Originally from Oxford in the United Kingdom, Rose Munday finds herself working full-time at Oxford University while balancing her travel blog and finding as much time as possible to travel the world. I caught up with her to see how she manages to juggle it all and here’s what she had to say…
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name’s Rose and I’m from Oxfordshire, England. In the last few years I’ve travelled all over Asia and Africa which has been the best experience ever. Some of my highlights have included teaching English in Vietnam, volunteering as a blogger and social media consultant in the Philippines and travelling by bus all the way from Kenya to South Africa.
I quit my job to do both my these big trips but now I’m back in a full-time role. It can be hard to settle into a job, then quit but on the other hand, it’s equally hard to have the experiences I’ve had using annual leave!
Tell me a bit about what you do for a living.
I work for Oxford University doing communications and events. A few years ago I was living in London and couldn’t afford to save for travel, so I decided to move back to my hometown where I could stay with family. I assumed I’d work in a bar or shop as a stopgap to go away – but in the end I managed to land a contract doing similar things to what I’d done in London. Since then, the team have taken me back in between my trips and I’ve now worked here for a year. You really never know where you’ll end up but worked out really well – proving you don’t have to choose ‘travel OR career’ like many people think.
Do you have a certain amount of vacation days per year with your job?
I’m lucky that I get 38 days off a year. This is more than average for the UK and way more than some countries like America. Also, there’s always a way you can utilize long weekends and bank holidays. A little bit of thought and planning can go a long way!
How often do you try and travel within a year?
In the past year I’ve been on 9 holidays – I know that sounds crazy! When you consider flights from the UK to other European countries sometimes cost as little as £7 and I often stay with friends abroad it actually isn’t so ridiculous. In the past I took for granted England’s proximity to almost everywhere and the cost of budget airlines… I’m definitely making up for that now! I suppose it also depends WHERE you want to go – if I took a trip outside of Europe it would probably be my only one for the year.
Do you ever feel limited to how often you can travel because of your job?
I do – but that might be because I want to travel so much! In an ideal world I’d be travelling 365 days a year but obviously that’s just not possible. The main problem is really getting integrated into the culture you’re visiting when you’re on a short trip. I find my favourite places in the past have been those I’ve spent a couple of months and worked or volunteered, giving me the chance to really learn about the country and the people. No amount of annual leave can give you this so it’s a different kind of trip: a holiday rather than what we traditionally think of as ‘travelling’.
I can’t complain too much, though – I think lots of people in my boat would find my holiday allowance a lot and I know some people even carry it over to the next year.
Do you find it hard to unplug from work while traveling?
Nope! I know lots of people do but personally as soon as I get to a new destination I’m so excited I could forget about almost anything. Saying that, I find it hard to unplug from my own blogging work whilst travelling. I think lots of other bloggers will feel the same – you want to enjoy your time off and relax with friends and family but you also want to get really great content for your blog and social media accounts.
Why is it important to you to have a career but also incorporate travel into your life?
I really enjoy what I do after having studied media and communications for A level then again at university. I also enjoy having a community of colleagues and friends around me so I think there are elements of a day job that aren’t always replicated by travel. It depends on the lifestyle you want to have but travelling constantly can be exhausting and I miss the sense of routine that a constant job provides. I guess we place a lot of importance on what we ‘do’ in life – I’m not ready to miss out on that but I also want to travel. We have such great opportunities today that even my parent’s generation didn’t have. Flights are so affordable and technology is opening up so many opportunities and communities for travellers – if there’s an opportunity to have it all, I’m definitely going to try to take it!
What inspired you to start a travel blog?
I’ve written holiday diaries since I was seven years old and went to Cornwall with my family. I wrote one on every trip I went on until blogging became a thing and then I just switched platforms – it was quite a natural progression for me. However it was only more recently that it started to become a bigger priority and that I’ve been trying to grow it. I honestly found that while I was travelling in Asia from 2015 to 2016 I was having too much fun to work all the time and I was so busy with the experiences I was having. I sometimes wish I had more content from that trip but I also know I’ll treasure my memories for my whole life, so I can’t regret it too much!
If you had a piece of advice for someone that is trying to maintain a career & also see the world what would it be?
Think about where you base yourself. If you’re three hours from an airport your trips will cut into way more time. I’m currently based quite far from an airport as we don’t have one in Oxford – I’d definitely think about changing my location at some point!