The one frequent question everyone asks me is how I manage to travel often with a 9 to 5 job. So, it’s only fair that I write my first blog on #vidoutboundaries answering THE famous question.
I am wanderlust! You can’t keep me down for too long, but like many of you my vacation days are also limited in a year.
But tell you what – that doesn’t have to put an end to your daydreams of exploring new locales, food & cultures. You just need the passion and enough motivation to wake up from your daydreams and explore the world! Is it that easy? No, not at all!
I hear you, it’s tough out there! You’re balancing the meeting room with the laundry room, trying to tackle the gym and the daily commute, attempting to tick off items from your ever-growing to do list, while thinking about what’s for dinner. It’s a tough life for sure. And where’s travel in this long list? How do you make room for something that feels so indulgent on just a few days of vacation time a year? If you are passionate as me about travel, you deserve more travel and adventure in your life, I’m here to share a few tips with you on how.
There are no shortcuts to achieving anything you are passionate and dream about. Having said that, it took me 9 long years to make the wanderlust in me come out of the closet. The year 2017 was by far the best year for me in terms of travel – I was able to explore six exotic destinations across three continents – Jordan, New Zealand, Bali, England, Scotland and Myanmar. And of course I managed to squeeze in 10 short trips closer to home in India.
Am I rich? NO. Is someone funding my travel? NO. Did I inherit money? HELL NO. Win a lottery? HOW I WISH!
Just like you, I work my tail off and plan for my travels. I save up for travel, which means sacrificing some of life’s little pleasures every now and then. If you ask me, is it worth it? Hell YEAH!:)
There are numerous things you need to work on, but I will stick to top 5 that worked for me:
You Earn it and Not Demand it (Just like respect from anyone):
If you are professionally starting out, and say I think travel is my thing hence I need flexibility at work. It just does not work that way. I have been working for almost a decade as a HR practitioner post my MBA. I have worked my way up different roles to grow and earn my keep. After 7 years of hardship, I took an impromptu decision to quit my glamorous job as a Global HR Partner in a MNC, to take up a role in a consulting company. Now I have the freedom to create, to experiment and it’s amazing how you can combine your passion with work- Balancing between profession & travel (breaks should not be too long to hamper your profession). I ensure I have a local sim and internet connection everywhere to handle any escalations. It’s mostly unpaid vacation days for me. You only live once. It’s important to remember that.
Make Travel a Priority
When you make travel a priority, it’s easier to focus on what you need to do to reach your travel goals. I invest my surplus in Travel (… shoes too….which girl wouldn’t) and religiously maintain a separate account for it. Whether it means working overtime to earn extra vacation days (responsibly), or avoiding unnecessary expenses to build up your travel fund (House parties are way cooler than visiting the same old pubs), if your priority is achieving your travel dreams, all the sacrifice is worth it. Those shiny diamonds can wait!
Planning always works
It is important to plan in advance for long trips. Do your research about the places you are planning to visit. I so enjoy putting together a wish list including off beat places and unique things to do in each destination. Keeping in mind the weather, overnight flights, not minding layovers, my stays are mostly in Airbnb’s which are economical, using public transport is convenient wherever possible (oh the metros!! ) and I walk as often as I can simply because I love to take in what the place has to offer – at my pace. This does not mean I am a budget traveller! I would describe my travel style as ‘budget-luxe’ – I like to make the most of my money but throw in a few luxury touches where I can. (I am a sucker for pretty cafes, souvenirs, spas and anything art)
No room for Fussiness
Travel with anyone you know! (who shares similar love for travel) I travel with whoever is available, be it with friends, family, like minded folks or just solo! When in Rome be a Roman – stick to local cuisine when travelling, being a “foodie”, I have enjoyed the different types of cuisine in each town, city & country. (Including crazy ones from snake wines to frog legs). I have equally enjoyed stays from Taj Vivanta in Langkawi to sleeping on floors in villages of Myanmar. I have survived the chills of Wadi Rum, Jordan at 2 degree centigrade without woollens as my baggage was lost leaving me with just a jacket and some borrowed clothes from friends for 4 days. (Friends pull my leg even today about the swimsuit in my carry-on bag for the Dead Sea)
Family on your side
Convince loved ones what you believe in, if your family doesn’t support you, it gets tough. My partner understands and supports my passion for travel. Even though we have known each other for over a decade it took some time to get him onboard. We travel together to celebrate special occasions and anniversaries, as his business keeps him busy. I have managed to rub off my wanderlust on my family members to some extent. I write postcards for them from every single place I visit and manage to share few magical moments with them over video calls. Every time I return from travel we get together to see photos, share stories and souvenirs. Get them onboard by – being safe and communicate often, rest is easy.
Believe me, It is possible to keep your professional career front and centre while pinning flags on that travel map of yours.
Follow the wanderlust in you, become an explorer and discover new adventures in different countries. It is possible! – “Like me, you just have to want it bad – really bad”.