ArticleJim Hughes

Travel or Work? What's Wrong With Both?

ArticleJim Hughes
Travel or Work?  What's Wrong With Both?

Check Your Birth Certificate - You May Have a Problem

Are you under the age of 35 and love travelling?  If so, you have likely faced an issue many older folk didn’t even know existed.

How many of you have embarked on long term travel, living it up in some of the worlds most exotic places for six plus months?  

How many of you then became clinically fed up when you returned to the real world and went back to work?  Back to the daily grind, the office cubicle and the bitter co-workers who couldn’t care less about your vagabonding adventures.  Horrible huh?

A quick count please, of those of you who had the misfortune of going through this emotional ordeal, how many of you began planning your next trip 18 seconds after you got home?  Furiously creating a daily budget and calculating how long it will take your annual leave balance to build back up…it makes for grim reading doesn’t it?


Then comes the chat with the boss.  How long do you have to wait before you can ask them for another huge chunk of time off?  A couple of weeks should be enough shouldn’t it?  Yeah that seems fair.  You’ll work extra hard in that time won’t you?  

Shit, is it still only 10am on your first day back?  Maybe you can just quit and ask your parents for a loan?  Yes, that’s the best course.  They’ll understand, they must have gone through something similar?  Right?

Modern Times - Modern Problems

But Did They?  Not likely.  The truth is, back then only the most free spirited or wealthy undertook the kind of adventures we post 1985’ers consider our divine right.

Back then, when everything was brown and hair was enormous, seeing so much of the world was limited to wandering hippies in camper vans and James Bond.  In the ‘real world’, it wasn’t feasible. 

But why?

Lot’s of reasons.  Firstly, job mobility was low.  People spent entire lifetimes working for one or two companies.  If you had a sizeable gap in your CV, your chances of re-entering the workforce at a decent level were slim.  

Secondly, pre TripAdvisor and Google Maps, venturing into unknown lands was sodding hard work and required much bigger balls than now.  Every bar, cafe, hotel and tour had not been reviewed 372 times by eager beavers keen to journal their every move.


Added to this, prices were higher, disposable income was lower, accommodation -especially in the developing world- was sparse, the English language wasn’t as widely spoken and there were few people you could ask for advice.

People’s reality was very different back then.  I am generalizing of course (it’s easier that way and requires less research), but in the main, you were considered exotic if you spent 2 weeks in Spain.

Spain…Just Wasn't The Same

The silver lining in this brown, travel-less world?  That’s easy.  Not having to go through the torture of dipping your toe into the life of your dreams, only to return to grim reality when the money runs out.  

Any oldies out there…you think you had it tough?  Two weeks in the Costa Del Sol, drinking San Miguel and eating deep fried calamari was not the same.

It was too short a time to become engrossed in the lifestyle or to get a proper taste of what a life with endless sunshine and no work on Monday was like.

Six months however, is a different kettle of ball games.  This is ample time to get used to a life of waking up with mountains on the horizon one day and clear blue waters of a tropical island the next.

For anyone who thinks returning to a 9-5 after two weeks in the Med was tough, imagine the slap in the face after 12 months of this reality escape?


But Seriously

Joking aside, the effect this exposure has on the younger generations is not to be ignored.  

Never before have so many people witnessed what life on the other side of the fence is like.  Never before have an entire generation had the option of wrestling between prioritizing a career and travelling the world; saving for a flat in the city vs saving for a 6 week yoga retreat in Nepal.

The choice is a tough one and it’s staring many a young traveller in the face.  

Without much thought, I could name 5-10 friends who are going through this exact dilemma as I type (the surprise of course, being that I have 5-10 friends).  I have seen first hand the dialogue they have with themselves and others.

What makes it harder to contend with, is that nearly all of them are degree qualified.  The prospect of a good salary and comfortable living is a realistic one.  But so too is working a mid-level job for just long enough to be able to afford the bucket list adventure.

The Untamed Entrepreneur To The Rescue

Fear not, everyone, I have a solution.   

First we have to look at the cause.  As is so often the case, the issue is caused by a lack of commitment.  

I am very much an ‘all or nothing’ type person.  One only has to look at the contrasting phases of my adult life (discussed so eloquently in the About Me page of this site), to see this.  

The way I see it, if you’re going to do something, damn well do it properly.  Half committing to two activities, undermines both.

Take riding the train through the mountains of Japan whilst trying to write a blog as a perfect example.  By doing this, not only am I missing the beautiful scenery, but I am writing a shit blog.  See my point?


Commit Fully Or Not At All

The same principle can be applied to living the life of your dreams exploring the wonders of the world vs fully focusing on your career and earning a good salary.

Try both and you will likely falter.  You will spend half your time feeling guilty for wasting your education and the other half wishing you were wasting your education.

If you love travel that much and spend every waking hour wishing it was a permanent state, then make it happen.  Find a way of turning your talents into income and work as you go.

Don’t think you have talents worthy of supporting a life on the road?  Bollocks!  You do, you just haven’t dug deep enough to find them yet.

Call To Action

I started this Ramble making an entirely different point but ended up getting sidetracked into a little rant.  I’m glad I did.

It was supposed to be an insightful article about modern workforces but it morphed into a call to action to anyone with whom this article resonated.  If this is a situation you find yourself in, ask yourself honestly: do I want it enough to make it happen?  If so, commit fully and you will never regret it.

If by any chance you read this and want to take the leap but aren’t quite sure how, get in contact with me or sign up to my mailing list where I share free tools and resources for finding your inner genius and learning how to monetize it.