How to NOT Quit Your Day Job and Travel

There are tons of articles and inspirational stories about how people quit their jobs and traveled the world, how people made a living out of it or even found ways to travel the word for free. But not all of us have that luxury or the need to do so, some of us have commitments and in fact some of us actually love our day jobs. Taking a break and traveling somehow makes it more special, more earned, more sought after. Everything over done can be boring and I for one never want travel to be boring. So here’s an article, for a change, about how to travel relatively excessively while still having a full time job.

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The first thing we see as we wake up each day – a push pin map up on our bedroom wall

1. Have that burning desire to travel…for adventure, to see and experience new things – unless you really really want to travel it’s not going to happen. You may look at other people’s pictures and stories wishfully but if you don’t want it badly enough it ain’t gonna happen. Travel is going to cost you and that “payment” in return for all those memorable experiences has to be more important than a lot of other material things. If travel isn’t your priority then again it ain’t gonna happen, make the choice and don’t complain. #noexcuses

2. Maximize number of days – the first question people always ask us is how we manage to do it with a full time job, how we manage to get days off work. Actually it’s quite simple – here our secret (might be very obvious when you read it). We plan all our travels around public holidays. Every additional day you get to spend in some exotic location is like gold when you have a full time job. Unfortunately for us Singapore (where we live) doesn’t have a lot of public holidays unlike our beautiful motherland (Sri Lanka) but we make it work.

Here’s our actual holiday calendar from last year –

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3. Plan well in advance – this I know for a lot of people is a huge hassle, then do yourself a favour and hire a travel agent (if you want I highly recommend THE TRAVELLED :)) lots of people travel during long weekends and prices soar! The only way out is early planning. Also if you want to experience some of the most unique things that sell out fast, there is no other choice.

Pro had to book a meal at Jules Verne inside the Eiffel Tower 6 months in advance as a surprise during our trip to Paris. Even then he couldn’t get us in for dinner.

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An exclusive look out, reserved only for diners at Jules Verne on top of the Eiffle Tower

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We bought the passes to see the mountain gorillas forever in advance because it was a bucket list item we really wanted to tick while in Africa.

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Coming up close and personal with a Silverback Mountain Gorilla, during our trek in Rwanda

4. Make use of benefits your work place offers – if you are lucky enough to work for a progressive company that believes in things like agile working, make use of it! Be disciplined about and ensure you don’t slack, but working out of a quaint coffee shop in Fremantle with a sea view is way better than sitting at your desk. Plus you still have a few hours everyday to explore your surroundings

 

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Working off a cafe in Fremantle, the coffee though..!

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That very same work day ended like this, just before the sun set

Pro and I go back home every Christmas. We end up spending about 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and work about a week from home. Working from your dining room, having your mum’s home cooked lunch is a gazillion times more satisfying and productive than your office desk. Also you have the entire evening to catch up with friends from home. Precious.

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Home for Christmas

 

5. When work takes you places, extend – if you are blessed enough to travel with work, make the most of it. It’s a bit difficult to plan in advance but sometimes a weekend on either side or just an extra day is all you need. When Pro and I first started traveling way back when we were still working in Sri Lanka, we got the chance to travel to Singapore thrice within a year for a training. We extend each trip and covered 3 other cities – Hong Kong, Phuket and Manila.

Work took me to Africa last year, Pro joined me and we took a week off together.

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Waderlusting at the entrance of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Once in London for work, all I needed was one extra day to bask in a rare sunny day during the British Spring.


5. Maximize time on your holiday – we are definitely not the type of tourists that hop on a tour bus and rush from place to place just to snap a quick photo and tick a box. Having said that we do really try to make the most of our holiday. Time is precious when you have a limited number of days off from work and your inbox is overflowing while you are away. So make choices, a little extra effort and time on the road will be completely worth it.

When we went to South America we really wanted to see Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It was completely and utterly out of the way, but who knew when we’d make it to this far away land again? So we made it happen. Taking 2 flights (which we had to research like hell to find) and paying extra for transfers we made it to see the world’s biggest mirror and what a journey it was! We had to skip Bolivia’s bohemian capital La Paz and had to sacrifice Lake Titicaca in Peru and only had 2 nights in the Bolivian wilderness, but I’d do it again any day. Just to see those stunning desert lakes and the salt flat.

