to take on. The latter proves that I am serious about my work, and I am. I cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain a healthy relationship with everyone that you work with – otherwise there is no way anyone will understand your passion for traveling. Your hobbies, interests, and passions should not be restrained by your work and if they are, then you’re working in the wrong place. Don’t be scared to voice your longings in return for hard work and commitment. Much like asking for a raise or a promotion – asking your employer to honor your travel plans should be a conventional practice.
These four points should get you to a good starting point on your traveling endeavors (while also working full time.) In all honesty, I’ve made many mistakes and learned many lessons, and every single one of them was worth it for living a life well-traveled.
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