Song of the Day: Stars by Future Generations
You don't have to quit your job to travel the world. Ooooh v cOnTrOvErSiAl.
We've all heard the narrative. Some 20-something babe realizes she hates her job as an investment banker, and decides she wants to quit her job, pack 2 suitcases, and live her life on the road. She has spent her whole life chained to her desk, dying a little bit inside with every waking day, working for the man, and she's tired of fighting for someone other than herself. This is her year of liberation, freedom, and nEeDiNg No MaN.
And that is fantastic! Good for her. But what happens if you like your job? What if you love what you do? THEN WHAT!?! Are you forever forbidden from a life of travel and freedom!?
There's quite a stigma in the travel community against maintaining a 9 to 5 while still traveling. Why wouldn't you want to quit your job? Aren't you tired of working for someone else? Don't you want to make it on your own and be a girl boss? I get that. Trust me, I get that. There's something liberating about dramatically quitting, storming out of your office, packing a bag with fervor, and heading for the door and walking straight onto the next flight. But not for me.
Because here's the truth: I love what I do. And TBH I simply dnt rly GAF about what anyone else says about it.
In November of 2014, I got my acceptance letter to grad school to study human rights. After months and months of grappling, finally, I had the opportunity to study and do what I love. Since then, I've immersed myself in a world of research, reading, writing, and discovering my passion. And I could never ask for anything more.
I just simply love what I do. I love it just as much as I love to travel. When I finish grad school, I want to go straight into the work force. I want to make a difference in the world. And I can't truly do that if I quit my job. And that is perfectly fine with me. Because despite what the travel blogs may say, you can still travel the world and have a job. Not only am I in grad school, but I work 2 and a half jobs. And I still make it my #1 priority to travel as much as I physically and financially can.
It's not necessarily the work and the academia that I love, but the ability to change the lives of others. The ability to delve myself into an academic and dissect it with the supervision and discussion of peers is something I wouldn't have if I decided to pack my whole life into a suitcase and jet off.
I find many travel blogs discouraging in the way that they imply that having a 9-5 is extremely debilitating. By saying you absolutely must quit your job in order to follow your dreams, they are eliminating a huge part of their demographic of readers who maybe love their jobs, but still want to travel. Because leaving a job doesn't work for everyone. Imagine those shenanigans!?! Life isn't like The Bachelor where all the cast members just can leave their jobs for two months to compete on a reality TV show (SRSLY THO, WHAT KIND OF EMPLOYERS LET THEM DO THAT??!) And by discouraging women (and men) from traveling because they cannot or will not or do not want to desert their lives is hurtful.
The thing is that travel is (and should be) for everyone, and we should never shame individuals for being resistant to leave their jobs to travel. It doesn't necessarily mean they are forever tethered to their desks or working for the man, but perhaps they are following their passion that isn't travel and aren't willing to give it up (RIDDLE ME THAT!?) For me, traveling fulfills me in ways that working in human rights does not. And sometimes, human rights fulfills me in ways that traveling does not. That doesn't diminish the other's individual role in my life; They simply just play two different roles in my life.
Another point of consideration is that travel is extraordinarily selfish. There, I said it. I'm not talking about travel blogging, because I think travel blogging has tremendous benefits for other people (when it's done right). And don't get me wrong betches, because I know what you're going to say. And I'm not saying that I'm the poster child for humility and selflessness, because I am so aware that my decision to live abroad away from my family is selfish. But unless you're traveling for charitable or humanitarian purposes (which I would even argue, are inherently partially selfish), an individual's decision to travel has an effect on other people in their lives, and not necessarily a positive one. I scarcely hear about people traveling for someone else's gain. Don't get me wrong, I will continue to promote traveling forever, as it can be incredibly enriching and a beautiful experience. But the reality is that traveling puts strains on families and friendships. And for some, it's more difficult to give those up. Which is more than fine. It's everyone's individual journey.
As a community of digital nomads and travel bloggers, we should be building up our audiences and encouraging them to travel no matter their circumstances, instead of flaunting our lifestyles or encouraging the stigma of remaining in formal employment. We can do better.
And for my gals and guys out there who are juggling a family, friends, work, and traveling all together, keep it up! And don't let no foolz destroy you.
But now that I've finished my rant, I want to show you that there ARE ways to travel while working in formal employment / education, and if you have no desire to leave your job but still have an itch to travel, there are options for you. Here are just a few.
Take Advantage of Local Tourism
It may sound lame, but it's so fun to be a tourist in your own city. This past summer, I brought my boyfriend with me to Chicago for the first time, and I had such a blast being a tourist, even though I spent 14 years of my life there. It was hot as ballz, but so worth it.
Take Advantage of Public Holidays
Plan your long weekends out in advance. While yes, it can be significantly more expensive to travel during public holiday times, if you plan far enough in advance, you can plan little getaways for the extended weekend. If you have enough vacation days, you can take one extra day off that backs up into the public holiday weekend, and voila, now you have a four day window to go on a magical getaway!
Look for Jobs with Vacation Time
Once I hit the job market again once I'm finished with my masters, vacation time will be a top criteria for me. I won't work anywhere that doesn't provide vacation days for first year employees. Just literally cannot do it. If traveling is something on your radar, make sure you're taking into account vacation days on your job search.
Take Short Weekend Getaways!
It's very possible to jet off somewhere late on a Friday night and return late on Sunday, with just enough time to make it into work on Monday.
Find a Job Abroad
Take a year and work abroad. You don't even have to leave your particular profession often times. For example, in the United Kingdom, there is quite a large shortage of secondary school teachers and nurses. You can bring your job to the UK, where you'll have more options to explore another continent than if you were working a nursing job back home.
Save Up Vacation Days
Do your vacation days accrue over time? Do they roll over in to the next year? Then save them up! You can save up a massive amount of vacation days and then ball out and use all your vacation days at once.