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Salar de Uyuni in all its glory

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Making full use of the stunning landscape to take some interesting pics

Just this Spring, we went to Japan and really wanted to maximize our chance of seeing Mount Fuji. So we hired a car and drove in a hail storm to the town of Kawaguchi-ko at the foot of the mountain. The next day we were rewarded with stunning views of the almost symmetrical volcano.

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Driving in a hail storm to Kawaguchi-ko, Japan

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Rewarded the next day with breathtaking views of Mount Fuji

Or the time we spent way more than we should have, to fly to Uluru in the middle of the red desert in Australia, just to see the iconic Ayer’s Rock

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This sacred rock was such a special place with an amazing vibe you could actually feel

Or the crazy dash we made to the remote town of Jiuzhaigou in China to witness the unique turquoise lakes, a serious effort was required.

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Multi coloured lakes in Jiuzhaigou, China

So all in all, this is how we manage to pull off sometimes 16 countries a year while having a full time job! And we our total count as of now is 50, that’s only 1/4th of this beautiful blue planet, there is so much more to see.

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Be wanderlusters, make choices, if it’s too much let a professional handle the planning!

Good luck and tell us how it goes…

When to go where..a quick travel guide for each month of the year..

Whenever people ask me for travel recommendations one big question they fail to ask is “when to go where”. Timing can have a huge impact on how your trip goes and what you will be able to do. A very good friend of mine was once stuck in Myanmar in the height of summer! It was 50 degrees and she had to spend the whole day in the hotel room! She had only 3 hours in the day when she could bear to step out. Another friend visited Maldives during the rainy season and didn’t see the turquoise waters at all!

So given that it’s the start of a brand new year, here’s my recommendation on 12 countries to visit in the 12 months

January in Sweden – the best time of the year to see the northern lights. Brave the cold and head to the arctic circle to see natures own fireworks. If your luck runs out, its still a perfect winter wonderland!

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February in Brazil – be a party of the biggest party on the planet! There is nothing better in life than the carnival in Rio, sipping caipirinhas on copacabana and doing the samba down the street!

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March in Japan – by far the best and most magical time to visit Japan is during the cherry blossom bloom. Head over to historic Kyoto and enjoy the Sakura bloom clad in Kimonos.

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April in Thailand – catch the Songkran water festival and enjoy the highlights of Thailand in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai

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May in Phillipines – go to the best Labour day party in Boracay. It’s even got a name #laboracay! Enjoy the pristine blue waters and soft white beaches, by far one of the top 10 islands in the world

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June in Singapore – there is one main thing to do in Singapore and that’s shopping! There is no better time for it than when the whole island goes on sale for the Great Singapore Sale

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July in France – enjoy a romantic summer standing beneath the Eiffel Tower. Head further south to Provence to enjoy the French countryside with lavender blooming, butter croissant baking and wine aging..

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August in Kenya – head over to Masai Mara to witness the breathtaking wildlife migration. Spot the big five in dozens and learn the ways of the tribal people living as one with nature

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September in China – wait till the end of the treacherous Chinese summer and rush to see the Great Wall in Beijing, the terra cotta warriors in xian, the bund in Shanghai and the pandas in Chengdu before the cold winter sets in

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October in New York – head over to the capital of commercial holidays to celebrate Halloween. Shop for the scariest costume and go trick or treating in the concrete jungle and be a part of the NYC Halloween Parade!

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November in Myanmar – it’s the “cool season” in the ancient kingdom which was closed to outsiders till very recently. Take a hot air balloon ride over the 4000 temples in Bagan and let your jaw gradually drop!

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December in Germany – have a fairytale like white Christmas in the popular Christmas markets in Germany. Cross over to Austria if you have a few extra days. Wander around collecting little tinsels, sipping eggnog and snacking on cinnamon rolls

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So there you go; my top 12 destinations for the 12 months of 2016!

Interested in visiting any of the above destinations? Get in touch and we’ll handcraft your holiday thetravelled@outlook.com or click here