To spend or to save, to be or not to be – that is the big question. When gearing up to go travelling, one of the biggest barriers is money and there is no way around it.
A lot of people ask how I pay for travel. Most of whom assume that because of my age, my parents pay for them. However, that is not the answer. I work my ass of for it!
At the age of 14, 9 months and 2 weeks (2 weeks after the legal age of acquiring work within Australia) I was employed at the Fruit Factory, a local fruit and vegetable shop. Every cent that went in to my bank account was heavily budgeted in order to save for my first adventure – a solo around the world journey at the age of 15. I worked an average of 30 hours a week, on top of 30 hours of school and 15 hours of extra-curricular activities. It was safe to say that I had to learn time management skills; the hours were a quite a lot of a strain with my studies, however it led me to travel around the world solo young age of 15 – which is something not a lot of people can say they have done.
A week after arriving back home, I was selling apples after school at the Fruit Factory. I continued to work there for a following 9 months to make my bank account a lot happier after my travels. In October, 2013 I decided to leave the Fruit Factory after two years and expand my portfolio. I am now working at Bakers Delight and am a waitress at the Mezze Bar Mooloolaba. Waitressing is a brilliant set of skills to have when aspiring to travel, as it is a world wide skill that can help can a job abroad.
Now don’t get me wrong – part time work can suck sometimes. It is not a career path or something you are wanting to pursue after school and therefore you may not be as passionate about it as you could be. As a student, I have had 4 assignments and a six hour shift to be completed on the same night – leaving me to cramming in the early hours of the morning. It does take up a lot of time and you do have to sacrifice things, for me – I could not juggle Taekwon-do on top of work, school and my travels and therefore had to make a decision to take a break from something I love. You don’t get to go out on Friday nights with all your friends because you have work that night and then another shift the following morning at 6am. You might have to cancel your plans with your boyfriend numerous times. A customer could be horrible to you when you are already having an awful day.You may not want to clean the gunky rotten watermelon stand but will have to do it any way. Plus, with two part time jobs – I can be working up to 20 hours over the weekend.
BUT think of all that money, think of all the places you could explore.
As awful as I made that sound, the cons are only 1% of what work is made up to be for me. I love work. I love that feeling when you pay for a trip and know that you deserve it because you worked for it. And god, you appreciate things such as paying for public toilets so much more than if your parents had paid for it. Now I might be sounding a little odd to all – but work is normally the highlight of my week. What? How? I have been extremely fortunate in all cases to have incredible bosses and a wonderful group of people to work with. I still see my bosses from the Fruit Factory for a quick coffee date in between their fabulous world travels. My fellow Fruit Factorians are like family now and I met a vast majority of my closest friends through work. Now you may get a little less time in the week, but look at the opportunities that can expand from that. I can travel – I went on a four month trip around the world, am going to India in a couple of weeks and have a USA trip planned for in the middle of the year – all because I sold some fruit and bread. Yes you may get a few grumpy customers, but that is a 1/10 of the time – the other 9/10 can be hilarious, kind, unique people that you will be able to have a snazzy conversation with and sometimes learn a thing or two. Plus, you can’t forget the regulars – the people that come in so often that they know what you eat for lunch each day. The customer interaction is another pro towards working a part time job (unless you have a fear of people).
Now it is a little sad to see your hard earned money disappear from your account; this month I will be paying a couple of grand towards flights and other travel necessities for my upcoming trips. Just to think, in just a few weeks I will be riding on an elephant through India and standing on top of the Empire State Building in NYC.
Now all in all, a part time job is always something good for your resume – it increases life experience, skills and caters for a bucket load of opportunities. So my advice – go get a job! But of course make sure it lies with in your priorities, if you want to impress your boss and maintain a good set of hours and work ethic, you must be committed.