This article was written by freelancer Georgina Lawton
‘Travel is the only thing in life you can buy which makes you richer’ – ever heard that one? Well it’s true, to an extent. Travelling is a life-enriching experience that gives you an insight into a world beyond your own and broadens your horizons (bet you’ve heard that one before too). It’s also a crazy amount of fun. But travelling when you’re young, poor and unsure of what path to take in life, it can also be a bit overwhelming.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt like I was missing out on climbing the career ladder when I took some time out to travel South America after graduating last year. It’s crazy the amount of pressure we put on ourselves, but it’s a natural reaction to feel like a gap year may place you ‘behind’ your peers back home who are heading onto university or work (HINT: It definitely won’t).
One way to alleviate this pressure is work AND travel (don’t groan, hear me out!) Not only does it help you out financially when you’re abroad, it could also give you some major CV points so when you come back bronzed, broke and with a bigger brain, you might just land your dream job that little bit quicker.
Raminta Lilaite is a Lithuanian who has lived in New York City for 15 years. She works as a property consultant, freelance PR manager and charity chairperson and lives between Italy, Mexico, New York and Lithuania (I have serious life-envy right now). She’s been working remotely for the past five years and shares these tips for maintaining the perfect work-travel life balance.
I emigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania when I was 22 for a Master’s degree in Communications. After a series of corporate jobs in New York City, I decided that the constricted space of a cubicle and limited vacation days was not my favourite way of existence. Also, I found that I got more inspired and creative if I could work on my own schedule. My last job in New York was in PR, so I found my own clients, got a new laptop and started travelling the world. Since I became my own boss, my only task was to deliver results to my clients – and I was free to do it from anywhere I wanted.
I wake up every morning and go to my desk, but that could be anywhere. I loved waking up in Roatan Island, Honduras, with a breakfast at a gorgeous villa and then taking my laptop to a shaded table on the beach where I would start answering my emails while eating fresh exotic fruit. When I stayed in Paris for two months I would start my morning by walking by the Seine river in front of Notre Dame cathedral, have a cup of French coffee, and then start working feeling completely refreshed and inspired.
Roatan Island, New Zealand, Paris, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Italy, Lithuania, Barbados, Haiti, San Francisco, South Africa, Tanzania, all over Mexico, Puerto Rico and other places!
Pros: I have freedom, being my own boss, organizing my schedule the way I want. I am now able to spend as much time as I want with my family in Lithuania (while American holiday schedule was only allowing 2 weeks of vacation per year). I can experience other countries from within, without rushing, but taking my name, making friends and enjoying the real local life. I also get more inspired and creative with my work, since my landscape is constantly changing.
Cons: Finding Wi-Fi is sometimes an issue and the change of geographic zone can have an impact if I’m trying to catch a deadline. And of course, when you just arrive to a tropical island, you might feel like skipping work for some time…
- Teach English
Don’t picture teaching in the realms of a grey comprehensive in an inner city school- oh no – imagine yourself instead as a highly respected private tutor, a stone’s throw away from a polar-white beach or working in an exciting, cosmopolitan city. Just remember, teaching English is a real job with real responsibilities and so is bound to impress any future employers. Korea, China, Japan and the Middle East offer the best packages which can include a competitive monthly salary of around £1200 a month with return flights and accommodation. Check out: tefl.org.uk to get a better idea of what’s out there.
Overseas volunteering can be immensely rewarding in many ways, but it’s also bound to be a challenge. Whether it’s offering your time at an orphanage, helping at a school, or contributing to the construction of a small village, you can be equipped with a whole heap of new leadership skills and worldly knowledge from giving back -win-win all round.
- Work as an adventure tour leader
If impressing tourists every day with your facts on volcanoes, mountains or the local museum sounds like your dream job, then working as an adventure tour leader might just be for you. Retaining a ton of information in parrot-like fashion should also come as second nature to a student, right?
- Get an internship
If you fancying do the 9-5 on foreign soil, there’s plenty of companies that can turn that dream into reality (but they often charge). if you’re interested in working in China, the British Council has a great, fully-funded program, or the popular J-1 visa program in the USA which is tailored for students and recent graduates is also a a great option, although application costs start from around £500 and you have to find your own internship. Check bunac.org.uk for more information.
- Become a digital nomad
Make like Raminta! A laptop, a good internet connection, and a profession you can work on remotely is all you need to become a digital nomad. Writing, design, computer programming and online stocks are all popular choices for this dream life on the go, which is great if you’re super-disciplined and can motivate yourself, and not so great if you behave normally when faced with a beach from paradise (i.e. use the wifi connection to take a killer selfie). Check out some tips from an expert digital nomad below to learn how to make this life work for you.
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