As a study abroad adviser, travel is definitely always in Megan Ostovarpour’s mind, but as a full-time professional, she has decided to prioritize both a career in her home base of Orange County, California and travel. I chatted with Megan about how she balances and prioritizes both in her life, and her tips for other working professionals who want to get out there and see the world (but also still have a job at home).
Tell me a bit about what you do for a living.
I’m a study abroad adviser, which means I help students pick a location to study abroad, and guide them through the whole process! I work from 8-5 Monday to Friday, and the occasional night or weekend.
Do you have a certain amount of vacation days a year at your job?
Yes, I’ve been with my current place of employment for three and a half years, and at three years, we move up from two weeks of vacation a year to three weeks.
How often do you try and travel within a year?
Depends on the year. For example, I have a big three week long trip this summer, so I’ve scaled back on other trips and have been rocking the weekend and day trips. Other years, I’ll take a few long weekend trips about 4-5 days usually. I travel within California for work, so I always try to take advantage of exploring a new city even if its just on a lunch break or while I drive through.
Do you ever feel limited to how often you can travel because of your job?
Yes definitely. People always assume that as a study abroad adviser I travel all the time, which isn’t the case (I wish!). However, working with student’s who are about to leave for this amazing experience means I’m talking about my times abroad often, and the wanderlust is always very close to the surface.
Do you find it hard to unplug from work when traveling?
Shockingly not really! I will occasionally check in, but I’m usually too busy enjoying my vacation that I don’t think about work, I know it will be there when I get back.
Why is it important to you to have a career but also incorporate travel into your life?
For me, this answer is two-fold. One, I like having a base. Living out of a backpack long term isn’t for me. I like cooking for myself, having my own bed, and nesting in a way that long term travel isn’t conducive to. Two, I love my job, and I can’t do it from the road, as it’s university based. Also, money plays a role. I have lots of interests, both travel related and non-travel related, and having a steady paycheck means I can pursue them.
What inspired you to start a travel blog?
I’ve been blogging in some way/form since I was in high school, but my current blog was because I decided that I wanted a place to remember what I had done and share my stories. I also wanted to work on a skill set that my day job wasn’t really incorporating (social media, web design, content creation), and starting a blog allowed me to develop and work on those skills, making me a more well rounded individual.