Out of Office: Nie Nie

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.

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NieNie is a Korean-American and California native who is obsessed with travel, local foods, local art and adventures. She isn’t your typical travel blogger who quit her full-time job to travel the world and yet still manages to make time for travel in her life. Learn about tips on how to save, work and still be able to travel with a full-time career. Some of her favorite places to write about are the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Italy. 

1. Where do you work and what’s your role?

I work as a Marketing Supervisor for a Parks and Recreation Department. I am typically in
charge of the District’s Social Media, Activity Guide Publications, Website Information Updates, and Photography for events, classes, programs, and more. My daily work day varies, somedays I am at the pools photographing kid’s swim lessons to advertise and some days I am in the office creating flyers, posting on social media or working on articles to include for our quarterly publications.

2. Tell us something interesting about you people don’t know.

I went to school for art, most of my friends know this, but I am not sure if any of my readers really know this. I was a fine arts major and had a concentration in Installation Art. I even attended Graduate School to pursue my Master’s but ended up getting a career which was more difficult at the time. It is interesting when I reflect to being a college student, I took a lot of art classes in high school for drawing and I never thought I would have a focus in Installation Art.

3. How many days of leave do you have?

I am one of the lucky ones with my job which is why I love it so much. I earn about 6 hours of PTO per pay period, which averages about 4 weeks a year. However, I don’t accrue any sick leave, so that means if I am sick, I have to use up some of my PTO. I have to be thankful for being healthy but also a job that is super flexible.

4. How many trips do you take a year for leisure?

I take about at least 2 international trips a year sometimes more, but about 2-4 domestic flights/trips and tons of day trips on the road over the weekend. Well I always take a trip to the Philippines every year to visit my father and family who live in the Philippines for 2 weeks. Some of the domestic trips are to San Diego where my brother lives, others I am traveling with my best friends to a new country I haven’t experienced every year which is usually about a week and a half long and sometimes I travel with my brother and sister in law with their family or just with them in general. I have no family where I am currently located, so it is important for me to visit family when I can.

5. What’s your most memorable moment on a short trip?

My most memorable moment on a short trip is pretty much having a layover in South Korea to visit with family. When I visit to the Philippines to visit my dad, sometimes I can have a long layover in Incheon, South Korea. This provides me with the opportunity to see my nephew, my cousins and aunt over lunch or dinner.

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6. What’s the one thing you’ve learnt in your job that travelling won’t teach you?

My job has taught me that hard work pays off and how to work well with others. First off, working in my job has provided a lot of learning opportunities for me. I started out in a different position than marketing at first and when my work saw the talent and hard work that I had accomplished at work, they created a new position for me. Second, my work environment is what makes me love my job that much more. My coworkers are like family to me, we see each other more than we see our actual family and we have made an amazing work atmosphere where we can communicate to each other and we help each other when we can.

7. Conversely, what has travelling taught you that you won’t learn in your job?

Traveling has taught me to value my life, my memories and everything I have. Creating memories are more important than things. Material things tend to depreciate over time while your memories will stay with you forever.

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8. What’s your #1 tip about how to maximise travel out of your hectic schedule?

My number 1 tip about maximizing my time with a hectic schedule is creating a spreadsheet for your vacation time. I earn about 6 hours per paycheck, so I have created a spreadsheet that shows me how much vacation time I have earned in the time frame I plan to use my vacation time. By doing this, I can predict how much vacation time I will have 6 months to a year from now. I have a formula in which I can deduct vacation time used and it automatically adds the vacation time earned. It’s seriously my life saver.

9. What are your guilty pleasures?  

My guilty pleasures usually consist of food, desserts and beer! When I travel, I often will research places to eat to the destination I am in. I love to eat good food and spend plenty of money on it if it is worth it. I absolutely love seafood and will often choose seafood over other types of protein. My favorite seafood dishes usually consist of oysters, mussels and shrimp.

10. Where are your favourite short distance destinations and why?

My favorite short distance destinations are Lake Tahoe, CA and San Francisco, CA. Each of these destinations are about an hour and half drive from where I live which makes these beautiful locations easy to get to. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful Lake surrounded by mountains that you can visit during the summer or winter. It is typically more popular during the winter time due to snowboarding and skiing. It is a very popular destination for winter sports and a great way to escape the city. San Francisco is a very popular city around the world and there is a lot to do with tons of great restaurants and bars.

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