42 Traveling the World with a 9-to-5 Job – 54 Countries and Counting with Mari Escobar

On Season 2, Episode 25 of Alone with Peter Financial Controller and World Traveler Mari Escobar shares how she fell in love with with solo travel, stories of her time abroad, and how she maximizes her work schedule in order to travel more.
Alone With Peter
42 Traveling the World with a 9-to-5 Job – 54 Countries and Counting with Mari Escobar

I can’t travel. I’ve got a normal job It’s time to throw out that old excuse. You CAN travel with a normal job. You’ve just got to find a way to prioritize it. Mari Escobar has been to 54 countries and counting all while working a “normal” 9-to-5 job. How on earth does she do it? Find out in part 2 of our interview, 42 Traveling the World with a 9-to-5 Job – 54 Countries and Counting with Mari Escobar.

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Follow Mari Escobar Financial Controller and World Traveler

If you want to get in touch with Mari Escobar or see where she’s off to next, check out the links below.

Instagram: MariMari4 and LinkedIn: maritereescobar

42 Traveling the World with a 9-to-5 Job X 54 Countries and Counting with Mari Escobar

*Transcripts may contain a few typos. With interviews ranging from 1-2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.

Peter Kersting: Welcome to Alone with Peter a podcast for entrepreneurs, artists, digital nomads, and people seeking personal growth. We are back with Mari Escobar who is going to be talking to us about her experience as a solo traveler and how she maximizes her work to be able to pursue travel more often. If you’ve been making the excuse that you can’t travel because you have a normal job and they don’t wanna give you time off. Well, maybe you’ll find some tips in this interview about how you negotiate some of that. Bottom line is if travel is important to you, you can find a way to make it happen. That’s something I’m excited to talk with Mari Escobar about. In this second part of our interview, Mari will dive a little bit more into some solo travel stories and all the above.

Peter Kersting: We ended last week though, talking about your first experience traveling alone, in Paris and how that changed you. Could you touch on some of the things that you really learned about yourself from that experience? You hinted about it a little bit last week.

Mari Escobar: Yeah, for sure. I would say the main thing is just like, I was not as shy anymore. And I learned to like talk to anyone around me because I mean, you’re on your own. So you have to talk to someone at some point, right? And you have to figure out where you are, you know, you can’t rely on anyone. It’s all you, the money decisions, like where to go next and like, what happens if something goes wrong or stuff like that. But at the same time, it’s like, you can do whatever you want. You don’t have to be up to like anybody’s schedule. And if you wanna sit here on the sidewalk of the street and ineat your falafel just do it here. Nobody cares. Make friends with the people next to you. Keep walking and stop by the next bench and, you know, take your time to enjoy the scenery nobody’s rushing you. It’s a whole different experience. I love traveling with my family, with friends, but solo traveling is a whole other world out there.

Peter Kersting: What is it about the solo travel that you’ve found you’ve enjoyed the most? It seems like I know for me, it’s kind of what you’re just touching on about, like, you could just eat your falafel and take 15 minutes on the bench if you want, or you could just keep running, you know, mm-hmm I love that you get to set the pace, cuz sometimes when you’re with other people, even as not as much as you love being with them, it, you kind of have to just be more like, all right, what do you wanna do?

Mari Escobar: Yeah. You don’t need to compromise. You just compromise as you, so yeah. Sounds selfish. But you know, it’s, you can’t enjoy it while you can. And then you also meet, I mean, you have to make this a point you also meet so many people like for like-minded and then you don’t spend that much time on your own. Like, people are like, oh my God, you’re crazy. Like, where are you going on your own? Like, something’s gonna happen. Obviously mom gets worried. And even like all my friends, like, what are you doing? Like who does that? Right. But at some point I’m like, whenever I talk to my mom, when I’m like traveling, she’s like, I haven’t spent any time on my own. Like I’ve met so many people and we’re all on, on the same page. We always, we all wanna see like this store’s attraction or we wanna do like this excursion somewhere.

Mari Escobar: So it’s super easy. Again, like you have to put yourself out there and be on that social mode. But if you do, and if, once you, once you open up, it’s like so easy and then it’s yeah, it’s, it’s a lot of fun, but at the same time, like the other side is like, sometimes you don’t wanna feel that social. I’m like, Ugh, I don’t wanna do those small talks again. And you know, try to meet new people. Like there there’s always like one night it’s like, okay, I, I I’ll just eat and you know, go back to, to my place and not, yeah, don’t have to go through that.

