Thomas was my bunkmate at the International Hostel in Crested Butte, Colorado.
After we’d finalized the usual pleasantries (Where are you from? Boulder, Colorado. What are you doing here? Mountain biking. How long are you traveling? A few days.) we decided to head out for pizza. I was on a booze-break and my slight obsession with IPAs had to be wrestled down like one of those bad guys in an episode of Cops.
Over dinner Thomas and I got to talking about travel. I drooled over his cold, frosty beverage as he mentioned spending time living in Alaska.
Photo by: Matt Zimmerman
“How did you end up in Alaska the first time?” I asked.
“I hated my job so I quit and went to Alaska to be a zip line guide,” he said.
“How did that happen?” I probed.
“Well, my friend sent me a website with different seasonal jobs so I applied to a few, got one in Alaska, then went.”
“Had you been a zip line guide before?’
“No,” he said. “They gave us a place to live too, it was an amazing summer.”
Let’s consider Thomas’ story for a moment.
What he did was take a few simple steps.
1. Applied for adventurous jobs.
2. Quit his job.
3. Went to Alaska and had the time of his life.
Now, that seemingly simple three-step process takes a lot of guts, but the steps themselves are not difficult to follow. If you have been daydreaming about a job that requires you to see the world beyond your cubicle, what’s holding you back?
Everybody fears major life changes, even if it’s just a little. Everybody.
People who do seemingly amazing things with their lives aren’t fearless. They’ve merely managed to wrestle that fear down, throw it in the back of a cop car and put that horrible criminal in jail. Just like on Cops.
Get uncomfortable. Take a chance. Don’t waste another second letting fear dictate the decisions you make. Soul sucking work leads to stress, aggravation, health problems, daily unhappiness and other really bad things like:
Very dangerous stuff.
If you’ve been itching to make an adventurous career change you have to realize that there is never a “good” time.
If not now, then when?
Then give yourself an honest answer. (You deserve it).
Out of excuses? You’ve got this.
Simply take it one-step at a time, my friend.
And just to show you how easy it can be, here are some kick ass resources to help you land a job that requires travel. So you can tell your “Alaska story.”
Their motto is “Jobs In Great Places,” which pretty much says it all. Most jobs don’t involve a specific skill set, but places you may land a gig include camps, restaurants, ranches, resorts, state parks and more. Up for an adventure in a new place? Apply for some work and hit the road.
Listen to my interview with Cool Works founder Bill Berg here:
How To Find Life Changing Seasonal Jobs
Seasonal and overseas job opportunities abound on this job search portal, you can find everything from cruise ship positions, oil and gas work and beach resort jobs. I mean, who doesn’t want to be working on a beach somewhere?
National Park Jobs
Imagine waking up, heading out the door and making your daily commute to someplace like this:
US National Parks are an absolute treasure. Find seasonal or even full-time work directly with the National Park Service and find your own little slice of heaven.
Work In a Hostel
Photo by: Wombat City Hostels
Want to go abroad, earn an income and meet travelers from all over the world? Check out Hostel Travel Jobs, which helps to connect travelers with hostel owners seeking employees. See work opportunities by destination or job type. The work might not all be sexy but you’ll be in the mix with travelers of every type, which can always lead to more opportunities.
Note: Hostel Travel Jobs charges a small fee to contact any potential employers.
Event Marketing and Trade Show Work
I wrote the book on this, literally! Traveling events need touring professionals to roll with the show. Here is how to get started: Why work in event marketing.
Get On A Rock and Roll Tour
In this podcast: How To Become a Roadie and See the World, my boy Ryan gives us the scoop on how to break into the road crew industry with little to no experience. Ryan has worked with artists like Jack White, Beck and Arcade Fire so I would heed his advice.
Crew Space is a private social network for touring pros, but if you can get in you may find something.
There is another way to back door a job in music touring that I discuss in our free resources guide. You can sign up to get it right at the top of this page to the right!
