You know you’ve got the travel bug when every time you open a pay stub you look at your vacation time accruals rather than your pay cheque amount. There isn’t a clear way to describe how I feel about travel, but others who suffer from wanderlust or fernweh conditions understand. You measure your bills in flight tickets (that property tax bill could have bought me a flight to Europe, or that car repair could have got me to Hawaii), you check seat sale alerts in the morning before checking any other social media or email, and you have anxiety for that two week waiting period during your passport renewal, worried that you might “need” to jump on a flight somewhere while passport-less wondering if you should have paid for the express renewal despite not actually having anything booked. This is me.
So how do I travel so often?
This is probably the most common question I get asked. I’m a regular person with a full time job, a mortgage, a dog, a hockey and softball team, and a yoga membership. I’ve got roots and am grounded in loving my life at home.
But I love to travel.
It is my passion and so I find ways to make it work. A few things that work for me are:
– I work 3 jobs. In addition to my full time job, I hold a causal job allowing me to pick up shifts with no notice (typically when the weather isn’t so conducive to my weekend outdoor plans) and another teaching at a local college when I can commit to staying in town for the majority of a semester (usually about once a year provided another instructor will cover for me for the inevitable need to travel mid semester).
– I’m cheap. Frugal. Whatever you want to call it. I fully embrace my post World War 2 immigrant Dutch roots. I don’t waste money by eating out, driving a nice car, or excessively shopping for shit I don’t need. Everyone has their spending priorities, mine is travel. Proof is in my ancient tv (which never gets turned on anyway!) I wouldn’t even know how to use a smart tv if I was gifted one – because I’d never buy one (that’s a ticket to Europe!)
– I collect Aeroplan points, follow posts that notify me of seatsales, and put into practice all the tips I’ve shared on this site to make travel more affordable.
– I keep a solid crew of friends who share the love of travel and are willing to roll the seat sale dice and end up in Cuba or the Philippines, or book a quick getaway to Mexico with less than two weeks’ notice, but I am also not afraid to travel alone and enjoy solo travel.
– Unfortunately I have a dog who hates being kennelled, and it would be unfair to lock him up so often, so I rent out the spare room in my condo (more travel money!) at a cheap rate in exchange for dog sitting. The dog gets to stay at home, and I have a built in house sitter.
– I maximize my time off. I travel over stat holidays to save vacation days and never have more than 24 hours between my flight times and work schedule. I often go straight from work to the airport. I usually have my work bag packed and ready to go and work clothes laid out when I get home since I often only have a few short hours to sleep before heading to work. I’ve also been known to take a red eye or early morning flight back and head straight to work. Those people who “need” a day or two to unpack, grocery shop, and rest after a vacation are people who either have way too much vacation time, or would rather spend a day with their washing machine than on a tropical beach.
– I have a rule that I don’t return from one trip without another one booked. This prevents any post travel blues and always leaves me with something to look forward to and plan for.
I continually hear people say they’d love to travel but can’t because (insert excuse here). It’s bullshit. If you’d love to travel, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Follow my blog for some tips to make it a little more affordable, stop making excuses, and start getting that passport stamped!
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho