50 people #6: Where’s Clair?

50 People #7: Where's Clair

 Working nine to five, what a way to make a living… Or in Clair’s case how she spends her days when she’s not traipsing halfway across the globe.

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>> PROFILE

Name: Clair | Currently in: Dublin, Ireland

Remember when you made your new year’s resolution to be a nicer person, exercise more, and find that work life balance… You may have already given up on the first two (turns out Zumba’s not that fun), but that’s no reason to dissipate your dream of leading a more interesting life behind too.

Yes, work can be overbearing, no matter what you do. You want to do well and impress your boss. You’re climbing the corporate ladder, working overtime to secure that promotion. Maybe you’re a stones throw from making a groundbreaking discovery, or just have a deadline to meet. There are a thousand reasons why you should be working harder and longer hours than you already are.

But the matter of fact is, life’s not all about work. It’s about spending time with the people you love, going on adventures, learning new things and doing what makes you happy (which I highly doubt is checking emails and filing reports 8 hours a day).

That’s all very well in theory, but announcing to your boss that you’ve decided to take a six-week sabbatical to cruise around the Caribbean is unlikely to be a very popular decision.

So how do you manage both?

Managing work and travel will take some meticulous planning and creativity. But if you’re willing, then it is indeed possible to do. I caught up with Clair to uncover her secret to working a “9 to 5” but living a “9 to thrive”…

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>> INTERVIEW

Tell us bit about yourself.

I’m from Dublin and I have a little blog about how I see the world whilst also working 9-5. I can’t exactly pinpoint a particular moment when I started travelling. It’s always been an integral part of my life.

2015 was an epic year of travelling for you. What did you learn about yourself travelling?

Yes, in 12 months I travelled to 11 countries across 4 continents! I think the main thing that I have learnt is that I am far stronger, more resourceful and resilient than I have ever given myself credit for. You never really know how you will react to a situation until you are in a strange city alone.

I also think that travel has made me a more tolerant and understanding person. You see a different way of life and different people’s perspectives. I think I have also gained a huge amount of confidence from travelling. I remember being in Gori, a city in Eastern Georgia and thinking to myself, if I get myself home from here I can do anything!

You don’t believe in “dropping everything to travel”. How do you manage having a job and seeing the world?

Well the most important thing here is that I have a job that I love! This helps a lot! I work in the charity sector in health research and I find it very fulfilling. However managing working full time and travelling does have its challenges. I not only have to budget money, I also have to budget my time as well!

I do this by trying to include public holidays as much as possible and when I work extra hours, I take time off in lieu of extra pay. Sometimes I’ll also miss out on certain occasions. For example I missed St Patrick’s Day this year to spend an extra day in Morocco and I spent Christmas in India. I also try to be flexible when I travel and go off-season when I can, this means it is less expensive, there are fewer tourists and the weather is usually cooler and better for my pale Irish skin!

Are you an organised traveller or do you like to go with the flow?

I would say I am a bit of both. If I am going on a short trip I like to be organised so that I can see as much of the place as I can. When I’m travelling for a bit longer I like to go with the flow. Some of the best moments I’ve had while travelling have been things that have been unplanned or unexpected. For example during my trip to Cuba I had planned to stay in Trinidad for one night, I actually stayed for four!

Why is travel so important to you?

Travel has always been important to me, but particularly over the last two years, as I’ve dealt with a break up. I was in a relationship for nine years, so getting out and travelling solo was a really important part of regaining my independence and getting to know myself again. I spent some time in Cuba with no phone or Internet and really had a digital detox! It was a great way for me to pick myself up again and start afresh!

Do you have a travel philosophy?

It’s more of a life philosophy, but I like to experience as much as I can in life. Whether that be visiting new places, trying a new activity or eating new foods, I love variety in my life and I am always looking for new things to experience.

What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to?

This is a really hard one. I think I would have to say India. I don’t think I can pick my favourite city but Jaipur and Varanasi are high contenders. I would love to go back some time to see the south of the country.

What’s next? What are your plans for 2016?

So far in 2016 I have been to Amsterdam and Marrakech. I do have a few close trips planned to the UK. And in June, I’m off to Prague and then doing a road trip in France. I am a big football (soccer) fan so I will be heading to the European Championships this year. After that I have trips to Moldova and Vienna planned. I am also turning 30 this year so I hope to mark it with a trip somewhere really special but that’s undecided as yet!

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Discover how Clair juggles her job and her travel, on her quirky travel blog ‘Where’s Clair’.

50 People #6: Where's Clair?

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Want more like this?

Loved this story? Read more interesting accounts about how and why people travel around the world in the #50people50places series here.

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