18 November 2015

3 of the Best ways to Travel with a Full Time Job

A lot of people complain about their job holding them back from their travelling dreams. I constantly see headlines like...
"Quit job to travel." and...
"How I sold everything to travel the world." and...
"I dropped everything and flew to India to teach children"... BUT

I don't buy it. I'm not dismissing the barriers you might face, but you don't need to drastically change your life or go through a mid-life crisis to travel a little more. I travelled once a month for 5 months whilst working full time (as part of my country challenge) so I can tell you first hand it's possible. Here's my tips for travelling with a full-time job.

Travel Between Jobs

Gone are the days where you have one career that consists of a couple of companies and incremental promotions, so you'll fine yourself between jobs more than your parents generation. We'll have an average of 10-12 jobs in our lifetime and with that comes a traveling opportunity.

Furthermore, these days every experience counts towards your employment no matter if it's a personal journey or a techinical skill - it can all help, so what better excuse? 
Washing elephants in Chaing Mai, Thailand
Washing elephants in Chaing Mai, Thailand
Utilise your time between jobs by taking an extended holiday. Depending on your industry, current and future employers' attitudes and the job market, you might be able to take a few months out to go on the trip of a lifetime before you start your new job. 
Cedar Breaks during 3 week road trip
Even 3 weeks is a welcome amount of time to explore and certainly long enough to make a long haul flight worth every penny!

Weekend Trips

This may seem an obvious inclusion, but many people forget what a luxury it is to really own your free time! Most likely you have your weekends off (or different days if you're on shift work) so make the most of them. 

Take one day off and extend the weekend, utilise bank holidays and think about convenient ways to travel for the weekend.
A sunny September weekend in Milan
A sunny September weekend in Milan


How liberal is your work? Could you work from home (or a hotel in the Alps) for a few days? If your office is less fussed about where you physically are, then definitely explore the option to rent an airbnb place and bed down in a new city for a couple of nights. 
Free entry to Singapore Art Museum on Fridays from 6pm-9pm (foreigners)
Even if you need to put in your hours or be on call, you can still explore your 'new neighbourhood'. It's good for the soul to run somewhere new, or maybe you plan to visit local markets and explore the local cuisine by trying a new restaurant each evening? Added bonus if you can find evening events; lots of cities have late night gallery openings, which you could also factor into the timings of your trips.
Markets in Milan, Italy
Markets in Milan, Italy
Spinning on the bull's balls in Milan, Italy

...Hey, if you don't ask you won't get!

Don't make excuses, make the most of the opportunities that are right under your nose! Where do you recommend for a weekend break?


13 November 2015

USA Road Trip | 6 Road Trip Essentials

As I've lived in the UK all my life, I struggled to think about what we might need for our Roadtrip through deserts, mountains and cities. In Britain you're never too far from a petrol station, a village or a service station. You might not want Little Chef for dinner but you won't risk going hungry. In old blighty you most probably have no risk of getting third degree burns just from walking in the midday sun and altitude isn't really an issue for our little island given that the highest peak (Ben Nevis in Scotland) stands at only 1,344m.
LA to Las Vegas panorama
I remember distinctly the first big drive from LA to Las Vegas. We saw a turn off for gas (and presumably toilets) but didn't get our act together in time and bottled it. By the time we'd gone 30 mins down the road we still hadn't seen anywhere else to wee, so we had to pull over at a deserted gas station (very shifty) and picnic wee in full sight of the traffic. It just didn't occur to us that it was now or in 2 hours time. 

Put it this way... hopefully you can be a little more prepared for your road trip than us!

1. A cool box

This was the best purchase we made the whole trip. Each time we left off we filled up our dozen or so water bottles, bought a bag of ice and filled the box to the brim.
Watch out for the height of the box (needs to fit bottles) and I would always recommend going bigger than you expect, as the ice will soon fill it up.

2. Music on your phone & in-car charger

Important for sanity and safety. We were actually surprised to find out that phone signal was very sparse on some journeys (yes, a lot worse that the UK), but it's still reassuring to know that your phone may be a help - even if that's just for its compass and some good tunes!

3. Entertaining Reads

You might think that music and the sights will get you through the long drives, but truth be told you're going to want a little more variety, especially for the driver. We bought a magazine called 'Women Who Kill' which was like a cross between Hello magazine and NCSI! I would read it to Josh while he was driving - the short gripping articles interspersed the journey perfectly.

4. Snacks

This goes without saying really, but aim for some healthy snacks too; we liked carrot batons, nuts and bagels for lunches. This will help you resist the many millions of drive thrus... except starbucks. Frappucinos in the heat are inevitable.

5. Sunglasses

Don't strain your eyes!
Sunglasses off for the photo... obvs

6. Maps

Pick up maps from a wide variety of places such as: from the rental company when you pick up the car; promo maps and leaflets; inside national park newspapers; and on your iPhone/tablet/laptop! 

The most useful map we used was one from a national park welcome newspaper, which displayed just the highways and the national parks. I also PDFed directions on my laptop before we left for each new destination.

It's reassuring to have lots of maps because like I said before, you can't count on phone signal as a fall back to reroute!

What would you take on your road trip? I'd love to know what I've missed.
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