I recently got back from a travel conference in Toronto called TBEX. It’s a great place for like minded travel writers, bloggers, and photographers to connect and discuss ways to become better at what we do.
I’ve made a number of friends all over the world at this conference. After writing for a number of years, I get the same question from a number of different people – “Are you traveling full time now?”
The answer is always the same – No. And I have no plans on changing that.
There are a number of reasons why I don’t travel more. For me, it’s a lifestyle decision. While full time travelers like Kate McCulley, Michael Hodson, Matt Kepnes, Dave and Deb of the Planet D and many others have been visiting places all over the world, most people who love travel can’t relate to that lifestyle.
I don’t travel full time. Yet I want show people who are like me how they can travel more.
I’m a traveler just like you
As a traveler blogger, I am a fan of exploring places close to home, getting the most out of your travel time and budget, and seeing the world with a travel mindset.
As a 9 to 5 traveler, I probably travel more than the average 40 hour a week person. However, I also live a life many people can relate to – full time job, house, car, family, daily routines and stresses. Travel isn’t my life but it is a part of it.
However, travel is only a part of my journey. My life is full of daily stresses that aren’t related to travel. My life isn’t always pretty, fun, or comfortable.
I would argue that traveling and working full time can be even more difficult than just traveling. Yet this is the life I’ve chosen.
Here are a few reasons why I am not a full time traveler. Many of you can relate to these and may be surprised by some of these facts about my travel lifestyle.
4 reasons why I’m not a full time traveler
I believe that my experiences and how I travel can inspire you to travel more – even those who think they are just too busy.
I like where I live
I really enjoy living in California. This has been my home for the last 12 years. I like having a house. I love sleeping in my own bed. Quite honestly, I love exploring California.
I live a 100 miles or less from San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and Napa. I love spontaneous trips close to home and my annual traditions like visiting Apple Hill. I do lots of hiking in northern California and consider my backyard a playground to whet my travel appetite.
I strongly believe travel is a mindset. Nearly half my travels are spent within driving distance of my home.
Even if you don’t get lots of time to travel, open your mind to places close to home and just go!
Traveling close to home allows you to see places you know so well in a different way. And it makes a day trip or weekend getaway an exciting thing!
I have a full time job
I work 40 hours a week. My degree is in accounting. I work in IT with computers and systems. According to stereotypes, I’m a nerd with awkward social skills and a pocket protector who gets excited about numbers and software updates.
OK a couple of those are true (I’m not going to confess which ones). However, I am also a travel writer and blogger who has visited 18 countries and 36 states. I’ve written for Expedia, rubbed shoulders with athletes, been featured in newspapers for my travel and sports endeavors, and I’m very passionate about my travel style and interests.
My travels don’t make me special. I am just like you.
Years ago, I had a passion and pursued it. In 2011, I had an idea for a College Football Travel Tour. So I just did it. A year later, I’m wrote a 4 month college football series for Expedia and traveled to 8 college football games in the US and Ireland.
How do I travel so much? I save my time off to go to places I enjoy. I take weekend trips leaving on a Thursday and coming back on Sunday. I have to work around other people’s schedules. I’ll take a day trip on the weekend. I make sacrifices by leaving early, coming back late, and making the most of the time I have.
I love discovering places close to home which don’t cost much in time or money.
And here’s a secret I think many people can relate to – there are many, many times I am frustrated by my job and don’t always like it. You can still embrace a travel lifestyle working 40 hours a week.
If you have a passion for travel, just do it – however and whenever you can.
I pay for my travels
Because I have a full time job, I pay for 75% of all my travels. There are times I get invited on trips. However, most of my trips are out of my pocket and I turn down more opportunities to travel than I accept.
While many people would love to travel for free, I think there is a positive side to paying for your own travels.
For one, your experiences are authentic and you get to do the things you want to do. You aren’t dependent on others to tell you where to go or when. And you understand the value of travel and what it costs when you pay for it yourself.
This doesn’t mean free trips aren’t great. Quite honestly, my travel style dictates that the trips I take are a bit unique. Not many people visit Dublin Ireland to see a college football game or go to wine country for adventure sports.
However, I value the opportunities I have. Travel costs time and money. Those travel opportunities mean I want to make the most out of the travel experiences I have.
And that accounting degree I have? It can be fun to see how I can travel passionately, spend wisely, and experience more.
I have kids
This is not something I talk about very much. I have two little boys at home. Traveling as a writer can be tough. Travel is fun but being away from home isn’t always easy.
These days, I travel solo due to the nature of my travel and the research that I do. Most of my trips are a lot of work and not family vacations.
When I am at home, I may be the most boring travel writer in the world. Every day life is full of ordinary things like dinner, dishes, activities, and school. Life at home isn’t always easy but a full time life on the road would be one of the worst things I could do.
I am sure many of you can relate to traveling with a family. It can be expensive and difficult. However, those special moments with kids at a park, on vacation, or trips close to home are great for bonding.
When it comes to family trips, remember that it’s more about bonding experiences and memories than it is the places you go.
You don’t need to be a full time traveler
If you’re like me, you have many reasons why you can’t travel full time. Even with a job, home, family, or other obligations, you can still travel.
Travel is a mindset and you don’t have to travel far to create memorable travel experiences. Your best travel experiences probably won’t involve a specific destination, site, or museum.
Find creative ways to stir your travel passion.
I still find ways to enjoy travel photography. I go to college football games in cities and towns. I go hiking and enjoy discovering places close to home. I enjoy telling travel stories and getting off the beaten path that inspire others.
Travel isn’t my life. It’s only a part of it. And even though I’m not a full time traveler, I wouldn’t want it any other way.