The world is filled with so many opportunities for those wanting to travel long term.
How often do you come back from holiday and the reality of home just feels like a bad headache?
You’ve rocked up to work on Monday morning, only to be drowned by the question of how was your holiday?
It’s a holiday, away from work and away from stupid people asking stupid questions all day. The holiday could have involved a week long Netflix marathon, in pj’s and still be fantastic.
So, ultimately the fact that you were in Mexico, eating a seafood buffet that carried on for days, drinking margaritas and swimming was dolphins, it wasn’t exactly too shabby.
Maybe, a life in Mexico isn’t your jam.
Do you want to wake up at sea floating around the Mediterranean?
Or in London reliving as your own of Mary Poppins dreams?
Once you over come some fears, which undoubtedly is tricky, all you need to do is figure out where you want to go.
Maybe you’ll be like hundred’s of others (like me too) whom never return home.
Traveling can be your life, it can also be your career.
Does that sound like something you’re into?
You also DON’T need shit tonnes (Aussie translation: lots) of money.
You don’t even need a degree.
Here’s 6 easy ways to get yourself started;
1. Working Holidays:
Youth mobility schemes/programs are agreements between countries like Australia, NZ, UK and Canada. You can head over to Any Work Anywhere to figure where you can get a visa. These programs are designed for peeps 30 years and under (sometimes up to 35) as part of a cultural exchange, to learn and understand another way of life.
There are countless benefits to traveling, here’s 10 Real AF Reasons to Quit Your Job and Travel.
This is how I got started; I signed up for a working holiday program through a company called IEP and they set me up with literally everything I needed.
At that stage I wasn’t prepared to just move somewhere without a job. That was 10 years ago, things have definitely changed (I say unemployed, with no idea whether or not my visa will be approved for The Netherlands – update: it was approved!).
There’s a huge range of companies out there willing to help you with this.
Insider tip: going through a company can feel like high way robbery. Do diligent research on all the companies you’re looking into, make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Research again and again, you’re going to be more than excited as you contemplate your life abroad – that feeling of waking up each morning on that adventure is intoxicating. But it’s like that third round of tequila shots you want to shout everyone on payday.
Put your wallet down and step away from the bar.
Explore whether or not you can do this yourself, read the fine print on any agreements or contracts that have been presented by these companies.
Don’t put down ANY MONEY for any deposits, not until you know what you are getting yourself into and feel confident that’s what you want.
If you’re confused about anything on there don’t be shy, just ask the rep that’s helping you or go seek someone with a little more knowledge on contracts and binding agreements. You can even ask me here.
Some sneaky ass companies will have a super cheap program cost, hiding the fact that it is mandatory for you to purchase travel insurance through them.
I personally fell in that trap.
The best travel insurance deals are through World Nomads, even if you don’t purchase through them, utilize them as a price comparison.
My favorite aspect of World Nomads is that you don’t have to have health insurance in your home country to use them. For long term travelers – like yourself – that is a huge extra expense you just don’t need.
Also, remember there is no working holiday company that can guarantee you a job.
They’re basically going hook you up with an interview either in country or before you go. It’s still on you to actually get the job and keep the job. No good blaming the company if you got too drunk, came in late and subsequently get fired.
Travel ultimately is an investment, in yourself and your future, it will entail risks.
Those risks though – are so worth it.
The world around you changes and opens it’s wide mouth and consume you in another plain of fulfilled dreams and new ways.
I know, I know it sounds so fucking cheesy.
If you want something life changing, if you need something to push you further into the depths of the unknown – dude – do a working holiday.
Is London calling?
Find out if you qualify for a UK Working Holiday Visa.
2. Be an Au Pair:
If you love to travel and are looking for the type of adventure where you fully immerse yourself in the culture, plus have a passion for connecting with families and children.
You need to Au Pair.
Through my travels and previous work, I have helped ambitious high school and university graduates conquer fears (including telling their parents) in order to Au Pair in countries like Australia, the UK and Germany.
Why not right?
You get to do a job you love, gain more experience for your future career or simply gain more insight into something you want to study further. Plus, all your accommodation and food is paid for and on top of that you get paid!
Note; I have known families to pay for flights and in the States they pay your health insurance!
Even if you just have a few years of baby sitting experience, as long as you have the professional commitment in helping the children and know how to jazz up an Au Pair profile, you’ll be set.
