How to Make Travel a Bigger Part of Your Life
So you want to travel more…I totally get it. Coming from the USA, land of limited vacation, I feel like we may even want it MORE due to less opportunity for time away. Additionally, social norms in the US dictate that we graduate from college at 22 and follow that path until we retire at the ripe age of 65. THEN, and only then, can we travel willy nilly. While I fully have no intention of aging, it is a bit risky to wait and find out upon retirement when it is too late.
So, what if we decided to question social norms. What if we created new social norms. Basically, unless you are already independently wealthy or hit the Powerball Jackpot last Wednesday, some sort of work will be required to earn an income. Here are three ways you can bring more travel into your life and make it part of your life. I have done ALL of them. It will be up to you, your circumstances, and your desires to determine what will work best for you. And here’s the deal: these are basic ideas, they are nothing new, BUT the reason I am writing about them is because I want you know they are all possible for YOU.
Each of these will allow for more travel in your life and I will discuss them in order of personal freedom they allow for:
Get a Remote Job
Given the state of the world over the past year and a half, A LOT of people had remote jobs. And now a lot of people are being beckoned to the office. Nothing kills the ability to travel like being required to sit in an office. Maybe your job requires you to be in a specific location, but I assure you there are loads of jobs that don’t!
Since we’ve already dove headfirst into social norms, let’s take this opportunity to address a couple more that may feel a little scary. Sometimes our beliefs and conditioning are hindrances in allowing to live the lives we truly desire. I’m gonna be blunt, I’m gonna throw a few things out there. Maybe they’ll resonate, maybe they’ll feel scary, but they are the first step to a life of more travel (remember, that’s what you want! I know this because you are reading this post).
You don’t have to work in your field
You don’t have to get a job at the same “level" you are currently at
You don’t have to make the same amount of money you are currently making
Think about your current job. Think about the amount of work it requires. Think about the amount of stress it induces. Think about what you have energy to do after work.
Now imagine you’ve taken this same job remotely in effort to travel more. The amount of time and freedom you’d have to see some stuff would be more limited.
Now consider you’ve found a lower level hourly position. This means you won’t be responsible for calls and emails outside of working hours. You’ll have fewer responsibilities equating to less stress. What will you do with this newfound free time when you aren’t stressing or worrying or going to bed early? Explore, that’s what.
This is purely a matter of opinion. Sure you can build a career AND travel, but at what cost. Personally, travel was my escape from the stress and the burnout. I certainly do not want to deal with it while traveling. I know, I know, not every job is stressful and causes burnout, but sometimes, when I reflect on all that is life, I often come to the conclusion of “what’s the point?” I personally do not want to exert so much time and effort into someone else’s dream and vision. This is why having a remote job is the least flexible option of the three I am discussing in this post. You’ll still have a boss and coworkers, but there are some super flexible options out there (and others, less so). Remote work is a great option for those of you who really value the stability of a consistent paycheck, but still want to travel when possible.
Work for Yourself: Start a Business (or freelance)
Next up, working for yourself. This provides another level of freedom because you are your own boss. You decide which projects or clients to take on and what your work schedule will look like. Wanna sleep till noon? That can work. Prefer to explore during the day and get work done at night? That works too.
Admittedly, I ALWAYS said I wanted to work for myself. How nice it would be to not have to report to anyone or deal with the bureaucracy of a large company. But for some reason, I was under the impression that I needed to have some grand invention, be on Shark Tank, and then I would be able to work for myself, but that is simply not the case (which is GREAT news for those of us who want to work for ourselves so we can travel more). There are a million and one ways to make money online simply by offering what you are already good at.
This is what happens: we all have unique skills and interests. We use them all the time. We then start to believe due to the frequency in which we do these things, that everyone knows how to do them. That simply isn’t true. My personal example revolves around travel. I’ve traveled extensively and have experiences that I don’t even think twice about, but this allows me to serve those who are new to travel or long-term travel. Maybe you like to do something that other people don’t like spending time on and you can be hired for that (that can be anything from social media to translation to video editing to relationship coaching). Anything can be a business. With billions of people on the planet, you only need a small number to need what you have in order to turn a profit. That’s empowering.
If the idea of creating a whole business around your skills sounds overwhelming, freelancing may be a great place to start. You can pick up gigs and projects to fit your schedule and it’s a great way to test the lifestyle before going all in. There are a number of websites like Upwork that you can make a proposal for the work that interests you or Fiverr where you can list the services you offer along with the price.
Take a Career Break
The holy grail of freedom. If you are looking for a permanent exit from the workforce, this is not a forever solution; HOWEVER, I think this is a fabulous start. So often we get burnt out at a job. We experience the struggle and the grind. If we are lucky, we realize we need a change, but when we are seeking to make a change under such high-pressure circumstances, often times the change we make is out of desperation. Maybe it is the first “out” we are offered. Or we rationalize why this is the most logical career move and we move on to another job that makes us feel the same way as the one we just left. Potentially undervalued, underpaid, overworked…there are plenty of adjectives to throw at this one.
My BEST advice: if you feel so burnt out in the position you are currently in, take a break! This will give you the time and space to truly process how you feel in the current role and explore what your next best move is. A favorite workplace metaphor is “putting out fires.” In your current role, all you can see is fire. In any potential role you can find, it will be impossible to see all of the fires during the application process. When you are surrounded by fire, literally any other option will feel like an improvement, when the reality is these roles may be equally engulfed in flames, but you aren’t close enough to notice it yet. YET. Because it will become evident.
Stepping back and away offers the opportunity to seek clarity and determine the root causes of the stress, burn out, and fires and your potential contribution to your own stress. It also allows you the space to heal from your previous overexertion. It’s like working out. If you workout too much, you put yourself at risk for injury. If you do end up injuring yourself, the solution is not to workout at a different gym. You need to rest.
Additionally, what often happens is we lose ourselves to a job. We have difficulty identifying who we are without the job we slave away at. For me, I didn’t even know what I liked to do for fun! My least favorite question was, “what are your hobbies?” I didn’t have time for hobbies! I always said travel, but I barely had time for that either.
Taking a career break can be a powerful reset, but taking a career break to travel can truly amplify that reset. It will expose you to new cultures and new perspectives. For me, I could quickly see that the Americans rush and hustle and race their way through life. I met people who moved slower and more intentionally and enjoyed life. They would sit down and enjoy a midday meal instead of scarfing down a sandwich in order to get back to work. Dining can be just as much about the company as the food at the table. I learned people default toward generosity and kindness. I witnessed extreme poverty and had the stark realization that everything I used to complain about isn’t a true problem. Travel opens your eyes and resets your perspective. Perspective is powerful in all aspects of life, particularly if you choose to re-enter the workforce after your break (which is totally and completely possible if that is what you want!)
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