It surprises me how much people tell me, “You travel so much!”
To me, it’s not nearly enough. However, I guess I do travel more than the average person. Traveling is ingrained in me now, and I can’t get enough. It provides an outlet to explore and learn things outside of my full-time job, which can monopolize so much of my time.
As much as I lose sight of what’s important to me during the desolate times of busy seasons, my desire to travel and to explore has stayed strong, if not grown more urgent. Helps a lot too that my boyfriend (have been calling him N on here) has taken interest, or obsession rather, into the travel hacking world.
The past two years have been sprinkled with trips throughout mine and N’s down time. Within the past year, our trips have increased due to the discovery of travel hacks. Despite that, we have both said that even without the travel perks, we would still spend on traveling because it’s worth it to us. I believe that if traveling is a passion of yours, you can make it happen as long as you plan ahead and take action.
Just to give you an idea of my travels/planned travels in 2016:
Jan – Chicago
Feb – Lake Tahoe
April – Puerto Vallarta
June – Japan
Dead period July – Sept
Oct – Austin, NYC, and Portland
Dec – Iceland, Scotland, Netherlands, Sweden
The bigger trips are Japan and upcoming Europe trip (about 2 weeks each). The other ones are usually one or two days tacked onto a weekend.
First of all, a lot has to do with my job’s flexibility. But where there’s flexibility, there’s also more responsibility/stress. To contrast, N’s job is a straight 7am – 3:30pm during offseason or up until 9pm during football coaching season. Stress is pretty much nonexistent in his full time job, but he puts more heart into coaching football so there’s responsibility to deal with there.
I take advantage of my offseasons to travel. Or if there’s a slow week, I could work remotely for half a day for two days each and enjoy the other halves. There’s more to work with when your job allows you the flexibility. The downside to that is you’re almost never “offline” from work. Timing and communication with team members are critical in that case. N, on the other hand, schedules his vacation days through what is typically a normal process – formally request vacation days. Clean cutoff from work to enjoy. Either way works, but figure out what and how it can work for you.
We plan our trips, most of the time, way in advance (we have a trip for summer 2017 booked (woo!)). That way, we can keep ahead of our schedules and keep them clear of potential disturbances that can occur during vacation time. You’ll never know what can happen up until your vacation, but having it penciled in is a first step! Most people say that they want a vacation and think about them all the time, but I say make it happen folks!
Finally, how can I afford all this?? Budgeting, of course, and travel hacks! There are plenty and plenty of blogs/forums/articles out there on best practices, so I would suggest you look into them! I have my own guru at home who does his homework every night. 🙂 I’ve shared a couple hacks with my friends who have now joined the club. As long as it makes traveling accessible and within reason, I’m in. I’m thinking of blogging more about some of our travel hacks soon. Stay tuned!
If there’s anything that makes me happy, it’s traveling. There’s no big surprise here — with anything that makes you happy, you have to make time for it.
Here’s a religious picture. (Bangkok, Thailand)
Here’s a serious picture. (Supreme Court, DC)