You’re possibly sitting at your desk avoiding some deadline whilst you dream about how you could possibly turn your life around and get out of this rat race? You’re putting searches into google ‘how to give up your job and travel’ or ‘travel for free’ or ‘travel hacks’ that’s great. Enjoy the read, but I am calling BS.
I started my blog at the beginning of this year. Like all businesses it has required funding to set it up. I didn’t start my blog as a means to giving up my job and travelling full time. I am sorry for all those people who think that sounds great, it would be for a certain amount of time but it’s not after a period of time. My cap is 6 weeks. Yep.. 6 weeks is all I like to be away from home for. Sure, when I was younger and all, I went to live in London and travelled around. I was a solo female traveller before that was a thing. But, I never made it for more than 6 months. I like to know when my next cash injection is coming. I could never be an actress and paid a movie here and a job there. I could never be a singer and sleep on the floor whilst trying to make it (aside from the fact I cannot remember the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, let alone hold a note) I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work. I am a better mother as a result of the self-esteem you get form work. I enjoy strategising. I enjoy creating project plans and schedules. I pull reports together daily, weekly. I enjoy the banter and the conversations in the office no matter how much I need to discuss what was on television last night. I started my blog because whilst my job provides challenge, development and analytical stimulation, it is not creative. You could argue that strategy is creativity. Yep, in a free world it is. I have not worked high enough to have free reign and given the empowerment of implementing whatever my vision is. Instead, I implement governance structures. See, that one sentence and you understand how dull it could be.
My blog was intended to be a creative outlet. Now that I have paid for a site host, and registered a domain and added various plugins. I have paid for some Facebook advertising. I have completed courses on social media and managing a website. I have written 77 blogs on various topics. I have paid for SEO and other assistance. I have spent at least 140 hours writing. I have spent at least 400 hours editing, loading and learning about running a website. I have approached over 300 companies and businesses trying to gain some behind the scenes access to gain interest level and attempt to build interesting photos. I have spent over already $8,000 since the year began in travel. I have committed to another $15,000 before the year ends. I pay for everything. I have not received anything on ‘comp’ as the saying goes. I have tried to push my Facebook followers up. I remain with fewer followers than I have personally. I remain with only a few likes and comments for each individual blog. Now that I have moved platforms this should change. But 5 months and I am still to receive a single dollar for anything. I sit and contemplate from a business point of view, at what point do you pull the pin and say you can’t justify this as a hobby anymore.
With all those expenses you have to remember I have a job. A very well paid job. So I ask, how can you possibly convert all that effort and expense into something that covers the same amount of expense and then pays my effort? If my blog turns into a business, great, that will be fun. But, my kids are going to grow up and my desire to travel may waiver.
I’ve had jobs with travel. It’s not all that fun. Living out of a suitcase and waiting in airports is the reality of a lot of travel. Yes, a holiday is different from work but there are still transfers to deal with. Solo travel and eating alone is extraordinarily boring to me. I know myself, I don’t need to find myself. Of course you could argue I found myself travelling. Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t. I certainly fell in love, fell out of love, got lost, got found, lost luggage, escaped from gypsy’s, got harassed and slept in some crappy places. Did it help me to grow? I hope so. But so did falling in and out of love at home, dealing with a difficult client or work colleague, facing fears, dealing with intense mothers at the playground, and dealing with the general let downs or hardship of life. You don’t have to travel to find yourself. It is possible to push yourself at home and learn from friends and family.
Do a google search of jobs that allow you to travel. Flight attendant. Sure, it allows you to travel but you have to be willing to do shifts. You need to have childcare available to help. Flights get delayed. You’ll need help on the ground and you are away from your children. Sure it is possible to give up long hauls.
Next job. Hotel employee. Yep. It is true you can travel but usually at your expense. Not many international hotel companies will pay for you to relocate. They may arrange a job once there. Again, there is shift work. If you happen to be the GM or other high positions there is an expectation you will be available to answer your phone at all hours. 9-5 might be a drag but imagine having to haul yourself out of bed for the fifth night because the VIP’s in house are an out of control rock band. Or Mariah Carey has requested only you can deliver he ice, or her paper, or extra towels etc etc.
Next one. Au Pair. That’s great. I employ au pairs. So what? I now employ one and then be one?
Cruise ship worker. I’m not sure if you are aware but getting a job on a cruise ship is costly and hard. It’s a fun job. It’s tax free but it’s not great pay. You’d be hoping for good tips. It is however a work hard and party hard kinda job. From cruise ships you may be one of the very lucky ones to move to a luxury yacht- I presently have a mate doing just that. Sure it is the life but dealing with rich and famous is not all that a lot of the time. Are ships and yachts going to allow me with a husband and kids in tow?
Next. Destination wedding photographer. Once again, if you foot the bill to be in actual destination you may get some work. Where do we live and go to school? Surely some photography experience would be required. Last time I checked Australians pay ridiculous amounts of money for wedding photos and they want gold from that payment.
Next. Tour leader. English teacher. Interpreter. All good if you have the necessary skills. To be a tour leader you need to have a fairly high level of knowledge of the places you are touring – usually requiring you to of done a far but of travel beforehand. English teaching and interpreting is great but you do need to acquire some skills to do so.
And then my favourite. Blogging and freelance writing. Blogging takes time. Some have been writing their blog for several years before being in a position to blog for a living. At this point how do I continue to fund a travel blog until I can do this? Even once I can blog for a living, contra as it is called is offered in off peak times. I have a school age child. School holidays are peak. Two week school holidays don’t allow a lot of time for long flights to anywhere. Lucky for me for now blogging is about creativity and writing. For now, it’s not about money. One day or would be nice for it to pay for itself.
My recommendation. Analyse what it is about the daily grind you don’t like. Commuting is the pits- unless you’re on a ferry. Can you change your job to be able to work from home a day a week to help? What parts of your job do you like? What’s missing? Sometimes the best thing to do is determine what’s missing rather than throw the towel in!
The grass may indeed look greener for a life outside of an office but consider this. My husband said to me the other day. ‘If people read your social media they would think you’re the happiest person on earth’ it’s true isn’t it? Even when you try to be real, you don’t hang your laundry out in social media. People travel blogging are not taking photos of the endless hours on planes or on transit. They’re not taking photos of the ticket screw up or the hotel that’s overbooked. What’s more if they are being hosted they can’t really write truthfully if it is not a good experience. What’s more how does a 6 star hotel in Milan justify a travel blogger whose market is Gen Y and Gen Z staying? That’s not going to create room bookings. Exposure yes, but they’re not in that market (perhaps I’m wrong). I think marketing needs to catch up in relation to social media.
In the meantime, keep your job. Negotiate extra weeks off and spend time on the weekends exploring. You’ll be much happier.