Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling?

Kach Umandap - Howe Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 87 Comments

Career or Travel? Why Not Both

(Note: This article was written last October 2014, we’re slowly changing our lifestyle from monkey backpackers to luxury travelers after we decided to become full-time travel bloggers in 2015. Yipee! Follow my LIVE adventures and message me on Instagram Stories  – 2monkeystravel )

Anyone in their early-to-mid 20’s has at some point reached a crossroads where they have had to decide which direction their life is heading in. For some this is easy; they have a clear set of goals and objectives and they know exactly how they are going to achieve them. Go to university, become a lawyer; a banker; an architect, whatever you know you want to be. But what if you don’t know? What if you can’t see yourself fitting into any of the career options that everyone who matters says you have to choose from?

Mersur - Clothing Sponsor Caribbean Cruise WeddingMy first trip to the Bahamas after I quit my job to Travel the World- Watch my love story and around the world journey and if you like it, share this youtube link.

I’m from the Philippines, where it’s a cultural expectation that you finish University, get your degree, choose a career, buy a house and car, get married, then have some kids.  And by the way, you won’t have time off from work to look after your children; their grandmother will do that for you!

Related Article: List of Best Hostels List Around the World

Any passion you may have had before became side-line interests that fit in around the ‘important stuff.’  Dreams of travelling the world become week-long annual holidays and package cruises. Self-fulfillment becomes a constant self-comparison with brothers and sisters, cousins and former classmates.  Doesn’t that all sound just marvelous? But what if there is another way?  What if there are a whole host of options that you’re not told about by your parents, university, or friends?

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 8

Imagine if you could be completely free, go where you want when you want and not just earn, but actually, save money at the same time! You don’t have to be a flight attendant, cruise ship worker, travel writer or a company executive to get paid to travel. You can earn money in a variety of different ways, anywhere in the world.

Life Before Travelling

After graduating university in 2009, I worked in Kuwait, the Middle East, for 4 years where I worked up to the position of Quality Assurance Supervisor. I had a good job, my own car, a rented apartment, and an expensive gym membership.  I went on holidays to 15 different countries and even bought a property in the Philippines.  People who knew me saw me as successful and my parents were happy.  I was winning, or at least I thought I was.

It wasn’t until I moved to Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, for a new job that I began to question things. I had a higher salary, more benefits and most importantly great friends. But there was something missing inside that couldn’t be filled by any of those things.

I began to realize that what I really wanted was to travel, to be completely free of work and schedules. To know that I could go anywhere in the world and not just survive, but thrive. My peers and colleagues told me I was crazy to waste the opportunities I had. After all, how many 24-year-old women, let alone Filipinas, have the chances and the life I had?

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 1Corporate life

Despite this, against all the advice of my peers and protests of family members (my father completely disowning me!), I quit my job, gave away my possessions and packed my bag. My initial plan was to head to Thailand and travel South East Asia for 3 months, before flying to South America. Having not seen my brother and sister in 2 years I decided to take them to SE Asia with me.

So, after a 10-day trip to the Philippines to arrange some paperwork, visit friends and collect my siblings, I was on my way!

Life during Travels

Traveling was everything I had wanted it to be and more.  I went places and saw things I had never seen before; good, bad and completely weird!  I ate new food (a lot of it!), had amazing new experiences and met loads of awesome people.

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 2The first time we met in Luang Prabang, Laos

One of these people came in the form of a British guy in his late twenties, who had also quit his job, given away his possessions and begun a new life on the road.  We met in Luang Prabang, Laos, and although we seemed to have very similar thoughts and ideas, we were on two separate paths and inevitably went our separate ways.

Related Article: List of Best Hostels in Laos

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 3My brother and sister with me in Vietnam

My brother and sister travelled with me until Vietnam, when my budget could no longer support all of us. I continued traveling on my own for another 2 months through Cambodia and Thailand, when I decided it was time to have a rest in one place and figure out my next moves.

I chose a month long yoga retreat on Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand where I tried to understand what it was I really wanted to do in life and contemplate if my father was indeed right and I was just having a quarter-life crisis.

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 4

My sisters in Yoga Retreat in Thailand

A New Beginning

As the yoga retreat came to an end I was approaching my 25th birthday. I had actually kept in touch with the British guy from Luang Prabang, who was now living and working in Hanoi. He asked me to come back to Hanoi for a motorbike trip around North Vietnam. I still had no plans and a big motorbike trip had been on my bucket list for a long time, so I booked my flight and a two-week visit soon turned into a month and I ended up living and working in Hanoi for the next 7 months.

Related Articles: Tips on Travelling while Building Your Future

Hilton Mancation in San Diego California - Grand Canyon Tour Kach and Jonathan

Having been living in Vietnam for a few months, we started planning our next big trip – a three year long around-the-world work and holiday adventure. To achieve this we needed to save as much as possible in order to travel for at least a few months without working. Jonathan was already teaching English in a private school and took on extra work. I decided to get my TEFL certificate so that I could teach as well. I started teaching 1 on 1 English class to adults as well as children in local schools, took on a part time marketing job in a Western company and even joined a Vietnamese reality TV show!

Jonathan sold his motorbikes; we packed our things and flew to India in February 2014 for the start of our at least three-year adventure.

The Big Trip -Work and Holiday

We spent three months travelling all over India and while we were there decided to invest some time and money to become certified yoga teachers and Ayurveda Massage Therapists. These are things we have both had interests in and practiced for some time, so we thought, ‘Why not make a living out of it?!’ Yoga is constantly growing in popularity across the globe and almost everyone loves a really good massage!

As we’ve traveled we’ve helped out in bars and restaurants in exchange for free food and even done some reviews and marketing for cheaper hotel rooms. It all helps your money stretch that bit further. It was this kind of thinking and experience that led us to discover Help Exchange, a website where you can find volunteer work in exchange for free food and accommodation. In our free time, we can explore, arrange yoga classes and do massages for extra income.

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 5Big Ben

As a reward for all our hard work and ingenuity, we even had a week holiday in the Maldives and three weeks in the UK to explore and meet Jonathan’s family before flying to South America.

Related Article: Jonathan and Kach’s Job on the Road

We were in the Peruvian Andes for a month, working in a hostel surrounded by mountains and Incan Ruins, with free bed and food. Now, we temporarily settle here in Arequipa, Southern Peru with a freelance teaching job and our own Yoga and Massage business. We eat well, run yoga classes for the soul seekers and heal the people’s aching bodies with Ayurveda massage therapy.

Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling 6Motor biking in North of Vietnam

We plan to continue this way of life as we travel through South America with a side trip to Antartica, before moving on to Oceania and finally coming to rest in the Philippines in 2017 or 2018 – to build a Sustainable Earthship Yoga Retreat Resort, but that’s another story!

Realization

So now, after 16 months of being on the road, we don’t have a car, a house, a ‘respectable career’ and we’re probably not keeping up with the ex-classmates and cousins either. The investment property burden, by forces out of our control, fell through and a refund is on its’ way.

All we have now are our 15kg backpacks and ourselves; brimming with optimism and vision that didn’t seem possible in our old lives.

Two Monkeys Travel - USA - Florida - Fort Myers - Sanibel Island - Captiva Island 8

Do I have any regrets about leaving my stable corporate job for an unpredictable travelling lifestyle? Never! I may not have the same luxury and security I had before, but now I have something far more fulfilling – the freedom and inner happiness I was searching for all those years ago.

So to my fellow women, Filipinos or backpackers…Yes, you can have the travelling life you want, earn money and be successful at the same time. You just need your own definition of success, outside of the norms of society and culture. No visa restrictions, cultural or language differences can block your dream, trust yourself and just do it!

UPDATE:  WE JUST GOT MARRIED!

Monkey Dividers

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Comments 87

  1. Hey Kach,

    I’m a new reader to your blog. I came across it while looking for budget travel to the Maldives. I’m just curious, but how did you get a job in Kurdistan? That sounds unique to me before you even began traveling.

    1. Hello Lisa, I was already based in Kuwait. We have a family friend who’s working at the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad and told me there are open opportunities in Kurdistan. So a Kurdish family sponsored my business visa to turn to work visa but I didnt continue because I decided to leave to travel.

  2. Very inspiring! I hope to do the same before i turn 24 which is 6 years from now, omygod. I hope to find my partner also along or before the journey!

  3. Hi Ms. Kach,
    been reading your blogs. You inspired me in a lot of ways 🙂 After graduating
    in college last March of this year, I figured I must immediately start a
    career bec that’s what people expect me to do. I was immediately accepted in a
    company with a high paying job for an entry level, and at the same time I
    got accepted in a law school. But just yesterday I resigned, and I also
    did not enrolled myself in a law school which I haven’t told yet to my parents
    and relatives. Nasu-suffocate na kasi ako. I spent almost 16
    years of my life nakakulong sa school at bahay. Now, I want to try doing
    things on my own, and I also really really want to travel. Hihingi lang ako ng
    advice, paano ba ako magsisimula? Gusto ko rin sana magturo ng English sa ibang
    bansa. But that I don’t have any experience teaching, and I’m an Economics
    graduate. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thank you so much Ms. Kach J More power and blessings to the both of
    you!

