Here on the Global Commute, I talk a lot about meaningful traveling and how a simple change in mindset and choices can create a more authentic and rewarding experience. What if you find yourself saying, “Ya that all sounds great, but how do I find the time and money to get there?”
Just like you, I also struggle with these two huge road blocks – time and money. But surprisingly, there are lots of different ways that normal, average people are successfully solving this issue.
HOW TO GET YOUR TIME BACK
Believe it or not, time is perhaps the main struggle. Even if you save up enough for a trip, you risk losing your holidays with family and friends for one journey out to a far away country…and you only have enough vacation days for one trip per year. This constricted, rushed way to travel is not really conducive for truly Journeying Beyond the Bucket List, is it?
What we need is an extended amount of time…
Consider what Tim Ferries of the 4-Hour Work Week calls “mini retirements” or more commonly known as “gap years” where every five to ten years, you quit your current job to set out on an extended trip. You then return to resume your normal career for five-plus years (enough time for a solid resume stabilizer) before setting out on your next mini retirement trip to rejuvenate yourself. This is a great way to continually build your career over 40+ years without major hiccups. You give a solid chunk of time to each company, and you remain interesting and energized throughout your professional career. Not to mention, you also take advantage of your healthy years to actually live your life.
Still worried about destroying your career and financial safety? You’re not alone, the hardest part for many career seekers, is their fear of “messing up their resume” or “struggling to get back into the field when they return.” These are common fears, but not normally warranted once really looking at the statistics for a normal gap year’s rebound rate. In his book, Tim Ferries shares some great advice:
“It is not at all difficult to sweep gaps under the rug and make uncommon items the very things that get you job interviews. How? Do something interesting and make them jealous. If you quit and then sit on your ass, I wouldn’t hire you either…
On the other hand, if you have a one-to-two-year world circumnavigation on your resume or training with professional soccer teams in Europe to your credit, two interesting things happen upon returning to the working world. First, you will get more interviews because you will stand out. Second, interviewers bored in their own jobs will spend the entire meeting asking how you did it!
If there is any question of why you took a break or left your previous job, there is one answer that cannot be countered: ‘I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do [exotic, envy-producing experience] and couldn’t turn it town. I figured that with [20-40] years of work to go, what’s the rush?’”
Taking a break from your safe surroundings will never be easy, but if you take away the unrealistic fear of not being able to reverse it later…it certainly helps.
Think about it – Do you need a mini retirement?
FUNDING YOUR MINI RETIREMENT
Once you are past the main hurdle of finding the time, the next big problem is where to find the money. We will get into tricks to save cash along the way in future articles. But first, let’s take a look at 3 alternative ways to fund your trip along the way if you are in need of cash. It obviously takes some courage and creativity to take a break from your current paycheck, but if you’re up for a challenge and perhaps the best experience of your life…read on.
Find Seasonal Work
Finding work abroad is certainly something you should consider. There are several options, which you may not have thought of. You could work at a seasonal resort or in a hostel; you could help farmers pick fruit or do maintenance work for local park trails. The list is really endless. Ever thought about being an English tutor or an au pair for a local family? Even though you will technically be working part-time during your “mini retirement” at less than your current wage, the change of pace, fresh surroundings, gorgeous scenery and new friends will more than make up for the short working days that will fund your adventures and provide you with opportunities to interact with locals. The first step is finding these job opportunities. Here are a few resources:
Seasonal Jobs in Australia specifically: goworkabout.com
Summer and Seasonal Jobs in the USA (National Parks as a specialty): www.coolworks.com
If you want to go direct with USA National Parks, try: www.nps.gov/aboutus/workwithus
Resort Jobs: www.resortjobs.com
Hostel Jobs: www.hosteltraveljobs.com
Need free housing while you’re there? Consider house-sitting. This site has a worldwide search for people looking for house sitters in a secure and safe way for both parties: www.housecarers.com
If cash is less important and all you want is room, board and meals in exchange for work – this is a great way to fund travel. Normally, a few hours of work each day are required, but you will have ample time to explore and get to know your local host when you are not fulfilling your part-time duties. Here are some great resources:
A wide range of hosts from farms, ranches, inns and more: helpx.net
Worldwide exchange listings categorized by country: www.workaway.info
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms: www.wwoof.net
Don’t want to work during your trip? Take a challenge instead
If you are the “less work and more play” type who has an adventurous side – did you know that you can organize a challenge or join an existing group expedition and raise the funds all for charity? It’s true.
NOW YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE
This list just cracks open the lid on the possibilities for creating time and funding your travels. I hope that by looking at these options, you will be challenged to relook at your current “bucket list” and the reality of achieving those items in your current lifestyle set-up. Most of us would have to admit that in our present situation, these items will never happen. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, extraordinary things occur…the first hurdle is acknowledging that there ARE ways to make it happen. Then, it’s up to you to choose it.
“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.” ― Jarod Kintz
Feature Photo Credit: Thinkstock/iStock Editorial/pholio