Working in Florida

There’s Nothing Wrong With A 40-Hour Workweek

Derek Perspectives, Work & Travel 109 Comments

40-Hour Workweek - Working in Florida
Four-hour workweeks, two-hour workweeks, zero-hour workweeks…that’s what it’s all about, right?

After a little research, anyone looking to break out of the traditional path in life, especially those of you who want to do some traveling, will undoubtedly discover an abundance of websites and people declaring that a life involving just a few hours of work per week, or even no work at all, is just around the corner and oh-so-easy to obtain.

Now that’s fine and all, despite it being complete nonsense, but I have a question.

What’s wrong with work?

I like to work. And while I would prefer not to spend 50+ hours per week in front of my laptop, as I generally do these days, I certainly don’t find the idea of a 4- or 3- or 0-hour workweek any more attractive. What’s wrong with a 40-hour workweek?

Work gives me a purpose, it gives me structure and it ensures that I am constantly using my brain. Also, work leads to new opportunities through the connections I make, helping me meet an endless number of amazing people and to have an endless number of amazing experiences that I otherwise would have missed out on.

Besides, if we choose our work wisely, work allows us to create and build and to actually observe the results of our efforts. And it feels mighty good to create something and to see it through until the end.

In my case, I genuinely enjoy spending time working on this blog, watching it grow and of course, having a chance to interact with all of you. I also enjoy creating other websites and travel-related eBooks and then witnessing how the months and months of hard work I put into each of these projects ends up benefiting other people in some way, shape or form.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bamboozle you into thinking that I only work for the love of work. I won’t hesitate to admit that I get quite excited about earning money through my efforts as well, money which allows me to continue living this nomadic lifestyle. Money does play a role. We all need it to travel and that’s just an undeniable fact.

But my point is that I don’t mind working hard to earn my money. I’m not bothered by a long, 40-hour workweek at all. Instead, I accept it and welcome it as an integral part of my lifestyle.

And I’ve always tried to stress on this website that without the long workweeks I’ve been putting in over the years, whether teaching English, working on board cruise ships or working online, I simply wouldn’t have been able to travel this world of ours for so long.

40-Hour Workweek - Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

As lovely as it would be, immigration officers stationed at the border of every country unfortunately do not hand every traveler $1000 upon arrival. You need to earn your money, and in order to earn it, you need to work. The good news is that if you have a healthy mindset, work doesn’t have to be such a negative thing.

And in all honesty, what would you do if you didn’t have to work? I sure have no idea what I’d do. The immediate answer would be to travel more but that’s really a silly answer as I travel quite a lot already. I just don’t know. I’m quite sure I would feel somewhat lost and even bored if I didn’t have to sit down at my computer every day and continue building and creating, finding solutions to problems and working on new ideas.

Again, I want to work. I enjoy work. And I don’t really understand the anti-work movement at all.

Instead of wasting time trying to chase after that unobtainable goal of 4- or 2-hour workweeks, I recommend spending time trying to find a type of work that interests and excites you, some kind of project or occupation that you are motivated to sit down and spend 20, 30 or yes, even 40, hours per week working on.

And once you do find something that you actually enjoy, then you can take the necessary steps to transform that work into something you can do while traveling and/or living overseas.

That’s how you turn travel into an actual lifestyle and I urge you not to be fooled by those who claim otherwise.


Any thoughts on a 40-hour workweek? Does the idea of working a few hours per week appeal to you? Or are you perfectly happy to work hard for your money as well?

Since 1999 I've been traveling and living around the world nonstop. Sign up below for personal stories, real advice and useful updates from my adventures. Only good stuff, no nonsense.

Are you ready to earn money and travel?

How to Work on a Cruise Ship and Travel eBooksClick above and get started!

