If not traveling, what is your 9-5 life like?
My 9-5 life just went through dramatic reconstruction! Prior to April, I spent five years in a full-time job as a sales representative in a Fortune 500 company, the perks of which were many (including setting my own schedule and four weeks of annual vacation) but the negatives eventually outweighed the positives for me. After five months of full-time travel I am uncertain what my 9-5 will look like once I make my next career move, but I know it won’t look like it did before. I have thousands of pictures and pages of notes from my trip to fifteen countries, so you can be sure I will be blogging!
How have you changed your life to travel more?
In order to travel more or at all, you need only two things: money and time. (Only!) While holding a full-time job, it came down to saving up for both, and then making it a priority to spend my saved money and time on travel.
For the money side, I regularly take stock of where I am spending and what is really important to me. It helps to think about how far that five dollars you’re not spending on a coffee will go when you’re halfway across the world. I also maintain a separate travel savings fund that I contribute regularly to.
As for time, I would always opt to purchase vacation (unpaid time off) when available, but it was always a challenge to convince my manager to let me take off all the time at once. I find it useful to focus on the importance of travel to my overall happiness, job satisfaction, and productivity upon return.
How has travel changed your life? (The good, the bad and the ugly!)
The good: Travel has brought so much beauty into my life. It challenges us to think differently, take risks, trust strangers. It makes me appreciate life and its complexities on a much deeper level. Yet, it has made me want to live much more simply. I believe it has made me more tolerant, understanding, and even loving of others and of myself. And…I’ve gotten to eat some amazing food along the way.
The bad: There’s so much more good than bad, but travel has made it more difficult for me to sit still. I find that it’s easier to get bored staying in the same place, and sometimes I feel it makes me always want to be somewhere other than where I am. I am working on that!
The ugly: Have you seen what happens when I don’t shower for three days? Or have access to a laundry machine for five months? Even this becomes positive because I learn to appreciate who I am without focusing on my exterior.
Who, or what, inspired you to travel the first time?
I grew up in small, very conservative community in Northern California with little to no ethnic or cultural diversity. The world became infinitely bigger when I enrolled in a huge university in Los Angeles. It was there that I began to discover (and cherish) other cultures and backgrounds. Simultaneously, I began taking classes in Global Studies and becoming engaged in world issues. I think I was finally sold when I studied and lived with a family in Barcelona, Spain. The proximity to so many other cultures and languages in Europe…it was like somebody had opened up a window to the world.
What is your main purpose/goal of your travel blog?
The main purpose of my blog is to inspire. From what I’ve seen online, the majority of travel-focused material is based on an all-or-nothing approach. I want to encourage–what I believe are the majority of us–those seeking balance of travel and home or career, and who may be unsure of how to do it.
This or That:
Backpack or rolling suitcase? Backpack, no question!
Cities or Open Spaces? I always thought I was a city girl, but two of my favorite countries are all about the open spaces (Nepal and New Zealand.) I suppose I want the best of both worlds, but for me living in a city and visiting the open spaces is optimal.
Salty or Sweet? Salty! I’ll take a savory treat over a sweet one any day (I have a weakness for French fries…) but I’m not opposed to sweets, especially macaroons (mmm…Paris.)
Sandals or Snow Boots? Always sandals. I am a beach girl through and through. I live in my flip flops, and shy away from snow and cold.
Comedy or Drama? Well, who doesn’t love a great comedy? But if I had to choose, it comes down to drama. I most enjoy a film or a novel that makes me think differently about the world, or that has the ability to move me to tears.
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