This is the 2nd post in the two-part guest series provided by Marthe of the Mausumi blog. In the last article she discussed how to afford to travel. Today she gives some excellent about where to find the time. Again, I think she gives a lot of helpful tips that anyone can use to get the most out of their travel dreams…
If you have a 9-5 job, one of the best excuses to avoid traveling is to hold on to the fact that you have a limited yearly vacation. Most students, like my friends, also think that they don’t have time to travel during the term. As with most “I don’t have time”-excuses, you really have time if you want to find it. Here are my tips when it comes to traveling and living a busy life:
1. At work: Plan your absence
If you don’t think your workplace can manage without you for a few weeks, then you either think too high of yourself or you have a problem when it comes to delegating. In most countries you have at least a few weeks of paid vacation a year. If this is not enough for you, or you want to go on another time of the year, I suggest asking your boss politely to get some unpaid weeks off. I recommend asking at least 4-5 months before you have to go, to give your boss more time to reorganize tasks and increase your chances to get a yes. No matter how you do this, you should always start planning your absence as soon as you can.
To give you a personal example I have already started to plan how I’m going to manage a month off my studies in October. I have already started to adapt my schedule today, to increase my success of taking time off then. Make a rough plan of your work the next months and you’ll see how much extra work you need to put in today.
2. Do what is necessary
If you are unable to take time off work to fulfill your dreams, have you considered to quit? I know this may sound harsh during times with high unemployment rates and unstable economic situations, but you only live once. I actually quit my job to be able to go backpacking in December 2008.
My boss wouldn’t give me (unpaid) time off and she didn’t really think I would have the nerves to quit. I did, and when I returned from traveling in January I jot my job back immediately. I don’t say that you should make rash decisions here, but you should be clear about your priorities. Is traveling something you really want to do in your life? Then I suggest you go as soon as possible, no one knows if you’ll be able to in the future.
3. Get your home ready
When you have time off to travel, I suggest starting to think about all the other activities you do that suck up your time. Make sure you feel like you have time off from everything else too. If you are going to travel for a while, I suggest meeting up with friends in good time before you go (to make sure your friendships survive a long time no see), pay all your bills in advance and ask someone to take in your mail and water your plants.
The idea here is to make sure that you are comfortable with leaving for a long time. You don’t want to worry about homely stuff when you are on the road, feeling that you really should have been taking care of things at home.
4. Plan for when you come back
I suggest making a plan for when you get back home to make your absence more comfortable. Leave a couple of days upon return for jet lag and unpacking. You don’t want to have to be at work when feeling nauseated from jet lag, I promise you.
Also, you might actually get culture shock when coming back home. Suddenly everything is back to the usual, (and often boring) routine. You have gotten used to new impulses every day, something exciting happening every singe day when you travel and bam! there you are watching TV in your living room. Just keep it in mind. If you have a comfortable transition back to your normal life, before you know it, you’ll be planning your next journey.
5. Stay updated
If you are working full time, I suggest you try to stay a little updated even when you are on vacation. If you make a deal with your boss (or someone else you’re working with) to send you weekly update e-mails, you’ll stay updated without having to sort through huge amounts of mail.
Use a different e-mail address from your work mail and only give it to your boss or friend. This way you’ll be able to stay updated without feeling the pressure of seeing an inbox full to the limits. This will also be a benefit for your workplace. You’ll return with fresh thoughts on the matters discussed while you were away and they will be able to reach you if an emergency occurs at work (it always happens, doesn’t it?).
As I said earlier, if you think you can’t get away for a couple of weeks, there’s something wrong. Make sure you are prioritizing right.
If going backpacking in South America is more important to you than your career, you should do it now! But if you have been working hard to climb the corporate ladder and quitting your job will ruin it all, then you have to make sure that you value your career above your travel dreams. And that is totally fine! Just make a conscious decision and not just let it be the way it is and regret it later. Go before it’s too late!
Steve’s Note: Marthe definitely gave a lot of advice that challenges your comfort zone. The important thing here is not just read what she wrote. Instead, take action and find the time to realize your travel dreams. If you want to see how she’s realizing her dreams, I recommend you hop over and check out Marthe’s Mausumi blog.Take Action. Get Results.