Most countries will require you, especially in Europe, to obtain an Au Pair visa, which will entail you having a contract before you arrive.
This really is the dream for all long term travelers, having the house, the visa, the job and know what you are getting paid all set up before arrival.
You can choose to go through the heap of free online companies like Au Pair World or larger gap year companies (that are over priced) like The Global Work and Travel Co.
Overpriced means you’re paying through the nose for a sense of security, which granted for an 18 year old whom hasn’t left home before this may be just the comfort they need to go. Alternatively, if you’re fearless in your pursuit and don’t mind the risk, free websites can be just as good.
Here’s what you need to now about Au Pairing;
it’s all about the profile, this is like the resume to your dream job.
Don’t be shy, brag when necessary and include pictures of yourself working with children.
Plus, lots of references.
Second, meet the family – this is an absolute MUST. Don’t just go on emails – use Skype or Facetime. You will most likely have an interview with the parents first. I highly recommend ensuring you do the same with the children before even looking at a contract.
Remember Damien and Rosemary’s Baby? Not all kids are cute and want to play dress ups.
Thirdly, get a contract, make sure you read over very carefully and ensure that it fits you and what you are wanting including the pay.
In the States you will get paid a fabulous salary but you are going to be working for around 50 to 60 hours a week, possibly 7 days a week.
In places like Italy, you’ll get paid significantly less, yet most European families (especially in the summer) will tend to travel a fair bit. And guess who gets to tag along?!
Lastly, have a back up plan. I have had friends that are still Au Pairing across the world and love every moment of it. However, there are others that got kicked out of the family home after a week because the family simply changed their minds.
Once again, this is the risk of going with free online companies. If you want added support, do diligent research on the company and see what they do in order to ensure the contracts are being looked after.
If you have any questions on Au Pair, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.
3. Teaching English Overseas:
From Japan to Thailand, China to South Korea, Egypt to Jordan; there are many teaching English opportunities out there.
And those without a degree – don’t stop reading there’s options here for you too.
What will dictate where you end up, is how qualified you are and how much you want to earn. I suggest Thailand for being the best place to start.
General qualifications for teaching English in Thailand requires completion of High School as well as the 120 hour TEFL or TESOL course and being over the age of 18 (under 20’s should have some sort of child care experience to help with the job search).
Thailand is low paying, however, the cost of living caters perfectly to this. 50c beers – food for less than a dollar – Thailand is a hot spot for travelers and there’s huge reason why.
From scuba diving on your weekends to maybe some sunrise yoga before class, grocery shopping at the local markets and experiencing Thai street food as your life staples.
If you want a laid back lifestyle whilst ACTUALLY making a difference in children lives, Thailand is the place you need to start.
Here you can gain the experience you need before embarking on bigger conquests like Japan or South Korea.
These countries are crazy strict.
You need to be between the ages of 21 and 35, physically fit and have a bachelors degree. South Korea will also drug test you upon arrival and you’re looking at 12 hour days, depending how organized you are.
That’s the worst of it.
Both South Korea and Japan treat their teachers incredibly well.
Yo’r salary for a year can potentially pay of your student debt and you needn’t worry about housing as it’s generally supplied and paid for (no, it won’t be another dorm, you’ll have your very own place).
Again, the list of companies that can assist you with the TESOL course and finding jobs are endless.
Some places that provide you with the TESOL or TEFL say they will help with the job search, but only provide you with access to a job board or posting.
Whilst others, we set up everything for you all you need to do is read and sign the contract with the school.
I suggest looking for companies that provide you with the 120 hour TESOL course in country (by this, I mean in the country you will be teaching in for example Thailand). Along with a teaching job upon completion, help you with future jobs once that contract has ended, assist with your accommodation search if not provide in your contract with the schools and do cultural immersion with you upon arrival.
My favorite company that does it all: XploreAsia.
This maybe because they also co-founded Rescue Paws – that’s right live in Thailand, fulfill lives and potentially rescue a pup home at the end of it!
Another option is going to the schools directly, cutting out the middle man entirely. Just remember that if for whatever reason the school decides to let you go, you put yourself at risk of being stranded.
The worst mistake I see people make however, is completing the TESOL or TEFL in their country of residence. The reason why I say this is the worst mistake, is because they’re prolonger their departure and cushioning that which is difficult.
If you want to go – go.
