You love travel yet you need to earn a living. How do you do it? You develop a satisfying career that involves travel.
I receive scores of emails and questions each week from young people looking to make their mark in the world.
Or (ahem) older, more established folk looking for, if not craving, more adventure, more creativity, more satisfaction and more travel in their jobs too.
Or, finally, parents whose children are about to make their first solo steps into the world and who are grappling with the career choices ahead.
If you dream about a job that involves travel, it is absolutely possible to make it a reality.
Yet most articles on the subject focus on short term, gap year type experiences.
Let me quickly say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with those.
But by their nature, they are short term. What happens if you want to develop a career or a life in travel yet with a meaningful job too?
I’ve spoken to numerous people around the world whose careers take them to every corner of the globe (including mine!)
And the results show that there is a unifying thread to working this all out.
What do you dream of? What’s your passion beyond travel?
Take inspiration from these talented individuals as proof that you can make it work. After all, if they can, why can’t you?
That’s not a lazy question. It’s a serious one. Is there a reason why it can’t be you? Is that reason a good one? Can it be overcome?
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But with work and application, soon – and for the rest of your life ;-)
So without further ado, here are some inspiring ideas of how you can develop a career that involves travel.
Meet Lillie Marshall, – an energetic, six-foot tall Boston Teacher who runs AroundTheWorldL Travel Blog and Teaching Traveling Global Education Site. In a single academic year, she travelled to Spain for Winter Break, China with a group of students during February vacation, Greece with a teacher tour during April vacation, and Belize for her honeymoon over summer break.
She’s also American, which explains all that vacation instead of holiday verbal goings-on.
Three of those trips were FREE thanks to teacher grants and programmes. If you’re torn between having a career and travelling the world, you can actually just have it ALL by being a teacher!
No, I’m not talking about the life of James Bond (or at least, not as far as I know.) This is a real life job with plenty of travel and overwhelming responsibility that Todd Wassel does for a living. He loves exploring the world and trying to help people along the way and can’t get enough of disorganised, out of the way places.
Jumping from country to country every few years, Todd combines his work travels with his creative passion of writing so that at the end of the day his job is to live his life and then write about it.
As an underwater videographer, Alex uses her blog as a platform to promote ocean issues that are important to her and hopefully to inspire new divers. Her underwater video gives her constant inspiration and new material to write about.
Both careers allow her flexibility and time to travel, both take her to exotic locations, and both feed her creativity.
Find out more here: Get Paid to Travel the World Underwater
It’s not only the cars that travel fast in Formula One. Almost every other week, teams pack their bags, wave goodbye and head off to race again. After my first Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia, I wanted to know more about these unusual journeys, both on and off the track.
I spoke to Italian-born Race Engineer Gianluca Pisanello from Lotus Racing, who is responsible for one of the two cars of the team. At the track, he coordinates the “car crew”, a group of four engineers, each one a specialist in one area (vehicle, engine, control systems and electronics), about ten mechanics and the driver.
He has travelled all over Europe, to Melbourne, Shanghai, Bahrain, Montreal, KL, Singapore, Suzuka… and then there are strange and exotic places like Silverstone in the UK.
Talented dancer and choreographer Laila Diallo is a Canadian-born, Bristol-based choreographer. Before embarking on her own choreographic adventures, she was a dancer for 8 years with Wayne McGregor ‘s Random Dance Company, touring extensively on the international contemporary dance scene.
Through her work, she’s travelled across the world, worked with Kevin Spacey and side-stepped Milosevic.
Find out more here: get paid to travel the world and dance.
Norbert Niederkofler is an imaginative, creative chef who began life in the Dolomites, travelled the world, then returned to his homeland to bring his vision of art to the table.
He’s won awards, published two books and is working on a third, and deliberately chose against a career as a professional skier in order to become a Michelin-starred chef.
His restaurant, St Hubertus in the unfairly gorgeous Rosa Alpina, where Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes went on their honeymoon. And, yes, he manages to travel with his work.
There’s a reason why I put this one last. There’s no doubt that travel writing, blogging and vlogging attracts some tremendous opportunities.
Not only do you get to travel the world but you often get backstage access and, as this article illustrates, the chance to meet with and talk to some remarkably interesting people.
Yet the reason I put it last (and with a side dish of hesitation) is because it seems to be one of those jobs where people underestimate the work involved.
They see the travel, they miss the writing.
Or perhaps they see the writing (long periods of time on your own at a computer) but they miss the pitching and negotiating and emails and networking that you need to do in order to earn a wage.
Travelling and writing is easy. Doing both well and making a living from them? Not quite so much.
But the same goes for all the jobs listed here, and indeed just about anything worthwhile in this world.
So don’t be disheartened – but don’t be delusional.
The opportunities are there for the taking; they may just take more than one step to get you there.
Happy travelling. Happy working.
And good luck!
Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!
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