Travelling Occasionally: Finding the time to get lost

I started this blog about 2 years ago in response to where I was in life – I was working a long-hours job in advertising, feeling like I was stagnating, overall unmotivated and wondering the twenty-something question: what happens next? Call it a quarter-life crisis if you will, or more accurately a quarter-life kick in the butt, and somehow I ended up creating something to motivate myself with – travel.

2 years later and I’m still working a full-time job, with The Occasional Traveller recording my sporadic travels and my shop helping to fund these little trips, that is if I don’t spend it all on beautiful travel-inspired products first.

Here’s a new section I’m starting up called Travelling Occasionally, something for the other worker bees out there to ponder over when they’re sneaking a read during tea time. Not all of us have the good fortune of being a globetrotting travel writer, or getting sent on media fam trips to exotic places – I love reading all these travel blogs because it inspires me and of course I get a little green with envy. So I wanted to start something which the rest of us can identify with a bit more. How do we, regular joes, get our travel mojo going and remain satisfied and fulfilled despite holding a full time job?

I’m hoping these posts will strike up more of a discussion than the other posts! Chime in with your thoughts – I’m only sharing my experiences and I want to hear what everyone else has to say!

So today’s topic:

Finding the time to get lost

Always thinking about the next trip | Taiwan, 2007

A common refrain from the worker bees is that they don’t get away because they can’t find the time to do so. In a full time job, your travelling is limited to the amount of leave days you have. For Singaporeans, it generally ranges from 14 – 21 days for most typical office jobs, and with some fortuitous public holidays and weekends, we’re able to maximise that time to its full potential.

But how then is it that within the same company, among people with the same amount of leave days, some people always seem to be on some sort of adventure while others moan about taking that epic trip… some day.

There are many reasons, but for me it boils down simply to priorities – is travelling a priority for you?

Travel is definitely my priority. Perks about being single, not being tied down by responsibilities and having a steady job mean that I can and I will take off once the opportunity arises. I am pretty sure that other than family, travel will trump many other things in life when it comes down to it.

It isn’t necessarily bad if travelling is not your priority – if you value other things in life more than travel, then so be it; there’s nothing to be embarrassed about if travel ranks low on your list of priorities. But if it’s something you truly value, and something that you really want to do, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find some time to travel – why are you still moaning and groaning about not being able to travel?

So if travel’s what you want to do, make it a priority.

And here are some things to help you along reaching your goal:

Get down to planning… or goofing off! | Japan, 2012

Plan – you can travel as spontaneously as  you want, but with corporate structures looming, the only way you can get around it is to plan your trip in advance. Book your leave early, tell colleagues and family about it, check and clear out your schedules way ahead of time, and as the date aproaches, fend off anything that stands in your way. Barring any emergencies, there shouldn’t be any reason for you to have to cancel your leave as long as you make plans and stick to them. (If your company/boss doesn’t want to give you leave despite your efforts and planning, think about whether this is a place you want to work for in the long run!)

Maximise – if you book your leave way in advance, you have plenty of time to scope out and reserve the best days that can help to extend your trip. Or if you’re travelling for work, use that trip to save you some airfare, by extending your trip after your work stuff is done. Get creative! Remember, you don’t have to do one long trip, consider several shorter trips, which might be less disruptive to your work schedules overall and help to curb the wanderlusting.

Sacrifice – not always necessary, but sometimes for your holiday to happen, you might have to give other things up. Hence it’s important to establish how much of a priority travel is for you, and things should fall into place quite logically after that. Planning a trip may be hard work, but if it’s a priority, it’s definitely worth it! If you plan early enough, it’ll be easier to move things around so you’ll have less to sacrifice.

Is travel a priority for you? How do you find time to travel?

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8 comments to Travelling Occasionally: Finding the time to get lost

  1. I too am a full time career girl who makes travel a priority. It’s good to fit in small trips when you can, they can be just as fun and rewarding as the big ones!

    • Hello! yeah many small trips help to sate some wanderlust, but I still love a good longer trip to really let your brain take a proper break 🙂

      But we take what we can! I’d take many small trips over no travelling at all!

    • Hi Red, thanks for your comment and that’s what i do too! (Next up: deepavali!)

      Once the official calendar for the next year comes out, everyone starts scrambling to book the best long weekends early. If there’s one thing to be kiasu about, this is it!

  2. So true! We work and have a school schedule to contend with, but outside that, we try to maximize our free time for travel. When we can’t go to far-flung places, we wanderlust closer to home. Looking forward to this new feature.
    x Laura

    • Hi Laura! I agree that sometimes a short trip can be enough to re-energize you… In Singapore we’re pretty lucky to have a great airport and location. But sometimes I feel that even though Singapore is so small, I should spend more time just exploring my own country =)

      Thanks for dropping by and your support!

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