Truth is, you can’t. At least not the kind of long travels where you spend months or a year in a foreign country or out of town. It is physically impossible. Unless your company sends you on a business trip, and that’s not counted. If you’re stuck to a desk and your vacation days are limited, you can say goodbye to ever having long travels.
But having an office job doesn’t mean you can’t dream of getting away from time to time. Because, you definitely can!
Pero pa’no? Here are tips, but first a bit of a back story
Working from home is a traveler’s dream
7 years ago, I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon a job that didn’t require me to go to an actual office. I was getting tired of the call center life and I no longer wanted to work the graveyard shift. So when a friend and colleague of mine, who had just resigned to switch to a work-at-home job, invited me to join her in her new job, I said yes.
Having no office, I had the freedom to take my work wherever I went. I would spend a month in Singapore, 3 in Australia, or in Boracay, and never miss a day at work. It was the biggest perk of all.
But all good things must come to an end.
It was 5 years into the job when it hit me. Working from home, though convenient, wasn’t exactly the kind of life a social person like me could sustain. It left me sad, working alone at home, without anyone to talk to. I know I could’ve done something else, found a hobby or maybe joined a gym, but those too became hard. Even traveling had lost its magic. I knew something had to change or I’d spiral down even further.
So I quit and looked for an office job. I figured if I had a reason to go out of the house, I would. It was also the best way to ease me back in to making new friends. So I quit and Christmas 2016 was my last day working from home.
It wasn’t long before the clouds had lifted. I made a 180 degree turn from where I was in December of 2016. I met friends, went out, built a totally different life from what I got accustomed to in the 5 years I worked from home. Traveling became fun again. I knew at some point I would miss it. Besides, what kind of a travel blogger would I be if I didn’t live a life of travel? But given that I was new at work, I had to find a way to make travel happen.
Long story short, balik-office ako. So pa’no na ako magtatravel nito?
1. Tiis-tiis muna. Asa-asa sa Long Weekends.
Starting a new job, I didn’t have vacation leaves at all. That meant I had to be wise about scheduling my trips if I wanted to get away. That’s what long weekends were for. I saved a calendar of long weekends and scheduled my trips around it. In the first 6 months of 2017 alone, there were 5 long weekends. Wut.
No, I didn’t travel on all of those long weekends. But I did manage to go on 3 local beach trips. Oha!
So, first tip, get a long weekends calendar to know when you can schedule your trips without having to go on vacation leaves. Save your VL’s for something more grand, like an out-of-the-country trip perhaps. Or, you can extend your long weekends by using your VL’s if you plan to go somewhere far. Just notify your supervisor ahead of time to guarantee leave approval and avoid disappointment.
2. Save money when you’re not traveling.
Living in another country for several months while earning PH rate salary wasn’t ideal. Getting an office job was a blessing in disguise in this sense. Because while I’m not traveling, I get to save money for when I do travel.
So, second tip, when you’re not traveling, set aside money for future trips. Or just save money. Period. I am still trying to get better at this. But even a little bit saved could go a long way.
3. Do well at your job
Yes, you want to travel. Yes, you want to see the world. But unless you’re a haciendera, you can’t really afford your travel expenses without a job.
Tip number three, do good work. Getting paid a salary allows you to satisfy your wanderlust. Aside from that great employees also have better chances of having their leaves approved. It’s just easier for your boss to say yes to you when you ask for a time off when you’ve been a good employee. This also lets him know that you have no intention of leaving any work undone before you leave. Work hard, and then play harder. Yes?
4. Set a reasonable travel plan
We’ve already established that you want to go places. But given that you have a job (and other responsibilities), you need to list down a reasonable number of places you want to go to per year and not go overboard with the planning. Every year, I list down the places I want to visit like the one I have here. Although, I must admit it’s quite hard to stick to it especially if you throw in seasonal Piso fares, or travel deals into the equation.
The key is learning to prioritize. As you can only go to a few places in a year, you need to filter out your bucket list of travel destinations. Pick out the top 5. Or you can do it like me where I list down both local and international and then choose the top 3 for each.
Not for everyone
I know this post is not for everyone. There are people who actually have priorities other than traveling, but if you are someone who has an office job and you’ve been wanting a life of travel but always thought it wasn’t possible, I hope I have convinced you somehow that it is possible. You just gotta make it happen!