[updated March 2022]
There is no way I could just be a tourist in the world for two and a half years straight. 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).
Working Around the World
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.
Some of the jobs I found
- 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)
How to Find Work When Traveling
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. Here are some tips to find work when traveling.
Meet Locals & Network
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, 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.
Sometimes it is harder to strike up conversations in person, so a great way to meet people is to look online first.
Join Expat Groups
Check Facebook or sites like Meet-up for expat groups in your destination. This is a great way to meet not only expats, but also locals. These folks will have more insights into finding work in the area.
Use Social Media
Not only can you ask your Facebook friends if they know anyone in your city, you can put shout-outs on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as well. Tag local tourism or city accounts and ask for advice.
Find Other Bloggers
Search for other bloggers who write about your destination and reach out to them.
Start Freelancing and Get an Online Job
So, what kind of jobs can you do online remotely while you travel? Tons! Today, there are lots of opportunities for online work. From social media consultants to website designers to English tutors.
Few careers offer the ideal creativity for highly creative people, but graphic design has proven to be among the top freelancing jobs on the market today. Essentially, this job requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to produce high quality visuals for use in online or printed materials. Graphic designers do not have to have a degree to make it as a freelancer. They just have to have the knowledge of how to use design programs. So if you are willing to learn these programs and possess basic design skills, you have what it takes to be a graphic designer.
Become an Online Tutor and Teach English
For those who are natural-born teachers, the chance to teach English online is an excellent career choice. Sites such as Preply offer the ability to teach English as an online English tutor to students across the globe. Corporations looking to expand their global reach often hire online English teachers to help teach their employees. Conversely, more average people are working to become bilingual to make themselves more competitive and open up enhanced job opportunities. The online English teaching world has grown substantially over the past few years and this career choice can allow you to travel and work on your own schedule.
In the online world, billions of websites exist and yet we are able to type in a single word or phrase into any search engine and come up with results for the search. It might seem like magic, but it is actually a complex network of algorithms to make it happen. Understanding these algorithms and SEO or Search Engine Optimization can open up the chance to become an SEO Consultants. SEO Consultants work with companies to enhance their virtual image and bring their name up more frequently online to bring in more global and local clientele.
To hear more about my working around the world, listen to this podcast interview I did for Chris Christensen at the Amateur Traveler.