Interview Series: Travelers Who Work Full Time (Ashley Sheets)

Interview Series: FT Work + Travel | Interviews/Features

Posted by Cathy on Monday 26th December 2016

In this post of travelers who work full time and mostly non-remote jobs, we have Ashley, a travel blogger! Let’s see what they have to say about juggling a full time job AND traveling on top. Thought you could not work full time and see the world? THINK AGAIN!

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Ashley and I’m originally from a small town in central Ohio. I’ve lived in the south of England since 2011 with my British husband (who I met when we were living in South Korea)! Before South Korea, I’d also lived in the Marshall Islands, and France before that. I’ve been traveling a lot and/or living abroad for the past 12 years.

What do you do as a full timer?

How many hours do you work a week? I work full time as a freelance copywriter and social media consultant. It’s generally between 25 and 40 hours a week (freelancing is unpredictable!).

Give us a small glimpse into your life. How is a typical week for you when you’re working and traveling?

Well working for myself ends up giving me a lot more freedom than someone in an office-based job. Sometimes that’s great for traveling, but other times it isn’t! Depending on how long I’ll be gone dictates if I’ll set an “out of office” for my emails or not. For example, I was in Morocco a few weeks ago and got an important email from a potential client. They didn’t know I was out of the country, so not responding would have seemed unprofessional. Instead I had to knock out some emails over wifi in between breakfast and heading out for the day’s exploration. And of course I try to get more work down when I’m not traveling so that I can make the most of whatever country I am in. I really like being able to disconnect from the internet as much as possible when I’m in a new place.

Despite working a full time job and juggling a travel blog, how do you make travel happen?

I fit it in wherever possible! And if I can’t get out of the country, I aim for smaller trips over the weekends to new areas that I haven’t explored yet - historic villages, wilderness areas, or new cities that I haven’t been to yet but that are accessible by car or train. I don’t think you have to go to a new country just to count it as “real travel”. Since I’m already an expat, that’s a lot of opportunity to explore new areas without even leaving England, but I think this is true for people who aren’t expats too. I also definitely try to make the most of built in holidays on the calendar, especially when it means my husband can come with me.

What do you like about working full time and traveling?

I don’t know - it just seems normal. Very few people can make traveling their full time job! Juggling the two means that there’s always a pay check to fund my next adventure. Seems reasonable if you ask me :)

What are the challenges you face with juggling both work and travel?

Fitting in more travel, always. Time, money - all the usual challenges. These days I only have time for a few bigger trips of a week or more a year, and the rest are more like long weekends or city breaks with 3-4 days somewhere. For some places that’s enough, but it isn’t enough time to really sink your teeth into a place.

What do you dislike about working full time and traveling?

The jealousy I have for travel bloggers who actually do it as a full-time gig! I know it’s silly but I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Getting paid to travel and write about those travels is the dream.

Do you have any cool upcoming destinations? Where are you headed?

Next up is a trip to back to the USA in January (and I’m hoping for snow since England doesn’t really get it, and I miss it a lot). I’m also hoping to fit in a city break to somewhere in Europe before the end of the year, but we shall see. In the last 12 months I’ve done quite a lot of travel, so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to fit in between now and the new year! There’s at least a few wintery days in London, which is always a good thing.

How often do you travel?

Every few months I go out of the country. In the past year I’ve been to Paris, Barcelona, Oman, Turkey and Morocco, and spent three weeks doing a road trip across America that included New York, New Orleans, Austin and San Antonio before heading to my native Ohio for a visit. In between trips like that, I do a fair amount of in-country travel, aiming for a new place every month or so if possible.

What advice you would give to someone who wants to achieve the work full time and travel life?

Well that’s easy - just do it! I think a big hurdle to travel is being able to afford it, but if you work full time, you should be able to manage something. And three day weekends are a treat. Go somewhere Thursday after work, come back Sunday night, and make the most of the travel time you have! Don’t wait until you have two weeks to devote to a place - it just isn’t necessary. Go now. You won’t regret it.

Interviewee Biography:

Ashley is an American expat who settled down in the UK after extended stints living in France, the Marshall Islands, and South Korea. She’s been there for five years so far with her British husband and her Australian dog, marveling at accents and the fact that an hour on a plane can get her to at least a dozen European cities.. She’s a freelance writer and does a lot of ranting on Twitter.


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