Traveling (Even When You Have a Full-Time Job)

2010 April 12
by Grace Boyle

I’m a traveling wanderlust kinda girl.

I’ve lived on the beach in Costa Rica and in downtown Florence. I’ve traveled from Thailand to Tahiti to Europe. In the past, I found (and made) pockets of time where I could travel for cheap or live abroad as it worked into my life: summers working in between college or high school, studying abroad, after graduation or in between jobs.

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Currently, I’m at what some might call, a traveling standstill. Not bad, just different. I have a full-time job and life, that I love and have created. So for now, in my 20’s, here I am – but it doesn’t mean my explorations, adventures and spontaneous traveling has to be halted. I believe we can still maintain responsibility with commitments and work, while still indulging the traveling wanderlust within you.

  • Take weekend trips: Chances are, there are many towns, historic sites and hidden secrets to your state. You have to first, open your eyes to what’s right in front of you (or a couple hours away). I’ve traveled up to five hours away without taking any work off. Leave on a Friday right after work, come home Sunday night. I have been to Wyoming, Breckenridge, Aspen, Crested Butte, Winter Park, Nederland and Keystone just this year alone – each offering a new landscape, new people, new shops and restaurants – all of which allows me to still ‘get away’ without going too far and staying within reach, on the cheap.
  • Buy a map of your state, pick 10 places to tackle and plan trips: This is exciting. This gives you milestones and the feeling of movement. There are hidden treasures in any state – like the dive bar off the highway in the town with a  population of 100 an hour north of you, ghost towns, camping, lakes, monuments, bed and breakfasts, events, festivals, etc. Think about the stories, the people and who you might meet along the way. Get Thelma and Louised out!
  • Host Visitors: I find that when my friends or family comes to visit, I do something out of the ordinary, try a new place/spot/location and break my routine. Hosting visitors lets you vicariously travel through them and experience the excitement of new faces. I encourage and welcome my home to all my friends (no matter where I’m living) so keep the invitation open. You know, Su Casa, Mi Casa. On that note, I actually have a guest book I keep for all my guests to write or draw in each time they pass through my place. Let’s me feel like I’ve been traveling, even without moving.
  • Try Different Modes of Transportation: This might sound silly. Hear me out. I find that taking different types of transportation opens your eyes to see new things, even on a road you’re ‘familiar’ with. I suggest: walking, biking, public transportation AND just taking a drive to see where you end up. Keep your eyes open (remember to look up, we never look up) and bring a camera with you. The lens lets you find small details, that can be breathtaking. Adventure is available anywhere, sometimes you have to give it a little nudge: welcome and seek it.
  • Get On A Plane: Up until this last point, I suggested easy alternatives to traveling within your home range. This may not be of interest to you or even not in your budget but if it’s something you’re looking to do, I think it can always be done. I try to plan at lease 2-4 trips a year that involve me getting on a plane, visiting my favorite people and experiencing new places. Of those 2-4 I try to do one bigger trip that I can look forward to and really indulge. This keeps the wanderlust flowing, mixes it up and most importantly, it’s important to unplug and just get away.

It’s important and helpful for me to remember that traveling doesn’t have to be on 24 hour plane rides and to exotic lands (although I do still pine over that and will travel like that in the future). Traveling takes many forms – do you agree?

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to travel? What do you do to find adventure right in front of you?

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  • rubyku

    My wanderlust has died down a little bit now that I'm not in school (although a part of me still always want to go somewhere). Nowadays, I find myself travelling to go to conferences and meet new people with similar interests. I went to in Feb and will be going to end of month. This is working well for me now as it gives me a purpose for the trip, and explore a new city with new people that I meet. Boulder is definitely on my list…. hopefully sometime soon! Do let me know if you see a cool event coming up!

  • Grace Boyle

    @Rubyku So exciting and awesome that you're able to get away and go to various conferences. That is definitely an aspect of traveling :) I enjoy it too.

    Actually, you should look into coming for Boulder Startup Week Check out all the events and all the amazing companies/CEO's you can check out. Plus, it's basically all free :) Thanks for stopping by and if you make it to Boulder, let me know, I'm happy to help!

  • rubyku

    Yeah I read about the Boulder Startup Week too – but it's much harder for me if it's during the week. If you see something that falls on a weekend, please pass them along! Really looking forward to this awesome city you always talk about :)

  • Royce

    Grace, there's a lot going on in this post. A lot to like… for instance, I spent half my time just staring at a map of Cali (okay, and the world) and picking out cool places to visit. Finding the time and means to visit can be tough though.

    I also like your Go Local point and agree with it. My buddies actually started New Bar Tuesdays when they lived in San Francisco, which sounds kind of narrow in focus but actually was a great way to get around to new parts of the city with your friends. Helps to do that in a city with good public transport of course.

    Strange things happen when you Get on a Plane. For some reason I have become slightly less keen on plane travel as I get older… I find myself more physically and mentally drained after long round-the-world flights. Partially for that reason I try to limit myself to one really huge trip (to Europe or beyond) a year, or at least no more than once per 6 months. Also flying internationally is expensive!

  • Grace Boyle

    @Royce Ah, I love that you've been staring at a map of Cali. In particular, your state has some of the most AMAZING terrain and places to visit – shit, you may never need to leave 😉 The New Bar Tuesdays idea is great, especially in a city where there are ample amounts of bars.

    I didn't note it in the post, but many of these places I had friends or friends of friends that lived around the state/area, so we stayed for free and all cooked together (which comes to $5 per meal) so it's actually so doable and can be cheap. Recently, 6 friends and I rented a condo in Breckenridge for the weekend. It was $20 for me to stay there the entire wknd split by all of us. Cheeeap, but living a pretty indulgent life at the same time.

