Interview with Isabel Leong: The Balancing Act of Travel & Work

Living in Singapore, Isabel Leong is a recent university graduate and full-time digital marketing professional. After being inspired on a student exchange by this beautiful world we live in, Isabel continues to find time for travel and adventures all while still maintaining her career at home. I caught up with Isabel to see how she makes it work.

Tell me a bit about what you do for a living.

Hi! I’m Isabel and I am a freelance travel writer and travel blogger at Bel Around The World. I work full-time at a digital agency in Singapore specializing in social media. Pulling from my own world travels and lessons, I give tips on Bel Around The World about how to make use of student travel perks and stretch every penny while travelling experientially.

Do you have a certain amount of vacation days a year at your job?

14 days in a year, the minimum in my country.

How often do you try and travel within a year?

It really depends. I graduated in December and have just started working this year. Last year I took three trips to New Zealand, Philippines and Korea. This year I’ve done the Maldives and will be going to Bali and Hokkaido this spring.

Do you ever feel limited to how often you can travel because of your job?

I do! Ever since I started work, time becomes very precious as I often have to coincide my trips with long weekends. Another thing is money. University fees and living expenses sure take a toll, but wherever possible, I save up as much as I can. That means saying no to movies, expensive dinners and fancy dresses. 🙂

Do you find it hard to unplug from work when traveling?

Not at all! When I go full throttle, I immerse myself wholly to experiencing the city!

Why is it important to you to have a career but also incorporate travel into your life?

A career allows you to have a goal in mind and challenges to work towards. No doubt travelling presents a different set of challenges, but having a career opens the doors to relevant connections and skill sets that you might otherwise not get when you travel.

What inspired you to start a travel blog? 

My love for travel started when I set off on a one-way ticket to Europe through my school’s international exchange. This program allows university students to do a semester of classes abroad in any host country. Through exploring Europe on my own for six months, I’ve grown to love the idea of exploring the unknown and discovering new places.

Since then, I’ve only taken travelling in my own hands and begun seriously pursuing it, both with my blog and setting time and money aside to do it throughout the year.

If you had a piece of advice for someone that is trying to maintain a career, and also see the world, what would it be?

Be realistic, but don’t let reality stop you from dreaming. Take time off to be away from everything else and reflect. Evaluate your life goals. Ask yourself what makes you happy, and if you are in a situation you are glad to be in. If not, don’t be afraid to embrace change, or be different from everyone else. Remember, 20 years from now, you will regret the things you did not do.

You can follow Isabel on Twitter here and Instagram here.

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