How to have adventures without giving up your day job
As a keen Instagrammer and Tweeter, I'm often searching for new travel bloggers to follow, and I've noticed that there are hundreds, if not thousands to choose from. It seems that travelling has become a full-time career choice for people and is no longer a job restricted to travel agents and flight crews. It's great that so many people are finding ways to explore the World for years at a time and are sharing their stories about different cultures with others. But it got me questioning our blog; do we need to travel full-time in order to write a travel blog? And does working full-time mean we're less adventurous? The answer to both questions is no. Not everyone wants to be a full-time nomad; we certainly don't. Moving about is unsettling. We prefer to have a home and a stable income, but that doesn't mean we're not adventurous. I for one have a lust for adrenaline-fueled activities, whilst Chris loves to challenge himself. The main reason we moved from London to Wales was to allow us to get outdoors and adventure more; living in one place has certainly not been a restriction so far. Neither has working full-time.
So how can you have a fun, free and adventurous lifestyle whilst still holding down a 9-5 job?
Firstly, you'll need to identify how much time you are allowed off and whether you will be paid for this or not. Employers in the UK have to offer paid annual leave for contracted staff, which is usually about 25 days a year, but some places will allow staff to take further unpaid leave if agreed with their manager. Working freelance or via an agency is different because you'll have more freedom to determine your hours, but you probably won't be paid for any time off. Salaries for this type of work are usually slightly higher to take this into account. Some workplaces won't allow you to take more than two consecutive weeks off at a time, so it's worth checking this before booking a four-week holiday. I have a permanent job with paid annual leave, whilst Chris works freelance, so holidays are organised around my annual leave entitlement. We like to have a couple of two-week holidays and a few long weekends, which we space out throughout the year. This means we can have an adventurous holiday in Summer and another hot getaway in Autumn/Winter.
In between holidays, you can save up for all the excursions and activities you'll want to do and take small road trips around your home country at weekends. I also use this time to write blog posts about previous trips, edit videos, contact businesses and travel agencies about sponsorship/discounts for upcoming trips, research locations and network with other bloggers.
Making the most of your weekends can help you to feel free and adventurous. Check out local events and activities, go on hikes, explore new places and always make sure you get out of the house! Hiking is a great way to discover new landscapes without spending a fortune and there are plenty of websites to help you find routes. We love camping, so often spend a weekend in our tent. Usually when we camp, we'll find a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within a 2-3 hour drive from us and we'll travel on the Friday after work, giving us the whole of Saturday and most of Sunday to explore and hike. Camping is really cheap, especially if you cook each meal yourself, or if you have a van or large car, you can sleep in your vehicle, cutting out the need for a campsite!
One of our favourite weekend camping trips was to Dartmoor National Park in Devon - you can find our blog here.
During the colder months, camping may not be particularly appealing, but that doesn't mean you can't go away for weekend breaks. Air BnB is a fantastic way of finding budget accommodation, or you could head to Scotland to stay in a free bothy. (I've always wanted to do this!)
What about those who live in cities and don't own a car?
Getting into the countryside via public transport can be tricky, especially if you only have a weekend to get away. Check travel routes before you book anything as the journey may take a lot longer than you expect, and some public transport may not run on a Sunday when you need to return home. It may be helpful to look at train timetables in your initial planning to see where the trains stop, because there are often some beautiful towns and villages on major train routes. For example, you can take a train from Leeds to Ilkley, which is a cute little town with hikes around the moors, or a train from London will take you into Manningtree, where you can hike into the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The other option, which we took several times when we were living in London, is to hire a car. It's really quick and easy, and there are often advance savings when you book online. The car hire company we preferred was Europcar; they seem to have pick-up points everywhere!
If you don't want to go away all the time, you can't afford it, or you have responsibilities at home that are restricting you, you can still participate in adventurous activities. Why not take up a new sport or hobby? Mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, caving and canyoning are very adventurous, or you could start with trail running, sea swimming or hill walking. There are often clubs and groups you can join if you want to meet people or feel a bit nervous about going on your own. Meetup.com is the best place to find out what's going on near you, or local gyms and leisure centres may advertise events and activities too.
We live very near to Zip World in Wales, so this is high on our list of things to do. They have huge zip lines, mountain toboggan slides and trampolines in a cave! Go Ape is a great day out too; I've been to a few with family and love it. They have assault courses suspended in the tree tops, zip lines and bungey swings.
The possibilities for thrill-seekers are endless if you take some time to search online. What are your favourite adventure activities? How do you manage your time off to travel? Let us know in the comments below!
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