I have had too many conversions with people whom have told me they have the TESOL certificate – from, like 10 years ago, that just never actually took the leap to leave.
Saying goodbye is always difficult, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Still undecided? Here are 6 Reasons Why You Should Teach English Overseas.
4. Long Term Volunteering:
There are a multitude of companies out there where you can go on what’s now been dubbed volunteering vacations. Like Working Holidays and Au Pairing you can pay a fee to a big company to assist you with finding the perfect volunteer project.
From helping children in Africa to turtles in Costa Rica, there’s no lack in this world of people and places that need help.
Whilst I highly recommend an adventure like this, depending on whom you’re going with and where, these are more suited for shorter periods (under 3 months).
You pay these companies a sign up fee of around $35 for 12 months and have an endless international repertoire of potential homes.
Here, you work anywhere form 4 to 8 hours a day, sometimes with other volunteers like yourself, your accommodation and food are all taken care of.
Meaning you have basically zero expenses, allowing you to live abroad for however long you want – or at least however long your visa permits you to stay.
I worked on a goat farm in Sweden through Workaway and it was hands down one of the greatest experiences I have ever had.
Starting work before sunrise to milk 50 plus goats, shovel their shit and make cheese. This may not appeal to some, for myself, it was exactly what I was looking for.
5. Work at Sea:
From cruise ships to becoming a ‘Yachtie‘ – these kind of jobs are dangerous.
Dangerous, being you’ll probably never come home after you start.
The best thing about this kind of work is there are no age restrictions, unlike Working Holidays and even Au Pairing. People working at sea fly under a different visa radar, perfect for those 30-plus’s who NEED a life change.
Working on a luxury yacht can make you up to 90K a year!
There are crappy cubicle jobs where you have to have a degree, that don’t offer that kind of pay cheque.
Obvi, you got to be committed to a life at sea.
Or at least however long the contract is.
It may sound luxurious traveling around the world on a yacht, stopping at places like the French Riviera or The Bahamas .
Remember, it’s still work and you live at your job.
Check out the job descriptions and if your heart starts palpitating and your stomach does back flips APPLY!
6. Camp and backpack:
Not an option for the faint hearted.
This option, unlike the others, would require you to have a some savings behind you. Here, you will be needing to supply your own food and housing, so at very least you would need some sort of income coming through.
Camping and backpacking are the best way to get more bang for your buck. Stretching the finances out is easy, when your only spending around $15 a day for your campsite and if you’re traveling with a mate that cost is cut.
I bought a cheap tent from walmart.ca and this baby has served me several camping adventures across Europe.
First figure out the countries you would like to hang in, then use your magic Google wand to locate campsites.
Depending on the countries you’re roaming to and if you have a travel compadre, locate your local markets and the cheapest places to buy your food. Add in Rome2Rio to work out how you’ll be traversing to each country.
Form there, it’s easy to work out your daily budget.
The best part – is the dishes you will create without the use of heat.
Perfect way to kick start your ‘raw’ eating cleanse.
Alternatively, opt for a site with electricity (or do what I did, cheap out and just use the electrical outlets in the washrooms) buy yourself a kettle and hello minute noodle lifestyle.
It’s rough, but it’s affordable. Meaning, you can easily travel for a lot longer than anyone would have thought.
There’s also these real as fuck ways to for traveling for free.
How do you feel about your dreams of long term travel now?
At least you can see how easy and obtainable this is.
You can do it!
Remember, once you start budgeting, chances are it’s going to put you down and you’ll feel like you can’t.
That’s what happened to me for so many years.
It wasn’t until I said ‘fuck it’ I’m just going to sign up and see what happens. I paid a stupid amount for a company to help me. At the end of the day, it got me to where I wanted and needed to be.
The key to committing to travel is not waiting until you have absolutely everything saved for and then start planning and booking, no way.
You’ll never leave.
Travel is the same as dieting or learning a new skill, it requires commitment, time and dedication.
When I decide to backpack Europe it started with a one way ticket from Amsterdam to Vancouver – I have to fucking go now.
It WILL be scary.
It WILL be a challenge.
But it WILL be worth it.
After an experience like living overseas, evidently you will feel unstoppable. Like any goal or dream becomes so achievable. The amount of courage and self confidence you gain from an experience like this is amazing.
I believe in you, now it’s time to test your own self belief.