Fitting Travel Into Real Life

Yesterday I talked about how very, very few of us can travel for ever – even those of us who have the ultimate job flexibility of working for ourselves.  Maybe its just me – but I picked my first career because it would take me to interesting places (geology) and my second one so that it would pay me a lot of money so I could afford to travel where I wanted.  Let’s face it – there are not too many lawyers or franchise owners out there doing multi-month trips out there!

So the reality is that many people have to fit their passion for travel around their employment. How do you do that?

Pick The Right Career/Job

Nursing / Medical / Teachers

These careers are incredibly flexible. The whole world needs people who have these skills so your options for working overseas are limitless. Alternatively you can persue your career at “home” and use your long summer break (teachers) or leave from working shifts (medical) to maximize your travel time.


You never go short of a hair cut when you are on the backpacking circuit – there is always a hairdresser somewhere willing to do it for a small fee! Its not always so easy for tradespeople to get jobs overseas – it depends on country’s visa regulations, but even if they can’t they can usually easily enough get a new position when they return home.

Lifestyle Jobs

Ski or Dive Instructors /  ESL teachers. 

Lets face it – the money is rubbish – but the working conditions plus the opportunity to ski or dive for free – is enough for many who get qualified to teach skiing, diving or English.

Very Well Paid Professionals 

Engineering, geology, information technology, accountancy – they all pay very good money, and appear to be constantly in demand. I chose my degree major based on my ability to get a job and get a well-paid one at that.   The work is often far from interesting, and can be very stressful – but I did make a lot of money doing it for a number of years.

Avoid Jobs and Lifestyle Choices that Keep You At Home

Jobs that involve a lot of local client work and involve you building a reputation in a local area e.g. real estate agent, mortgage broker, small business advisors.

Qualifications which are not very portable e.g. law

Debt. I’ve always travelled because I’ve never bought anything with debt. If you owe nothing then all you need is the money to travel. Not the money to make repayments as well when you are overseas (The exception is a mortgage, so long as you are happy to rent the property out to cover it costs while you travel)

Christmas Eve Singapore 2005

Christmas Eve, Singapore just off the 7 hour flight after the 8 hour work day!

Maximise Your Leave / Weekends / Holidays

I’ve lost count of the number of Christmases I’ve spent in flight! In my country I get 4 paid holidays within 10 days during Christmas/New Year.  I try to take limited leave time associated with any long holiday available. Basically go for the most “bang for your hard-earned leave buck”.

Also try to time your flight out for the evening after you finish work – rather than wasting another night at home. In the same way I’ve also arrived home at 6am and gone to work that day – after all the first day back you only check email anyways right!

I’ve never really understood why people complain about not being able to sleep on long-haul flights – the stress of getting out of work and onto the plane, usually meant that I slept like a baby!

What about you? How do you make your career/job fit around travel?


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1 Comment

  1. Eileen Ludwig on May 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Great tips on what careers allow the most flexibility

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