Peter Kersting: totally, totally. And it’s an interesting aspect of it too, is you probably learn what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with.

Mari Escobar: Mm-Hmm

Peter Kersting: Is anything popping into mind with you? I’m just curious, like I know for me, man, I, I could think of definitely there have been times where I’m like, I have to figure this out on my own and this is really stressful. But after the fact, I was really glad that I had to figure it out on my own. Cuz it’s kind of what made the trip exciting

Mari Escobar: Sometimes. I don’t know. Maybe when, I mean, we’ve all been lost at some point your GPS is not working or you don’t, you don’t always have like cell phone reception or like a sim card or like wifi, my phone. I don’t have one of those international plans that, oh, I don’t always have a SIM card. So it’s like, okay. Yeah. Now I need to get wifi, try to find a place that has it. And you know, maybe if I’m trying to meet with someone and I’m like, oh, I need to find a place that has it. Try to go to like burger king and see if you can sneak in or Starbucks. That sort of thing can get annoying. But at the same time, other times it’s like, okay, let me figure out, let me grab a map. I do love like old school maps. I don’t always like the GPS. I like when I first get to a place, I try to get like a paper map, see where I am. I’m like, okay, where should I go? I go to like the counter. I’m like, okay, mark up the, the main places to go and you know, figure it out on your own.

Peter Kersting: Really? On the physical map? You just like to get it out and do that. I love that? I would never have thought.

Mari Escobar: I’m one of those.

Peter Kersting: That’s so funny. I love that.

Mari Escobar: I’m old school. I have it in my purse. And I mean, you, you need to know where to open it. Cause obviously you look super obvious, like a tourist.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. Yeah.

Mari Escobar: But I do like seeing it and seeing like the whole picture of the city and like where you are and when you wanna go, you know, on the GPS

Peter Kersting: Sure.

Mari Escobar: On a phone, you can do it. But you know, it’s such a small image. It’s not, it doesn’t necessarily give the whole big picture. And like,

Peter Kersting: Plus one thing I would say to your point is that when you’re looking at the phone for directions somewhere, I often don’t look up. I’m just kind like, alright, why is it taking me? And when you’re traveling, the whole point is like pay attention what you’re doing. Right. So yeah, if you do the physical map, you have to like orient yourself and then go, and then you could just be kind of like present to what’s what’s going on.

Mari Escobar: I mean, you also have to be looking, but yeah. Yeah. Sorry. Like pay attention to like street names and see where you are. Right. Or try to ask, like, if you don’t have a phone, it’s like, oh, where am I? Like try to, yeah. Yeah. Even if you know, a few words in the language, try to like butcher them. people like at least sometimes, you know, you know the name of one main sure. Attraction and people with like, even if it’s with signals, you can get there.

Peter Kersting: Do you have a story that pops to mind? One of your favorite stories about getting lost somewhere and having to figure it out?

Mari Escobar: Not

Peter Kersting: Particular? Well, I’ll come back to it.

Mari Escobar: I just like wondering around that’s part of, one of the things that I love about traveling.

Peter Kersting: You, you made me think of a, you made me think of a, I’m not gonna tell a story right now is too long. But I had my, I first went to Europe in 2016. I got an appendicitis the first day I was in the Netherlands and I had to have an emergency appendectomy. And maybe I’ve told you this story.

Mari Escobar: I think I’ve heard this story. Yeah.

Peter Kersting: But you made me think of that because I had to ride my bike around with no cell service and figure out how to get to the hospital while my appendix bursting and you had to do it.

Mari Escobar: I did have something similar. Not, not as bad, but yeah. Yeah. In the hospital, in, in Italy. Well, I had to go to the hospital in Italy once and I was like, I mean, I threw the map. You found like where it is. So I, I went walking from the hostel, but then I had to look for the emergency room and it was not just one building. There’s like 10 buildings and you’re like walking around. I can understand Italian, but I don’t speak Italian. Right. So, but I got to learn like proto, I never forget this proto is like emergency room. So I kept asking, like, I couldn’t find it. I had like no cell phones. So I kept asking the people. Yeah. Yeah, like don’t this, that proto, like, you know, that was the key word. So they would like point out or they would say it in, in Italian and I could guess more or less, but it took me a while to get there.

