The travel world is made up of hundreds of different types of people from everywhere. People travel. More than you probably think. And in more ways than you might have realized. Over the years I certainly have learned of creative ways people travel that I never even thought about!
This feature is a place for travelers of all types to share their story. How do you travel? What type of upbringing did you have? What led you to decide you’d like to have travel in your life? Do you come from a family of travelers or are you the first one to really break the mold? What drives you to get up and go to work so you can fund your travels?
Hearing people’s travel stories is one of my favorite things to do when I am on the road. No two people have the same background or the same travel style. And there are so many different ways people work and save for travel! If you would like to be featured and share YOUR STORY please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. And with that, let’s meet this week featured traveler –
Hi, my name is: Kristin Messina. I TRAVEL. This is my story.
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Hi! My name is Kristin and I am from Derby, Vermont, a tiny (but awesome) town on the Canadian border. Derby is in the area of Vermont often referred to as “The Northeast Kingdom” named for it’s charming small towns dotted with lakes, mountains, and picturesque farmland. It was a great place to grow up!
Do you come from a family of travelers? Summer vacations? No vacations?
When I was a kid, my family always did a summer vacation getaway. Usually we would make an annual trip to the beaches in Cape Cod for some boogie boarding, fish and chips, and saltwater taffy. We also went camping a lot as kids, though I am still not sure I am much of tent girl. My husband and I recently hiked the Himalayas in northern India and while we had an amazing time, I was happy when it rained and we were upgraded from a tent to a small teahouse!
When did you start traveling?
I have been curious about far away lands and people since I can remember, but I didn’t really start traveling until I was in college. I studied abroad in my third year and have taken every opportunity to travel since then. After college, I was lucky to work in international development, an industry that afforded me travel opportunities to countries ranging from the Ukraine to Liberia.
What is your travel style? Do you maximize all your vacation time from a job? Do you just quit jobs to travel? Are you able to work remotely? Are you a weekend warrior who maximizes their time?
Well if you asked me this question 5 years ago, I would have told you that I work to travel and that I choose my jobs, in part, based on travel opportunities and annual leave allotted to me.
Then, about a year ago, I was planning to quit my job to travel. My husband and I worked and saved and worked and saved and as the departure date approached, we were faced with many questions about the trajectory of our careers. We loved our jobs and admittedly were feeling a bit torn and nervous. We started talking a lot about how to have both, a career and a lifestyle that provided us the freedom to travel at will. We started thinking more about remote working jobs as a means to accomplish our dream. Initially, the plan was to do a bit of consulting on the side while traveling, but the more we talked about it the more we thought there must be other people with similar feelings to ours who might want to come with us. That’s how we initially started exploring the idea behind YonderWork, our company which combines travel, remote work, and professional development.
How do you fund your travels?
Currently, we are still funding ourselves through savings but we hope to make this a long-term lifestyle and believe it is totally possible.
What has been one of your favorite travel experiences?
One of my favorite travel experiences happened only a few months ago. I spent 4 weeks in Rishikesh, India at yoga teacher training. India can be quite a challenging place in its own right but it is also amazingly beautiful and spiritual. Learning the 8 limbs of yoga and moving beyond the Western focus on the physical, I was able to really immerse myself in something so different and powerful. Having the opportunity to devote a month to learning a 5,000-year-old tradition in the foothills of the Himalayas at the source of the Ganges is a memory I’ll always carry with me.
What is a next destination you are so excited to see?
We will actually be heading back to Buenos Aires early next year and while I’ve been there before, there is so much to do and see and I’m excited to explore more of the city. I think I just jive really well with the culture in Buenos Aires, I’m not a morning person so I appreciate the later starts in the day and how the streets are buzzing with energy late into the evening. I also LOVE the food and of course the wine in Argentina. Next time I’m there, I’m planning to take some Spanish classes so I can further immerse myself in the culture. I just can’t wait to be back!
What words of wisdom do you wish to share with other people who are wanting to include more travel in their lives?
Travel is more attainable than people think. With increasing trends in work flexibility and internet connectivity, people are better able to work where they want to be. My advice would be to try and incorporate remote working arrangements from the get-go when starting a new job. There are many remote working benefits for employers and you’d be surprised at how many companies are open to it. If remote working is not already part of your job, start small, asking to tack a few remote working days onto a business or personal trip to prove your ability to be productive in a remote fashion. If you can negotiate this benefit into your employment, it will allow ample opportunity for travel.
I realize remote working is not for everyone so if that’s not an option for you, think creatively about ways to travel. Seek jobs that require travel, see if there are any professional development opportunities (where you can get your employer to pay for travel!), or consider short or long-term sabbaticals or leaves of absence. If travel is something you desire, there are a million ways to make it happen.
Author Bio: Kristin Messina, Global entrepreneur and co-founder of YonderWork, an international community experience for remote workers which combines travel, coworking, and professional development. @yonderwork
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