Things to do

How to get back into work after travelling?

The absence of links and images is due to the fact that yet another piece of technology has prevailed. This time, my beloved, shitty notebook. May he rest in piece. And may you forgive bad formatting and visually naked content.

Three months after I left my job in London behind I panicked. Sat in a park in Melbourne, I frantically scribbled down the PR jargon I described to my friend as “falling out of my head”. It was a pointless exercise, but I wanted to test myself on what I could remember. I moved onto inking down past campaigns. I drew blanks. Well, I didn’t. But my passion for panic led me to believe I had.

At that moment I genuinely believed I had done the wrong thing by ditching the desk to travel. I thought I would be deemed unemployable and I’d forget everything I’d spent time building up. That time wasting exercise trickled through to the following months, when at six months in I found myself feeling the same fear when I started a new career in the perhaps lesser known industry of banana peeling. Aimless, testing work, which again caused me to panic about what comes next.

At other points in the year I felt the same too. But the stress was unnecessary. I did find work. It wasn’t easy. But it wasn’t as difficult as the first time around when I had zero experience. So before you panic – or before you stop yourself from booking a flight, here’s a few things to bear in mind. 

  • You’re young. Or maybe you’re not. But either way if you’ve got the bug it needs medicating. This is one that won’t flush outta your system. You’re you’re destined to travel so buy a ticket, pack your bags and move yourself
  • If you work hard, you’ll find your way back to security when you need to. Bit like finding your way home safely and without injury after a few too many jars. So in the moment, enjoy having no commitments, embracing new cultures and taking time to get to know yourself 
  • When you do eventually want to get back on the career track, work for it. Be proactive
  • Network. Make phone calls, as well as send emails. Tailor your covering letters – don’t be lazy 
  • Use recruiters to help offload the burden. Chances are you’ll need to do some homework, play catch up on your industry or if you’re like me, research a new marketplace
  • LinkedInSeekTwitter. Industry publications. Make these your go-to sites.
  • Be focussed. You’ll probably have had heaps of time to reflect on the road. You’ll have an idea of what you want, what you don’t want and what’s a stepping stone – being picky ain’t no bad thang
  • Travel makes you more attractive. Not in a Megan Fox kind of way. But it does sex up your CV. It gives you more to speak about in the interview and shows employers that you’re willing to take risks and that you have some real life experience. Maybe don’t highlight the bar crawls in HCMC as a travel highlight though
  • Trust that you have the skills to pay the bills. It’s easy to doubt yourself when you’ve been out of the loop for so long. Even when you land the job it takes time to find your groove. But that’s the case with any new role, regardless of whether youve taken time out to travel
  • Enjoy travelling. You’ll likely only get one opportunity to backpack across countries for a few months. Make every day memorable. Don’t waste it on anxiety

If I could go back to that day I was sat in the park acting like an irrational maniac, I’d probably give myself a little slap. But I can’t. So instead, I’m hoping this will help other over thinkers, passionate about success and happiness rethink their worries and concerns. And that’s a rap.


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