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Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Make Every Vacation Count: How You Can Travel Around The World Without Quitting Your Job

Fulfilling your daydreams of traveling the world may seem impossible now that you have obligations like a full-time job. Luckily, your travel daydreams can become a reality with careful planning and creative thinking. Gunnar Garfors did exactly that when he accomplished his lifelong dream of visiting all 198 countries by the time he was 37, on top of being employed full-time back in his home country of Norway.

Feel inspired by this intrepid traveler? Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your vacation time:

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Make use of holidays and three-day weekends

In countries like the USA, we are not fortunate in having long paid vacations like those available in some European countries, like Norway. What is the next best thing?

Take advantage of three-day weekends or longer holiday breaks like those that occur during Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you live in the USA, for a three-day weekend you can easily plan a trip abroad to a nearby country like Canada or Mexico. Depending on where you live, places like Curaçao are a short plane ride away from the East Coast. It is important to think of all the possibilities available to you during these holiday breaks, because usually you’ll be surprised by how many options there are once you do some serious brainstorming.

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Tag a few extra days onto a business trip

Going abroad to discuss a new marketing strategy with clients in Japan? Add a few extra days to sightsee. Business trips are notorious for being short, and for being so busy that you barely get to see anything outside of the conference room and your hotel. Ask your boss if you can add a few extra days onto your trip to explore. A bonus is that it will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of the people you are working with- and how could your boss say no to that?

Take advantage of your vacation time

You may only have 2 weeks of vacation time, but if you use it wisely you can plan a big trip abroad each year that will allow you to see the world bit by bit. Since you have limited time, focus on 1 or 2 new cities within a country and really get to know your new destination. It may be tempting to see 3 or 4 cities, or 2 countries within this short time span, but in order to have a memorable trip it is important to take it all in slowly.

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Learn to budget wisely

Traveling is not cheap. That does not mean that it is impossible to save up for, though. Instead of buying lunch out a few times a week, make your own at home instead. Instead of getting that morning latte, brew it at home instead. There are numerous ways to save- and even saving a few dollars here and there will add up in the long run. There are also numerous budgeting apps available, like Mint, that help you to put away some money towards a travel fund.

Avoid the peak travel seasons

It might seem like summer is synonymous with travel, but if you travel during off-seasons you are more likely to find cheap airfares, hotel deals and discounted local activities. Winter is a budget-friendly time to travel and you can enjoy your destination without the crowds. There are also shoulder seasons, which are time periods that fall between the high and low travel seasons associated with a particular destination. The crowds from the peak season have usually gone home by this time and the weather is ideal. Say you have had your eye on Mexico for awhile, but want to avoid the crowds and high prices. Mid-November is a great time to go, because it is long after hurricane season, but right before the madness of when the holiday crowds arrive.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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