Peter Kersting: it took me…

Mari Escobar: Yeah. And there’s it’s that’s not gonna be on the map on the, like the paper map that they give you. So that was, yeah.

Peter Kersting: Wait, wait, wait. You can’t skirt over the whole white. You were at the hostel. You need to go to emergency room. Let’s hear the story.

Mari Escobar: I can’t skip through that. I went through the map getting lost. Yeah. Yeah. But yes, this was during my first Europe, Europe, like solo travel.

Peter Kersting: That first solo travel trip.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. but I mean, this was on and off. I have been with friends already, some other like solo parts, but Italy. I did. Yeah, I did on my own. This was in Rome and I went to the hostel. I mean, I was fine. I, you know, I had been exploring, maybe had been there, I think one or two days already. And so I wear contacts when I travel just to, I don’t wear glasses on my daily life, but when I travel, I like to see everything. I don’t know where I am. So I like to read the, the signs. be able to read the signs from far. So I was just wearing my contacts, nothing like out of the ordinary. And then I go to, I go to bed. It, it, it was a bunk bed and you know, those things, the drawers that go on the bottom, like the, where you put your bags. Sure. But in this one it was all like metal and like the bed, I don’t know, the drawer would not open if like someone was sleeping there, it would like push it. And it was hard to, to open up

Peter Kersting: It’d get jammed.

Mari Escobar: Does that make sense?

Peter Kersting: Huh? It would get jammed.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. It wouldn’t get up because of the weight. Like it couldn’t.

Peter Kersting: Oh, I see if someone was lying on top of it. Okay.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. I was like on the top bunk, so there was someone in the bottom and I couldn’t like open my bed. I didn’t wanna like wake them up. So AmeI’m here going , you know, I’ll sleep with my contacts. Nothing’s gonna happen. And then, so I did, and through the night I started like feeling really bad. Like my eye would like, would be teary. Like my, I got like stuff, you know? So I’m like, I, I would be like tossing and turning. I couldn’t sleep. I felt bad because of my roommates. It was like maybe four of us in the room.

Peter Kersting: Yeah.

Mari Escobar: And I didn’t wanna be it too noisy, but at some point I, I figure out a way to like, not even open the thing, the basket below the, under the bed, but managed to get like the contact case or something out . And I finally took the contacts out and like, my eyes were bad. I couldn’t like, yeah. I had like the sinus, like stuffing notes. It was weird. Gosh. And I was like, I was feeling fine before this. I remember I was having dinner. I met people at dinner. It was amazing. I was like, okay, I’ll go to sleep. And this whole thing happened like the next day I, yeah, I couldn’t sleep. I’m like, there’s something wrong here. And I think my eyes was getting like red. And after a while I went, I think I went downstairs to the reception and I remember the girl was from Venezuela, so I could speak Spanish with her. Sure. And she’s like, yeah, your eye doesn’t look. Right. maybe like, go have it checked. Yeah. And she was like, very kind. And she’s like, well, I’m gonna write you a letter in Italian saying what you have and you showed us at the emergency room. And she’s like, the hospital was not too far from where we were. So I, I walked to the, to the hospital and that’s when I was looking for the .

Mari Escobar: Yeah. And I kept asking people around like, where is it? Where is it? And after maybe like 30 minutes or so, or maybe more I was able to find, oh no, cuz it was not just, that’s what it was. There’s like emergency room specific for like the eyes or like, you know, the it’s not I, how do you call it? OCUL whatever. It’s

Peter Kersting: Sure, sure. The emergency room specifically for that though?

Mari Escobar: Like I think each specialty had their own, like you had to go to like the,

Peter Kersting: You had to go to specialist for, for your eyes.

Mari Escobar: I think like one building, like, you know, the eye building and the

Peter Kersting: Steps. the eye building. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mari Escobar: The eye building or you know, or like the knee building. So they were all separate. So I had to look for the emergency room for the, I for the eyes so that was even like, you know, more specific. But when I, when I finally got there, at least someone spoke English and oh God, they were nice. I age just wait here. And they prescribe like some eye drops and they’re like, yeah, don’t wear your contacts for a few days. I think you, you put like, you know, like a dirty one because

Peter Kersting: My gosh,

Mari Escobar: And then like just use this for a few days, use your regular glasses and then you should be all right. And that happened. But yeah, the, the, the whole thing of getting to the hospital, finding it, giving her the letter that in Italian, I was ready. I was like, okay, if they asked me this is what’s happening.

Peter Kersting: Right.

