How to work 9-5 and travel the rest of the time

A full-time job shouldn’t stop you from satisfying your wanderlust. The Local spoke to Travel After 5 blogger Alline Waldhem to find out her tips and tricks for travellers who only have 25 days of annual leave.

How to work 9-5 and travel the rest of the time
Photo: Alline in Lisbon, Portugal

Feel like your day job is thwarting your travel plans? Keep telling yourself you don’t have the time (or cash) to take a trip? Where there’s a will, there’s a way, says travel aficionado Alline Waldhelm.

“It’s really a mindset. I love to do it and, on average, I travel somewhere once a month. In the summer, I fly every single weekend.”

Alline, who is originally from Brazil, caught the travel bug when she first visited Germany 12 years ago. It’s a trip that changed her life; she resolved to live in Europe one day and sure enough returned several years later to study in Munich before settling in Vienna.

“I always really liked traveling to Europe. When I was living in Brazil, I managed to come four times before moving to Munich to study German,” she tells The Local.

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Photo: Alline in Budapest last year

Although she works full time as a financial analyst, Alline doesn’t let her job get in the way of her adventures. In Austria, she explains, overtime is discouraged so it gives her plenty of time and the flexibility to take a flight on a Friday evening and return on the Sunday night.

“It’s actually really manageable,” she says. “For me, it’s so important to have these breaks. Of course, you don’t disconnect from your life in two or three days but that’s not the point. There’s so much to explore; you might be physically tired but it’s a mental break and you go back to the office on Monday with a lighter mood.”

While she reserves the bulk of her annual leave for travelling back to Brazil, she still takes a couple of weeks over summer to plan a longer trip. This year, she’s heading to Costa Smeralda in Sardinia – “The beaches are unbelievable and I want to explore more parts of the La Maddalena archipelago” – before spending a week in the south of Portugal which she describes as “full of history and culture, welcoming people and delicious food.”

Photo: Alline in Sicily during summer 2018

Where to find travel inspiration

When looking for new places to travel, Alline often turns to her most trusted resource: her friends and ex-classmates who are scattered across Europe. Or, if there’s a specific city or country that she is keen to visit, she’ll follow news sites like The Local or Time Out to keep up with local events. She’s also an active member of Facebook groups like European Travellers #WhereToNext? that are dedicated to travel tips and inspiration.

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When Alline is feeling really adventurous she’ll use a feature like Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search to find the best deals on cheap flights. It’s how she stumbled on a great return flight to Larnaca, a pretty port city in southern Cyprus, last Christmas. Often, she starts with the destination, whether it’s a recommendation or her own find, and then pads out the trip once she’s booked.

She believes it’s still possible to ‘get off the beaten track’ even if you only have a couple of days to explore. In her experience, the best way to do this is to not plan too rigidly. Instead, pick a couple of things you really want to see or do and then play the rest of the trip by ear.

Photo: Alline in Lake Garda

“I try to be spontaneous. I really enjoy arriving in a city and just walking around and seeing what people are doing. I don’t plan every minute because usually you can meet someone and they suggest something to do. Leaving your time open means you may run into something more interesting or discover something different along the way.”

Find out how to discover your own life-changing place

The best advice she can offer full-time workers who are keen to travel more is to think logistically when booking flights and hotels. For short weekend trips, Alline mostly sticks to Europe and limits flight time to under a couple of hours so that the journey itself doesn’t eat too much into her precious exploring time.

The same goes once she’s touched down at her destination.

“Take London, for example, there are five airports and some of them it takes hours to get from the airport to the city centre. So I always find the airport that is closest. If it’s a small saving but it means I I lose an hour getting to the hotel, that’s something I won’t do.”

Alline adds that although you may be able to find a nicer hotel further out of the city “it’s not doable” when you only have a couple of days. Instead, she advises staying somewhere that may not be as plush but is more conveniently located. This way, you won’t “lose time, which is very precious on a short trip”.

Finally, she says: “Always be half ready to travel”. Alline always keeps a bag packed with the essentials like her passport, camera and tripod. This way, it only takes half an hour to pack so she can set off at short notice.

“If you have these things in your suitcase, you won’t forget anything. Everything is in the same place, half the work is already done.”

Alline’s top travel tips

  • Keep a bag packed with all your travel essentials

  • Check flight comparison sites to find new destinations 

  • Ask friends who live locally for insider tips

  • Look to Facebook groups and local news outlets for inspiration

  • If a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, take a ‘bridging day’ to turn it into a four-day weekend

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Lufthansa.


