When I began writing Other Guy’s Dime I searched for blogs focusing on overseas travel and work for professionals and their families. I wanted to locate like-minded individuals who love their home and job, but who also appreciate an occasional overseas adventure to add some variety to their life. Surprisingly, that is not what I encountered.
What I found were blogs describing life styles most of us would classify as thoroughly unrealistic; sites I would put into a group called “Abandoning The Rat Race And Seeing The World, Although I Have No Idea How To Pay For It.” One author blithely states the idea of regular employment gives her the “heebie-jeebies” so she decides to head overseas and has been traveling ever since. Another blogger describes how she quit her job and embarked on a personal “odyssey of discovery” in the style of Eat, Pray, Love. A third encourages his readers to throw caution to the winds, abandon the cubicle and see the world as he and his partner have done for five years. Nowhere in the description of these exotic travels are answers to two important questions 1) How are you paying for all this, (although one site stated they partially fund their adventures by playing the guitar in subway stations) and 2) What will you do when you get back?
I am happy these individuals have jumped off the work/family treadmill, and understand that spontaneous getaways makes perfect sense when you are in your early or mid-twenties. However, many older professionals like myself actually enjoy what we do. Many skilled workers are happy with their lives and don’t want to completely abandon their laboratory, lecture hall, court room, corner office, or operating theater. They are happy with the salary they earn and are thankful for the comfort and convenience it affords.
However, they would also be pleased to include short-term working vacations in their daily routine, and that is the group for whom I am writing. The purpose of my blog is not to describe how to run away from family, job, home, and friends; it is not to teach you how to escape overseas to avoid relationships and responsibilities; it is not to explain how to have an “odyssey of self-discovery” by gutting your savings, spending your inheritance, or soaking your ex. Instead, it is a blog (and book) for professionals who would enjoy a “temporary overseas posting” whose costs can be met through high-level work in the host country.
Although the blogs described above make great “escapist” literature, most of us are not going to quit our job and head to some exotic locale for years at a time, all the while blogging for readers eager to live vicariously through our adventures. But, it is both realistic as well as financially sustainable to take a short-term working vacation with you and your family for a couple of months. In the long run I believe that realistic easily trumps escapist.