  4. wow very inspiring stories you had Ms. Kach..i guess you able to inspired more than thousands of young and to those who are still want to try travelling and im one of those person you inspired how beautiful is life to travel. Its was really amazing how braved you are. You really made what is good and what can make you happy and really wanted to do things that is new and can learn a lot…..and for that id like to give you a salute Ms. Kach, very amazing you are…And do hope that you will continue inspiring and believing people what really life is when you travel around the world w/out hesitations and regrets in life….

  5. Wow! I’m so blown away by this! It bothers me that I CAN teach English too, but all you’ve accomplished seems unreachable to me! You’re such an inspiration! I’m 25 and married. I wanna be able to do the things you and your partner do. I’m a registered nurse with no hospital experience yet. My family expects me to work here in the Philippines, gain experience and apply abroad like the legions of other nurses are doing. Any tips on how to get started from where I am right now? (P.S I don’t mind not practicing my nursing profession to teach English instead.
    )

    1. Hello Trexi, sorry just now! This is Kach! To get started, write your life goals in a paper and from there you will start planning what you want. If you want to teach english to travel and to support your family – you have to consider other factors too. How about your qualifications? Will you move abroad on your own or with your family? Message me on facebook and I would be happy to talk more!

  6. I just came across your blog and needless to say I am really amazed at how far you’ve come since you left your “old life”! I can definitely relate to your story and background – I am an Iska as well, turning 25 next month and working in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE to be exact) since moving here in 2010 with my Dad’s help. I’ve done a bit of travelling since 2 years back, in the company of friends/colleagues who are travel/tour enthusiasts themselves but each time, we only get to spend 4-6 days in every country we visit. It felt so bitin and I can only wish we stay and explore more, however this is what our budget could accommodate and also the only chunk of our annual leaves we could afford to spend outside of our home country Philippines. I wish I could be as brave as you are and take the plunge of travelling solo. It must have taken a lot of guts and will-power to leave everything behind. You are such an inspiration and I will definitely follow your story. Indeed, as they say in the movie UP: “Adventure is out there!”. Thank you for sharing your experiences through this blog, wish you could share some videos of your “expedition” as well 🙂 I’m definitely picking up ideas in here (e.g. IELTS application). By the way, I’m just curious to know – how much money/investment did you need when you started off your adventure? I’m just keen to get an idea so I can start saving up now. 🙂 Hope you read this message and get back to me when you can. Will really appreciate it. Thank you so much in advance and more power to you!!!

    1. Wow Agnes! Seems like we really have the same story but I’m older lang sayo! I suggest you get the TEFL certificate and not the IELTS unless you want to use it to migrate or study at western countries.

      I left with 3K USD savings and it lasted for almost a year but because I invested on skills and I worked/volunteered while on the road. I offer coaching if you’re interested for more details! yipee! Positive vibes to you! =)

      1. Woah! Seriously? Ang galing galing mo naman! Nakaka-inspire ate.. I will go through more of your website and learn more. Have started following your FB page too! Yay! And for the coaching, please let me know the details po. God bless! Positive vibes to you too!!! 🙂

  7. Now I’m almost in a rush to read all your articles. :'( It’s so inspiring and it touches my whole being. I always dream to have this kind of life. To explore, travel and try new adventures on my bucket list as much as I can. I tried local mountain climbing and trekking trips, bought a mountain bike and I decided to join the Mt. Apo climb this summer, a lot more of adventure that I really want to try. But I feel how difficult it is to sacrifice all those possession that I have right now most especially that my family are moving to Canada for good and I will be all alone here in Philippines. But thank you, you made me realize that everything is possible if you believe that it will and it should. Your articles moved me and it gives me courage and hope to pursue that in the near future. God bless to both of you. May you inspire and help more people with your great tips and advice about travelling and backpacking. Have a safe trip always and more power.
    Hope I can meet both of you in some of my trip. I really want to meet you in person. =))

    1. Hello Jane, thank youuuu so much for reading our articles! Really appreciate it po! Good luck with Mt Apo hiking, my sister did that and I bet I will have a hard time with that but nothing is impossible in this world! =)

      Thank you again and come join ka sa forum namin – you will meet a lot of inspiring travelers there! facebook.com/groups/filipinobackpackeraroundtheworld/

  8. I wish I had the guts like yours! I’m turning 25 this July and is currently exploring the Philippines! Along the way I’ve met few backpackers, mostly foreigners chasing their dreams of travelling the world. I admired how you all can do this and the freedom it accompanies. I felt jealous because I knew in my heart that it is my dream too. But I must admit I’m scared. So many what ifs come to my mind. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog and learned a lot. Very inspiring! I hope to have the courage to say YES to my dreams very soon! God bless and have a happy trip!

    1. Hello Anjo, you can make it! I can totally feel you, this time same month when I was 24 (my birthday is July too!) I’ve been reading a lot of blogs planning for the big trip and after 1 month I decided to let it go!

