Many travel articles today talk about how their authors gave up corporate jobs in finance, technology, and other sectors in order to pursue their dreams of travel. With a little planning and hard work, here’s why you don’t have to choose between career and travel and you really can have it all!
As I increasingly delve into the world of travel and living abroad, many people ask me ‘What about your career?’. Another popular one is ‘How do you make money to travel so much?’. Simple, I refuse to believe what decades of professionals have told us; that you can’t have it all. The most common response to my travel is ‘I wish I could do it, but I don’t have…’ (fill in the blank with Money, Time, Flexibility in Career, and so on). Instead of focusing all my energy on why I can’t do it or what I have to give up in order to pursue my dreams, I focus on how to balance it all so that I can travel and still build my resume, earn good money, and develop a career I love. I choose a career in conjunction with travel; they do not need to be exclusive.
Whichever way you choose, make sure to find jobs that are in your field of study and that you enjoy. Try to view travel and working as one unit. Work to select jobs that will add to your resume so that when you return home, you don’t have to explain a gap year. Instead, explain how you have a deeper understanding of how your career works not only at home, but worldwide. Treat your work experience exactly as you would if you were to remain at home. Then sift through the options that allow you to do this from anywhere in the world. So how do I do this? Well, surprisingly, there are several ways to do this and each one has its unique pros and cons.
Being able to work from your home increases your freedom exponentially. Theoretically, you can work anywhere in the world, on your own terms and hours. This is also an ideal option for those who want to move abroad but who may have issues finding work visas. Although remote work does entail its own set of moving abroad technicalities that must be addressed. Most remote jobs are in the fields of marketing, design, and often writing and editing. These jobs can easily be found on the following websites as well as with a simple Google search. Some of the sites I use include:
One of the biggest downsides of working remotely is the lack of the social aspects of a traditional office setting. If you are an extrovert like me, you have to make a much greater effort to find friends and maintain a social life. This is particularly true if you move around a lot. This is absolutely not a deal breaker, but be aware that maintaining a social life will be more of a job. You should look for classes, seminars, and local events where you can meet new people.
This one is one of my particular favorites as it allows me to do one of my favorite parts of travel, living and immersing myself in cultures. Working abroad allows you to immerse yourself in traditions, customs, and language of any given society. If you are a polyglot like myself, this is a fun way to learn new languages and to truly see how people live.
Here, the biggest con is the difficulties foreigners will face when trying to legally live and work in another country. The amount of time and energy one must spend is also significant when uprooting your life to move abroad. Moving abroad is often simpler than it seems, but it does take a decent amount of planning, ingenuity, and refusing to listen to the hundreds of reasons why it won’t work. Focus on the reasons why it will work.
This is ideal for those of us who have commitment problems to jobs and countries in general. I often find myself in love with a place for 2 months and by the third month I start to feel restless and need a change. This is usually a curse for those who have traditional jobs that tie them to a desk. But fear not my friends, as with everything in life, there is a loophole and this is where temp work comes in.
This can be particularly fun for those who like to see behind the scenes processes of the lifeblood of many countries. You can spend three months in France learning about and harvesting wine. Then spend another couple months in Italy working as an assistant chef, or working one of the many seasonal jobs in Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand. There are hundreds of other places to work as zip lining operators, ski instructors, and adventure sports companies. The key to remember here is that this type of work will be more in the service and tourist industry. Thus it will not be ideal for those of you chasing finance jobs.
Don’t limit yourself and don’t listen to all the excuses that prevent you from making the leap. Even doctors can travel with work (Doctors Without Borders anyone?) so why can’t you?! Stop making excuses, focus on how to make it happen and go for it! If you hate it, you can always go back home, so what do you really have to lose? Don’t choose between career and travel,go out there and find yourself somewhere!