Traveling with an 8-5 job

Finding a sweet spot between the two

You really can’t blame someone for not having time to travel when they are full-time employed (8-5). The struggle is even harder for those at the bottom of the hierarchy stack since you don’t necessarily own your time (or can you say no to your boss after s/he gives you “urgent” work to do at 1657hrs?). Here, I share a few tips that have worked for me and may help you go about traveling while working 8-5

1. Be intentional about traveling

I have always been a firm believer that people make time for what matters and are important to them. If you really want to start traveling while maintaining your job you first have to be intentional. This will help you easily plan and manage your time in a way that will give you a chance to travel around.

“We make time for what feels important to us. If you haven’t made time for something, you haven’t convinced yourself that it’s important enough”

― Someone

did you say traveling?
2. Start with short trips

Sometimes we miss the fun because we are aiming so high. The truth is it’s easier to execute short excursions than waiting for that one long trip. You’re better off planning a trip that you may start on Friday evening after work and then be able to travel back on Sunday afternoon or evening so you can resume work on Monday morning. If you’re working until Saturdays then you may start by planning even shorter trips. We are lucky. to be in Tanzania where almost every region has something unique that you may explore – food, culture, historical sites, museums, waterfalls, beaches, birdwatching, and several more. You may also make the most of public holidays that fall on Fridays or Mondays

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

― Malcolm Gladwell 

shortest road trip ever
3. Travel with friends

Traveling with friends means relaxed planning on various logistics and getting indirect discounts on some items that you may cost-share eg. fuel, and accommodation. On the logistics part, it eases the pressure on your shoulder since one can do this while you do that. Just a note though, plan your travel with friends who also want to travel as you do. Otherwise, it will be that trip that takes months of planning but never happens

“Everyone needs this friend that calls and says, “Get dressed, we’re going on an adventure.”

― Someone

tanzip, Arusha
4. If possible, buy yourself a travel car

Unfortunately, the public transport system in Tanzania ‘goes to sleep' around midnight at the latest. And for upcountry buses, it is actually against the regulations to travel at night. This makes it difficult for someone solely dependent on the public transport system to navigate his/her work time constraints in order to catch a bus. The easiest way? If you can, just get yourself a personal car. It does not. have to be your dream car or a majestic 4×4 drive. A ‘small’ Japanese car may just take you almost anywhere in Tanzania. You may get a rental at your destination if your car can’t take the road anymore

“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.”

― Jack Kerouac

1 mini. 1 year. 13 regions
5. Travel with tour companies/groups

There is an increasing number of tour companies planning weekend getaways. Those may be a better option since you don’t have to spend your time planning for travel logistics and/or researching your destination or where to go/what to do once you get there. Just give them your money and relax.

“Sharing adventures means enjoying them 100% more.”

― Someone

Mikumi with Makanda Safaris
6. Plan your holidays well

Well, the truth is, the best time to travel is when you don't have to worry at all about work. This may either be on weekends, public holidays, or during your annual leave. During my first job, our annual leave days had no consideration on whether it was a weekend or public holiday. So 5 days leave is exactly 5 (weekends inclusive). As such, I'd plan my annual leaves and holidays in a way that I'd spend the least number of my leave balance while getting the most of the holidays. E.g, suppose there was a public holiday on Friday, then I'd apply for 4-days leave from Monday of that week to Thursday, but in reality, I'd have 9 days (two weekends, the public holiday Friday, and the 4 leave days) on my bag for doing whatever I wanted. I'm glad my current work only accounts for working days when on leave

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” –

― Charles Horton Cooley

kitonga, iringa
7. Make use of that office trip

Can't navigate through your holidays? I just wrote this right now after remembering my last trip. I revisited Kilwa after three years since I was last there. Did I plan for it? Nope. I was there on an official trip, and seeing how our itinerary was, we planned our journey to Kilwa Kisiwani, a UNESCO heritage site, at a time convenient for us without affecting our work itinerary. If your itinerary while on the field/mission allows, you may also do the same. However, remember to put work first

"Play with your salary, not with your work"

― Someone