Comments 109

  1. Pingback: 18 Days in a Super Beautiful, Remote Part of Mexico - Wandering Earl

  2. Alicia

    This post offers a fresh but realistic perspective. It has made me think twice about all those books and blogs I’ve been reading about working as little as possible and making heaps of money by some magical turn of events. I’m glad you’ve voiced this critical viewpoint. It’s not fair to lead people down the wrong path, especially if they honestly are trying to change their life and pursue their passions and actually see the results.

    I’ll definitely readjust my plan to see work as a way to live, but to find work that I enjoy, instead of finding ways to avoid it.

    It seems that the kind of work most people enjoy is work they create for themselves, that is, to be self-employed. I have a hard time envisioning a working lifestyle that is enjoyable if you work for someone else, under someone else’s terms.

  3. Jonna

    It has been close to one year since my original comment (the long post about some not-so-good experiences with a 40-hour workweek)… well, I was definitely on a right path having quit my job and little by little everything has worked out very well. I live in a different country, near the sea where I get to enjoy sunshine almost every day, which has always been a dream of mine. I work in a completely different job and (perhaps for the first time in my life) enjoy doing what I’m doing and actually getting paid for it. I make half the money I used to, but whatever… you cannot put a price on happiness.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jonna – That’s great to hear and I’m really happy it has worked out for you! You absolutely cannot put a price on happiness and it seems that you are truly enjoying your current situation 🙂

  4. Alana

    I’ve been in times of unemployment. (At one job they continued paying me for 2 months after I quit so that I could find something else without worrying about bills stacking up.) I’d always figured that I would enjoy not working, no stress, etc. but I found myself going crazy because I had all these thoughts and ideas and no outlet for them. I’ve always been blessed with great (if somewhat quirky) management, but I sympathize with those who have not. It makes a difference. Now I’m in a job I really enjoy, although the pay is minimal. I am looking for a job overseas and I look forward to the future. Life is always full of wonderful surprises. Who knows what’s just around the corner?

  5. Ashley

    Hey Wandering Earl,

    I was wonderig with a 40 hour work week about how much spending money do you have left each month after you pay for lodging and personal items?
    I am a college student right now, but I would love to start making some kind of steady income through the internet. I notice you talked in the past about affiliate marketing does that still bring in enough income for you?

    1. Earl

      Hey Ashley – Affiliate marketing makes up a tiny portion of my income these days as I now earn money through various websites, advertising and eBook sales. And after travel expenses, I have enough money left over to basically participate in any activities/entertainment I want and to save a good amount each month as well.

  6. Jonna

    Hey Earl (and anyone else who may be reading this),

    I’ve been reading several of your blog posts and so far enjoyed them all, this one concerning work being the only exception. And as I’m typing this reply I’m not even sure I’ll publish it… but having briefly spoken to you face-to-face has perhaps given me the extra push to press the “post comment” button.

    I’m not even sure why I feel the need to comment on this at all (because generally I’m quite happy to leave the commenting to others)… maybe it’s because unfortunately I do understand the anti-work movement… not because I’m lazy, uneducated, unskilled or whatever else. I was always good at school, got my degree and then moved on to worklife. I have always loved travelling and dreamt of taking at least a full year off to travel so in that sense I am maybe more likely to get fed up with a 9-to-5 full-time job than someone else whose goals in life are different. But anyway, speaking about work… I’ve always been a hard worker, quick learner and never worried too much about leaving work the minute your workday ends because for me the quality and customer satisfaction were always more important. I always did more than I had to do and helped out everyone else as well… OK, now someone is thinking “well that’s your own (beep) problem because you chose to do that” but the thing is, I always thought it would pay off… showing motivation and working hard was bound to land you in a job that you could appreciate and earn good treatment from your employer, right? Have them apperiacte you, right? Well it didn’t. I have faced a manager stabbing me in the back because they considered me a threat and caused me to loose my job. I’ve had several managers who just treated me (and everyone else) badly, just for the fun of it. Most of my jobs have had terrible working atmosphere where the employees are stressed out with unrealistic goals to meet and being treated terribly and resulting to lots of sick leaves which just makes the workload even worse for the others. And sadly, it seems that working extra hard and performing better than anyone expected, only earns you more of a workload and even more stress. I realize that not everyone will have such bad experiences of worklife and I’m happy for that. But sadly my story is not at all unique… there are loads of people of different ages feeling the same way and I can see how that really would leave you hating work. And this is mostly people in the western societies where apparently money is supposed to buy you happiness.

