Quite recently, I stumbled upon a super cool blog and thought – I have to work with this girl! Lotte is blogging over at Phenomenal Globe and today she’s sharing her story about how she combines travel with a full-time job. Because we all need to get more travel into our lives! No excuses 🙂
Lotte was born and raised in the Netherlands and is blogging over at Phenomenal Globe. She is trying to explore as much of the world as possible despite having a full-time job! Up until now she lived in Barcelona, London and Amsterdam and visited 29 countries. In 2015 her dream came true: a 5-month trip around the world. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Facebook.
HOW I COMBINE TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB
I have always loved travel… From a very young age my parents have taken me and my sisters on amazing family holidays, going camping in France, road tripping around Norway, sightseeing in Italy and exploring around England. Amazing memories that I deeply cherish… When I grew older I went on holidays with my boyfriend (now husband) and/or with friends. My first time of being in a foreign country for an extended period of time was when I studied in Barcelona for 5 months. I loved it! Speaking Spanish, making lots of international friends, sunny weather every day, eating tapas every night and a little bit of studying on the side 😉 When I had the opportunity to accompany my husband to London where he would work on a research project for 4 month, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Since I already knew I would start a new job when we would return to the Netherlands, I used this opportunity to thoroughly explore the city. It was an amazing summer, London is my all-time favorite Western city.
I don’t know exactly when the plan to travel (a part of) the world first took hold but it must be more than 15 years ago when I was dreaming about working on a ranch in Australia.
Years of high school and after that student life went by, I got married and started a job but my dream of traveling was still very much alive. And when my husband finished his study we’re finally able to go and make our dream come true! It was a life changing trip, my 5 month trip around the world… A trip that I had dreamed about for years and the best thing I have ever done. I absolutely loved the feeling of ultimate freedom travelling for months gave me. No plans, no responsibilities, just freedom. I relished the uncomplicated life of being able to fit everything I own into a backpack and move to the next exciting place. I loved meeting new people from different cultures and eating delicious food from tiny street stalls. I felt thoroughly happy with the little things in life, like a beautiful sunset or a walk on the beach.
And I was hooked… Travel had always been an important part of my life, but since my 5 month trip it has become my first priority.
HOW DO I TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB?
There are a couple of things you need when you want to travel. First of all you need some money. I never understand how people say you can travel the world for free. They might be able to do it, but I am not.
For my 5 month trip I researched how much money I thought we would need and started saving. A few examples of things I did to save money were:
- Skip my daily coffee at the train station but make it at home instead.
- Bring my own lunch to work.
- Sold all my old books on www.Bol.com.
- Did a garage sale plus sold my old stuff and clothes on www.marktplaats.com (Dutch version of EBay). In fact, since getting back from my trip I haven’t bought any new clothes because traveliung for an extended period of time makes you realize how little you actually need (the only ‘clothes’ I bought were ski shoes…).
- Gave up our rental apartment 2 months before our trip and moved in with my parents-in-law to save on 2 months of rent.
THE SECOND THING YOU NEED TO TRAVEL IS TIME
Let me tell you how I asked my manager if I could go on unpaid leave for 5 months… Probably one of the most nerve-racking task I have done.
A sabbatical isn’t uncommon in the Netherlands so why did I worry? Well, the thing was that I had only been working for this company for five months… To be completely truthful, I had actually deferred my starting date for four months to go to London with my husband, as I mentioned above. So imagine a conversation that went something like this: Yes… I really enjoy working here… Exciting projects… Nice colleagues…Steep learning curve… By the way, could I go on sabbatical for 5 months? But I was lucky, my manager fully supported my dream to travel and my sabbatical was granted! To be honest, at that moment I wouldn’t leave for another year so actually going on sabbatical after working somewhere for one and a half year doesn’t sound that bad;-)
Anyway, time to travel. For my sabbatical there were 2 things I did to make time to travel:
- The year before I went on my sabbatical I saved up pretty much all of my holiday days.
- The company I work for has a policy where you can buy extra holiday days, which I did.
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WHAT I DO TO TRAVEL WITH A FULL-TIME JOB
Since I came back, there are a few extra things I do to maximize my travel time:
- I work 36 hours instead of 40 hours (4 days 9 hours). This gives me one day of in the week which I frequently use to extend my weekend trips.
- I buy extra holidays (yes it’s a tradeoff between saving money and making time to travel;-)
- I take short (city) trips to cool places in Europe. Since getting back from my 5 month trip I went to London (twice actually…), Paris and the Azores. And Austria to go skiing.
- For these short trips I am prepared to fly at…less than ideal times. For example, I flew back from the Azores in the middle of the night, arriving at Schiphol airport at 5am, falling asleep in my bed at 6am and waking up for a work call at 9am. Not ideal, but for me it’s worth it.
This is how I try to explore as much of our Phenomenal Globe as possible despite having a full-time job! My upcoming trips are taking me to Cuba in March and Japan in April/May, super stoked!