      I cant wait to follow your adventure! Feel free to personally message me! =)

  9. I’m a Filipina and almost 24 and could relate to the quarter life crisis you have been through (as I am experiencing it right now). I just recently moved to the US and will wait for another 4-5 years to get a blue passport for better travel opportunities. I stumbled on your blog and realized, why am I restricting myself just because of the type of passport I have? Just last night my friend from the PH and I decided we will be on a week long SEA tour this September, we’ll meet in Singapore and go from there. I can’t wait!

    I’ll definitely be coming back for more tips here in your blog. 🙂

    1. Hello Reg, I’m so excited for your South East Asian trip! Are you already a member of our Facebook Community Group? Come join us, you will meet fellow pinoy travellers there and some tips for your Pancake trail!!

      Thank you so much for reading ha! =)

  10. I am amazed by how you carry yourself on your own. Travelling alone requires a lot of guts. I am in awe that you were able to help your family at an early age. I am sincerely happy for both of you that you have found what you truly want in life. As what ir shows, you are living your dream! A part of me wishes to have the same mindset as yours it’s just that situations are very different but you awaken my positivity again and i realized that i should not rush in life and just enjoy every moment and make the best out of it and lastly, do whatever it is that gives you happiness and fulfilment. God bless both of you!

    1. Hello Lola, thank you so much for your kind words! Really appreciate it! Indeed, there’s no rush, just do what makes you happy!! Positive vibes to you Lola!! Om and love! <3

  11. I love reading your stories and experiences about travel. It’s so inspiring, you both are!! I have the same view about life and travel as yours. I can relate to this article because I’m also from Philippines. It’s really crazy how they set standards of success here, right? I hate that particular culture of ours. Anyways, I am also experiencing some kind of crossroads too and I’m not sure what I really wanted to do until I’ve read this! I have to thank you! I did not really believe it’s possible to be stable while traveling but your articles give me hope and optimism. More power to both of you. Soon, I’ll be able to apply all your tips and advice here about travel. Keep on inspiring and helping people!

    1. Bets, just read this!! Sorry just replied now!!=) You can do it Bets, believe in yourself!! =) Feel free to message me if you need any questions! =)

  12. Amazing story! I am already a fan not only because of your one of a kind travelling experiences, your love story but also you are truly a proud Filipina. I was completely motivated and inspired knowing there’s someone like you po that despite of all struggles and challenges .I admire your determination of finding yourself and following your dreams without knowing what will happen to you. I think that is something wonderful and special. I really salute you for that especially those times you’re still alone when you started travelling! Before, I was just planning to travel the whole Philippines first before I turned 25 but after reading your articles. I guess, I’ll make some adjustments to my given timeline. I really hope to read some more travelling tips from both of you and when the time comes you already establish your resort here, I would definitely visit your place. More Power!

  13. Amazing story! I am already a fan not only because of your one of a kind travelling experiences, your love story but also you are truly a proud Filipina. I was completely motivated and inspired knowing there’s someone like you po that despite of all struggles and challenges especially the objections coming from your family. I know it’s a big deal but thinking how determined you are to find yourself and follow your dreams and now you are happy and feel satisfied. I think that is something wonderful and special. I really salute you for that especially those times you’re still alone when you started travelling! Before, I was just planning to travel the whole Philippines first before I turned 25 but after reading your articles. I guess, I’ll make some adjustments to my given timeline. I really hope to read some more travelling tips from both of you and when the time comes you already establish your resort here, I would definitely visit your place. More Power!

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      Author

      Hello Popoy, this is one of the most sincere comment I received!! Thank you so much, you almost made me cry! Can you please message me on facebook, I would love to get in touch with you!! Wait for few years and the resort will be up!! yay!!

      1. Hello Ate Kach, I’ll loved too! I will message you right away. Thank you so much for being thoughtful and even replied to my comment. You are simply cool and awesome!

  14. Hi there! I read your featured article on Rappler and I want to thank you for inspiring me. It’s nice to know that there are other people out there who think of traveling as a lifestyle, not just a luxury. Hope you’re safe in all your travels, kabayan! Maybe we can bump into each other someday!

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      Author

      Oh hello Carmina!! Thank you for reading. Kilig ako! Let’s keep in touch, you can message me anytime in our FB page and would really love to meet you too! Positive vibes! x

  15. Very inspiring…! It’s people like you guys that help other people to start traveling and that’s such a gift…
    I’m using the student exchanges that my university offers to be able to travel meanwhile studying… but I still feel the need of being completely free! Looking forward to finish my degree and leave everything behind! Currently studying in Santiago, Chile, if you are ever around and wanna meet, let me know!

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      Author

      Wow Rihla!! We’re heading to Chile this December-January and would love to meet you! Awesome experience you have there! How can we keep in touch?

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          Author

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