This third article in the excuse buster series talks about how people use a lack of time or their busy lives as an excuse not to travel the world or take a gap year, and explains why it is not really an excuse at all.
In the last article in this series I talked about how people assume they can’t afford to travel when the reality is they can. Continuing this series of articles where I dispel the myths and excuses people use to talk themselves out of going backpacking, this week I want to talk about time.
One of the biggest reasons other than money that people use as a reason to talk themselves out of going backpacking is time. There always seems to be a shortage of it. There never seems to be enough hours in the day as your days, hours and minutes get filled up with work, with family commitments or appointments and all the endless, boring minutiae that clogs up our daily lives. So people put off their dreams of travel, they say I don’t have the time, I’ll do it next year, then the year after that, but the right time just never really seems to come.
People always have a lot more time than they realise!
There are a variety of ways you can make time to travel, and if you make travel a priority, then this becomes much easier. Assuming you work, then you should have at least a couple of weeks holiday off a year. That isn’t much I grant you, but even that limited time off can be utilised for shorter snap year breaks or getaways. Backpacking isn’t always about travelling the world on an extended gap year.
You may only have a long weekend, or even a week off in between the usual monotony of 9 to 5 drudgery, but so what? Get a short haul flight and take a city break for a few days or even a week? Still take that two week holiday you were dreaming of, just do it independently! You do have the time to travel, even if it isn’t a whole year or two all at once!
Anything that you tell yourself to the contrary is an excuse!
If you want to go backpacking for longer, then your annual leave can be taken alongside unpaid leave, giving you as much time as you like to go away. Of course this will have to be discussed and negotiated with your boss, but it is always worth a try. Regardless of what they will try and tell you, employers do have an obligation toward providing employees with a work life balance. This method has the advantages of letting you go backpacking for a short time on a snap year break of a couple of months or so (enough time to see a country you have always wanted to see), and still letting you walk back into your job when you return.
Some employers do allow time off for sabbaticals too. This is where you can take an unspecified amount of time off, often six months or a year at a time, and do whatever the hell you please with it. This method has the added advantage of allowing you to be able to return to your job when the sabbatical is over. Not every job will allow this of course, but it is always worth asking.
All you have to do is change your mindset and realise that you are the one in control. You aren’t chained to that desk!
Some employers now are even putting it into their employees contracts as a perk of the job, especially if your role is highly skilled or qualified in some way. They know that the economy is basically in the toilet at the moment and they often can’t afford to pay large numbers of staff at the moment, but they don’t want to lose highly skilled and qualified staff either, so letting them take a sabbatical until business picks up makes a lot of sense from their perspective.
Alternatively you can do what everyone secretly dreams of doing, quit your job and travel the world, quit your life and bugger off somewhere hot, sunny and tropical anyway!
I’m not suggesting an epic blowout of course, where you trash the office, kick the bosses door down, punch him in the face and scream stick your job up your proverbial at them until your throat is hoarse, although I know you are all secretly smiling at the thought of doing just that! I’m talking about simply saving up enough money to go backpacking for an extended period of time, handing in your notice and explaining why. Sound insane? Maybe. But there are plenty of reasons why this is a damn good idea too.
Hell, I’ve done it on average once a year for the past 7 or 8 years! And plenty of times before that too!
You have another thirty, forty, fifty or even more years to worry about getting up at five O’clock in the morning for the commute or putting up with banal office politics, so what is six months or a year off in the grand scheme of things?
That time off can help recharge your batteries, stop burnout and stress, maybe even improve your health! Don’t worry about the job, it will still be there when you get back! And if it isn’t? Well so what? You hated it anyway that’s why you left! You may even land yourself a better job when you get back, or even a promotion as more and more employers and companies recognise the tangible benefits of having well travelled, experienced employees, especially if you use your travels to gain experience in a field relevant to your role.
So no matter what you tell yourself, or what you think, you do have time to travel. If your heart is telling you that you want to go backpacking, if you dream of jetting off and exploring a new part of the world, then stop making excuses and go for it!
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