Mari Escobar: So that was helpful. And the girl was pretty helpful. He was also free, which I was surprised. So it was a nice surprise.

Peter Kersting: Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Mari Escobar: Yeah. And something similar. I didn’t yeah. Japan that we were talking about really not in the hospital, but I also had a letter saying, so I’m a vegetarian. So , my friend was like, here’s a letter saying, you’re vegetarian. You don’t eat this and this. So show this to the waiter.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. Yeah. That probably helped a lot. I, when I was living in Korea, I was friends for a while with some people who were vegan and they had the hardest time trying to explain to people cuz they can speak good enough Korean. Right. Like, yeah.

Mari Escobar: Being vegetarian in Japan was rough.

Peter Kersting: I can’t eat that. Like and they’re like eat this. And you’re like, yeah, that’s so funny.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. Yeah. But yeah. That’s the hospital story. So yeah. You learn to do those things on your own. Like who are you gonna call ghostbusters? They’re not next to you.

Peter Kersting: also, you still love to do solo travel even though that happened.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. I mean you have to be open for what is it? Adversity. Yeah. Like, you know, things, things happen. It’s not, it’s the same as if you’re with someone, you just, but yeah. You have to figure it out on your, on your own. if anything, I mean you can call someone, but let’s say you gotta, you gotta, you gotta deal with it. right. And grow.

Peter Kersting: Right. Yeah

Mari Escobar: Man. That’s part of the experience.

Peter Kersting: I agree with you. That’s that’s the part that I’ve always enjoyed about the solo travel is you kind of have to figure it out and you learn, you learn, you learn a lot about yourself basically.

Mari Escobar: Right? Well, I can do this. It’s no big deal. It’s good. Other people would probably be crying. Oh my, oh my God, what do I do now? I’m like, I’s

Peter Kersting: Just go. Let’s be honest. Sometimes you cry. Which you still figure it out, you know? Or is it that’s just me for the

Mari Escobar: Most part? no. Well, I mean it can get frustrating at points.

Peter Kersting: Well, I mean, I just, like, there are times it can be definitely stressful, but it’s almost always worth it. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Yes.

Mari Escobar: I mean, you might miss the train. You might miss the flight, but yeah.

Peter Kersting: You miss plenty

Mari Escobar: Of those then at the same time, you’re like, well, no, I have an extra day to do this other thing that I didn’t get to do.

Peter Kersting: You might have somebody still your flip Flos or your backpack.

Mari Escobar: Yep.

Peter Kersting: When, when we, I was thinking about this story the other day, I’ll tell the story. I’ll tell the story. Okay. Because otherwise our listeners gonna have no idea what you’re talk, what we’re talking about. So we met in Hanoi, which is Northern part of Vietnam. And then when we split ways, we all did something different. You, me and Tanner, who’s also been on the show. Right. And at some point the two of us, you and myself met back in Danang, which is kind of central Vietnam. And at least one of the nights we ended up staying at the same host. And I don’t

Mari Escobar: Know, just for like three nights,

Peter Kersting: I feel like I had already been there a couple days or did I just stay? I think you were right before. Yeah, I had right after.

Mari Escobar: No, you were right before. Okay.

Peter Kersting: No. Okay. No, you’re I

Mari Escobar: Think I right before

Peter Kersting: I did, I think you’re right. I think I arrived before and I think I ended up staying longer than you too. I was at that hostel for a while, but one of the nights we got back and I was like all bummed. I was like, man, somebody broke into my room and they stole my sandals and

Mari Escobar: You look at me, you,

Peter Kersting: You look at me and you’re like, really? Is that all? No, but

Mari Escobar: You’re no you’re missing the beginning. I got robbed first.

Peter Kersting: Oh, did you get robbed first? I’m remembering it wrong then. Well, okay, so you got robbed and you’re talking about all the stuff you got stolen from your room and how everybody broke in there. Yeah. This is how it went in the morning. Your stuff was gone. Right?

