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1.3. "How could I get the time to travel?"

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace

from The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

and The Practical Nomad Guide to the Online Travel Marketplace

by Edward Hasbrouck


I continue to be amazed at the diversity of people who come to me to plan months-long trips. How do they get the time? Here are some of the ways:

  • Educate, agitate, and organize for more time off. Everywhere in the world, mandatory allowances of time for rest, and limits on working hours, have been the result of extended political struggle. Laws and union contracts entitling workers in Europe to 4-8 weeks of vacation have come about through the same processes that led to the 8-hour day and the 40- hour week in the USA. North American workers will get the same vacation rights as Europeans only if the labor movement and individual workers make this an issue.
  • Work as a temporary, freelancer, or contractor. So-called "contingent" workers make up 10-15 percent of the USA workforce. It's now possible for people in almost any occupation or career to reorganize their work on a freelance or contract basis that leaves them regular opportunities to travel, after finishing one job or assignment and before starting the next.
  • Work in a seasonal job or occupation. Seasonal jobs may be more diverse than you think, including those in agriculture, the building trades, tourism, etc. Some seasonal jobs even include employer-provided housing. I've know ski-resort workers who travel every summer, and national park workers who travel every winter, without having to pay rent while they're on the road in the off-season.
  • Work for a school, college, or university. Many jobs in educational institutions are seasonal. Part of the trade-off for teachers' low wages (although far from a sufficient one) is their long summer vacations. What many people don't think about is that schools, colleges, and universities employ all sorts of workers for the academic year. Academic- year jobs include everything from food service to word processing to computer support to building maintenance.
  • Take a sabbatical. Periodic year-long paid sabbaticals are standard for professors, and common for teachers even at the elementary and secondary level. But sabbaticals aren't limited to academia anymore. More and more employers have formal or informal programs for granting paid or unpaid extended leave. Sabbaticals improve employee skills, productivity, morale, and loyalty. If your employer doesn't already have such a program, why not suggest it?
  • Take an unpaid leave of absence. Even if your employer doesn't have a formal leave program, you can always ask. Pitch it to your employer as a no-lose proposition: you are willing, entirely at your own expense, to take an unpaid leave to acquire some of the skills they need most to succeed in a global economy. If it's not going to cost them anything, why would they say no? Even if they think travel is irrelevant to your job, they'd probably rather you come back to work for them after your travels than go to work for someone else.
  • Quit your job. Get a better one when you get back. Even if you have to quit your job, there's a good chance you'll actually get back -- if you want it -- when you return. If not, you'll have international travel experience under your belt and on your resume. With that, you should be able to find a new job a step up the career and salary ladder from your old one.

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