I have been doing a lot of research recently on other folks travel blogs, social media networks and the Internet as a whole, and it truly amazes me how some people are able to travel for a living and venture wherever they like pretty much whenever they like.
In reality, we are not all as fortunate as these “vagabonds” and we have to establish a balance between work and travel. So how do we achieve that perfect balance? I am certainly not advocating there is the idealistic way of balancing your life, but I would like to suggest 5 ways in which you can achieve a better relationship between your work ethic and travel identity:
Make Plans Early
A couple of weeks ago I was speaking with Heather about where we wanted to go this year. San Francisco, Mexico, Canada, The Caribbean, England and France were all thrown into the melting pot and I turned around said, “If we are going to travel to any of these locations, we need to plan ahead of time”. Of course, spontaneity is a wonderful thing and if you are able to get up and go wherever you want without any planning, more power to you! For short weekend trips we always follow this spontaneous approach and rarely plan ahead. However, when it comes to what I would classify as “bigger” trips where we have to fly somewhere or drive a substantial length of time, I like to have some plans put down.
Make A Calendar Your Best Friend
Grab yourself a pen and paper (ideally a calendar if you have one) and put down all of the key dates you know about for the year ahead. For example, if you know there are times of the year you cannot travel, either for family occasions or work related issues, note these down and plan around them.
If you are like us and are more “tech-savvy”, grab your iPad or iPhone and use the built in calendar and notepad functionality to identify those times that you can either not travel or your other half may prefer to stay at home (sorry Heather but I know those family occasions are all important and we have to try and attend!). Identify the times of the year that will best suit your schedules to travel. For us, as Heather has recently started a new job, we try to book our travel plans around holidays so that we can take extended long weekends somewhere.
Be Financially Smart
Although this is technically not directly related to work or travel, there is an indirect connotation associated as without financial stability, you will not be able to do the traveling that you would like. We are fortunate at the moment that we have very few financial ties aside from rent, utilities and car payments/insurance. Many folks out there have mortgages, children and a myriad of other debts which make it very difficult to even consider making any travel plans.
I would recommend using financial software such as Quicken or free online services such as Mint to track your income and expenses. The better financially prepared you are, the more enjoyment you can have whenever you venture on your global travels.
Enjoy Life to the Max
I am all for being aware of your finances and this probably contradicts the previous tip but there are times in your life where you have to throw caution to the wind and just enjoy everything! There are always going to be obstacles that arise that prevent you from traveling to locations you would like to but if you follow those earlier tips, you are enhancing your opportunities to discover a plethora of hidden gems in the multicultural society that we live in today. Long gone are the days where travel is difficult. Yes, traveling can be costly but it is also much more rewarding as it helps to expand your horizons and learn from the various landmarks and locations that you visit.
Take Advantage of Vacation Time
Work, work and more work….we have all had those times when we are overwhelmed with how workload but whenever the weekend arrives or it’s a holiday, leave your work behind and take advantage of the time to go out and explore the beautiful world we live in. There are so many occasions, and I have to admit that I am guilty of this, where we are given projects by our supervisors and then we either have to take it home to finish or we want to get ahead of schedule and finish up a report.
The problem is that when you do this you are eating into valuable “travel time” which may be very difficult to get back. If you work in a 8-5 job, please try and stick to this schedule for work. I am certainly not suggesting that you should fall behind or fail to meet a deadline but it’s all about time management and prioritizing. This could be another blog by itself but in a nutshell if you are able to get your work done, you can certainly travel much more than if you are having to worry about catching up on e-mails or submitting a report on a Saturday evening.
Do you all have any suggestions on how to create a balance between your working life and traveling?
What works for you?
Are you fortunate enough to be able to travel frequently?