Meet the Singaporean Who’s Travelled to 79 Countries Across 7 Continents – While Holding a Full-Time Job!

Meet the Singaporean Who’s Travelled to 79 Countries Across 7 Continents – While Holding a Full-Time Job!

There are those who are contented with short getaways amidst a busy work schedule, and then there’s Donovan, the 27-year-old teacher who’s on his way to visiting all countries in the world.

Travelling the world is something most of us want to check off our bucket list. But encircled in the hustle of our fast-paced lifestyles, how many of us actually get round to accomplish this dream?

how to travel with full time job

Meet Donovan, a 27-year-old from Singapore. Despite the competitive and work-oriented society that is commonly associated with the country, this secondary school teacher has been venturing all over the globe, and has no intention of stopping anytime soon! Donovan caught the travel bug in his university days, and by the age of 25, he had travelled to all 7 continents of the world including Antarctica!

Amidst his travels and work, we had the exciting opportunity to have a chat with Donovan. He told us all about his passion for travel, his desire to visit every country in the world, and how he manages to balance all this while holding a full-time job. There was certainly lots to learn from his journey thus far!

His solo sojourns

Donovan shared how his parents brought him on family holidays overseas every year when he was younger. When he was 21, he started travelling with his friends, but it wasn’t until university that he began travelling solo. He found a greater freedom in doing so, not needing to coordinate clashing schedules with his friends. Indeed, travelling solo, though seemingly daunting at first, can bring about plenty of advantages, especially for those working with limited off day leaves! Travelling solo also allowed him to explore more unconventional and unique places suited to his preferences. In fact, regions that are not commonly visited by Singaporeans, such as Eastern Europe, were some of the most interesting places on his ongoing journey.

His travel goals

Donovan’s plans for travelling are far from over. Inspired by various blogs of other daring travellers, he aspires to visit every single country in the world, and even hopes to live overseas someday. Donovan also related how he prefers to gain an in-depth understanding of each place he visits, seeking to explore at least two cities in each country, as compared to a mere stopover just to check the country off his list. This way, he gets to spend adequate time to gain a rich experience of the country’s culture.

To achieve this dream, he dedicates all his free time to travel, including the long weekends when time permits! As a school teacher, he shared how he plans his trips over the two months of annual leave he gets, and emphasises how spontaneity is key. “I do not plan right to the exact minute,” Donovan explains, “logistics are not so tricky as long as my flights and first few nights of accommodation are booked.”

His most recent trip

When we contacted Donovan, he had just completed his December trip to Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan – all countries in the Caucasus, the region situated at the border of Europe and Asia. Here’s what he has to say about his trip:

how to travel with full time job

Iran may not be a typical travel destination for most tourists, but it was Donovan’s pick because the country had always fascinated him with its rich culture and history. “After hearing positive stories from my friends who have visited Iran, it made me even more excited to visit the country, which often receives negative limelight in the media,” he shared.

Donovan then chose to visit the Caucasus since they were neighbouring Iran. He enjoys travelling overland so that he can more keenly observe the differences between countries, “[they are] just separated by a border – a human construct.” From all his accounts, Donovan definitely exudes a passion for travelling; he manages to not only dispel stigmas of countries that most probably have, but also appreciate the diverse cultures and landscapes of the world with a better understanding of each country.

His favourite countries

When asked for his favourite country, Donovan could not pick one, simply because of all the positive adventures and unique perspectives he had gained from all of them. However, he revealed how France would always have a special place in his heart, as he spent a semester living there as part of his student exchange programme in university. Calling it his second home, he tells of how each region of France offers a diametrically different experience, as well as its acclaimed gastronomic cuisine.

From his experience, he posited how different countries cater to the various tastes and preferences of different travellers. For instance, Donovan chose Norway for its scenic mountains and beautiful fjord landscape, though he added that it would not be one for the budget travellers, as a simple meal from McDonald’s can set you back at least $15!

Among the countries he has visited in South America, he highlighted Bolivia because of the mind-blowing Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca, the largest saltwater flat and world’s highest altitude water body respectively.

how to travel with full time job

In Africa, he particularly enjoyed Lesotho, otherwise known as the Kingdom in the Sky, because of the vibrant traditional costumes, as well as friendly locals who even brought him to visit secret places such as majestic waterfalls.

His classroom

After learning of all these amazing accounts from Donovan’s journeys, it left us wondering how one could be so well-travelled while still working a full-time job in the rat race of Singapore. For Donovan, it’s all a matter of perspective. In fact, as a teacher, he shares his wealth of travel experiences in the classroom, using his own personal examples and travel photos. “This makes them curious about the world and I am also able to show them how physical-human environmental interactions can take place in any part of the world.”

how to travel with full time job

Donovan also imparts the soft skills that he had picked up along the way of during his travels. For example, he teaches the value of developing perseverance and resilience when sharing the real-life challenges that he experienced while travelling. This is especially so being in the relatively well-off city of Singapore. Travelling around the world certainly exposes us comfort creatures to the hardships encountered regularly in less fortunate countries, and forces us to adapt to different living conditions.

His words to you

To those who may put off exploring the globe due to work constraints or money, Donovan finally offers that there will always be a way to do so if you set your mind to it. “If you sacrifice that latest iPhone or stop drinking Starbucks every day for a month, you will be able to afford that next trip… happiness is not about chasing brands or getting the latest technological gadgets, something which Singaporeans are always chasing after.”

how to travel with full time job

To sum up, Donovan left us with this: “I would rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Choosing to travel instead of focussing on accumulating material possessions is aptly germane to Donovan’s pursuit of happiness and this mindset has followed him as he gradually achieves his dream of visiting every single country across the globe.

About Author

Stephanie Lauw
Stephanie Lauw

Stephanie is an English literature and film student who has succumbed to the occupational hazard of over-analysing her favourite TV shows. She enjoys theatre and music, and dabbles with both by writing bad plays and experimenting with her band. Her current dream is to island hop the filming locations of all the seasons of Survivor.

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