Mari Escobar: We wake up, we wake up. I’m like, Hmm. My locker is not, this is not how I left it. Last time my back was open. Like yeah, yeah, yeah. And I noticed like, oh my watch is missing. Sure. And then so, and I think that lock was different. Like you could tell

Peter Kersting: Somebody, you could tell somebody messed with your lock too. I remember that. And we went down and we found out from the people, yeah. Somebody broke, somebody

Mari Escobar: Else was complaining, cuz somebody else lost their

Peter Kersting: Phone. Somebody else lost something. And I’m thinking like, man, that sucks for you guys. You know? And then I’m like, you’re

Mari Escobar: So

Peter Kersting: Victor, I went back upstairs. Well I went back upstairs and I was like, oh, nobody touched my stuff. That’s cool. And exactly. And then I start walking back out. I’m like, wow, I got really lucky. You know, that’s nice. And then I look and I’m like, what? My sand,

Mari Escobar: No, but I think we went out for the whole day and then he wasn’t until we got back at

Peter Kersting: We, I think you’re right. When we got back, I was like, where my sandals.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. Where are my flip flips? I’m like how there you have

Peter Kersting: It. Also also I felt really bad because I was like kind of complaining for like a few seconds about who would steal somebody’s sandals, you know? Cause who would do that? But then at the same time, I’m like, oh, you know, she actually got like a bunch of money stolen and other stuff like,

Mari Escobar: Yeah. Yeah. That was a funny story. You saw, you didn’t get anything stolen.

Peter Kersting:

Mari Escobar: The one behold your flip Flos were gone.

Peter Kersting: I missed my Brazilian flip Flos I like those flip Flos a lot.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. You said they, they had some special meaning.

Peter Kersting: Somebody gave ’em to me as a gift. They had sentimental value, but it’s just like, okay. I

Mari Escobar: Mean, anything sucks that gets stolen,

Peter Kersting: But sure, sure. And it was pretty lousy of me to complain about losing my sandals when you lost money and stuff. So sorry about that. But

Mari Escobar: Yeah. I remember I lost my, watch, my swatch as my travel, my travel watch.

Peter Kersting: That’s such a bummer. That’s such a bummer.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. But even then it’s that’s that’s, that’s what happens. I mean, those things happen, but you, you think I hate my travel just because of that. No, everything else was so much fun. Like I love Vietnam just because that happened. And so like, oh my God, my, my trip was destroyed. Yeah.

Peter Kersting: Also those stories and the being really fun to look back on too, how you’re like, oh, was crazy. Something

Mari Escobar: To

Peter Kersting: Talk about. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And yet I’m sure when you go back to work, you pretty much don’t tell too many stories cuz people are just like rolling their eyes. I, I kind feel

Mari Escobar: Most people do wanna do what I hear. Oh my God. Tell me. And yeah,

Peter Kersting: In my experience, people

Mari Escobar: The closest once.

Peter Kersting: Okay. Fair. But if they haven’t traveled, I feel like people oftentimes are like, I can’t, I don’t understand what you’re talking about. So it’s I don’t really

Mari Escobar: Wanna listen. No, most people I’d say most of my friends are interested.

Peter Kersting: Oh that’s good.

Mari Escobar: Maybe not at work. Maybe a few but yeah. Most of my friends do it. They do wanna hear the stories and, and yeah. I like, I like sharing

Peter Kersting: Them. That’s awesome. Well, I wanna take a step back from the travel stuff a little bit here and talk about your ability to maximize travel even while working as much as you do. So maybe let’s start by taking a look at what the job we already talked about was you worked for Ernst and young, right. And yeah, you left after a couple years, the amount of hours, the lack of flexibility was a big deal. So as you changed jobs over the years, since then, what are some of the things you’ve done and, and how have you learned to kind of prioritize as you’ve changed jobs?

Mari Escobar: Yeah. I mean the priority has always been there. so I always make sure it happens in like in EY they had an option of buying like extra days. Yeah. so they would take money out of your paycheck and to give you like more vacation days, I’m like take whatever you want. I gimme the days, like the first year I didn’t do it cuz you know, I’m new. I don’t wanna look, you know, like I want too much vacation, but after I’m like, I’m like, I don’t care even today. And then it depends like with the other jobs also in Puerto Rico, there’s a lot of holidays, which is good. I always take advantage of those. Like there’s we have the us holidays plus our own like Puerto Rican holidays. Sure. So it ends up being, I think they changed that now, but it ends up being like 19 holidays, which is like, you know yeah. A lot of extra day. So

Peter Kersting: That’s nice. That’s

Mari Escobar: Nice. And then yeah. So after EY, I worked at a like payment processing company in Puerto Rico and yeah, that had really good benefits. Like besides all the holidays you get, I think maybe 20, 25 vacation days. And then after that I did a startup, which gave me, I started in Puerto Rico and then that’s the one that moved me into salt lake city after the hurricane and that one, you know, it’s a start. So they’re trying to be cool. So they gave us 30 days of vacations, but I was probably the only one who used CELTA all the days. That’s so crazy. I guess also my position allows it like in the startup, at least maybe we were 20, but I’m not part of like the developing team. Like I, the, the startup doesn’t depend on me. So like my job, like I was able to take more days, like the, the developers couldn’t necessarily take all the vacation days that I did.

