Thursday, 23 October 2014

Why I'm Not Quitting It All To Travel

I have recently felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of travel bloggers encouraging others to quit their jobs, homes and lives to undertake a perpetual life of travel. Their blog posts are inspiring and compelling and quite a fun read to be honest. It is a wonderful thing to be able to do and their lives have been enriched to no end because of their choices.

My fear is that they are so compelling it will put people in a state of fear. The feeling that travel isn’t worthwhile unless it is paired with a life altering decision to leave it all behind may bind people to their comfort zones in knowing they will never truly be able to leave it all so why bother.

Travel is accessible to all and I want people to also be inspired by reality, the reality in which most of us live. Yes we toil at our jobs and we strive for career and family and despite what you are told these are valuable things and they can co-exist with travel and adventures. They are not limiting you, they should compel you.

I have worked a full time job, started my own business which I worked as well as my full time job and pretty much been career orientated my entire adult life. Whilst I momentarily feel the need to escape the grind especially when I read blog posts like this “Legal Nomads, Why I quit my job to travel the world” I know that it isn't realistic for all people to take a path like this and god forbid we all try because the global economy will grind to a halt.

Despite my focus on career and the sometimes mundane work life balance that I know we all manage day to day I have seen more of the world than most people would dream to see in their whole lives and I am only in my early 30’s. Of course that was helped greatly by my choice of career as a travel agent but much of my travelling has been undertaken under my own steam and my own dollar, it isn’t all free rides around here.

I think whilst people should be inspired by intrepid travellers who do leave it all behind to endlessly travel the world I also think that people should work with what is realistic for them. The beauty of the free world we live in is that we can all strive to live the life we choose for ourselves and if you do want to see the world and manage maybe career or family you can certainly do both.

I also believe people can travel no matter what they earn. I started in the travel industry on a very low traineeship wage of $16 000 per year which was close to half of minimum wage in Australia at the time. It seemed unfair at the time but I made the best of it. I even went of my first trip to Europe for a whole month on this wage whilst juggling rent and bills and all those things that life throws at you.

With a little ingenuity there are thousands of life changing trips you can take with 2-4 weeks leave a year and a little in savings. You can stretch your dollar a long way when you undertake backpacking style ventures or small group grassroots adventures like Geckos or Intrepid. I spent three weeks in China on a Geckos trip. The tour was $1500, the airfares under $1000 & I could have got away with spending a few hundred dollars on the ground (if I didn't throw a reasonably large amount of money to hold a baby Panda). If you can put away just $50 a week or even $50 a month if it is all you can afford it can take you a long way in this world. You just have to keep your goals in mind and work towards them.

Here are my top tips for seeing the world and managing real life:

Don’t forget to think outside the box

Get together a group of friends and split the costs of accommodation on your travels, the more the merrier on your pocket. Look at villa and apartment style accommodation that you can fill up with friends to reduce your per person rate.

 Don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone 

Don a backpack and dive into the hostel for cheap prices. Take things outdoors, hiking and camping will save a tonne of money and extend the time you can afford to be overseas. I once met a minister in LA who had many kids. He didn’t own a TV and was frankly scarily non materialistic. Strangely he was working for LA Tourism which was a really odd mis-match but he told me how his family go camping around the world each year for their holidays and they buy postcards as souvenirs, all of his penny pinching and roughing it means the more of the world he and his family get to see. Now that’s inspiring.

Check out what is in your own backyard

You might be surprised what fantastic times are to be had close to home if you look around. Great adventures are not defined by getting on an aircraft.

Keep your eye on the dollar for the most bang for your buck

Monitoring your own currency against world currencies will give you an idea where you can head for a better deal. Aussie dollar down against the US dollar? check it out against the Yen though, maybe there is a bargain to be had.

Be inspired every day

Use all of the resources available to you to build your knowledge of world destinations. Blogs and podcasts are an amazing resource. I am currently really into the Amateur Traveller podcast. Despite being a travel agent all of my adult life I have learnt so much from this show, discovered fabulous blogs I did not know about and have been totally inspired by destinations I knew little about previously. I was so excited to hear about Soccotra in Yemen that I have stored it away in my memory for a future trip thanks to Chris from the Amateur Traveller and Earl from Wandering Earl.

Whilst we can all take inspiration from the lives of others don’t get bogged down in the dream of it all. You don’t have to give it all up for good. Whilst chucking in the job and ditching the mortgage might give you goosebumps and if that path suits you go for it but don’t forget you can fit travel into your lifestyle with minimal changes. You can see the world and come home at the end of the trip to the dog and cat you dearly love or show the kids new cultures and be back in time for school. It is all waiting for you you just have to grab it.

Oh man I am totally out of inspirational anecdotes. Tell me how travel fits in with your lifestyle or how you have changed your life to make it work?

Check out some of the adventures I have had and still maintained a 9-5 lifestyle.

Chasing the Mayans in Mexico and Guatemala

On Safari in South Africa

Tuk Tuking in Cambodia and Vietnam

Discovering majestic Canada

Ahh Europe, enough said

The wonders of Dubai

Finding myself in Chicago (couldn't resist that one at the Bean, Chicago)

Urban Safari in San Francisco

Seeking the Gods in glorious Egypt

Taking in the Grand Canyon

Making friends with the locals in Chengdu, China

Getting married in the Cook Islands

Top of the Rock, New York City Baby

Originally posted on Thursday, 23 October 2014 by


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