Woman of the Week: Sarah M.

Sarah M. is our Woman of the Week this October and she’s here to share her advice with you! Read about how she balances her full-time job, and check out her personal travel blog “O The Places We’ll Go” at the links below.

Connect with Sarah: BLOG   TWITTER   INSTAGRAM

Sarah eating lunch at a restaurant

  1. Tell us about yourself?

Hi! I’m Sarah.  I live in Chicago and work as a Pricing Strategy Analyst (I know it’s a mouthful) and write for my travel blog ‘O The Place’s We’ll Go.’
One of the challenges I found when I was starting my career was finding a balance between my interest in business and need for a creative outlet.  I started my blog a couple of years ago and have been sharing my adventures ever since. Travel has always been an important part of my life, and it’s been amazing to share some of my favorite places (The Faroe Islands, Malta, and New Zealand) as well as meet fellow travelers.  Besides travel, I love to cook, attend “Ted” type talks in Chicago with my sister, and explore Chicago.
  1. Why do you travel?

I travel for inspiration (corny I know). Working a desk job, analyzing data, and doing the normal ‘”routine” can be mentally draining.  When I travel, I love the newness of everything & the chance to learn about other people’s lives and cultures.  During a trip every small thing is exhilarating – a new language, a wrong turn in an unfamiliar city, the first taste of a local dish, the excitement stepping off a plane. I always feel inspired and refreshed when I return home from a trip.

  1. How do you balance work and travel?

My work/travel balance has varied depending on my job.  So far I’ve been fortunate to have managers that are flexible with working from home, and I haven’t run into issues getting vacation time approved.
Before my current role, I worked as a financial analyst.  In finance, there were certain times I could not travel such as during quarterly forecasting or month end close.  Other than that handful of days I ran into no restrictions.
I’ve always found that my managers do not mind my travel as long as I’m prepared, get my work done before a trip, and make sure I have a backup for when I’m out.
  1. What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your travels?

I’ve learned to keep an open mind. There have been many places I’ve gone to that I had preconceived notions about.  More often than not my ideas of a place were completely wrong.  The most recent one that comes to mind is Georgia (the country).  I presumed that Georgia would be a slow paced place with lots of Soviet era buildings. I was completely wrong.  The capital, Tbilisi, is vibrant, fast paced, and full of young people.  Georgia has incredible buildings in Tbilisi and amazing old monasteries and churches in the countryside. It’s one of those places I cannot wait to revisit.

buildings stacked high against the water

  1. Share one of your favorite travel memories.

One of my favorite travel memories is from Paris.  I went there with a group of friends from London.  We met the most amazing Parisian woman at a cocktail lounge we stumbled into.  She shared her favorite places in Paris, and the next day we met up with her and spent hours discussing life and drinking green tea.
  1. If you could share one travel tip with other women, what would it be?

Travel places that make you uncomfortable.  I’ve loved my trips to London and Paris, but the places I’ve learned and grown the most were out of my comfort zone.  Go somewhere where English is not the primary language, where the culture & food are different than what you are used to, and get out and meet people when you travel.

sarah walking through a market

Thanks for reading! Want more travel tips from Sarah and women like her?

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After you sign up, you’ll start receiving the following freebies: 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF), 20 Tips for Considerate Travel (a checklist), and 30 Jobs to See the World.

Want more interviews? Head to our Woman of the Week archives for the full library.

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