Out of Office: Kristen, Worn Passports
Our Out of Office weekly feature profiles brave souls who have taken the plunge in balancing both a career in a 9-6 full time as well as pursuing a fulfilling travel lifestyle. Chat with me here if you're interested in collaborating.
Since my first trip to Europe in college, 10 years ago, I’ve been bitten by the travel bug! I also love researching and planning travel and talking to other people about their travel experiences. I launched my site last year with that in mind - a network where we can all provide planning help and travel inspiration to each other. Travel bloggers aren’t the only ones with cool travel stories, so my site features everyday people and their trips and recommendations. It’s been such a big inspiration and travel guide to me as well!
1. Where do you work and what’s your role?
I’m a merchandise financial planner at a fashion retail company. I plan our sales, inventory, profit and markdown plans for 200 stores across the United States & Canada. I work in conjunction with a buyer - think of it as she buys the product and I manage the cheque book!
2. Tell us something interesting about you people don’t know.
My life goal is to visit every Hard Rock Cafe in the world. I’ve been 34 out of 120+, so I have a long way to go!
3. How many trips do you take a year for leisure?
I try to take one big international trip each year. This year I’m excited to be planning a trip to Australia! Last year I went to Thailand and the year before that I went to Italy and France. I also try to take at least 1 weekend trip each month within (and near) the United States, where I live. In the last 6 months, I’ve been to Mexico, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Nashville, Dallas (twice), San Diego, and next up is San Francisco!
4. What’s your most memorable moment on a short trip?
Most of my friends and family are scattered across the US, so many of my weekend trips are planned in conjunction with visiting one of them, or meeting up with them in a new city. I’ve traveled for weddings, graduations, surprise engagement parties, and even to attend a Santa themed pub crawl!
5. Why is travelling important to you?
Traveling has opened my mind up to the world and people who are different than me, but in the same way, has shown me how innately human we all are. I’ve met people from around the world in all types of different situations, and as we talk about our families, friends, holidays, traditions, goals, and dreams, I’m always amazed how similar we really are.
6. What’s the one thing you’ve learnt in your job that travelling won’t teach you?
Through my job I’ve learned a lot of technical skills that I otherwise would never have been exposed to, including becoming a whiz at Microsoft Excel!
7. Conversely, what has travelling taught you that you won’t learn in your job?
Through travel I’ve learned how to be spontaneous, to have a sense of adventure, and be able to roll with the punches when plans change.
8. What’s your #1 tip about how to maximise travel out of your hectic schedule?
Maximize your weekends!! I only get 15 vacation days a year and I use 7-8 of those for a big international trip. That only leaves 7-8 for weekend trips and visiting my family (who live in a different state)! I either take a Friday off or take no time off at all. I always take the earliest flight I can out on Friday evening (which means I drive straight to the airport from work at 5pm!), and the last flight possible home Sunday night. I’ve even been known to take a red eye, landing at 6am Monday, and driving straight to work from the airport. I know it sounds exhausting, but it’s literally the only way you can travel often with limited vacation days. It really is amazing how much you can fit in a weekend - 48-72 hours is usually enough to get a flavor for a new city and have an awesome weekend trip.
9. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Naturally I would love to have the power to create a Floo Network, like in the Harry Potter books! Can you imagine the destinations you could visit in a weekend with just a little bit of floo powder and a sense of adventure!?
10. Where are your favourite short distance destinations?
I live in California and am lucky to have so many gorgeous destinations nearby! I love exploring the wine regions of California. Temecula (Southern California), Santa Barbara/San Ynez (Central California) and Napa (Northern California) are all only a few hours drive away. It’s an easy weekend trip and I love trying new wines and learning about their wine productions. I’ve even gotten to help with harvesting grapes into a grape crusher at a small winery in Northern California. Shoveling grapes is a serious workout!