I love traveling, but I also love my career. I have a husband and the sweetest pup in the world. We own our home. And I’m happy with the life I’ve built. There are some people who can live free, and travel for months or years on end. We see their stories documented online all the time. But where are the stories and perspectives of the female travelers who have full-time jobs, families, and roots in one place?
I grew up in Germany, so my family traveled frequently. My parents took advantage of every weekend as a reason to explore. I got a taste of wanderlust at a very young age, and my location in central Europe gave me every opportunity to explore new cities, countries, and cultures.
Nowadays, I’m rooted in Houston, Texas. My husband and I are pretty limited on travel time because we only get the standard 10 days of vacation time per year [for now]. Since traveling is our favorite hobby, we make a conscious choice to prioritize it. But I fully believe even though I’m only a part-time traveler, I’m always adventuring. I’m always on the lookout for mini-adventures and fun events in my own city. Although Houston isn’t the most exciting and beautiful place to live, I have to make the most out of my time here. So if there’s a cool festival or a little island of culture I can venture to within my own city (check out my visit to the local Hindu temple), you bet it’s on my list. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing, and I refuse to give in to the notion that by choosing a career and roots my life is therefore “boring.”
Today I’d like to share the stories of a few fellow adventuresses and hear their perspective on the non-nomadic lifestyle, as well as how they find the time and money to support their travel hobbies.
“I have a full-time job, in fact, I am the breadwinner for my family, however, I also LOVE to travel. It’s my favorite hobby. I have found that time can escape you when working, especially when you are trying to work around weekends or two weeks of vacation a year. So, to ensure that I get to experience travel I usually have 3-5 destinations that I want to go to each year and I put them on the calendar to hold myself accountable. I will do a couple weekend trips and 1-2 longer trips. Then I spend the month or two leading up to it finding things to do in the area, booking hotels, and earning points on my credit cards for the trips. I have found that accountability is key. If I have it on my calendar and I tell someone that I’m going, then I find a way to make the trip work.”
– Addie from Travelling Mrs.
“I absolutely love to travel, but it isn’t my full-time job; I have worked in the training field for the last decade, and started my own learning and professional development firm earlier this year. I’m passionate about travel and making the most of the vacation time I have, but creating great training programs and strategies is my true professional calling.
Because my vacation time is limited to 3-6 weeks a year (depending on my workload), I keep a spreadsheet of all of the destinations I want to visit and the activities I want to do. When I have some time off and am ready to plan a trip, I use the spreadsheet to help me determine what trips I can take based on how much time I have and how much money I can spend. That also helps me to make budgeting for trips a priority; I can estimate how much a trip will cost, and I can determine how much money I need to set aside each month before I can afford to take it.
Travel is how I unwind, recharge, learn, and find inspiration. Traveling has developed me into a more creative thinker, a more imaginative problem solver, and a more focused worker. That’s why I prioritize and advocate for taking vacations: I owe a lot of my professional success to travel!”
– Stephanie from Road Unraveled
“Honestly, I am at a point in my life where there isn’t anything that I need. I cut back on cable, internet, etc. so that all my money that I save up goes towards traveling. I usually budget about $100 per paycheck (it started at $50). Saving $100 per paycheck saves about $2600 a year! And with $50 per paycheck that is about $1300 a year. About $100 is 4-5 meals of going out with my friends and getting a drink or two afterward. If I cut back on that, then I can definitely save this for my travel fund.
I love my career, which I think is rare to hear. I love the benefits from my career, such as being able to take almost four weeks of vacation time per year and it never being a hassle to do so. I have wonderful people that I love working with, I consider my job somewhat unconventional compared to most government jobs and it’s quite enjoyable and allows a lot for creativity. That being said, I would totally trade it to be a full-time nomad. But on the flipside, I worry about seeing traveling as a job. I question if I’d get tired of it. I’m not sure, I guess one way to find out it is to go out and do it. I think I would be better off living in another country and working there for a few years and then move to another to do the same. I think being a nomad can be a difficult lifestyle moving from place to place and lonely when it comes to connecting with people.”
– NieNie from Adventures with NieNie
“I often wonder if I had the option to trade my current life to be a full-time traveller, would I? I mean in some ways it would be an absolute dream but in others, the joy of travelling for me is the escape from the day to day life and if I was a nomad that would be my day to day life. Would it take away some of the fun, the excitement or would it be a life you adapt to? The more I think about it the more I realise I like my life and how travel fits in with my life. I work full time in a career I’ve built and love, I own a house, have a fiancé, a house bunny, have the most amazing network of friends and family, AND I still get to have all the travel that fuels my little itchy traveller feet. I save money for trips, use cheap airlines to travel around Europe, I have a brilliant holiday allowance in my job, so I always have at least three trips planned. And if I am in that in-between stage I go and visit somewhere new in my area.”
– Mel from The Wandering Darlings
“Working in the liquor industry in Australia, makes travelling during certain times of the year particularly difficult. For example, December is what’s called a ‘blackout period’. Basically, this means that unless I book time off over the Christmas period a year or more in advance, I am unable to travel without jeopardising my job and income. Working part-time in such a constantly busy industry means there is not much room for spontaneity. My partner and I travel together and both work in the liquor industry, with him being in a managerial position. So, to get around this, we plan our next big overseas adventure months in advance, ask for the time off at work, then begin our countdown from there! Eventually, I would love to travel full-time. It can be hard balancing a part-time job and the desire to see the world, but it definitely can be done! Working hard to save money, patience through the months we are home, and counting down to our next big adventure, makes the day we finally head to the airport all the more exciting!”
– Rhiannon from Rhiannon Travel
“I moved to the fifth country in my entire life in 2015, and for now, I am settled here. One day I would like to be a true nomad, but I have a standard of life that I can’t easily just drop, hence, I am still an employee of a big corporation. I have a fund trust I have started almost 10 years ago when I got my first paycheck. Basically, I started with 1 EUR on a daily basis for the weekdays. Now I have a better job, so I put aside 15 EUR every day.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to travel as much as possible, so I started to track that while using #take12tripsin1year and that helped me create so many great memories. If I would really need to pick one specific trip, I would say Hong Kong was the best, just because it was my first Asian encounter.”
– Gabriela from I am Foodie Traveler
Are you a part-time traveler? How do you prioritize and indulge your wanderlust? Let me know in the comments below!