There is no way I could just be a tourist in the world for 2 ½ years. I knew I had to mix it up to prevent boredom and burnout. I craved variety in my everyday life, so why would my life on the road be any different? Yes, of course, the constant change of scenery, culture, and people was variety in and of itself, but I knew I couldn’t just keep showing up in a new town each week and essentially continue to ‘walk around the world for a year.’ I needed to do, ya know, stuff. I needed to immerse myself somehow in society and feel like a part of it. To start this process, I did different things like a Spanish Immersion program in Costa Rica (Spanish lessons in the morning and yes, surfing lessons in the afternoon) or a two-week, several-hundred mile bicycle trip down the length of Vietnam. But I needed even more structure. I needed…a job (cue shrieking horror music).
Now, just the sheer fact that I decided to blog about my trip and also write travel articles to be published elsewhere means that I was already working. I was trying to make time each week to sit and just write – a very hard thing to do when you are sitting in Rome or Cairo or Hong Kong and there are so many things around you vying for your attention.
Besides my new ‘day job’ as travel writer and photographer, I landed a few other actual jobs around the world.
- Barrista and sandwich maker at a café in Melbourne
- TV producer and reporter in Chile
- Private business English tutor in Istanbul
- Media proofreader in Istanbul
- Actress in American Feature film in Istanbul
- Research Assistant at the University of Cologne helping conduct an International survey on Airline/Airport Relationships
- Writer and proofreader at publishing company in Berlin
- Publicist for English Immersion company in Madrid
- Extra in Hollywood
- Pet Sitter around the world (Istanbul, LA, Chicago)
But many have asked me how did I find all these jobs? Did I look before I went on my trip? The simple answer is no. I simply arrived in a new place with the random idea that I could maybe find work there. In Australia, I spoke the language (sort of), so it seemed like a natural place to find a job other than teaching English. In Turkey, it’s all about connections and once I met one person…the ball just started rolling. Besides that, I used persistence, word-of-mouth, and friends’ connections and a lot of smiles.
So, on this adventure, I worked all over and found it to be another great way to “go local.” I lived in one place for an extended amount of time. I had a place to live. I took public transport (or a bicycle in Melbourne) to work. I had a schedule. I had a paycheck (well, cash). I truly felt like part of the fabric of society. And I actually gained some new skills, but most importantly I made real friends.
To hear more about my working around the world, listen to this podcast interview I did for Chris Christensen at the Amateur Traveler.