Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post: The Elusive Balance Between Work and Travel

Recently there has been quite a stir in the online travel community regarding Nomadic Matt's Huffington Post article "Why We Travel.” In all honesty, before this controversy even began, I was having my own concerns, which I kept to myself. My concerns lied with long term travelers who made it seem that 1) long term travel was the only way to really travel and 2) that people who worked rather than traveled led miserable, unfilled lives. Well, I work AND travel, and I could not be more in love with my life!

The art to “my way of traveling” is mastering the perfect balanced lifestyle. I think the most difficult thing about it is finding a job that you feel passionate about. I was lucky enough to know since the age of 14 that I wanted to be a Chinese Medicine Doctor. Through traveling, everyday experiences, and furthering your education I think it is definitely possible to discover what job excites you and would bring you personal satisfaction on a daily basis. It might take trying several professions before finding the right one, but you will find it eventually! The most significant consideration in choosing your dream job, besides whether or not it makes you happy, is to make sure that it allows for enough vacation days, so that you can have the ability to travel.

Now that I own my own business, it is easier for me to travel as much and for as long as I want. Of course I lose money when I do that, but that compromise is part of the balance for me. However, there was a period of my life where I did not have the luxury of time. This is probably the case for the majority of people. So, this is how I personally found balance then and I hope it inspires people to think of similar ways to find balance.

When I was in Graduate School I was only able to miss a certain number of classes per semester, otherwise I would fail. Thus, I structured my classes in a way where I would get 4 or 5 days off in a row. In 1 year I left the country 15 times! Some trips were as short as 2 days, but each trip I felt was special and that I was able to get to know a place even in that short amount of time, because when I was there I fully immersed myself in the culture. On my way to and from a destination I would study for my classes. Some of my fellow classmates thought I was crazy, I on the other hand, was blissfully happy as I had found my balance (and graduated at the top of my class).

My concern for those who only live to work, is that they are losing out on all of the life changing experiences and the growth of the soul that comes with travel. My concern for those who only live to travel, is that they are not giving back to society in any way. It can be a very selfish lifestyle, unless of course they are volunteering along the way (like our dear Connie).

There is no reason why a person should have to choose between their job and traveling. I believe with every ounce of my being that where there is a will, there is a way and if you desire to find the balance between the two it can be achieved. Yes, there will be compromises and it will take time to perfect, but at the end of the day if you have found a way to follow both passions in life you will feel like you have won the lottery.

Andi Perullo is a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day, travel addict by night. When she's not treating patients, she's traveling or dreaming of the next place to visit. To learn more about her travels, visit My Beautiful Adventures.

© Connie Hum 2010


  1. Great post, Andi! I fully agree. Although my work IS to travel, I still catch flack from some of the RTWers I've met (not directed at you in any way, Connie!) who say, "how can you be so American and just 'settle' for a job and a career. Who needs a career anyway?" And mind you, this is a career where I AM traveling 50% of the time!

    At the same time, I hate these people who claim they don't have "the time" or "the money" to travel. As the three of us can attest, it doesn't take a ton of funds--you can find cheap airfare to almost anywhere, then CouchSurf your way around and virtually spend no money!

    Also, Connie, I'm loving the new look of your site! Beautiful!

  2. I am loving this post Andi and completely agree with you! I work in broadcast consulting and while I don't get out of the country as much as you (15 times in a year!?!) I still manage 2 or 3 great trips abroad each year. Sure sometimes getting time off is tricky, but its not impossible and its totally worth the effort!

  3. Andi's a great example of someone who's been able to have great experiences without having to give it all up.

  4. I like what you said about giving back through your profession/travel. Now that I'm working full time and not making boat loads of money, I'm really trying to find a way to fit a big trip in yearly.

  5. Andi is a great inspiration and I am so honored to call her a friend! Thanks for the guest post Andi! You're awesome!!!

  6. Was good to realize the post was written by Andi when I finally saw the second pic of hers :)
    I hope to find a job I like one day, too!


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