Get Paid to Travel the World – And Save It

By Abi King | Inspire Me

Apr 11
Two men hiking on Mt Fuji - photo from peacebuilding expert

Interview With a Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding Specialist

Two men hiking on Mt Fuji - photo from peacebuilding expert

Get Paid to Travel the World – And Save It

No, I’m not talking about the life of James Bond (or at least, not as far as I know.)

I’m talking about life as a conflict resolution and peacebuilding specialist, a real life job with plenty of travel and overwhelming responsibility. For today’s Unusual Journeys Interview, I caught up with Todd Wassel and asked him to tell us a little more about what he does – and why he does it.

Over to Todd.

Todd Wassel Profile Picture - Writer, Conflict Resolution Specialist & Peacebuilder

Todd Wassel

“I’m a conflict resolution and peacebuilding specialist who jumps from country to country ever few years. But that sounds too much like the “what do you do for a living?” answer! The truth is that I love exploring the world and trying to help people along the way. I can’t get enough of disorganized, out of the way places. I combine my work travels with my creative passion of writing so that at the end of the day my job is to live my life and then write about it.

“I’ve lived in Japan for 5 years working as an English Teacher and a pretend American celebrity; in Timor Leste working on governance and conflict issues; in Sri Lanka helping Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the civil war fight for their human rights; and in Kosovo helping to bring communities together. All this has been over the past 11 years living abroad.”

-Would you recommend conflict resolution to someone starting out now?

Yes, absolutely, but with a caution and a request. It can be a tough life living away from friends and family, in some very dangerous places. You need to remember to take care of yourself as much as you care about others. Please don’t get into this line of work if you can’t treat the person next to you with kindness and understanding. I meet so many people that are “helping the world” but can’t seem to muster common courtesy for the people immediately around them.

-Any tips for beginners?

Take every opportunity even if you don’t get paid for it. Just get yourself abroad and on the ground, work hard and everything else will follow.

-What are the downsides of travelling with work?

You miss everything that is going on back home. You miss family, friends, and you can feel out of touch. You have to make new friends every few years, and you get used to saying goodbye.

Please don’t get into this line of work if you can’t treat the person next to you with kindness and understanding. I meet so many people that are “helping the world” but can’t seem to muster common courtesy for the people immediately around them.

 

The upsides?

You can get a job anywhere in the world. You feel empowered to do anything, and you develop great stories to tell over beer.

-What’s the most dangerous place you’ve ever visited?

East Timor during the 2006 civil conflict, Sri Lanka during the heart of the civil war, Vietnam during a hurricane, and my parent’s house in Jamestown, RI (free food an accommodation can make you want to stay forever!)

Take every opportunity even if you don’t get paid for it. Just get yourself abroad and on the ground, work hard and everything else will follow.

-The most over-rated?

Singapore. Sorry, but there are more dynamic places in Asia to get lost in. Plus it’s expensive. But I like gritty so more power to you if you like the city.

-What makes you shudder about travelling?

Visa lines. Somehow I always think they are going to find a way to deny me entry into a country. I think it goes with the job of fighting against corrupt governments. They inherently don’t want you to enter.

-How has travel changed you?

I have become more confident and sure of myself. I know what makes me happy, what I want to do with my life, and am comfortable dumping it all for something else when I am no longer happy.

>What makes you shudder about travelling? Visa lines. Somehow I always think they are going to find a way to deny me entry into a country. I think it goes with the job of fighting against corrupt governments. They inherently don’t want you to enter.

-What has been your most poignant moment on your travels?
Hiking the 900 mile Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan. I came to understand exactly what I wanted out of life and what I wanted to be when I grew up. You’ll have to wait for the book to find out more.

Todd Wassel is a writer and conflict resolution specialist. He’s working on his first book about walking the 900 mile Japanese Shikoku Pilgrimage, twice, and has a new project on Things to Do in Tokyo. No, he doesn’t sleep much. A bit like James Bond…

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