How to Travel the World and Keep Your Day Job

November 18, 2016, 12:00 AM UTC
Vacation People enjoy the view from Serles mountain on a sunny autumn day in the western Austrian village of Mieders
People enjoy the view from Serles mountain on a sunny autumn day in the western Austrian village of Mieders, Austria September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSN4H8
Dominic Ebenbichler — Reuters

What were the most exciting, fun and thrilling moments of your life?

Most people describe a trip where they pushed their comfort zone and grew. Yet, when posed with the opportunity to travel, most people have to say no because of work. In reality, anyone can travel extensively, but they have to know how to hack their work and be more productive.

As a human behavior scientist and author of The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure, I have traveled to over 40 countries and more cities than I could track. Many times, I did it while working a full-time job. Every month in 2013, I went to the most exciting event around the world, from Running of the Bulls in July to Burning Man in August. Anyone can pull this off (without getting fired) by applying four very important principles.

1. Set constraints that prioritize your time.

I’m a strong believer in clocking in the hours toward your success. In fact, every successful person that I know works a significant amount of hours each week. However, don’t do work only to check it off your task list. There’s always more to do. There’s always another person you can contact or another meeting that you can schedule.

You have to draw a line in the sand. Each day, figure out the one task that is most critical. Ask yourself: If I only had one hour to work today, what would I do? This forces you to set constraints that prioritize your time.

People mistakenly view constraints as negative. Traveling every month while holding down a job was an ambitious goal, but the constraints of time and finances forced me to be creative in solving problems.

2. Create a more efficient system.

Most people work with tunnel vision. They pick a to-do item from their list and throw themselves at it, never asking questions or looking too far ahead. But, they should ask: “Should I be doing this?” and “Is it a valuable part of a system?” The most successful companies understand how to build efficient systems. Take a look at your life. Is it systemized?

3. Outsource and automate your responsibilities.

I became more productive after identifying responsibilities that should be outsourced or automated. Look at the all the activities that consume your time, and figure out if they are DIY (do-it-yourself) or DIFM (do-it-for-me).

At my company, almost 95 percent of our communication is done through a virtual assistant. I created a guide that explains how to handle every question and scenario that may arise. The time that was once wasted on tedious tasks is now used for strategy and valuable functions that require my presence.

4. The ship will keep sailing without you.

No matter the work, there is somebody that can do it better than you. Let go of the misconception that you’re the only person that can keep the ship running. There are companies and websites that can help you with practically any project.

    • Professional consulting – Have one-on-one sessions with business and personal coaches at Less Doing.
    • Virtual assistants – Upwork has more than 12 million freelancers that specialize in everything from marketing and research to technical writing and video production.
    • Research – If you have specific research questions, go to Ask Wonder for answers or hire a researcher on Upwork.
    • Book publishing – If you want to publish a book, Book In A Box takes you through each step of the process. I haven’t used them personally but I trust the team, and the people I know who have used them are raving about the experience.
    • Graphic design If you need quick and inexpensive graphic design, go to Fiverr. For as little as $5, you can get any photo retouched or logo designed.


Traveling with a full-time job is possible. In fact, it will make you a more valuable member of any team, because you’ll return rested with a wealth of world experience.

Jon Levy is a behavior scientist best known for his work in influence, networking and adventure. He is founder of the Influencers Dinner and author of a new book called The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure, where he shares science and stories on how to live a fun and exciting life.