My Priorities (or Why I’m Not a Full Time Travel Blogger)

Sailing Boat in Formentera, Spain

Many blogs that fall into my weekly reads are written by amazing bloggers that have left their sedentary lives aside to travel the World. Many of them have even become professional nomads – living for and from travel.

This has left me thinking about what I’ve prioritized in life. I chose a master degree instead of traveling, the year the banking sector started to crumble down. I chose a challenging job in a city I never thought I’d feel happy in. And then, when I finally felt at home in this city, I chose to accept the office transfer to London and start all over again. Yes, I’m a career girl – and not an adventure seeker or a world traveler.

I have a home address in London, a rental contract and pay taxes. A gym membership. A favorite bar. I have a full time job which I like, that is not even slightly related to travel (or photography or food, as a matter of fact). And yet, I’m here – writing about travel.

I’m not the going to tell you that life is too short to spend it in the office. Nor will I convince you to sell your stuff and reduce your life to a 40L backpack. Basically, because I don’t do this either. Instead, I travel on my allowed vacation days, regularly escape over the weekends and, most importantly, I chose to slow travel as an expat.

What I am trying to tell you with this is that having one thing doesn’t have to exclude the other. It’s not a battle between your career and travel. Nor are you obliged to choose between owning 30 pairs of shoes and seeing the world. You don’t need to be location-independent to truly enjoy your time abroad. You don’t have to be adventurous or settled. You can be it all.

It’s only a matter of finding the right way to travel for each of us – and don’t fool yourself, no way is better than the other.

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33 Responses to “My Priorities (or Why I’m Not a Full Time Travel Blogger)”

  1. AndrewDecember 11, 2011 at 11:16 PM #

    What a fantastic post. This speaks to me.
    I like having a home address and a couch and a tv. I only have 2 pairs of shoes, but my wife makes up for that. I like the routine I get into around the house, yet I still love to go anywhere and look forward to the trips. I don’t ever want to stop traveling as a hobby, but am less interested in living my whole life out of a backpack. There is something nice about a warm quiet home.

    I am trying to become location non-dependent. I don’t want to be tied to a place. I want to be able to go spend a month in Tenerife or Turkey or Thailand. I do still want to be able to have a home to come back to. Although we will still do weekends and short trips, that ability to go live for a month in a place is our goal. That slow travel as an expat has different gears.

    And you are right, no way is better or worse than others. But reading so many travel blogs certainly wakes the desire to see it all.

  2. BrennaDecember 12, 2011 at 1:55 AM #

    I love this post! If only I could find a way to get more traveling in on my vacation days.

  3. ZhuDecember 12, 2011 at 2:25 AM #

    I’m fighting the battle and so far, travel won. I just can’t adapt to having one or two days holidays here and there, and that’s the reality of life in the office in North America: you barely get any holiday, usually two weeks a year, and still you can’t take them all at the same time.

    I’m happy at home, even more so because I chose to live in a country I like. I like coming back to a place and not have all of my belonging in a backpack. I love what I’m doing (I’m a translator/editor/copywriter) but I just can’t do the career thing. I like my freedom. I tried to fit in an office and I just can’t.

    So I’m back to square one. I don’t want to spend my life on the road yet I want to be able to take off once in a while. I’m looking for a balance of life at home and travel. Boy, it’s complicated!

  4. MeriDecember 12, 2011 at 5:02 AM #

    I’m with you- I adore traveling but also the part where I come back to my “real life” with job, home, family I love. I think the home base and home life’s work makes the traveling more enjoyable for me. But I would like to get out more often!

  5. kyhDecember 12, 2011 at 7:58 AM #

    i love the idea of travelling for a living. sounds utopian, but well… sometimes we have to come back to reality – and reality hurts most of the time. it is our asian culture to look after and support our parents after their retirement. :)

  6. ArianaDecember 12, 2011 at 10:12 AM #

    Good thoughts. I personally find that travel is much better when you have a home to return to in between. I like putting my roots down, building enduring relationships, recognizing people as I run errands in town. That’s what our family is working toward right now. Travel will come after we’ve laid down the basics of a stable life in a new country.

