Over the next few months, I’m going to be showcasing a variety of different travelers who manage a career, on top of traveling whenever they can. I have really noticed a gap in the industry lately, where there are so many people talking about travel, but they make it look like you can only see the world if you have the ability to work remotely or travel full-time. As someone who manages a full-time career, on top of traveling part-time, I want to show people that it is possible to see the world, even if you do have a career and a life back at home.
This month I chatted with Irina, a lawyer based in Bucharest, Romania and the blogger behind Are You Happy?
Tell me a bit about what you do.
I am a lawyer working from 9 to late in the evening. It’s an exciting job with interesting projects that make me push my limits but it’s also time consuming. My free time is split between family, friends, travels and a bunch of old and new hobbies. My new found hobby is painting t-shirts and all sorts of memories boxes for family and friends.
Do you get a certain amount of vacation days a year at your job?
Normally the time off for a lawyer would be around 3 weeks, plus the national holidays (like Easter or Christmas). I try to get as much time off from my jobs as possible; depending on the work load I usually manage to take time off for around 4-5 weeks plus national holidays.
How much do you travel in a year?
I try to travel whenever I get the chance. Last year I covered 12 countries and was off from work around 5 weeks (not counting national holidays). This is how last year looked like in terms of travels. This year I started slow with New Years in India and two short trips to Copenhagen and Bruges but will have a busy rest of the year with travels already booked for Stockholm, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India and no plans yet for December.
Are you restrained to how much time you can take off in a row?
Usually 2 to 2.5 weeks is the maximum I can take off in a row.
Do you find it hard to unplug from work when you’re traveling?
Never. The moment I start packing my mind is already set on the traveling mood. After one day on the road I forget the day I’m in, the date, passwords to my work computer, PIN codes, etc. Sometimes, even if I’m gone for 1 or 2 days I feel as relaxed and free as if I’ve been gone for a week.
Have you ever considered quitting your career to just travel the world?
I think about quitting my job and traveling the world a couple of times a week. Traveling has become a part of me; it opened me up to so many new and incredible experiences which made it grow slowly but surely into this amazing addiction. Once you got the wanderlust bug I think you can never actually manage to feel comfortable just sitting in one place; you are forever bound to explore, discover, learn; you start craving for the road and your fingers just instantly start typing and searching for plane tickets even if you see only one picture of a destination.
What stops you from doing just that?
There are always reasons one will find for not leaving everything behind and traveling the world. For me the main reason is probably my nature. Like my mother once said, I have wings that make me run away to discover the world and roots that make me come back again and again to my family and friends, to my home. Despite this, I am still considering taking 3 to 6 months off for a longer trip and hopefully I will manage to make it happen next year.
If you had one piece of advice for someone who is maintaining a career and NOT Traveling, what would it be?
I think my advice for anyone (not only for those maintaining a career) would be to get out of their comfort zone and travel as often as possible. I promise that once you pass the mental barriers of what could go wrong and the preconceptions we’ve all be raised with, the world will unveil at your feet the most incredible experiences that will change your mind and soul forever. I truly believe that if you are ready to accept the world around you, to really look beyond first impressions, to dig more into the unknown, to search inside yourself for that power to embraces differences you might reach and endless source of happy priceless moments.
Are you someone who manages to travel the world, while still having a full-time career on the side? What are your tips for making it work? Share below.