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

By Kach Umandap - Howe August 20th, 2014 Posted in 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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87 thoughts on “Career or Travel, Why Not Build Your Career While Travelling?

  1. Hi Kach! Thanks for this amazing post. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now and you INSPIRES me a LOT. Really, it started when I saw your trending video on Facebook about how you met your Hubby and quit your corporate job. Actually, I am currently experiencing the same scenario as what you had experienced before while still working in Middle east, well, I am in Dubai now, working for 9 months as Admin (9hrs on desk 5x a wk- ughh!!) and just graduated college last year – march 2016. (I just turned 21 years old and I’m a Filipina). Ever since I was in Highschool, my dream was to work abroad. It just how I think my life would be, and I got it, but unfortunately, I am not happy here and feeling aimless. I am earning good money, my cousin is here, I have friends, but it feels there’s a HUGE gap on my life. Like I don’t have any idea what to do in my life, it seems I am not contented on saving and investing for the future.. But thanks to you Kach, I know now where I should be. I will pursue for my goal, I’ll finish my 3 yrs contract lately on 2019, and save up as much money as I can and start my journey early of 2020. My parents and relatives are against with this idea, but I’ll show them how fulfilling this will this be. I might be 23-24 years old that time, so why not try while still young and single. hahaha Thank you so much Kach! Hope to meet you soon, by the way, when is your birthday? Are you an Aries? lol, Godbless <3

    1. Hi Caherine 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story with me/us. Really glad that you finally figured out what you really want to do with your life. <3 and yes, hope to meet you one day para makapag kwentuhan pa tayo 😉 and I'm a Leo 🙂

    2. Hi! Hearing everyone’s story got me fired up like I want to travel the world while working. Your story amazed me so much! Keep on inspiring people to travel. I’m going to work in Abu Dhabi and we’ll see where my path leads to. I’m 22 years old and I want to try new things. I love to take pictures of scenery and just enjoy the view. Soon I’ll be making my own blog and travel just like you.

  2. Oh my gosh! I love you, Kach, and your blog. Glad to know that you have found your love and dreams in traveling. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I’m assuming that we’re on the same age since we graduated in the same year, so since you did it, I’m hopeful that I can do it, too. I’m not getting any younger and I believe that today is the best time to see the world. God bless!!! ♥

    1. Yay! Sweet! Thank you so much, Jane 🙂 Yes, that’s why I’m sharing my stories with you guys, to let you know that you can do it as well. If you really want to travel, then don’t give up on that dream. okay? ❤️❤️

  3. hi kach i love to read your inspiring and motivated stories…like you i love t o travel..being in a corporate world is too stressful, so i make it sure that to reward myself i scheduled trip be it local or abroad is being planned ahead…i never been to europe yet…and thank you for posting your blog during your travel with your mom…god bless

    1. That’s good to hear Pauline, I’m so happy for you and very proud too! I really hope to meet you in one of your travels ?

  4. You’re my idol! Currently i have a corporate job but planning to travel the world with the help of social media work where I can get free food and accomodation. That’s a good life! Wanna see the world while young. 🙂

    1. Yay! Kinikilig talaga ako pag nakakabasa ako ng “idol” LOL. btw, thank you so much Charm and that’s a great idea too. It’s a lot of work but I know you can do it. If you need advice about traveling, itineraries and other stuff, we’ll be happy to help you. Goodluck Charm 🙂

  5. Hi miss kach! Ur story is inspiring and very informative.. Is your TEFL school teaches via online?…would love to avail one soon.

  6. Wow what a great and interesting story this is,,,what a life. lekker as we’d say in south Africa. Wishing you guyz all the best!

    1. Thank you so much Mfundo, and are you still in South Africa now? I’m planning to go there this year 🙂

  7. Hello Kach, I’m Gegeh from Cagayan de Oro. I love to travel as much as you do ^_^ . Cebu lang ang pinakamalayo na na-travel ko far but I’ve been to different places na here in Mindanao. Target ko next time is abroad naman hehee…. I got inspired with your article about earning while traveling. Hope I could do that also soon.

  8. Miss kach Im your new follower..I just want to ask..Where did you took your TEFL? Im planning to take the course but I found it too expensive for me as of now..Your advise is highly appreciated?-she mel

    1. Get the TEFL course from our recommended company, MYTEFL, here’s the link – http://bit.ly/1Va9qrL

      Since we’ve been promoting them for a year now, they gave us 40% discount to our readership for the whole year of 2016, so when you’re about to pay.. you need to type 2MONKEYS in the cart so from $300USD course, you will now only pay around $170. You need to pay with credit card or debit card with VISA or MASTERCARD. if you dont have it, let me know and I can connect you to the management to do an alternative payment of Western Union or something like that.

      You can also join our TEFL group on Facebook to have your support group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/TEFLEnglishTeachersWorldwide/

      I’m sure you’ll really enjoy the TEFL course, it’s a great way to travel the world. Please let me know if you have other questions.

      You can also re-read my Teach English Abroad Article – https://twomonkeystravelgroup.com/2015/02/teach-english-abroad-filipino-backpacker-guide

  9. Hi miss kach

    Hello to you and your partner..

    Im really inspired by your experiences.. I love climbing mountains and along with that I am attracted to traveling..i experienced this feeling when i had my first backpacking trip in abra..it was scary at first because i was alone and i had this lingering feeling of something bad will happen..but i told myself that i have to trust the goodness in each of the stranger i will meet during my stay there..It was a successful backpacking adventures..
    Im planning to have my 2nd backpacking adventure this coming month in bicol..
    I feel that Im also destined to travel in and out of the country..
    I have a stable job as a teacher and living independently. But there are times that i feel tired of what i do everyday and find myself thinking about the places i wanted to visit..
    I hope time will come that i have all the courage and resources i need to travel..
    Its really wonderful to discover new about yourself in different places you’ve been into..

    My prayers are with you miss kach and keep on inspiring women to find their selves and what makes them happy and complete..

    1. That’s great Maria 🙂 We’re so proud you! <3 We really hope that all of your dreams will come true too and we wish you safe travels along the way! God bless you!

  10. Good for you as in buti ka pa. I’m also from the Philippines and right now I’m here in the U.S of A. Ever since, I always wanted to travel the world but my question always is “how on earth am I supposed to do that?” For now, I’m focus muna on getting a job again on a cruise so that atleast just maybe when I save enough money then the next continent that I will visit would be Africa 🙂

    1. Hi there Mitch, then you’re doing it right. I think it’s really smart and one of the best way to earn money while traveling. is by working on a cruise ship. 🙂

  11. Its indeed a right timing for me to read your article… i am planning to do the travelling this coming june as i am on a leave… its very inspiring and encouraging…my feet are very itchy to do the around the world thing?

  12. You inspired me! I am planning for a long term travel by 2017. Sana makayanan ko rin.. Kahit un family ko, ayaw nila. 🙂

    It will be hard for sure, lalo na s budget. I am an engineer. Kaya d ko sure kun mkkahanap ako ng part time job as engineer. D rin ako magaling s english. Kya d ko sure kun mkkpg teach ako ng english. Haha pero i am able to communicate naman. Haha i wish makahanap ako ng part time job kagad para msustain ko un pgttravel ko..

    Anyway, thank you Kach for inspiring us, your fellow female traveller/backpackers. Sana magkita tau s daan someday.. Hihi

    Joan

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Written by Kach Umandap - Howe

Co-Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 120 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she got married then a year later bought a sailboat and is now on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.

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