Full-time travel is the dream. But is it really? While there are innumerable joys in travelling full time, there are several challenges too. Jess Signet, who documents her travel adventures on her blog Tripelio tells us about the challenges of living the dream!
Travelling all the time is a dream, isn’t it? Why waste your time on vacation days and weekend breaks when you can spend your entire life on holiday! In fact, the lifestyle of a full-time traveller is so coveted and dreamed about that many believe it’s not a possible thing to achieve.
I thought this way before I made the decision to quit my desk job, find work online and travel the world. I knew there were people who had done it, but it still didn’t seem like a possible choice for me. Still, with baited breath, I took the plunge.
In the end it turned out it was possible, but it required me to learn a number of valuable lessons that I wish some-one had shared with me before I started.
The Work-Life Balance
The sobering reality of this way of life comes when you realize that you’re basically trying to live two simultaneous existences: that of a long-term nomad and traveller, as well as holding down a full-time job. Because of this, finding the work/life balance is extremely important.
I found the best way to overcome this is to create a strict schedule and discipline myself to stick to it. Some people prefer working every morning and having the afternoons to explore, while others stick the more conventional workweek and spend their weekends enjoying themselves.
With so many exciting activities available every day, and the need to complete as much work as possible in your down time, the thing I found suffered most when I started out as a full-time traveller was my health.
Particularly when on a budget, it’s easy to sacrifice good food choices for an extra beer at the bar that evening. Similarly, working out seems to be a non-existent concept amongst many travellers. However, this was easily remedied once I started to take it more seriously. I prioritized good eating and started practicing regular yoga. There are many great mobile apps available that can help you stay fit no matter where in the world you are.
Making the Most of It
Travelling full-time while working as a digital nomad seems to take a very different form from the generic backpacking adventure that most of us embark on after college. Due to the constant workload and delicate life balance you have to create, quick stop tours of countries are no longer really an option.
If you want to really make the most out of your trips, it’s best to aim to stay in places for a few weeks at least. This gives you the time to stay on top of work, look after your health and still see all of that the location has to offer. I spent too long trying to keep up with eager hitchhikers and interrailers, and first thing that suffered was my enjoyment of travelling.
Forming Friendships & Moving On…
One of the hardest things about being on the road full-time is constantly forming new relationships and then having to move on. While you might find the occasional travel partner who comes with you on the next leg of your journey, or end up running into a familiar face half way across the world, this is by far the biggest challenge I faced at the start of my trip.
However, eventually I realized that friendships are not measured by distance, and the people you form bonds with will always be close, even if not in proximity. Social media have provided us with a powerful tool to stay in contact with long distance companions, so you can always stay connected.
Staying In Touch
Staying in touch isn’t just a problem for relationships you form on the road. It’s also extremely difficult to keep regular contact with loved ones back home. Due to time differences and hectic schedules, it could be weeks before I spoke to my family when I first started out. In some countries, I even found that my main forms of contact—Skype and Facebook—were blocked due to online censorship.
It took me a while to realize how much not speaking to loved ones was effecting me, but after a particularly stressful period, I began to prioritize contacting home at least once a week, even if it was just to let them know I was alive. I also discovered one of the best tools a traveller can have—a Virtual Private Netwrok—which allowed me to bypass the blocked sites and keep in touch no matter where I was.
Do you have any more tips for full-time travel? Or have you had experience with the points already mentioned? Be sure to leave a comment below and share your story with fellow travellers.
PS: I would like to thank Abhinav and Purva for publishing this article. Their site is an inspiring resource to keep up with all their amazing travel adventures, and find practical tips and tricks for your own journey. After reading this, be sure to check out their post covering some great resort holiday deals!