When I finally declared my major as education in college I had big plans: for myself, my classroom and my travels. I was stoked to be pursuing a career I was both passionate about and would give me ample time to travel the world.
I even got to study abroad during my student teaching, allowing me to visit nine different countries in just one semester! I was high on life and ready to start making some money and traveling on each and every break that I could.
Then last weekend rolled around. It was a 3-day weekend and I had no travel plans. Not only was that virtually unheard of for me, I didn’t want to make any! I tried, and ultimately just gave up on the idea. I didn’t have the energy to even think about hopping in the car and drinking 6-7 hours away, nor did I feel like dipping into my savings to book a flight for such a short amount of time.
I was incredibly exhausted and worn out. This 3-day weekend came after a long week of running a Scholastic book fair, a spell bowl competition, and two long nights of parent-teacher conferences. Not to mention, my apartment was trashed and I was very behind on laundry. There was no way I felt up for any traveling.
Instead, I spent my entire day off snuggled up on the couch reading with Tito.
In a job that affords so much freedom in “days off,” I’ve realized I don’t actually have a lot of time for traveling. My work week is almost always six days because Sundays are devoted to completing lesson plans, grading papers and updating my agendas. Every teacher I know devotes 110% of themselves to their students and the school year, leaving them drained by the time the weekend comes around. As much as I love traveling, it’s not something that relaxes you. It wears you out! Sometimes after I travel I feel like I need a few more vacation days just to catch up on some TLC.
So how can teachers balance school, life and travel? Here are a few thoughts I’ve gathered on the subject.
- Don’t forget the value in exploring locally. It doesn’t have to be a huge international trip to count it as traveling. Exploring local markets, art exhibits and cultural events will open your heart and mind just as much as the rest of the world will.
- Don’t feel like you have to travel on every break. By sacrificing smaller travel plans, you can save money for longer breaks in the spring and summer.
- Don’t sacrifice your mental health for travel. Travel should improve your life, not hinder it. Normally I love this blog and my Instagram because it pushes me to really get outside my shell and explore new places. However, it’s okay to rest! I’ve only posted on Instagram twice in the month of November, and that’s okay. I needed some down time to focus on my job and my health.
- Do focus on travel goals. I just booked my spring break flights and I am so excited to start planning that trip! That momentum keeps my spirits lifted when I don’t have much travel going on.
- Do spend time with friends and family. On your weekends, take the time to grab lunch with your friends or call your siblings. I spent this weekend at Friendsgiving (Tis the season!) and it was lovely! It was just what I needed, and I know most of my weekends through the end of the year will be spent celebrating with friends.
- Do get outside. Just being outdoors will elevate your at-home travel experiences. Explore local parks and state parks nearby to get out of work or study mode. The fresh air will do you wonders!
I hope someone who needed to hear those words sees this post. I was starting to feel like I was failing at working and blogging because I hadn’t actually ‘traveled’ since September. However, I also recognize I’m a part-time traveler.
Self love and care is always most important, and travel should reflect that! You have to find the balance that works for you. For me, I don’t think I’m taking any more trips in 2019, but I’m realizing that’s okay! I’ve had an epic spring and summer, and this fall has been time for me to adjust to my first year of teaching and acclimating to a new city. That’s enough adventure for the time being!
If you are currently traveling, leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear about your plans and how you balance work and travel.