Mel Has A Full-Time Job But Utilizes Her PTO In Ingenious Ways To Travel The World
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Mel is your usual 9to5er with a passion for travel.
17th Jul | 5 min read

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    Mel is your usual 9to5er with a passion for travel. Originally from Venezuela, she’s also lived in France and has been calling Montreal her home for the past 17 years. Follow Mel on Instagram @brbtravelblog and her blog to keep up with all of her adventures around the world.

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    Why I Started Traveling

    At the age of 3, I took my first plane and since then, I have visited more than twenty countries. My parents are big travelers like me, so the travel bug has been passed on to me since a young age.

    I travel to learn about new countries and different cultures. Travel shows you the diversity of our world and how beautiful it is. Also, traveling for me is a way to detach from work and immerse myself in the world. 

    I Travel As Much As I Can

    Before the pandemic, I used to take 2 big trips and multiple weekend getaways. Since I have a full-time job, I need to find creative ways to go on vacation with my limited PTO. 

    The perfect trip for me will be a mix of city discoveries, visiting a national park, preferably with wildlife to see, and of course, a great food scene. When planning my travels, I try to pick a diverse set of activities to ensure that I get a complete taste of the new country or region. 

    How I Choose Where To Travel Next

    I have a very extensive bucket list and it keeps getting longer and longer! But most of our travels are chosen by a mutual consensus with my husband, the time that we want for each trip, and if we have a business trip that we can mix in order to lower the costs.

    The length for each trip depends on where we are going, how many PTOs we have, and if we have other trips already confirmed. 

    Once we decide on a location, I enter into an extensive planning mode. I’m a little bit of a control freak so I read ALL the travel blogs, travel guides for the destination and I start laying down where we are staying, where we are eating, and the activities.  

    How I Pack For My Trips

    I must admit that I’m not a great packer, I tend to overpack. But I’m getting better and I have a few tips. I never leave without a great pair of running shoes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottle. I also bring outfits that can be mix and match outfits. Knowing exactly what you are doing will help you pack properly. 

    Countries I’ve Visited

    Together Jeremy & I have visited 18 countries and we like doing a mix of tourist spots to enjoy iconic world attractions and hidden gems. But we mostly like to visit hidden gems and go to countries that most people will not think of visiting. 

    My favorite memory of meeting locals was in Japan while we were doing our honeymoon. We entered a small restaurant and sat at the bar. The chef was so delighted that a pair of foreigners visited his restaurant and he started talking with us and asking about our trip and Canada - all through a translation app. 

    How I Manage My Costs While I Travel

    My husband and I are true workaholics, we work more than 50 hours per week so our travels are the time where we splurge and indulge so we don’t travel on a tight budget. After all, we work so hard! Also, since we have a very defined timeframe on our travels, there are rarely big surprises on the costs.

    We always have a travel line in our household budget so we always add money through the year.

    About My Job

    I'm a Producer at a 3D animation studio. My job revolves around doing budgets and schedules for feature films and TV series but my favorite part is to manage a team of extremely creative individuals. And yes, watching cartoons is part of my job description. 

    Like all 9 to 5ers, I have a limited PTO so I try to find ingenious ways to maximize them! I also time my vacation with my projects so I travel between projects.

    One Of My Favorite Travel Experiences

    Kayaking with whales! This experience was MAGICAL! When you hear that some memories will last a lifetime, for me, this was one of them!

    Tadoussac in Quebec is known to be one of the best whale-watching spots in the world. During our kayak expedition, we saw many types of whales and a beluga pod of around 40 members! But the best encounter was a curious Minke whale that came really close to us. It circled us and we could clearly see its head and its eye. It came to say hi and left. I mean, who had this kind of encounter before? 

    My Advice To Travelers With Full-Time Jobs

    I have a lot of tips for you if you head to my plan from the office section. The main trick is to be ingenious with your PTO, how can you maximize them? Can you combine them with statutory holidays? Do you get banked time for your overtime? Have you ever thought about negotiating extra vacation days for your next performance evaluation? Also, do not be afraid to ask for a vacation!

    With these tips, I have been able to travel to 18 countries while working full-time!

    There are plenty of more uplifting stories to read! 

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