    So, where are you going to go next? :)

  • sameve

    I'm so glad you shared these tips, because you are an expert traveler! I used to travel a lot with my parents, and I definitely miss it. The main reason I don't travel much now is because of my full time job, and my lack of vacation days. But, I love your suggestion of taking weekend trips and checking out different places in my state.

    I can attest to your point about hosting visitors. When people come to visit, we do the touristy stuff that we'd never do on our own. I've seen a lot of great NYC landmarks that way!

    Also, it's totally true that we see things differently from different modes of transportation, even in our own neighborhood! And, actually, even walking a different way to get home can be a great way to explore. I just moved to a new place, and I'm having a fantastic time discovering what's around.

    Great post, Grace! I will definitely try to do some more traveling in the near future.

  • justatitch

    So, I think I tend to be more of a nester, but lately, I've been craving just a little bit of adventure. I love these ideas of “little trips” within my area to sort of get my feet wet.

  • Grace Boyle

    @Sam Totally understand – which is why I wrote this post 😉 because although I do have a good amount of vacation days I still work full-time and it's hard to get away. The weekend trips have become my best friend.

    I find friends that live elsewhere in surrounding towns or even surrounding states (in the North East, this is doable too!) we all stay together and it's pretty cheap. Sometimes it just takes looking at a map and even if it's a day trip to a town an hour away or north of the city, it really means a lot to get AWAY. I'm glad you liked the post, Sam :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Grace Boyle

    @Justatitch I think it's most important to find what works for you. Listening to that little voice that craves adventure can also be exciting. It's nice to get your feet wet even with a day trip or a one-nighter can be a good way to start. If you ever want to bounce ideas or ask travel tips, I'm happy to help. Just email me anytime :)

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  • Matt Cheuvront

    Hey Grace. I love your point about keeping your home 'open' to guests (which, PS, if you ever come through Chicago there is a guest bedroom and a futon with your name on it – and I know it's comfortable, I slept on it for three months in my in-laws basement when I moved here).

    Having guests over also allows you to do the touristy things you normally wouldn't do in your home town. It's funny how easy it is to neglect 'seeing the sights' (I've yet to be to a museum since moving to Chicago – but I ALWAYS used to be at the Shedd or Field Museum when I visited Chicago as a kid).

    I need to do a lot more traveling, and instead of talking about it, I'm going to make it a reality the second half of the year. This includes a stop off in Boulder. Can't wait!

  • Grace Boyle

    @Matt Yeah – it's something we often overlook that visitors really help us do something new and explore, even through their 'visiting' eyes.

    I love Chicago, it's like my city and airport, haha, because I grew up in South East Iowa and we were only 4 hours from there! I will definitely be back, thanks for the offer as always :)

    Excited for your traveling explorations later this year!

  • Jamie

    Such great points. I try to get on a plane for a random weekend getaway whenever I can find a good deal on Travelocity, then I just harrass my sister to go with me! 4 or 5 days is plenty.

    Great blog!

  • Rachel Vincent

    I really like the guestbook idea. I think I'm going to add that in. Thanks!

    BTW, I'm pondering on going to Costa Rica on vacation. Any “must do's” that should be one the list?

  • Royce

    Probably Greece in the early fall. What about you?

  • Grace Boyle

    @Jamie You're so right and I didn't even mention that. After my trip last month to Mexico with my best girlfriends (my birthday + one of their weddings) after 5 days, I felt so fulfilled. It really is plenty! And it only requires a few days off of real working days. Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Grace Boyle

    @Rachel The guest book has been one of my favorites. I have doodles, pictures and cute quotes from when they visited. I just picked a cute book with blank pages, then asked each person write the date, where they come from and then whatever they feel like writing.

    Where in Costa Rica are you planning on going? I was on the Nicoya Peninsula (Pacific Coast) beautiful area, as well as San Jose the capital. That is inland and less appealing to me than the coast or jungle. If you're headed west, check out Nicoya Peninsula. I also worked in a small village called Ostional helping wild sea turtles!

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  • Crysta Anderson

    Thanks for the fantastic tips (I just found this post via your #reverb10 piece on travel). I have been stuck on this for awhile – I love traveling and did a ton growing up, but since hitting the corporate world I’ve done very little. I wrote in my own Reverb post that I need to shift my idea of travel from the long, extensive international variety to the more accessible long-weekend type. Even though much of my free time is sucked up by grad school, I think I can realistically fit in a handful of small weekend trips to keep the traveler within satisfied. And when I finish school, I can take an extra-long, extra fabulous trip somewhere.

  • Grace Boyle

    Thank you Crysta!

    The weekend trips make a big difference. I found ways to do them on a budget too. Largely, it was a 2-10 of us so the prices were cheaper and we camped, we rented condo’s, we stayed with friends who were nearby or looked out for fun deals like on Travelocity or Snique Away. These days, especially in the era of Groupon there is A LOT out there.

    I also would save up and have a small fund toward traveling, even if I put $20 a month in there it made a difference. It’s worth it and great for sanity of mind. I always say I will remember the experiences I’ve had, not that day in the office 😉

    Hope all is well!

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  • Justine :)

    This is a very helpful post! I love the idea of tackling the map! Sort of pinning it then do a road trip with friends. :) I’m from the Philippines and i’m relatively new to blogging so feel free to check mine out: it’s

    Thanks again and keep on posting more inspiring articles!