  7. DeniseDecember 12, 2011 at 2:02 PM #

    Oh this is so true!!!! I get a bit angry when travellers who decide to become nomads feel like they need to convince everyone else to do the same. Not only are some people actually HAPPY with their jobs, and not secretly banging their heads against the wall every day, but a healthy level of consumerism is what is keeping the world going. If more and more people just had a backpack full of possessions, and travelled around on a shoe string, what would happen to the economy?

  8. SallyDecember 12, 2011 at 2:32 PM #

    I hear ya, sister. When I was traveling (albeit slowly) and living out of my luggage (albeit it was the kind with wheels), I missed having my own place and a routine and, yes, shoes. I like traveling, but I need to come back to a home base and just chill out on my couch for a while… a LONG while.

  9. Andi of My Beautiful AdventuresDecember 12, 2011 at 3:10 PM #

    Love love love this post!!! It’s as if I wrote it! You can ABSOLUTELY be a traveler and yet not do it full time. In fact I think it’s even better, because most full time travelers I know quickly become jaded with exploration.

  10. StephDecember 12, 2011 at 4:11 PM #

    I like this. Even though I AM a full time traveler/blogger it’s absolutely not something I would endorse for most people. It’s hard and it doesn’t pay well and sometimes I fantasize about a morning commute (truly). Pretty sure you are sensible and I’m the crazy one.

  11. Eurotrip TipsDecember 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    Love this post! I noticed that there seems to be a certain form of snobism for travel bloggers who don’t actually make a living from it, and it’s so stupid! You can give a very different point of view by slow-traveling as an expat, and it doesn’t make you any less of a travel blogger.

    I like your blog very much and will continue to read it, no matter what traveling style you choose ;-)

  12. Lucy @ On the LuceDecember 12, 2011 at 4:38 PM #

    Love this too! I’m a freelancer and spent 1/3 of this year travelling, which was fantastic, but still love to come home too and spend time with my friends and family. Having a gap between trips gives me chance to plan and get excited about the next one, and as Andi says you miss out on the travel burn-out of being away all the time.

  13. ReaseDecember 12, 2011 at 6:05 PM #

    Great post, Katherina. It is awesome to hear someone say they actually like their job AND like to travel. If your grounded life still allows you to travel and enjoy new things, then good for you! I prefer slow travel/expat life as well.

  14. Scott - Quirky Travel GuyDecember 12, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

    Great points and very true. To be fair, I haven’t really heard anybody making the argument that “You can only be a travel blogger if you travel full-time.” So I certainly don’t think you have to justify your choices!

  15. ClaireDecember 12, 2011 at 8:21 PM #

    This is so true in so many ways! I always read blogs of those who have given everything up to travel the world. I, however, have a home, go to school, and travel to and from wherever and whenever I get a chance. I don’t know what I’ll do in the future, but I know it will involve travel, even if my job has nothing to do with it! :)

  16. AndreaDecember 12, 2011 at 11:01 PM #

    Completely agree with you! We’ll be making the switch back to expat blogging this year and, to be frank, you have to spend the most time where the money is – so I’m sure our blog will evolve with that.

  17. JessDecember 13, 2011 at 12:08 AM #

    Great post – completely agree!

  18. SashaDecember 13, 2011 at 1:44 AM #

    I love this post! I always intended to be a full time traveller but somewhere along the way I just fell into expat life in China and loved it too much to change. Sure I love travelling but I also love having an apartment, I love cooking dinner everynight, I love my bunch of friends and I love routine. You’re so right we can have it all. I would rather have a little piece of everything then too much of one thing and have to sacrifice everything else!

  19. JaimeDecember 13, 2011 at 1:50 AM #

    Love everything about this… It’s true full time travel is not for everyone and I am slowly realizing that!

