This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post on July 16, 2014. This is the original.
The traditional 9-5 office job isn’t your only option. Did you know that? Sure, it works for plenty of people. In at 9 a.m., out the door as the bells chime 5p.m., lather, rinse, repeat. Monday through Friday, 52 weeks per year for 40 years or more. It works for plenty of people.
If you are not in that group of plenty, fear not. Your options are endless! Here are just a few of the amazing alternatives to the traditional cubicle life that you can take with you anywhere in the world. After all, if you love what you do, you’ll conquer more obstacles and motivate yourself more for a longer period of time. Happy travels and happy days!
You can literally do this job anywhere on the planet. Anywhere. Everyone eats, everyone drinks, and the people who provide those services are always in demand. Hone your mixology skills and practice your ability to smile and nod while someone complains about your entire existence for the short time they’re at your establishment and — poof — you are employable anywhere. Travel all you want, bartenders and servers! You will never fail to find work in a hotel, a bar, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a beach stall selling watered down margaritas, you name it. Enjoy!
2. Real Estate Agent/Property Manager/House Sitter
Regardless of your location, with real estate skills or property management experience, you’re golden. Trust me. Any touristy place you go will have ample opportunities for house sitters, property managers, hotel managers, and real estate agents ready to make the sale. Real estate licensing laws vary, but with that background in a touristy area, the odds are definitely in your favor. These skills are absolutely invaluable — you could even live for free! House sitting is a great way to travel without having to pay for accommodation. In-house managers at hotels and B&Bs can also live rent-free. Take advantage of your expertise and travel the world!
3. Scuba Diving Instructor/Divemaster
Looking to go somewhere tropical? Love the water and kind of wish you were born with gills? You are not alone. The number of opportunities for Diving Instructors and Divemasters continues to increase as the sport grows in popularity. Look anywhere in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, Southeast Asia, or the South Pacific and you will find dive centers everywhere. Add in liveaboards and private yachts and the opportunities increase. This skill set enables you to live and work anywhere — but don’t take it lightly! The courses are rigorous to achieve professional status and the work is not easy. But if you love the water, there’s no better option for travel and employment to coexist.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Henke
4. Masseuse/Holistic Therapist/Physical Therapist/Chiropractor
Who doesn’t need a good massage?! Touristy areas bring ample opportunity for spa treatments and anywhere with outdoor activities brings exhausted local workers who need some work done. They’re outside doing physical activity daily, which can certainly take a toll on the body over time. The demand is everywhere, so go offer the supply!
Great with words? Have an eye for detail? Take your work with you anywhere you go — traveling will inspire you even more! Whatever genre of writing you prefer, inspiration comes in many forms and the more you travel and meet new people, the easier your writing will flow. Photographers have endless options — families want memories whether they’re local or visiting. Weddings happen all over the globe, children go to school and parents want annual pictures, and tourists want their activities captured on camera to show to their friends and families back home. Increase your portfolio and broaden your scope with photos and stories from around the world.
6. Web Design/Graphic Design/Marketing
These skills can be carried anywhere and are useful everywhere. Go to a touristy spot and connect with a few expat business owners. They will want your expertise — your ability to make their signs and logos and websites in the style they’re used to from back home. Go anywhere and keep your connections from back home. You can still work on their websites, design new materials, and consult from afar without anyone even knowing you’re not in the same room. Not to mention your traveling will likely offer you new perspectives and inspiration in your own design elements. Embrace them!
7. Yoga Instructor
If you have traveled at all, you know yoga is a universally adored activity. As a yoga instructor, you can offer private classes or hook up with a studio offering a set schedule. Work when you want, where you want. Added bonus: language skills not necessary! Yogis speak their own language, enabling you to teach anywhere in the world. Namaste.
Prepping to teach a private yoga class on the beach at a local hotel. Beats a morning meeting in the boardroom! Photo courtesy of Michele Rauter
8. Electrician/Plumber/Mechanic/General HandyPerson
Where have you ever gone where people haven’t needed help fixing something in their homes, at their offices, with their vehicles? Nowhere. Everyone needs help because we can’t all be experts at everything. Especially look for expats who have imported appliances from home or who look for the same standard of living they had back home. They will want someone from home who understands their needs and who has experience working with the brands they have installed at home. Bonus: you can fix everything in your own home so your expenses are minimal. Well played!
9. Medical anything — Nurse, Doctor, Therapist, Veterinarian, Dentist, Dermatologist, you name it.
Medical skills are so highly prized throughout the world that you will never want for work. Of course, you may also find yourself volunteering most of the time, but you will be repaid in meals, housing, and appreciation. Travel anywhere with the supplies you can carry — you will be greeted with warmth. There are absolutely never enough medical facilities to cover all the needs of the people of this world. Go out to them and you will make an incredible impact on others’ lives.
10. IT/Virtual Assistant
Grab your laptop, find yourself a comfy seat and some WiFi and settle in. Your new office could be at a cafe, in a hammock, on your front porch, or underneath the world’s most popular structures. Being able to work remotely means really remotely. If you specialize in IT services you can do that for anyone anywhere. As a Virtual Assistant you can do the same work you’re doing now but from the comfort of your own front porch. Or couch. Or beach. Or favorite cafe on the corner. Sure, you might have to worry about time differences and make yourself available at odd hours, but then you have the rest of the day to explore and enjoy! Think about it: if you are able to telecommute, what’s holding you to your current city or town? You can telecommute from anywhere in the world!
Our Friend Jane is just one example of a virtual assistant service. A great way to work while traveling and a great way to save on administrative costs!
11. Personal Trainer/Coach
Sports are universal — you might not use the same terminology but your actions are the same the world over. Besides, the Brits and Americans supposedly speak the same language but have them discuss a game of soccer/football and you’ll quickly see language is useless in athletics. Personal trainers can find clients everywhere, and coaching is easy to come by at all levels. Granted, you may be a volunteer, but the experience is always well worth it!
Whatever your mother tongue, someone wants to learn it. You can trade your skills to learn a new language, or sell your skills to those who want to learn. Teaching and tutoring is an easy career for travel — each new place you go will find you someone or many someones who want to learn and to practice. Translators and interpreters are used in a variety of professions, ask around and you will find a void you can easily fill.TEFL/TESOL certifications carry a lot of weight, so check out courses online and in-person to gain experience before taking on a classroom by yourself.
Teaching English in Thailand for a semester…because why not? Photo courtesy of Sarah Haines
These are only a few suggestions as the options and opportunities for working while traveling are truly endless. Don’t be afraid you’ll lose your career if you travel! It can not only enhance your resume, it will most certainly enhance your daily life through the interactions you have along your journey. Enjoy the journey.