Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yes, You Can Take a Month Off to Travel (The Thailand Series)

I love to travel, and it should come as no surprise that I read other travel blogs as well to get encouragement and inspiration.    One topic that comes up is "How can you take an extended period of time to travel?"   I realize that a month isn't the same as someone taking a year or two to travel the world (I still aspire to that).    But a month is achievable.   I didn't have to leave my job or find a new home for my dog.   I didn't have to cancel anything.   I didn't have to find a renter or put my stuff in storage.   

Taking a month to travel while employed full-time does take some advance planning.    Today is October 27.    If you went to see your boss and said "I'm going to take the month of November off...see you December 1," that probably wouldn't go over too well.    

In the summer of 2008, I talked to my boss about taking my three weeks of vacation, plus one week unpaid for a trip in 2009.   His response "Are you sure you want to use everything at once?" (yes) and "Make sure that your co-workers are ok with this since they'll be covering for you while you're gone." (they were ok with it)

In 2009 I took a month off to go on a volunteer vacation in Thailand.   I did a three week volunteer abroad with Cross Cultural Solutions and then had some pre/post travel time in Bangkok, Chaing Mai and Taipei.  

The truth:  Volunteer vacations are not cheap or free.   Part of what you're doing is supporting the local organization as well as providing employment for the local staff that helps coordinate the work, housing and other activities.   That is what I wanted.    I wanted a safe place to stay, cultural activities, transportation, meals and other volunteers to hang out with.     Budgeting for a volunteer vacation is just like budgeting for any other kind of vacation - but there is a little tax benefit.   My program fee was a tax-deductible donation, and friends and family could also donate towards my program - in fact, I asked for donations in lieu of Christmas and Birthday gifts. 

Without further adieu....if you'd like to learn about Thailand or what it was like to go on this kind of volunteer vacation, pick a few posts and read on!

Countdown to Thailand
Practical Procrastination
It Looks Like Iowa
Fun with International Restrooms
Chao Phraya
Wat Arun
My Amazing Race Moment
The Elusive Kanoon
Thai 101
On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful
Thai Mythology
Aroi Mai?
Makabucha Day
The First Day of School
Saibaidee Tao (Happy Feet)
Too Many Shoes
Ko Lanta
Crazy Transportation
Home Sweet Home Base
Wat Kok Yang Daycare
Pink Day
House Maa
Funny Signs
Ko Phi Phi
Beach Games
Thai Pancake
If it's Bob Marley...
Last Day of School
Sawadee Ka from Thailand
Which Wat?

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