Cruise Ship Jobs
Want to float around the world and get paid at the same time? Just apply! Cruise ship jobs come in all shapes and forms, scope out All Cruise Jobs to get an idea of what’s out there. Want a sea leg up on the competition? Listen to this interview with Cruise Ship Job expert, Wandering Earl: How to work on a cruise ship, or grab his book which teaches you everything you need to know to get started.
Comprehensive Guide: How To Work On a Cruise Ship
Listen to my interview with Earl about cruise ship jobs
This video might help too (well, not really but it will make you laugh).
Fruit Picking Jobs and Farm Work
Want to get you hands dirty, work hard, experience local life and see the world? Farm jobs might be your ticket. Hear how this awesome Irish couple did it in Australia, and check out which websites they recommend for more information. For farm work in New Zealand go here.
Adventure Travel Tour Guide
Take off the rose-tinted shades because being a tour guide isn’t all sight seeing, fun and adventure. My summer working as an adventure travel tour guide also taught me a ton about leadership, group dynamics and travel. It was tough, but also extremely rewarding. I rode in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, toured famous Route 66 with Harley Davidson riders, and saw the most beautiful parts of the USA – all while getting paid. You will work many hours, stress over logistics, occasionally guide some lame people, and certainly won’t become a millionaire, but so what?
The best way to find these jobs is to visit individual outfitters websites, locate the job boards and apply. Hiring can be seasonal so pay attention to when they take applications by setting calendar reminders.
Start with National Geographic’s list to find some of the best companies to work for.
Non-Governmental Organizations bring aid to those in need all around the globe. There are a lot of things to consider before you dive in, this article with get you started: Jobs that require travel: Work for an NGO.
Photo By: Nattu
Resorts are always on the hunt for seasonal workers. My summer in college working at Disney was probably the best summer of my college years. Sure, my job title was ‘custodial host’ (read: trash sweeper,) but I met amazing people, some of whom I am still in contact with. More the island type? Look into working with Club Med or choose your dream destination and job hunt worldwide at Resort Jobs.
Sail The Seven Seas On A Private Yacht
Photo by: Tiarescott
A private yacht needs a crew, but just because you don’t have Popeye’s mad skills doesn’t mean there isn’t a position waiting for you. Work options include deckhands, maids, cooks and more skilled positions. Head to a port town, meander down to the dock and ask around – or scope out work in advance on sites like Find A Crew, Crew Network and Crewfinders. Cast a wide net with your job hunt and you’re sure to land something.
You don’t necessarily need an English degree to teach English abroad, and there are more possibilities than you probably realize: teaching children, teaching adults, teaching business English, teaching in a school, teaching in an English language school and private tutoring. And I haven’t even mentioned the where – everywhere.
Dave Sperling from Dave’s ESL Cafe is an expert in this field, listen to my interview with Dave along with this podcast to help you get a handle on the English teaching basics: Travel and Teaching English abroad.
If you are looking to experience family culture while working abroad, becoming an au pair may be for you. Generally, an au pair is someone hired to look after children (but could also be helping with an elderly or disabled person) in exchange for food and board plus a stipend of some pre-determined amount. Interested? Learn more in this first hand interview: How to become an au pair.
Green thumbs can get their farm fix by volunteering to work on organic farms in various countries. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is an exchange program, which means you exchange 4-6 hours of work each day for meals and a place to sleep. Pocket money is up to you. Before you decide to get dirty, get the truth on the WWOOF experience from somebody who has lived it: What’s the deal with WOOFing?
Listen to this podcast to get the real scoop on WWOOFing
This is another popular resource for worldwide exchange opportunities; jobs can vary from farms, ranches and lodges to sailboats and hostels. You’ll get feel meals and accommodation for your hard work.
If you want a chance to give back to the global community, the Peace Corps may be for you. Contracts last two years and during your tenure your housing and living costs are covered, enabling you to live like the locals do. Volunteers also receive around $7,500 at the end of each contract.
Note: Most positions require a four-year degree, although some accept applicants with a combination of related job experience and education.
Well, there you have it, a list of awesome resources to help you start something amazing. Just remember those three simple steps:
1. Apply for adventurous job.
2. Quit current job.
3. Begin your “Alaska story.”
– Featured photo by my sis Shannon Locker
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