I’m a chronic travel bragger, which is why it surprises me when people ask how exactly I’ve travelled so much, given that I also seem to work a lot. Sure, I have kicked some major goals in my career and I have still taken time off to travel. ‘Holiday’ seems to be a bit of a dirty word when it comes to being career-driven or ambitious. I don’t agree with the stigma, though. I’m proof that you can see the world and still up-skill, smash your dream job and keep your career on track. Here’s how I do it…
Sort out your priorities
Some people don’t plan travel, but when you’re juggling a career and wanderlust, I’d 100% recommend planning to the max. Figure out what’s a priority for you. Is it working for a full year with no holiday so you can have an epic Europe trip? Or would you rather work for three months and take a week’s holiday in Thailand? Both are great options, but planning ahead and working towards a clear goal will help keep you motivated at work and give you plenty of time to save those dollars. It also works the opposite way too. By making travel a priority in your life, you stop yourself getting too caught up in the rat race and take a well-earned break. Since I’ve been on the career ladder, I’ve been to 17 countries (all up I’ve been to 34 though #bragger), and I’ve been able to see Cambodia and Morocco and Portugal and all the rest by mapping out my future travel AND work plans together.
Two years ago I took seven weeks off to travel to the USA for a friends wedding and then through Central America. Seven weeks when you work online and write news (I did the social media and digital site for a magazine at the time) is a loooooong time. My bosses would never have agreed to me taking that much time off unless they thought I deserved it. Always working hard makes it much easier to get a yes when you ask for leave (especially if it’s unpaid like most of that trip was). You don’t have to be on the hustle and driving yourself into the ground constantly, but strive for quality and professionalism in your every day work and your boss (and maybe their boss) will definitely notice and reward you when the time comes for you to ask for a favour.
Before I go on any trip I work EXTRA hard. Working in social media means I need to be active 24/7 and when I’m travelling this involves a lot of scheduling. It’s definitely more work, but it’s worth it so I can switch off while I’m away and show my workplace that I’m not going to drop the ball as soon as it comes time to get on the plane. It also helps to be upfront about your plans to travel with your boss as early as possible. For example, explain that you’re hoping to hike Machu Picchu next year in advance so they’ll know it’s coming and you can both plan for time out of the office. I won the Women in Travel award for social media this year and travelled to Turkey and Portugal too, so it shows you can be celebrated for your work and see the world with a bit of organisation.
You might have to say no sometimes
If something big is coming up at work or you’re hoping to attend a course, you might have to say no to some holidays with your friends. One of the best things I’ve ever done for my career (and myself!) was attend the public speaking course Toastmasters. It was only two months, but it fell over Easter and that meant I had to miss out on a trip with my friends so I could finish the course. You’ve got to be okay with passing on travel for things that better your career occasionally. The trip will still be there, but your job needs attention too.
Looking for your own jaunt to Turkey and Portugal – check out our Mediterranean adventure…