May 17 Pamela MacNaughtan

Creating A Travel-Life Balance

Lox & Cream Cheese bagel at Nu Bügel

I never thought I would struggle to create a travel-life balance. You hear about work-life balance, but rarely about creating a travel-life balance. It seems off, wrong is some way. Travel is a privilege, so why on earth would someone feel the need to create a travel-life balance? The answer is both simple and complicated, I’m torn between the two.

When I quit my job in 2010 to travel, I was happy to say good-bye to my life in Calgary and travel the world, solo. I loved the freedom. I loved doing what I wanted, when I wanted. Everyday was exciting, writing this blog was exciting. Life was exciting.

The more I travelled and wrote, the more readers I gained, and travel became a small business. I loved the challenges, creating trips that I could then write about, it was so much fun.

Then life at home came calling. My Dad’s alzheimer’s was getting worse. I cut my trips short, spent more time in Canada, moved to Québec City (a place I loved, but was close enough to my parents that I could be at their house in 10 hours). I became distracted, trying to balance my passion for travel and my need to be closer to home. In the four and a half years of being on the road, most of my friendships at home had moved on, and the more attention I paid to my family, the further away I got from my readers and online peers. In an effort to be everything to everyone, I ended up being nothing to nobody. I had inadvertently isolated myself.

It was like being in quicksand. The more I struggled to re-enter the life I once knew, to rejuvenate this blog, my life, the further I sank. The blog suffered, everything suffered.

When Dad went into long-term care, I decided to start working again. My savings was gone, and hitting the road was not an option. I looked for travel related jobs, it’s difficult to make a living as a freelance travel writer when you’re not actually travelling. I was lucky, when Flight Centre Canada came along.

My days are filled with travel, planning trips for clients, and making notes on the places I need to hit-up next. Being a travel consultant/agent has perks/discounts. Working for an employer who understands the allure of travel is both a blessing, and a curse.

I feel like I’ve written this post before, so many times before. Maybe there was a slightly different angle, but the context is the same.

It’s part of the struggle, the limbo of decision making. Which direction do I go? Do I return to the life of a solo nomad? Do I create a new life and career in Canada? Can I do both, work full-time and travel whenever possible? If I can pull that off, that would be ideal. I could have my own space. I could make and keep friends, have relationships. I could travel for myself and go back to writing about what I love about the world around me. To travel for myself again.

I wrote about this last week, didn’t I?

I’ve made a decision. I’m trying to travel-life balance thing. I kind of enjoy having a regular paycheque again, and the freedom it brings. I can’t stay in Ontario, the memories of my Dad are everywhere. I need some place new, different. So, I’m moving to Vancouver.

It seems like the perfect location in Canada, perfect for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in Vancouver over the years, and I love it. Life is laid back, there are mountains, forests, the ocean. It’s close to Asia, my favourite continent. It’s far from the life I’ve known in Eastern Canada, but not too far away.

For the next few months I’ll work and plan, look for ways to have an apartment in a part of the city I love, and still have the money to travel whenever possible. I’ll write, try to find my voice. I’ll continue to share foodie finds, and things to see and do in Canada, as well as my upcoming trip to Jamaica in June.

I don’t know if the transition will be smooth or rough, but I’m determined to create a travel-life balance. The trick is to ignore the noise, and pay more attention to myself and the things that make me happy. If I’m happy, then nothing is impossible.

About the Author

Pamela MacNaughtan I'm a travel writer and photographer who specializes in bespoke travel experiences. I write about boutique, savvy and cultural travel. My writing has been featured in Outpost Magazine, Travel + Escape, and UP! Magazine.

Comments (3)

  1. Travel-life balance is definitely key. Being in the same place too long is a recipe for boredom and restlessness!

  2. I think there could be no balance … travelling is life … everything else is just a wait in queue for another trip …

    I take pictures – to have some anchors for a memory … and always can’t wait for another journey

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