‘I didn’t realize Norwegians were so cool!’ Swedes on hit show ‘Skam’

Skam. It's everywhere – on the internet, ads on public transport and the hot topic at work and school. But could this Norwegian teen drama even end the age-old rivalry between Sweden and Norway? The Local took to the streets of Stockholm to find out.

'I didn't realize Norwegians were so cool!' Swedes on hit show 'Skam'
A scene from Norwegian show Skam. Photo: NRK

If you haven’t heard of it already – “Skam” (which directly translated means “Shame”) is now Norway's most successful web-series ever with more than 200,000 viewers per episode. Set in the posh district of Frogner, West End Oslo, Skam follows a group of teenagers through their daily lives. While the pilot episode aired in September of 2015, the show has more recently taken its home country by storm – and abroad. 

And as it turns out, it has made the Swedes view their Nordic neighbours in an entirely new light.

Categorized by Sweden's public broadcaster as a “youth series about friendship, love, sex, parties, and betrayal”, there seems to be much more to the show than meets the eye. Since its airing it has broken boundaries – even its own. Although the show's creator, Julie Andem, has said Skam's target audience is 16 year-old girls, it seems to be catching the attention of all ages and genders.

Julius, a 17-year-old male from Stockholm, disagrees with the target audience, arguing that “every teenager can relate to the show. It's a reality for all of us. I’ve talked to some adults who watch the show and even they love it too.”

“I've watched the show with my mum and my 25-year-old sister,” Clara, 18, tells The Local. “I think it can be for most ages actually.” 

Axel Hammar, a 17-year-old, believes that “in our modern society, people are now more open and accepting. This is not just a 'girly' show.”

Perhaps it is Skam's dense and pertinent themes which promote the show's popularity. In just three seasons, it has transcended the mere title of “teen show”, featuring issues such as feminism, homophobia, islamophobia, eating disorders, and mental illness. Problems that can be relevant to anyone.

Mathias Olsson, a 52-year-old Stockholmer, says that after watching the show he feels included in such issues. “It helps you understand what is important in today’s society.”

“The problems really are fascinating and interesting,” Julius adds. “That’s why it's so popular.”

Sussie Wernersson, 50, says her “Skam addiction” comes from the show's tendency to focus on “real life issues.”

Others argue that Skam's specific Nordic influence is the key to its success. “The show – and all the problems in it – are for everyone, especially those who have grown up in Sweden or Norway,” says 19-year-old Kattie.

READ ALSO: Danish fans invade Oslo school in hope of seeing stars

Daphne, a 19-year-old female, agrees that the show's spotlight on Scandinavian teen culture is completely unprecedented. “It's also relevant for older people because it shows an interesting side of teenagers' life in a part of the world that no one has seen before. I haven’t heard of any other shows in the Scandinavian area about teenagers.” 

'Skam' has even been hailed for making Norwegian culture more popular in other Nordic countries, as it was awarded the Nordic Language Award on December 5th, 2016. Is this possible in Sweden, where the “Sweden vs. Norway” rivalry is the source of many common jokes? 

“I had no idea how Norwegian teenagers had fun, how their social hierarchy worked, or how their perspective was towards foreigners,” Daphne notes. “I definitely know more about Norway now then before.”

However, when asked about Skam's ability to end the friendly rivalry between Sweden and Norway, she exclaims: “No! That’s forever.”

Others believe that the show can be the start of something new. Alva, 14, jokes: “I think I'm more into Norwegian guys now.”

Carina Mårtensson, age 59, thinks that “it could certainly be a bridge between our cultures”.

Whether that is true or not, Skam has definitely changed Swedes' opinions of Norwegians. Kattie confesses that before watching the show, she thought Norwegians were “boring”. “I didn't realize Norwegian culture was so similar to Swedish culture,” she tells The Local. “I didn’t realise [Norwegians] were so cool!” 

Julius comments on how the show has changed teen language in Sweden: “Now, many kids who watch Skam start to speak Norwegian, like the word “hooke” (meaning making out). Everyone says that now.”

Whether viewers are Norwegian, Swedish or from any other country, it is undeniable that Skam's fearless plots and relatable storyline sheds light on social issues for some and serves as a mirror image for others. Axel Hammer says: “Despite any label or stereotype, I think most people can see themselves in Skam.”

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