    I think I got the point of your post, though… I think. The point being that when you actually find out what it is that you want to do, then you will be happy to work. Well I sure I hope I get there. After several years of bad experiences and stress-related health issues, in the end I decided to quit, now being unemloyed (and did I mention happy?) by choice. Was it smart? Many people would say it wasn’t but I think it was simply the right thing to do. Because it felt right. Now I’m trying to figure out what I actually WANT to do with my life (besides travelling which I always knew) and how I can actually afford to travel while doing something I enjoy… it will probably take me a while still but I think I’m on the right path anyway. In the meantime I very much enjoy my freetime which I consider well-earned after all this… umm… I guess I’m not supposed to write swearwords on your blog 😉

    I would also like to say to anyone out there who is struggling with these things… firstly, you are not alone, and secondly, it is your life so you can do whatever you want with it. There will always be an excuse if you look for one. There will even be actual reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to prioritising and deciding what is important for you.

    I look forward to reading more of you posts in the future, Earl, and even if this did not necessarily relate to your life, at least reading this should make you even happier about the choices you have made.

    Jonna

    BTW I did not take the effort to read through all the comments prior to mine so I’m sorry if I just repeated what someone else has already said.

    1. Rachelzinha89

      Very true and sincere writing Jonna, i can completely relate to this..i’ve read Earl’s blog after I first made my Independent Russian travel last winter, and being a female as well, and now came back here again to check new stuff that could possibly help for my Winter travel this time crossing through Russia and to the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan…i just wanted to say that i totally agree on your post as i work in somewhat the same kind of environment where the bosses take bulk of the production income and only gives you more work in turn of your good work..the only thing we can really count on is that we can decide on our life and even with our apprehensions, trusting completely what we really love

  7. Marius

    Work is shit mate, you only like it cause you get to enjoy the fruits of it, and it’s not labor. I am quite fed up with working on low wages and breaking my back in construction, with illegal uneducated peasant like hispanics, clogging my nose with dust for money that goes to shit very fast. It’s one thing to do something you like and not breaking a sweat and another for most of us inhabitants of planet earth. Lucky you

    PS: Working on boats must’ve sucked. Waking up in the morning to go to a place you hate sucks as well. Living in the same place for a long time sucks too. Not seeing mountains in 6 years sucks too. A lot of things that normal not nomad-like people go though suck, you just don’t know anymore.

    1. Earl

      Hey Marius – With an attitude such as yours, there is certainly no way your situation is going to change. Everyone I know who is living a similar lifestyle to the one I lead made the choice to change their life and to break out of whatever crappy situation they were in. If you wanted to change your life you could do the same…but throwing around such negative comments certainly won’t get you anywhere.

  8. Christian

    “Now that’s fine and all, despite it being complete nonsense…”

    While I enjoy your posts and have had both a great laugh during your ‘Bin Laden candy and a bullet’-trip, and experienced my pulse fluctuate when you depicted in great detail the close-up with a crocodile and hippopotamus, I have also noticed that you are ignorant.

    “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

    Sincerely,
    someone who leverages his lifestyle with both automation and other people’s time to do his work

    1. Earl

      Hey Christian – I have yet to find or meet a single person who has created a lifestyle that involves a few hours of work per week without having to have put in a great deal of effort to reach that point. And unfortunately, most of the ‘you can work a few hours per week too’ websites fail to mention that very important part. That’s not ignorance, that’s the truth.

Leave a Reply to Alana Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *