Packing | Photo by @tuckergood
Dolly Parton said it first, but not last; “Working 9 to 5 – what a way to make a living!”. The song is catchy enough to echo about in my head as I lace up my shoes in a hurry before work, acutely aware of how ironic everything is. For the past year, I have worked a 9 to 5 desk job, eyes glued onto a retina screen as the day goes by. Day in and day out.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently bad about that – In fact I’m fully aware of how privileged I am to have a job in the first place – but I have come to develop a love-hate relationship with my job. Although I love what I do, I simply feel like a desk job isn’t quite right for me at this stage in life.
And so this got me thinking…
More and more of my close friends are ditching their desk jobs and opting for more nomadic lifestyles, which offer heaps more flexibility. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. Their social media platforms go from weekend brunch posts in their hometown to month-long caravan trips and pictures of white-sand beaches or snowy mountain tops can be found all over their feed. They spend their weekends travelling south-east Asia, their Christmas holidays in New Zealand and Easter in the Alps.
But how can these people afford to do it?
This is the boring bit – so I’ll try to keep it short.
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t just “wake up one morning and decide to leave everything behind to go travel the world”. It requires preparation, and a lot of it.
Depending on how wild and spontaneous you want your travelling to be, having an initial itinerary helps determine what to pack, what documentation you need and overall logistics. The most boring, albeit essential, is to ensure you have adequate health insurance, or monetary funds to fall back on if something goes wrong.
You’re also going to want to sort out some form of SIM card that works abroad, something along the lines World SIM, One SIM Card or GIG Sky. Some places have readily available wifi, but you’ll find it a lot more comfortable knowing you can rely on your phone’s network wherever you go. Irregardless of your connectivity options, make sure you pack a small notebook, where you jot down any essential information you might need in case technology fails, which we all know is a very real possibility.
Another issue you might encounter is what to do with your current living arrangement. Perhaps you can safeguard your belongings in storage, or leave everything at a friend’s house – this really depends on your situation. Also remember to also unsubscribe to anything you currently have to pay monthly, ie. electricity, wifi, gym memberships, netflix, etc.
Now onto the adult things – Let’s talk about money.
Last year I met a couple who solely worked seasonal jobs, and had been happily doing it for years. They worked in whatever they found, be it admin jobs at resorts or summer camp teaching abroad – it wasn’t so much about the job they took on, but about the location. Taking on month-long contracts isn’t exactly the epitome of stability, but it pays a living wage and allows you to meet like-minded people almost anywhere you go.
As it turns out, seasonal jobs are as common as dirt, and there’s a large variety of options to choose from according to what you’re looking for. I’ve compiled a list of some of the suggestions and jobs that my adventurous friends recommended, just so you don’t have to:
- Summer Camp Jobs – You’re not limited to American camp-fires and sing-alongs if looking for camp jobs. Being a summer camp counselor (and I am talking from experience here), can be done practically anywhere. Camps come in all shapes and sizes, as do the different roles you can take up. Depending on where you’re looking to work, seasons can last up to 9 weeks, usually during summer. Despite the pay not being the most competitive in the market, you’re often offered accommodation and food which pretty much brings your spendings down to zero and means you get to save up a lot. The downside? You better like kids, otherwise you’re in for a ride. For a wide range of camp jobs, check out: Camp Channel.
- Resort Jobs – You usually need some form of background in hospitality to get a job in a resort, particularly the higher end ones, but don’t feel too discouraged if you’ve never stood behind a cash-desk before. Aim to get a job that matches your skill set; if you’ve got a background in Business, you’re better off aiming for a front desk gig than a resort fitness instructor, for example. If looking for resort gigs, check out: Cool Works.
- English Teaching – This is a nomad’s favorite. Take an TEFL accredited course (this can be done online) and rest assured you’ll find a job practically anywhere. Your initial time and monetary investment will pay off, and becoming a qualified english teacher is a great skill to add onto your CV. I know countless people that have used their qualification as a way to travel the world and earn a stable income. Jobs are constantly being posted on the TEFL website.
- Work on a Cruise/Yacht – Much like the English Teaching, you require some qualifications before you can, literally, hop on board. Once you’ve got the basics though, you’re set. Yachting offers better pay than becoming part of a cruise crew, but also requires more investment on your end as you usually require more qualifications and training to get hired. Try job hunting at Ya Crew.
- Hostel Staffing – If you have ever stayed in a hostel before and made friends with the receptionists, you probably already know most hostel-staff are actually travellers themselves, taking up the job to sustain themselves. There are lots of perks of doing this; you meet people, free accommodation, potential discounts… you name it.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to seasonal jobs if looking for some extra income. If anything good has come out of 2020, is the fact that more and more companies are adjusting to remote work, which means freelancing and working from home is becoming increasingly popular. Depending on your current employment situation, you might even be able to continue working your job remotely!
Actually Getting Round to Do It
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably day dreamed about a travel-lifestyle for years, but haven’t gathered enough courage to actually do it. If you needed a sign, let this be it.
There’s only so much you can plan and schedule in life, and travelling around the world can teach your inner perfectionist to pipe down a little bit.