“You must be rich.” I hear it a lot, friends, family, other people I meet while travelling. I’ve actually started to dread talking about how much I travel because everyone wants to know how I do it. Well, contrary to popular belief and like many people in the world, I work. With this post I outline some of the jobs available out there that can help you pay for your travels around the world.
Whenever people say they want to travel but have no money the first thing I tell them is to look into teaching English. Some are immediately interested, others are a little more skeptical. Rightly so, teaching English isn’t for everyone. Teaching your native tongue, especially if you’ve never taught before? It seems kinda crazy. Despite my urge to encourage you to try it out, I’ve written up a little about the teaching experience for you to help you decide whether or not it’s for you. If you’re eager to get out of your current job and around the world, start here.
So this isn’t work really, but some folks choose to volunteer abroad first to see how they like it. But volunteering and working abroad are two different things, one you pay for, the other pays you, which means they come with different sets of responsibilities. Volunteering enables you to test out jobs such as teaching ESL, working for an NGO, or even working on a farm, that experience can form the basis of your next career move. If you’re really keen, you can even get involved in the Open Source Ecology project that aims at distributing the knowledge and know-how of building small, durable and efficient farm machinery. Invented by a Polish guy who emigrated to the United States, the concept is really cool and you’ll be amazed by the videos they have online. Other volunteer positions, like volunteering in an orphanage or working for an NGO, will have you in impoverished areas. Such a placements have advantages and disadvantages. First, you’ll be exposed to a whole new perspective on the world not simply from the people you’re working with, but what you think goes on and what really goes on. Volunteer positions are great for trying things out, broadening your world view, developing your communication skills and, often times, will improve your patience. There are some problems with volunteering, however, since some times you’ll have to go through an agency (which will charge an administration fee) or, sometimes, you’ll find it difficult to find a reputable place that is actually in need and not just putting on a front. Look around and do your research if you’re interested in volunteering abroad.
There are two types of farm work you can do, volunteer or paid. If you don’t care about making money and are content at living a little less hectic life, WWOOF might be for you. WWOOF farms are typically small, organic and locally owned and operated. However, if you’re interested in making money as a farm hand or some other skilled person employed on a farm, then you’ll have to go to a place such as Australia, Canada or the US where they have huge farms and are run like businesses. Working on a farm for pay requires a different mindset than volunteering on a farm. Some folks think that the Australian and Canadian farms are like European farms. They are not. The skills are transferable, but the climate and “go-time” aren’t. There is always something to do on a farm, and depending on your employment type (volunteer or paid), you’ll be expected to act accordingly. Knowing a trade will help you secure a job on a farm. Here are some links for you:
- WWOOF – organic and small scale farming. Costs a nominal fee per country, but then you get a list of farms where you can work.
- Positive Perfection – Agency that places you in farm jobs in Canada and Australia.
- The Job Shop – Job agency for agriculture work in Australia.
- Outbackpackers – Farm training course in Australia.
- VisitOz – Another farm training course in Australia.
Great money if you’re willing to do the work. I recall one conversation I had with another traveller when I expressed my surprise at how many Irish guys had relocated to Australia to work in construction. He said it didn’t surprise him, the first thing that gets hit in any recession is the construction sector. Things stop getting built. So all of those folks who learned a trade or craft and got laid off had to look elsewhere for work. Australia was teeming with mining work a few years back and so the Irish up and moved. Brilliant! You can do the same. Australia, as in Canada, the US and many parts of Europe, prefers folks with experience or training, though there are a few training agencies that you can pay to earn a certificate (“tickets” in Aussie-speak), but they don’t guarantee a job placement upon completion of the course. Learn how to drive a forklift, a two-axle truck (a tandem), practice safe working procedures and, whatever you do, don’t make work for the boss! That includes running into stuff! For places such as Africa or South America, you’re probably going to have to look up multinational companies themselves and submit your resume. Failing that, if you can lift boxes for 8 hours a day, then you don’t need tickets or certifications!
- Read my post if you’re interested in going to Australia.
- Tree Planter – Plant trees in Canada.
- Kelly Services is a multi-national job agency, though they garnish some of your wages as a “finder’s fee”.
It’s more difficult than you think… if you want to provide something called “quality”. Yes, stories abound of people creating a website, writing an ebook or importing lord knows what spice from India and selling it to the consumerist markets of America and Europe. But for every one of those successful online workers, there are about a thousand who’ve tried and failed. A website requires maintenance, an ebook will take longer to write than you can possibly imagine, and importing goods requires all sorts of clearances and paperwork. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s not as simple as just showing up for work. There’s a lot of homework involved and research you’ll have to do that, honestly, no one else will tell you to do because it’s your business. Most of them will think you sit in the cafe all day delicately typing up your manuscript. If only they knew the truth… What’s more, many folks don’t make as much as they thought they would. If you’ve convinced you want to give it a go, here are some links to get you started: