Feel like you need to focus on your career? That doesn’t mean you have to give up travel!
The past two months for me have been a whirlwind of change. I’ve landed a new job, I’m moving to a new town, and I’ve bought furniture for my new apartment. I must admit I’ve avoided buying furniture because I have a fear that furniture will drag me down into the dreaded ‘settled’ lifestyle as opposed to the ‘jet-set’ life I’ve enjoyed the past two years. I’ve reached a stage where I turn from young, fancy-free traveler to adventurous career woman.
It’s true that establishing a career will make it more difficult to hop and a plane and go, but I don’t think it’s impossible. If anything, the early stages of a career are a great moment to make travel a priority in my career path, especially since I have international aspirations.
When I search ‘travel friendly’ jobs such as ESL teacher, tour leaders, or dive instructors that sound idyllic, they don’t have the career growth, security, or salary that I’m looking for.
However, one can strategize a plan to open travel opportunities in just about any job, it just takes a little creativity.
- Use your strengths to your advantage
Continue to build on them until you become an expert. Once you have specialized knowledge, you can look for places around the world that would benefit from your skills.
- Do research on your job and how it’s performed around the world
Are there other special skills specifically related to your job that are required to work in another country?
- Ask yourself “Is there an emerging market that could use my experience?”
Find one, research it, and see if it is a place you can see yourself working.
- Use social media and LinkedIn to expand your professional network internationally. Make an effort to go to international trade shows or seminars that are related to your career. You could even tie it into a bigger personal trip you have in the future.
- Make sure to stay current and fluent in the new trends of your job so you are always at the top of your game.
- Learn and practice another language; having a second or third language opens a lot of professional opportunities in our globalized economy.
- Volunteer for a small or medium sized not-for-profit international organization. Choose a cause that you are passionate about that could benefit from your current skill set and specialties.
Make sure your volunteer activity is directly related to your chosen career path; it is in these roles where you will be able to try cutting edge methods that you may not be able to at work and have a chance to show off your work ethic, initiative, and ability to lead.
Great post! Really useful for me right now – am just applying for my first “real” grad job back in the UK, having realised that I don’t want to work crappy casual jobs forever, and would actually quite like a salary. Hey, at least I’ll be able to afford holidays this way! But yeah, it’s hard to find a work/ travel balance I think.
I hear ya Leah! I’m in the same boat, I’m looking forward to having some financial stability but on the other hand I’m feeling uneasy with the notion of becoming ‘settled’, but I think that I can own furniture and still be spontaneous 😉
“I must admit I’ve avoided buying furniture because I have a fear that furniture will drag me down into the dreaded ‘settled’ lifestyle as opposed to the ‘jet-set’ life I’ve enjoyed the past two years. I’ve reached a stage where I turn from young, fancy-free traveler to adventurous career woman.”
RIGHT?! I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place too in this regard. I feel like there’s a choice between a career and the ability to see the world. So many advice articles say, “Travel now while you still can, before you have a career,”…it can be disheartening. Great post, and something that’s super relevant to a lot of women, I think. Thanks for writing about it!
Thanks Farah 🙂 I agree that it’s important to travel when you are young and figuring out what life is all about. I think after gaining experience from independent traveling, one learns to think outside the box and put it into action, a skill many employers value. It’s just difficult to decide when to make that shift. Nevertheless, whenever you travel it can be beneficial to your career.
Spot on! I want a career. There’s not much room for that TEFL. I would like to live abroad again but for now it’s time to head home, hunker down and build up a solid skills base. I’m definitely going to keep your tips in mind as I do so!