Handling my bipolarity: 9 to 6 IT professional vs. travel addict

I got my first job in IT a little over 8 years ago. With computer science it was love at first “Hello world!” (for the non tech readers, this is the first thing you learn how to write — a piece of code that displays on the screen the message “Hello world!”). I don’t talk much about my job outside work hours, as I think dedicating 9 hours a day to it is enough. Posting code or pictures of me coding on social media wouldn’t be that interesting either. Of course this makes some say that I am not passionate about my work and my career, which is false.

Travelling came one year later, but this relationship evolved in time. At first it was just fun, then it was friendship and then it was love. I talk about travel all the time, as I consider it being one of my achievements. Also it’s a more practical and interesting topic to a larger audience than programming, don’t you think?

I must say that I was as excited on my first day at work, as I was on my first flight. I still get excited sometimes when I finally crack a task I was working on, just like I get for the perspective of a new travel. And also, just like work has its days when it’s not pretty and I deeply dislike it, so does travel.

So how does this love triangle work — me, travel and my job?

Well, I stated in my previous posts that travel changed me (here’s one of them, in case you’ve missed it — https://www.tickettowanderland.com/welcome-to-wanderland/why-write-yet-another-travel-blog). Now I will mention that my work did too.

Successfully delivering tasks and stepping up to challenges at my work place taught me as much about confidence as travel did. Having to make decisions and take charge of situations taught me about independence and courage, either it was about my work or travel matters. Speaking my mind when communicating with people is also something that both my job and hobby helped me do easier, however still not as much as I should. And not last, lots of colleagues and mentors and managers have influenced my growth or became my friends or just taught me lessons about human character or behavior.

People who don’t understand how this duality works have expressed various opinions in time. Some were saying I should try to climb higher in my career and focus more on work and studying and building projects outside my job, because I am “wasting my potential”. Others were saying I should just quit my job and travel, because it’s obvious that that’s what I love and life’s too short to be stuck in front of a computer all day. The opinions in the middle were saying I should try to get a remote job and travel also as much as I like, and I must say these people sort of understood me better.

I’ve thought about doing all of the above, but I realized none would make me happier. At least not now, because from time to time I am reconsidering these options. But at this moment I wouldn’t like to devote all my time, or most of it to neither work nor travel. I feel that we all are complex individuals, having lots of passions and hobbies and skills and desires.

Why limit ourselves to one thing? Why overwork the brain or relax it too much? Why ignore the soul or focus just on it? Why not take care of the body or take care of it too much? The perfect recipe is each individual’s own, the one that creates balance for himself.

I can say I found mine, for the most part. Adjustments are and always will be needed.

I have a lot of people around me that have great careers and also travel a lot. It makes me so happy to see that we are growing and evolving like that. Even if, maybe, I’m living in a bubble.

So how do I actually handle the duality?

First, I show up to work every day. I also do my best most days (we all suffer from lack of motivation or inspiration sometimes, even us, IT developers).

Second, I am very greedy with my vacation days. I don’t take a free day unless I go somewhere or I really have to. I even work in between Christmas and New Year’s if I don’t have travel plans, to save vacation days.

Third, I always plan ahead, starting with looking up the paid legal holiday days at the beginning of each year, so that I can plan vacations around them. Also getting tickets and accommodation in advance is a great idea most of the time.

Fourth, I hunt for travel deals, possible destinations, articles and so on. You can often see me, when taking a break, on a travel site instead of Facebook, 9Gag or YouTube.

Fifth, I don’t forget to catch up on tech reading as well. Gotta keep oneself informed and up to date.

Sixth, I save money for travel. Because travel is the high maintenance partner of my job, in this love triangle of ours.

Seveth, I dream. A lot.

Some years I managed to go on city breaks or vacations every two months or so, mostly around Europe. In the last ones, however, I had fewer vacations, about 3 per year, but in further locations.

So yes, I like my 9 to 6 IT corporate job and I also like the freedom and joy of travel. I think it’s just like with pineapple as a topping on pizza. Some don’t get the point of it, some hate it, but then there are some that actually love it.

I know I do!

Originally published at www.tickettowanderland.com.