Traveling while working a full time job – it’s possible

I’m Farirai, I’m 27 and I really love to travel. I work full time as a chemical engineer in South Africa and I’m a travel blogger. I started this blog, Gophari, to be a voice that keeps it real about the barriers that stop Africans from traveling. The goal is to break these barriers and empower more Africans to travel their country and the world.

This blog post was written by Lynn (@Lynx.ontherun), who has travelled the world extensively with her husband, Craig-Lee (@crglee001) while working full time. We connected through Instagram and I am so happy that she agreed to share about how she is able to travel so much while balancing her responsibilities. 

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Ok now let’s get into the topic of this post – traveling while working a full time job.

Over to you Lynn!

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” —André Gide.

Rooted in sunny South Africa, I always thought that travelling abroad was just a dream…that my adventures would be limited within the borders of my home country. But I lost all sight of “my shore” during our first international trip…and with that began my great affair with the world.

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”― Michael Palin

Our local adventurer, Gophari, invited me to share my thoughts or tips about being able to travel when working full-time. To be honest, there is no guide. It is just something we find a way to make it happen. If you are truly passionate about something, you will find a way to pursue it no matter what. And that’s the bottom-line!

Travel is always on my mind. It’s the most fulfilling part of our lives – a reward for our labour, if you prefer. It does however, come with its fair share of stress and anxiety. But it’s the myriad of emotions that makes it all so rewarding and fulfilling, leaving you yearning for more. Like a drug. And I’m an addict – a travel addict!

If travel is important to you, it is absolutely possible to travel while working full-time. In the last 5 years we’ve been fortunate enough to travel at our leisure to 20 countries, having worked hard to travel (internationally) at least twice a year. But the world is wide and there is still so much more to experience, to see and to learn from.

While I do not have a tried and tested method of balancing work and travelling, here are some tips that may be useful to you:

1. First, Make Travel a Priority

If travelling is important to you, something you are passionate about and you are willing to sacrifice from other areas of your life to be able to travel more, then go on and pursue it. My motto: I work to travel.

2. Use Your Vacation Time Wisely

Aside from money, leave from work is the second most important commodity that impacts my ability to travel. Don’t waste these days – I use 90% of my leave days for travelling – the remaining 10% are for the odd day here or there, but I never waste those days by staying at home. Think about it, you literally get paid while you are travelling. Like money, be smart about how you spend your leave days.

3. Take Advantage of Weekends and Holidays

Weekends and public holidays are an opportunity to use less of your leave time (vacation time). Weekends are great for local trips but also can count towards a longer travel. In 2017, we took 6 days of leave and spent 10 beautiful days in Italy. If you are planning a long trip, 5 days of vacation time will give you 9 days of travel (Saturday through the
following Sunday). 10 days of vacation time will give you 16 days for a trip if you plan the weekends out properly. You can see a lot in 16 days – in December 2018, we covered 5 cities in Spain, 2 cities in Portugal and Paris over 16 days!

4. Budget for your travel

Returning from that first trip made us reassess our priorities. While they say that travel is not a matter of money, but a matter of courage, one still needs a means to travel. Unnecessary spending and wasting of money has to go, if travelling is your priority. A few years ago, a good friend who has travelled extensively shared a valuable piece of advice: keep the credit card for travel. Once I was able to work that out, I try to keep my credit card primarily for travel.

Our goal is always to travel on a budget, to get enough bang for our buck. So we research extensively. Book all our travels ourselves and hunt for travel deals. Over the years, we’ve thrown caution to the wind and went on many adventures on our own without booking tours. We set budgets for flights and accommodation based on our own means and find the most cost-effective way to do it.

5. Don’t count the days, make the days count

Being ‘on-the-move’ travelers, we make every effort to get the most out of each day – sometimes we get in over our heads but we always come back with amazing memories. Last August in Milan, we had a free day before departing, so we took a train into Lugano, Switzerland. Likewise, back to that trip in Italy, we took an early morning train out of Rome to spend one glorious day discovering the beautiful Amalfi coastline. I am lucky that dear husband @crglee001 shares the same passion for travelling and by thriving on each other’s strengths we aim to have incredible adventures.

6. Educate yourself, plan and embrace the challenges

I spend most of my free time reading about travel, countries, cities, travel hacks, checking travel deals, etc. It helps when you’re off on an adventure. And true to my Capricorn self, I pursue something important to me aggressively and relentlessly! I am always planning in my head – where in the world to next. All trips, no matter how well planned, are subject to a few challenges. It makes the journey worthwhile; teaches you valuable lessons: about yourself, about each other, about life.

They say the impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life. So as I sit here, confined to my routine, the idea of another adventure makes me happy. In the same way, it would make me happy if you take something from this piece and tailor it to your life, and in doing so, I hope you venture off somewhere amazing in the world and have an incredible story to add to your life.

Thank you Gophari for the opportunity to share my thoughts. And with that, I’d like to leave you with my favourite travel quote:

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for
the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

Follow Lynn and her husband, Craig-Lee, on Instagram to keep up with their travels!