  20. AmandaDecember 13, 2011 at 4:33 AM #

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I just recently wrote a post about how you can travel and still live a “normal” life. Because I’m like you — I don’t travel full-time, and I’m not sure I ever want to. I like having an address and a bed and a real home to come back to after a trip. And that’s totally fine, because that’s my travel style!

  21. Grrrl Traveler| ChristineDecember 14, 2011 at 12:16 AM #

    Good post! To have an address and a job is a necessity for me too. Congrats on the transfer to London; how fortunate that your new travel life includes your career! I prefer slow/expat living however,for me, I had to put my own career on hiatus to take up a new one that would afford it. I occasionally feel the compromise, but the travel rewards and experiencing new things each day helps me sleep at night.

  22. Travel To ArmeniaDecember 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM #

    That’s why it is so difficult to explain in a few words why people will travel world of wonders.
    Thanks you for interesting post ;)

  23. ciableuDecember 14, 2011 at 10:35 PM #

    Amen sister! Most of us have to work to live and travel and weekends around town are special also. It’s easy to find beauty and joy in one’s own backyard (corny but true). I love nothing more than going in to our little special town for a Friday night, having dinner with my hubby after working all week and relaxing, seeing the locals, knowing the restaurant owner, etc. etc. I like to travel also, but could never be a constant traveler. Too much pressure for me – I’m a “slow” everything. I’m basically a homebody and love my own bed. A little vacay away okay but LOVE to come home.

  24. Monica | The Travel HackDecember 15, 2011 at 3:02 PM #

    This post is brilliant and such a refreshing change from the usual ‘you can quit your job and travel the world like me!’ Because, actually, most people can’t quit their job and travel the world and even more people actually wouldn’t want to. Having a decent job that you enjoy and a home to return to after your trips away has to be one of the best things in the world.

  25. Kim (Becoming Sevillana)December 15, 2011 at 4:22 PM #

    Really enjoyed this post and I can really relate to it. I used to travel quite frequently but it came to a bit of a halt when I started my MA and working here in Seville. Hopefully now that I am going to be a freelancer I should have a little more freedom to put the backpack on once in a while! How’s my motherland treating you? Feel free to email me if you want any advice on places to visit, etc. I’ll try my best to help :)

  26. AnnieDecember 26, 2011 at 8:27 AM #

    I totally agree as well. Even though I’ve been “living” abroad, even the moving and knowing I’m temporary has made me a bit antsy about it all and I think I’d like to get a career and see what I can explore in the city I’m in! I still want to do a couple of longer trips, a couple of months in SE Asia or something but I’ll definitely end up settling down somewhere!

  27. La ConquistadoraJanuary 4, 2012 at 5:46 PM #

    Oh, thank goodness for shared sentiments! I seriously love traveling, and I’m comfortable doing it on a shoestring, but I do like hotels more than hostels, sanitized spaces, and the ability to eat what I want, where I want. Oh, and I’d rather have someone else carry my bags. ;)

  28. AnitaMacJanuary 13, 2012 at 1:02 AM #

    I hear you – I too work full time and make it out to live it up traveling when ever possible! It is great to go and explore – I wish I could do it more – but coming home is nice too! Did the RTW trip a few years ago – would absolutely love to do it again …. alas, must get back to that day job! Travel blogging can also be for the working groups – after all, we still love to travel. Nicely written post….thanks for looking at travel blogging from the other side!

  29. EdnaAugust 30, 2012 at 2:38 PM #

    I can totally identify with this. I like to say I’m traveling full-time, but the slow way round — by being an expat in different countries. I love living abroad as it lets me travel, but it also gives me a home base and allows me to chase my career. I don’t think I could ever travel full-time, but can admire those who do.

  30. Pan @ The Gravel-Roadin' GuruApril 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM #

    i just wrote a similar piece on this subject. I am a full-time nurse, wife, and mother. I too, only travel when time allows. I love to travel but also couldn’t imagine living life without a special place to call home. Travel is, to each person their own. Thanks for sharing!
    Pan @ The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru recently posted..A Travel Blog in the Making: My One Year Blogging Anniversary

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