Part-Time Traveler Talk with Megan Hettwer

Part-Time Traveler Talk with Megan Hettwer

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Today I bring you another Part-Time Traveler Talk, this week with Megan Hettwer.

I started reading Megan’s blog quite a while ago and have recently loved reading about her experiences in Turkey – a country I have so much desire to travel to!  I find Megan super inspiring because not only has she given up on the everyday “9-5”, but she has found ways to support herself and her love for travel through freelance work.  It takes a hard-working girl to go out on her own, financially and literally (Megan has traveled solo in the past).
A specific quote on her blog really stands out to me, as I find it describes myself to the T as well:
“Everything I do is geared toward creating world-rocking, make-my-heart-smile, happiness and I love seeing and helping other people do the same.” 
– Megan Hettwer

1) Tell us a little about your non-traveling/non-blogging self. What are you up to when you aren’t jetting around the world?

I obviously love travel, but the bulk of my time is spent being active outdoors and working on my freelance business. Since I currently live in Boulder, Colorado it’s so easy to spend my free time hiking, rock climbing, camping, and just finding adventure outside. I love exploring Colorado with my dog and in many ways it’s just as much fun as exploring a new country. On the work side of things, I’m amping up my freelance writing business. I didn’t want to let go of work to travel, so I needed to find a way to create my own job. I’m still learning and building things up, but so far it’s not too bad!

2) Is long-term travel something you’ve ever dreamed of? Would you give up your current life to travel the world indefinitely?I’ve definitely dreamt about traveling long term, but the more I travel the more I realize it’s not ideal for me. Living abroad is something that really appeals to me, but living out of a backpack full time? Not so much. I’m finally accepting that I’m more of a slow travel/settle down for a bit sort of traveler, and I’m totally okay with that. I love having a home base to come back to and I’m really enjoying my current lifestyle.

3) Approximately how many days out of the year are you on the road? Is this enough running around for you?

I aim for around two longer trips per year, with several shorter jaunts around the U.S. My trips usually range from three to six weeks on average. When I’m at home it doesn’t feel like I’m traveling enough, but when I’m on the road it feels just right. My desire to be at home with my fiancé and pets is constantly battling with my desire to be on the road, but I think I’ve struck a happy medium.

I spend a lot more time traveling than someone with an office job, but I try to keep things reasonable. I need a routine in order to get anything done, so I try to treat my days like a normal workday. It helps keep me accountable!

4) Where was your last trip? When and where is your next trip? For how long?I was in Guatemala for 5 weeks total in March, then, in May, I spent 9 days in Panama. Prior to this trip, I spent about 2 months traveling in summer 2013. I was able to make it to Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Iceland. It was probably one of my favorite trips to date, but it was an insanely hectic pace and I was completely burnt out by the end of it. Plus, I didn’t get any blogging or business work done.

5) Have you changed your life to travel more? If so, then how?

The biggest change I’ve implemented in my life has been to pursue freelancing. It’s been terrifying, exhilarating, rewarding, and frustrating, but I think it’s allowing me to have this location flexible life I’ve always wanted. I also tend to travel solo because my fiancé actually enjoys his job, so I’ve had to become okay with spending time apart. It’s not ideal, but I’ve been traveling regularly since we first started dating 6 years ago, and my wanderlust doesn’t come as a surprise to either of us.

When I’m actually on the road, I’m totally a budget traveler. Not in the hardcore backpacker sense, but I’m always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. Most of my cost-cutting is with my plane tickets. I’ve finally gotten the hang of travel hacking with credit cards, and that’s how I afford most of my flights.

6) What is one tip you can give others with a full-time life/job hoping to travel more?

The only thing holding you back is yourself! Even if you only have 2 weeks of vacation per year, you can still use it to travel. Sure, most of my trips are pretty long, but there’s nothing wrong with a one or two week trip. Heck, I’ve seen people travel to Paris for only a 3 or 4 day weekend, and they loved it. It’s all about prioritizing how important traveling is to you and making it happen. The first steps are always scary, but it’s worth it.

Also, don’t underestimate “microadventures”! You can have mini adventures in your home town, or in nearby towns. If you love the outdoors like me, this could be a longer hike, trying to bike from your town to a nearby town, or trying out a new activity like stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. Sometimes just re-framing the way you look at things can make a huge difference!

7) Tell us about your current vacation time from work and how you make the most of it to travel.

Well, I’m currently ramping up my freelance career, so I technically have as much vacation time as I’m willing to give myself. But, it’s extremely tricky to juggle building a business with intense travel, which is why I’m trying to travel at a slower pace. Theoretically, I could travel long term, but that would involve abandoning my lifestyle in Colorado. I love my home life so much, and I’m totally okay with spending the majority of my time there.

Before I began freelancing I had a cycle of get a job/quit the job/travel/get a new job/quit that job/travel/repeat. There was an obvious cycle going on, and I’m pretty sure it got to the point where my work history was raising some eyebrows. My current system seems to be going well so far.

8) Describe your perfect work-life-travel balance.

I really like the idea of traveling or living somewhere for around 2-3 months at a time, returning home for 2-3 months, and repeating. I don’t think backpacking around is sustainable for me right now (I get way too distracted!) and I love really settling into a place and getting to know it.

9) Are there any destinations you’ve been longing to go to? Why?

Oh boy…is “everywhere” an option? But specifically, I’ve been really fascinated by places like Jordan lately. It always seemed like a destination I should avoid, but I’ve read a lot of posts by other travel bloggers over the past few months, and it seems like a fantastic place. I also really want to bike through the Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.)

10) What is the best advice you’ve ever received regarding your dreams and traveling?

I don’t know that I can pinpoint one specific piece of advice, because I’ve had so many influences in my travel life. Honestly, travel bloggers are probably the group that made me realize my dreams were possible. I didn’t grow up with many travelers, so there’s been a ton of trial and error figuring out how to make this crazy life work. I know that’s not very helpful! I’m open to any witty, soul-enhancing bits of wisdom anyone else might have, though 😉

Are you a part-time traveler?! I would love to hear your experiences balancing work and travel!

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