“I quit my corporate job and became a full-time traveler.”
I’ve seen this quote used all over social media. Travel Bloggers and Instagram Travelers are quick to sell you the dream as you are sitting behind your computer in a dreary office. It sounds perfect, and they make it sound so achievable. “Just buy my 10-week program and I will show you how you, too, can travel full-time.”
Perfect, right? What they do not tell you, however, is that you need to have the mettle to make it work for you. No 10-week program is going to make you an Instagram famous travel blogger overnight. Another massive point that should be noted is the semantics of their wording. “Travel full-time” doesn’t mean “full-time vacation”; a common misconception.
I have traveled quite extensively in my young life and the one thing I realized quickly was, travel is expensive. Flights, accommodations, food, trips out, travel insurance, and countless other unforeseen expenses come along with travel. The rewards of traveling are, in my opinion, much greater than the fiscal cost. However, you need money to make traveling an enjoyable experience.
There is a big difference between a traveler, a tourist and a vacationer. This is where I want to come back to the semantics used in these travel bloggers attention-grabbing articles about how you can change your life. A full-time traveler is an actual job. It is not lazy days on the beach for the rest of your life, margaritas by the pool, or jet-skiing every Friday. I mean, there is an element of that and it is certainly a more appealing job in my eyes than a desk-job, but they still have to hustle. Even more so than if they were in a traditionally safe, salaried job.
A full-time traveler spends most of their time propositioning hotels, travel companies, and flight operators to give them discounts or freebies, and in return, they write or post to their massive following on social media. They make their money through advertisements on their blogs or Instagram pages. They spend hours taking the “perfect shot” for their followers to drool over while potentially missing the experience themselves because of that focus that drives them.
The life of a travel blogger, as much as it seems so, is not for everyone. Actually, what most of us want from this ideal is the life of a vacationer, where people would pay us to visit their hotels or use their airplanes, and we go and sit on the beach and soak up the sun and swim in the pool without a care in the world. This job does not exist. I’m sorry to say, it just doesn’t.
What I am here to tell you is, there are compromises. Just because a full-time traveler with all the hustle required does not sound like the right job for you, does not mean that you have to resign yourself to an office job. You can actually change your life as long as you accept it won’t be a life-long vacation.
How? Well, there are many ways. One way is if you have a particular skill that allows you to “work from home”, such as website designing, graphic designing, writing, editing, etc. “Working from home” does not specifically mean your own home, it means a place that has a reliable internet connection and where you’ll be able to submit your work according to the company’s time-zone and deadlines. You could do this from a beach bar in Bali, provided you worked out your time-zones correctly, or at the foot of a mountain in a small coffee-shop. The world is becoming more and more digitized, and there is no reason why you cannot make that work for you!
If you do not have a particular skill that’s suitable for remote work, do not panic. Neither did I when I left home. I became an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and now live and work in China, while traveling all over Asia in my free time. Granted, I am a native English speaker, but many people teaching here in China are not. Their English language level is very high and they are able to prove themselves to the school and secure good, high-paying jobs. Teaching is not for everyone, but for some, it is a great start to getting out and seeing the world while keeping up finances.
There are many more options available to you. If you’re serious about traveling and changing your life, I can assure you that it is really possible to become a digital nomad. But, I come back to my original point, you need the mettle to make it work for you. You need to accept that in life we have to work hard for the things we desire, and you need to decide if traveling is really that priority for you.
Have faith, do research, find a path that suits your skills and preferences. If nothing comes up, keep looking. If you decide it’s not for you, have no shame. Travel is a beautiful and wonderful privilege that not all of us share. Be thankful for the opportunities you were given, and most of all, experience everything you can while you prepare to work hard.
Good luck with your next adventures, wherever they may take you. If you want to follow my travel adventures, you can check out my travel-related Instagram at www.instagram.com/vagarigibs