Mari Escobar: But I always make sure to get to, to use my days and the holidays. Everybody always, no matter which job everybody’s like, how many vacation days do you get? I’m gonna complain. I’m like, I get the same amount that you do. I just know how to use them wisely. I don’t take vacation days to sit at home and do nothing. I’m like, oh, I’m gonna relax. No, my vacation days are to travel to go somewhere. And so that’s one of my, I have some friends that are like, I need you to gimme a master class. So maximizing like vacation days, I’m like, I’m recording a podcast tonight and this is it.

Peter Kersting: Well, let’s get into it a little bit in part three. We’re gonna go hardcore into that. Cuz, this is exactly what we wanna talk about.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. So that’s one of the main things. And then I also like if you take it’s a five-week bus, I mean five business weekdays, right? Right. Five business day week, I use five days and I go for like 10 days you go like the Friday before, leave after work, anything after 6:00 PM is fair game and then you come back the week, the weekend after Sunday at midnight, I don’t come back Saturday before at one, just to relax the next day going to work on Monday. Now I go, I probably like go like super sleepy on Monday, but I’m not wasting another vacation day. Just to make it up and sure. Feel fine. And the jet lag and all that. No.

Peter Kersting: Do you ever bring work with you?

Mari Escobar: No. Now because of the remote life, but before this, no. I’m like if they don’t ask me to bring the laptop to check emails, I don’t. So I’ve been lucky to enough to be able to do that. And not, not everybody can do that or not everybody chooses to do it, even it at the big four, which was like super pressing. I’m like, no, I’m not checking emails. If it’s an emergency, you can text me. I’m not ritual for this time. The start was a little different because it’s fewer people. There’s only me, you know, running the finance.

Peter Kersting: Sure, sure, sure.

Mari Escobar: But it’s it I’ve been lucky in that since I’m like, you know, if it’s vacation is vacation, I’m not gonna be, don’t expect me to be checking emails. No. If, if it’s an super emergency, you know how to reach me

Peter Kersting: then that you make that sound really simple though. Is that something that, and, and it’s not necessarily to just know when to shut it off and, and just leave it alone. So obviously that’s something that you’re personally good at your boundaries. Mm-Hmm is that a conversation you had when you were getting hired or is it just expectations you set while you’re at work? You’re like, Hey, if you get a try to get ahold of me outside of work, you’re not gonna do it. And people just finally go, oh, okay.

Mari Escobar: I mean, I do it like right before I’m leaving a vacation. It’s not something that I talk about. I’d say like during the hiring process or anything like that. Sure. But you know, like you have to communicate and be like, before I’m going on a, on a trip, I’m like, okay, this is what I need to finish before, before I go, this is what I’m working on. And then I always say like, if you need me, you know, you know how to reach me, but don’t expect me to

Peter Kersting:

Mari Escobar: To check on anything. Sure.

Peter Kersting: So, well, but

Mari Escobar: It depends on the culture and like you, I, I don’t know. You need to know who you’re working with and how, how that relationship goes. Cause I know not everybody does it or manages to do it that

Peter Kersting: Way. Is that the way you’re thinking though, when you’re looking for a new job, like when you took the job you’re working for currently for the indie Latin record label yeah. Was that kind of what you’re feeling out is how, how, how are they as employers? Are they gonna be chill about me doing my thing? Or you know, like how do you, how do you decide like this is a place I wanna work because they’re probably gonna let me do this stuff.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. I mean, sometimes it’s hard to get a feel, I mean, from a few interviews, but say for, in this one I had to negotiate for more vacation days cuz they wanted to gimme like 10 days. I’m like me with 10 days. No, not happening. So I was able to like negotiate a little bit more. And I was ready to not take that job if it was only like 10 days, you know? Yeah. So

Peter Kersting: That sounds like it’s a key right there. Huh? I said, that sounds key right there that you have to be okay with walking away if they don’t give you what you want

