Out of Office: Sharon, Travel Eat Enjoy Repeat
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.
I am a 31 year old woman living in Belgium. After living in Switzerland for 6 months and in The Netherlands for 4 years, I recently moved back to Belgium. I love food (eating and cooking), photography, and being active. With my blog I want to share my love for travel through experiences, stories, and photos.
1. Where do you work and what’s your role?
I am a medical writer for a small company. I have a PhD in biomedical engineering and now I can do what I liked doing during my PhD: I mainly write scientific articles, make presentations, and do proofreading. The only difference is that now it is not my own research. I am lucky that I get to travel for work and that we are allowed to take some days after the ‘work part’ for some sightseeing.
2. Tell us something interesting about you people don’t know.
For people that only know me the last couple of years, it will be surprising to know that I love being active now. I was pretty lazy and going on a holiday just for hiking would have been out of the question. And I am afraid of the dark ☺.
3. How many days of leave do you have?
This year 19 days without the fixed holidays.
4. How many trips do you take a year for leisure?
Normally we take 2 holidays: 1 long active one and 1 all-inclusive to a sunny destination ☺. This year we went to Egypt and for our long holiday it will be Iceland for 2 weeks.
Next to that we also take some short trips when we have long weekends. Mainly in Belgium but also in Europe.
5. What’s your most memorable moment on a short trip?
The most memorable moment was when my boyfriend surprised my with a city trip to Budapest for my 30th birthday. He planned everything while normally he lets me do all the planning because it gives him too much stress. ☺
6. What’s the one thing you’ve learnt in your job that travelling won’t teach you?
With my job it is important to be precise and notice every little detail, everything has to be right. From my previous job I learned communication, talking to people you don’t know about anything.
7. Conversely, what has travelling taught you that you won’t learn in your job?
To let go sometimes. I need to be in control at my job, I need to know where I am heading. With traveling I learned that I have to let that go sometimes. It is not easy but I am learning.
8. What’s your #1 tip about how to maximise travel out of your hectic schedule?
Try to match your leave with the fixed holidays (if you have them) to give you maximal travel. In Belgium normally people have around 25 days of leave and fixed holidays. If you plan it right you can maximise that to 60 days. Also planning shorter trips for long weekends nearby will give you some holiday feeling. And plan well in advance, that way you know how much days you still have after your ‘big holiday’.
9. What is your most memorable trip?
I think our second road trip through the USA, starting and ending in San Diego. I had to be there for a conference and after that we traveled for 3 weeks. It was the perfect combination of cities and nature. We did and saw so many amazing things.
10. Where are your favourite short distance destinations?
At the moment, I like going on holiday with the car. Living in Belgium this means France, Germany, Luxembourg, and also stay in Belgium.