Over the last few months, I joined a lot of blogging related Facebook groups which allowed me to connect to many other travel bloggers. And by that I did not only become better at blogging but was also inspired by the stories of others. And, of course, I don’t want to withhold these stories. Therefore, I have something special for you today: Brianne Miers – an accomplished PR professional and traveller – shares her story with us. She provides some advice on how to live a life of travel. It is sure to inspire all of us!
Brianne Miers is based in Boston, MA (USA) but has traveled to nearly 50 countries. By day, she is the principal at Kind Communications, working with nonprofits and start-ups. Her blog, A Traveling Life, focuses on how to balance a career with a life of travel.
TRAVEL & CAREER CAN GO TOGETHER
The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave – most Americans are lucky if they can squeeze in one week of vacation each year, with a few extra days off scattered here and there (That sounds depressing, I know!).
Despite this drastic limitation, I’ve been able to travel to nearly 50 countries while earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and establishing myself in my career.
How have I done it? It hasn’t always been easy, to be honest. I’ve had to be very creative in maximizing time off, and I’ve definitely had to make sacrifices – about two years ago, for example, I left a high-paying job for the unpredictable life of a freelancer to have a more flexible schedule. But what I’ve seen and experienced while traveling has taught me more than anything I’ve ever learned in an office.
TOP 5 TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN LIVE A LIFE OF TRAVEL
So, regardless of whether you live in the U.S. or France – which leads the world in the number of paid vacation days workers are given annually (30!) – here are my top five tips on how you can live a life of travel without sacrificing your education or career, and even use travel to benefit your professional development.
1. Study abroad.
Whether it’s for a week, a semester or a year, look into the possibility of studying abroad. During my semester in Strasbourg, France, I became proficient in another language – a great skill to put on a resume – while seeing most of Europe. If your university doesn’t have a program, look into partner universities or independent programs like the Erasmus Programme for EU students. Students also qualify for many international scholarship, fellowship and work abroad programs.
2. Intern or volunteer overseas.
I always encourage students and young professionals to volunteer or intern overseas if possible – the opportunity to learn and work in a culture different from your own is invaluable, and you feel good about helping a cause you care about (But do your research – idealist.org is a good place to start). I spent a summer teaching English in Pokhara, Nepal, during graduate school and came away with a much deeper understanding of the complex international development issues I was studying in my program.
3. Chose your career & your company wisely.
Of course, there are some careers that offer more flexibility than others. You can’t telecommute if you’re a surgeon, for example. On the other hand, there are others that generally encourage a more positive work/life balance. So early on, you need to think carefully about what professions are best suited to the lifestyle you want and research what companies reflect your values and priorities. I’ve worked mostly for nonprofit organizations, so I’ve been able to negotiate both unpaid time off and additional paid time off instead of salary increases in order to travel more.
4. Promote your travel experiences.
For a long time, I kept my travel life and professional life separate. I was afraid that my colleagues would think I was irresponsible or unreliable. However, over the past two years, I decided to start sharing my travel experiences with my professional network. After all, traveling has taught me so much about communication, negotiation, flexibility, resilience, and more. So I added my blog to my resume, LinkedIn profile and company website. Now, my trips are all that anyone wants to talk about during meetings!
5. Be true to yourself.
Even though more Americans are traveling than ever – a record 38% of us now have passports – there’s not a strong culture of travel that exists within the U.S. I’ve encountered a lot of resistance and skepticism from well-meaning friends, family and colleagues – for example, that I’m being irresponsible with finances, or I’m jeopardizing my professional relationships. Relatively recently, however, I decided I needed to tune out what others have to say and stay committed to making travel a priority.
If seeing the world is important to who you are as a person – and if you’re ready this, it probably is – then you must find a way to make it happen.
What do you think about Brianne’s advice on how to live a life of travel? Have you tried some of the things she suggested? Share your experience down in the comment section!
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