Mari Escobar: For me. Yes. Like vacation days are pretty important. like in the other jobs I had, like, I didn’t have to do that because I had a lot of days sure. But no, I cannot do it like 10 days, which sadly enough, it’s the average for, for a lot of like yeah. Offices in the us. But yeah, for me, that that’s pretty important. And I think I, I set the, the tone at the beginning that I, I like traveling and the traveling is important. Mm-Hmm and you know, vacation days are a big deal for me. I’ll use them so

Peter Kersting: Right. Yeah. So that’s, I mean, that sounds like an important aspect there too, because you’re being transparent. Hey, I like to travel. The reason I’m asking for this is that I need that time to be able to travel,

Mari Escobar: But I also do my job. So, you know, it’s

Peter Kersting: Like, right.

Mari Escobar: It’s not like I’m being lazy. I’m gonna, I mean, I wish I could take, you know, six months out of the year but I get my work done. And if I need, if I’m going on a trip, you have to like kill yourself the week before and the week after to catch up. Sure. But I’m fine with that. I mean, I still get to enjoy my trip. I don’t get bothered with work during that time. Yeah. So I’m okay. Killing, like, you know, sleeping it away before and after just to be able to make, to go on.

Peter Kersting: That must be a that is something you and you and Tanner have in common in a way too. I think because it’s kind of like, this is the goal, the longer-term goal, I wanna be able to do this for a period of time. Yeah. So what do I need to do now to make sure that happens? Is that something you’ve always naturally this kind of how you’re geared or do you think you’ve just learned that from your work experience to kind of be that way? Like, cuz it sounds like from what you’re telling me, you’ve got pretty clear, first of all, you got a pretty clear idea of what you’re looking for. That helps. But also you’re pretty okay with telling people what your boundaries are like, Hey, I’m not gonna talk to you on the weekend. Cause I’m not working.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. Even like not even traveling, like if you email me on the weekend, I’m not gonna see it until Monday.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. but most people have a hard time with that. Especially, especially nowadays where you work from home. Like I sometimes catch myself working six or seven days. Not like eight-hour days. I never do eight-hour days, but yeah. I’ll do like three-hour days for eight, seven days though. And it’s like,

Mari Escobar: No, I don’t. Sometimes I

Peter Kersting: Don’t anymore.

Mari Escobar: And even now with the remote. Yeah. So I never like, you know, you can download your email application on your phone. I never did that up until now because of the remote cuz you know, that’s pretty helpful. Yeah. But I don’t have the notifications on if I wanna see my work email, I have to like go in there. I don’t wanna see pop up and see all the 10, 20 emails. Like, so that way I know it’s there, but I don’t have it like popping up on my face.

Peter Kersting: And I’m sure at a certain point, your work gets to know like if I email Mari on a Saturday, I’m not gonna hear until Monday morning.

Mari Escobar: Pretty much yes.

Peter Kersting: Yeah. That’s good.

Mari Escobar: Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Kersting: I’m trying to think where I wanna go from here. Cause we’re talking about, you know, how you’ve been changing jobs over time. Maybe you could tell me a little bit about what is it that you’re doing now and your current job? How is it different than what you’ve been doing before, and what are you enjoying about it?

Mari Escobar: I mean it’s pretty similar. It’s still in the numbers field, but I do enjoy this a lot more. So it was kind of like a career switch even though for some, for people who are not familiar with like the business environment sounds the same but yeah, I started in tax accounting then I went to getting out of taxes was a little hard. That was, that took me a little longer. It ended up being a year that I was not working that’s when I did the travel. Right. And yeah, it ended up being a year because I’m like at that point I didn’t wanna leave Puerto Rico, obviously, it’s not the best job market. And I knew, I knew what I didn’t want. I’m like the job that I could get here is another big four. I don’t want that. Hmm. So it took me a while to get something else and trying to get out of taxes was hard. So it took me a little longer and I was picky. I mean, I was fortunate enough to be picky. I was living at home. So that helped. I didn’t have any stress

Peter Kersting: In, in Puerto Rico. Right?

Mari Escobar: Yeah. So like my parents were kicking me out or anything like that. So I had the book tree to be able to choose the one that I wanted and I ended up getting one as a financial analyst, which is more general. It, was definitely a downgrade, but you know, sometimes you have to go down and then go up the way you want. Sure. and I think that’s what happened. Now I’m at a point like I love my job. I have a life and it’s still in the same, you know, financial field, but it’s not as stressful as the one that I had before. So after that one, it opened up the, what do you say? Yeah, I guess the field. And then I went into the start of as a, the original title was like corporate treasurer that never happened and then turned out being financial controller.

Mari Escobar: I had no idea that was a position they started calling me that I’m like, okay, sure. Sounds important. so then and yeah, I went into that and then that’s the same thing that I have the same title that I have right now. It’s pretty similar different industry. Now I’m in the music industry, but the skills and the tests are about the same. So I did, I mean, it’s a learning process. I’ve been learning a lot, especially in the startup. I, it was a, the learning curve was amazing. And just to see how you’ve run a business, like before that it had been in huge companies, like, you know, ston, youngest, multinational, you have, especially in New York, you have, I was on the 33rd floor. You had like 35. Yeah. 35 story building with, I don’t know how many thousands of people sure.

Mari Escobar: Then in, in Puerto Rico, not as big, but you know, still pretty big. And you know, you’re, even though that office is small, you’re part of a huge company. Right. You know, like that bureauc is like different and to get something done, it takes like, I don’t know how many people, how many layers, all that kind of thing. And then switching to a small company where you see everything, you have to wear many hats. Yeah. It’s a very different experience. I went like, yeah, I was doing the finance, but at the end I started, they had me doing like recruiting. I had never done that. interviewing people really. Which was cool. And at the same time I be like doing the Costco run to get snacks so , and then you get to see he was tiny. So you get to see the owner, like, you know, doing all the phone calls, trying to get investors, like you don’t see that in, in a, in a big company.

Mari Escobar: So that was, that was a pretty interesting experience. And from that, and like a lot of the things that, that owner stressed about or like wanted us to like implement, it was super easy for me to doing this new job. Like one of the main things I remember is like, I don’t wanna be doing checks, like who does checks anymore? Everything has to be online. Like, you know, do a wire transfer, set up everything online. So I don’t have to sign anything. Right. And guess what, that’s what I had to do with this new company, with the pandemic. I’m like, they were still doing checks, doing a little paper stuff. And I was trying even be like, I mean, I started right before the pandemic, but I was trying to push for that. I’m like, why are we still doing checks when we can do this? Like online? So that was super easy and like transferable from one to the other. Sure. And look what happened, everything ended up being remote. So I was like driving them in the, in the right path.

Peter Kersting: ah, I’m sure that I always love hearing people’s career trajectory, even like, like you’ve stayed in at least similar field of work, even though each place has been really different. Mm-Hmm but going from a big company to a small company and seeing, seeing those different aspects, I, I really, I find that fascinating and I wonder does it, does it make you more interested in, in doing something for yourself in the long run that on the business side of things? Or do you kinda like working for somebody else? You seem like a work smarter, not harder type to me.

Mari Escobar: Yes. I try.

Peter Kersting:

Mari Escobar: I feel like, I mean, I’m not oppos entrepreneurial, but I feel like I don’t have a brilliant idea to to bring up eventually maybe. Sure. But I feel like I need more experience. I don’t know.

Peter Kersting: And

Mari Escobar: It’s not, I, I wouldn’t say I don’t have like that mindset right now or

Peter Kersting: Sure.

Mari Escobar: I’m not opposed to it, but I feel like, I don’t know. Also I’ve kind of changed. Like I haven’t stuck to one same. How do you say role for level? Sure. I feel like I need a little bit of more experience if I want to like, you know, focus on doing that, like doing something on my own.

Peter Kersting: You mean specializing in something for longer, rather than making a switch or

Mari Escobar: Yeah. And maybe like eventually become just a consultant or even if I don’t open like my own, I don’t know business, but you know, something that I could do on my own there that I can be like, okay, everybody come to me for advice.

Peter Kersting: sure. If you did go the route of starting your own business or working freelance, would it be in something like this financial consulting?

Mari Escobar: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. Something like that.

Peter Kersting: Interesting stuff. Well, I think we’re gonna wrap up this second part of our interview with Mari Escobar right there in part three, we’re gonna be introducing practical tips for people who are looking to maximize their travel hours with work. We’re gonna kind of take what we learned from MA’s past and try to give you some tips for that as well as solo travel as a female, especially. So if you’re looking for, I don’t know, better ways to do that safer ways to do that. We’re gonna be talking about some of that on the next episode of Alone with Peter. So be sure to check that out next Monday, wherever you get podcasts.


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