Article by Lauren Martin
So, I really did it. I quit my part-time job, that I had been working with for 2 years. Now, I am about to embark on a new journey and my new adventure travelling back for 6 to 12 months to the beautiful and sunny Spain!
Now, I am still very young, and I currently live at home, pay some bills that include cellphone, gym membership, insurance and everyday life needs. But, why not take advantage of the fact you can save and travel? Well, you can, especially being young, energetic, and having more freedom!
This decision ultimately was based on how much I managed to save over the past 6 months, with the Christmas holiday madness, and working 3 jobs at the same time. I worked full-time during the week as a manager, making a bit more than minimum and some added commission. Then on the weekends I crunched more hours on Saturdays and Sundays working 6-8 hours each day. Then I also blogged and did some graphic design work on the side. All I am saying is, there is no excuse to be in a similar situation...still at home and balancing life, for you to not make time for saving and travelling. Well you can!
I would recommend searching for jobs abroad. I must have checked out hundreds of sites. I contemplated working as an English teacher, a student at one of the universities, studying a new language, and working and travelling as a waitress or helper. Honestly, you could even just buy that one-way ticket and show up to see where life takes you.
So, that being said, I found a job online referred by a friend in Europe called "AupairWorld". How it works is, you make a profile stating that you have had experience with children, and give a breakdown on what you are looking for during your stay. This is not just a "baby sitting job", it allows you to do what you want during the week days, and in most cases the weekends are completely free. My host family gives me free time to explore, as well as free weekends to go and do my own thing. Then I come home, eat dinner, tutor with English homework, then I have the evening off. Plus, I get paid to do the job as well.
This really gives me more freedom to travel, well I live abroad. I also work as a graphic designer, so this is another way I make income. All of my accommodations and food are free, and I even arranged a metro pass. This process isn't easy though, I have spent 6 months planning, and interviewed countless families, and some didn't feel "fit" the part, for what I was looking for in my experience. I selected a family with 2 girls, aged 7 and 9, who are very kind and well behaved, and the family has lots of flexibility and opportunity for time-off. Overall, I always like to have things in check and a game plan before I get too "spontaneous" like I usually am. Lol.
This decision is really life changing. Travelling can really open your mind to more possibilities and the chance to experience new people and culture. That is what I am all about, meeting new people and trying new things. I have made some of my closest travel friends from the online world, through different sites like, "CouchSurfing, Airbnb, HostelWorld, BackpackersEurope, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn and through mutual friends". I did my first backpacking trip back in May 2015, where I traveled to 10 countries and 27 towns and cities across Europe. I had traveled with my one friend from Canada, and the 40 day experience was unreal.
People are really kind and are willing to help make your experience on your travels worthwhile. I can't remember meeting a close-minded person, everyone wanted to go out, have a good time, drink and be merry, and show you new perspectives never experienced before. That is something I will always treasure, and the memories and friends will never be forgotten.
I left my home, but my friends and family will always be there for me, as I would always be there for them. Distance and the time zone is just an excuse, I have kept in touch with friends all over the world, and continue to talk to most of them each and everyday, sometimes more than friends close to home. There are lots of options for keeping in touch such as, Facetime, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Whatsapp, CouchSurfing...to name a few, which are the apps I constantly use.
Now my main reason I decided to move and live abroad, was for the overall experience. I have done countless European tour trips with groups of 50 students, and once with a close friend. This is my time to experience something on my own, and make my own memories, take everything in and do the things I want to do, when I want to. Most times in large groups, they can hold you back from doing the things you want to do, and it can even be a stressful burden.
I really love people, but sometimes you might not even get along with your travel partner, because both of you are out of your complete comfort zones. "This is also a great test before getting married". What if the person turns out to be a raging psycho, or a boring travel buddy who doesn't want to go out, or you guys can't make up your mind on where to visit? Everyone is different and they have their own styles. What do you have to lose? You can meet people along the way who are interested in doing the same or similar things you want to do in this new town or city. This is why I love to travel, you become so much more open-minded and feel free.
I feel that travel enriches your life and makes you a stronger and more independent person. I want to learn how to cook, explore hidden gems, climb up some mountains, and look across the beautiful sea with a fantastic view, that no one can take away from you. I want to immerse myself into a new culture where not many people speak English, so it forces me to learn their language. This experience will help me meet new people, try new food, and explore the unknown.
I really appreciate the support, and will continue to write and give some of the best advice out there for travel. Please follow me on Instagram at Stylistnomad, and "like" me on Facebook and Twitter @Stylistnomad. If you have any travel questions or inquires, please feel free to reach out and connect, or even if you want to meet up somewhere in Europe! Stylistnomad@gmail.com
Happy Travels <3