|Road sign in Tbilisi, Georgia|
Since I started blogging (a mere 4 months ago!) there is one blogpost that people have been practically BEGGING me to write. How do I do it?
Basically, how do I manage to travel so much and still work full time? The internet is packed full of bloggers who will tell you how they “dropped everything to travel”. There are so many people out there who just quit their jobs, sell all their stuff and live a nomadic lifestyle. I applaud these people, but it’s not the life for me. My aim in life is to have balance. I want to see the World, but I also want to have a home. I want to have meaningful relationships, not just a revolving door of friendships as I move from town to town. I want to have a career in which I make a difference to people and I want to progress in that career.
I guess in a way my story is about balance. How do I balance my life at home with my desire to travel? Well here are a few of the ways I can hold down a full time job AND see the World.
A A job that I love
The first and the most important thing is that I love my job. I work for a charity in the health research sector and this is one of the main reasons that I have not packed my bags for good. While I’m saving for my next trip, I enjoy my work and my colleagues and I do get the feeling that I am making a difference (even in a small way). This makes everything so much easier.
Travel costs money. There are no two ways about it. Some people will tell you about all the ways that you can travel for free and if you are a full time blogger you can probably get your trips sponsored etc. But I speak as a regular person, “Josephine Soap” if you will! So obviously working full time can help to fund my trips. As well as this I also use a number of money saving tricks. In order to get the cheapest flights I fly at ridiculous hours in the morning. In fact I have an alarm on my phone called my “Ryanair Alarm” which gets me up at 4am for their earliest flights! I shop around for the best deals for hotels and I am not afraid to slum it if I have to. As a matter of fact I prefer to stay in a place with a little “character” than in a 5 star hotel that could be anywhere in the World. Sometimes, depending on the economy, you can spend far less being away from home that you would on an average weekend in Dublin, which is kind of like saving to me!
3. Time Management
Holding down a full time job means that I also have to budget my time wisely. There are only a certain amount of annual leave days that I can take throughout the year. There are lots of ways that you can get around this. For example, if you are allowed to build up time in lieu, you can take extra days off instead of getting paid for overtime. I like to strategically use public holidays as a way to maximise my time off. I also enjoy spending plenty of long weekends exploring new cities in Europe. Every few years I like to take an extended period of about a month and go somewhere special.
4. Travel Off Season
There are so many reasons to travel in the low season. First of all, it’s cheaper, much cheaper! Secondly, there are fewer tourists, which means that landmarks and tourist attractions are not crowded with people which makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Not to mention, it is much better for photography! Since there are fewer tourists, you can also get to know the local people and contribute to their businesses throughout the year. One final point is that the weather is generally milder so this is better for my pale Irish skin!
5. Be a little selfish
This is a hard one. I have been told that some people think that my way of travel is selfish. It’s true that if I want to go somewhere and I can’t find a travel buddy, I will just go alone. I am also aware that I once ditched my friends to go to Cuba, because their holiday in Benidorm didn’t float my boat. This is obviously not a personality trait that I would be boasting about, but it is an important part of how I travel. Thankfully, my family and friends are very supportive of my way of life and understand how important it is to me.
6. Avoid Ground Hog Day
Of course we are all different, but I can never understand how people go back to the same place every year on their holidays. It would bore me to tears! I rarely visit the same place twice, because there is so much of the World to see!
7. Make sacrifices
I am very open about the fact that travel is my only luxury. I don’t wear fancy clothes or spend a lot of money on my hair or make-up. I would rather have a weekend break in a new City than a designer handbag or pair of shoes. The way I see it, the memories will last long after the fashion changes!
8. Pick a place and Go!
Finally, I have a list of places that I want to go and I try to tick them off as much as I can. Unfortunately, it seems that my list keeps growing instead of getting shorter! But I would say pick a place you have always wanted to go and just go. Set a plan in place, save up some money and go! I realise that we all have different circumstances, but the achievement of working hard and making it to a place we have always wanted to go is something that you cannot describe.
I hope I can inspire people to go a little outside their comfort zones and to try and see just some of what our amazing planet has to offer. Meet new people, eat new food and try new things. I promise you won’t regret it!