I've been asked several times how I've been able to make travelling my "life". It may seem like all I do is travel... but it's not. I do in fact have a day job *gasps.
Monday through Friday, eight to five I'm working. Although I use the term "working" loosely. Why? Because I'm one of those lucky people that has a job that they truly enjoy. I get paid to play with shoes all day long! I draw shoes, shop for shoes, and occassionally throw them at people (Naomi Campbell style). The best part is that someone actually pays me to do this!?!?! After ten years, I still can't believe that I'm a shoe designer. It's my day job as a shoe designer that affords me the freedom to travel.
So how do I keep this wonderful job... AND go on vacation so much? Here's how...
My job requires a lot of travel. I've travelled to and from China over fifty times in the past ten years. (That's over 1,600 hours... or 66 days.... or two solid months spent on an airplane to and fro). Before or after each of these business trips, I try to squeeze in a layover somewhere. Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Phillipines are just a short plane ride from our Chinese office.
Sometimes my work trips can actually feel like vacation. I travel to a few different cities around the world each year to shop for shoe inspiration. I wake up super early and shop until I my feet go numb from walking. Then I'll drop all of the Gucci bags at my hotel and hit the town. Places that I've traveled for work include Hong Kong, Los Angeles, London, Toronto and Montreal. On these trips, I try to arrive a day before my colleagues so that I can explore the city just for fun.
The best part about working vacations are expenses. Transportation, food, and lodging is all covered. There's still a budget... but I'd much rather budget with someone else's money rather than my own.
2. Major Holidays
I use ALL of the national holidays to travel. I really couldn't care less about going home for the holidays.... Christmas Smistmas. For Thanksgiving, I've had Sushi in Tokyo and Green Curry in Thailand. I've also spent at least two "Christmas Dinners" at a pub in an airport terminal. (Tip: If you are willing to fly on the actual holiday, the tickets are much cheaper than the day after/before. It's also way less of a headache because the airports are virtually empty.)
3. Sick Days
I try to take very good care of my health... but not for the obvious reasons. The real reason that I loath being sick is because I use all my sick days for travel. It's technically not lying because wanderlust in a serious illness... and there's only one cure... Travel!
4. Working Remotely
Sometimes I need to get away, but there's no one to cover my workload in the office. I could skip my vacation... but that'd be no fun. Instead, I pack my work laptop in my carry-on and keep it moving. I designate a few hours each day to check emails and call my colleagues. I let my boss know that I'll be out of the office, but I remain available.
And that's it!