Career Versus Travel: What should I do?

Career Versus Travel: What should I do?

Ah, the ol’ career versus travel dilemma. I want to travel. But I don’t want to make sacrifices in my career. Can I even find a job overseas? What about car insurance, or my phone contract? And exactly when should I travel? Where do I even begin?

Career Versus Travel

When I first moved overseas I went and worked in Myoko. On my days off I snowboarded for these beautiful views.

Ahh, the age-old question: career versus travel. And its one that I’ve griped with for the past few years. I want to travel, but what about my career?

To be honest, my future career is undetermined. It’s shakey and uncertain. It’s a little uncomfortable but I have the faith in my future and liberty to shape my life with travel as I live out each year. If something goes wrong I have a Plan B to share (continue reading to find out), and as long as trust myself to find a way forward, then I will continue to travel.

Travel has shaped me into who I am today and continues to help me discover who I am. I sure as hell don’t have any regrets from my travels either. Travel might be the same for you, or it might not. But I’ll begin with some pointers below on some career versus travel issues!

Career Versus Travel

The night after I graduated from my Bachelor of Architectural Design, I flew out to Taiwan to become a volunteer teacher. Yep, nothing to do with architecture. And the year later I packed my life into a suitcase and made my way to Japan. I found myself in a rural town of 500 people, working for a family run hotel in the snowy Japanese Alps. I couldn’t even speak much Japanese at that time. But I had to learn. And after 3 months in a workplace with no English, I was able to develop the language skills necessary to land a job at a prestigious Tokyo Architecture firm. At the same time, I worked in a high paying tutor role to help pay the bills, something that I might not have achieved had I not been to Taiwan and volunteered as an English teacher.

These innocent adventures seemingly had nothing to do with my career but ended up changing the game for my career later down the track. What I’m trying to say is: travel opens up possibilities that I never knew could happen, especially in hindsight.

Career Versus Travel

Volunteer Teaching in Taiwan. My host family took me to Keelung Port.



I’ve read so much crap on the ‘right timing’ for travel.

“You’re in your early twenties so it’s the best time travel”

OrWhy travellers don’t have careers” 

If you’re anything like me, a recent graduate with no job security, then a headline like that is bound to trigger some alarm receptors in your head. My brother is 29. He’s been working as a tutor for the past 6+ years and never travelled in his twenties. This year he’s been from South America to New Zealand now onto Canada.

There is no universal ideal time. You might think that you can offset travel for later, or do it while you’re young – but that only works for certain people. If you’ve been wondering when the best time is – it’s probably right now. Not in 2 years, not in 5 years or when you’re retired.

Career Versus Travel

There is no ‘best time’. The best time is probably right now. 

Working While Abroad

The surefire way is to have a travellable job: Web Development, Graphic Design, Accounting, English Teaching, you name it and make it happen. Of course, certain jobs give you more freedom than others, but that’s not to say you can’t find work in your field in another city.

You could even ask your company or employer if you can work from overseas. My partner worked directly for a couple who owned two companies while she was in her final year of studies. When she was being interviewed she stated very clearly that she intended to travel – but would be happy to help out or continue supporting the company while she was abroad. It’s been 3 years, and she still does part-time Accounting and Marketing for them in order to pay her travel expenses. Career versus travel, why not both?


There is no better time to decide on travelling than the moment you have that desire to.

The signal you’re getting from your brain telling you to jet set away is the response you must follow through with. You might have heard of The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins. Our first response to a new dream with infinite potential. The second response is to worry or stress about everything that could go wrong.

Our brains sabotage our dreams before we can even start to bring them to fruition.

The solution to this lies in making a 5-second decision contrary to the stress response. If we action something in that first 5 seconds, then we’re likely to commit to it. If you’re weighing up the value of your career versus travel opportunity, then start action-ing the contrary: Write down what benefits you could gain from your career or personal growth via travel? Or Google what opportunities or jobs are out there in another country? This can apply to any dream, just action your thought in that first 5 seconds.

Career Versus Travel

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

And if it all goes wrong?

Then you can come home. Or rebuild your life again. Worst-case-scenario, through your experiences you’ll be equipped with an arsenal of tools to cope with tougher situations. If I can draw an analogy, it’s like strengthening a muscle. When bodybuilders work out they need to stretch their muscle fibres to a point of damage in order to rebuild them even stronger.

I also want to offer some entrepreneurial insight from the words of Japanese blogger Danny Choo:

Make sure you could start all over again if you lost your job… or everything.

If you had no save file and someone hit the reset switch, could you start all over again? What I mean by this is: If you lost your degree, your qualifications, your job, or resume – what left do you have, and what can you offer? You need to have skills and abilities that give a unique value proposition.

In the end, I haven’t had any regrets through my experiences. Travel has shaped me into who I am today and continues to help me discover who I am. When I first thought about this career versus travel problem, I leapt towards travel and let it guide my career. And it’s been marvelous.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

PS: Feel free to comment or add any thoughts on how you see your career vs travel pan out. I’d love to hear from you as a reader.



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