Travel the world and make a living

Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and spotted all of these fantastic sunsets, the phenomenal looking sunrises, and bowl after bowl of fresh fruit? All posted by people who are somehow making a living while traveling, and we aren’t just talking travel bloggers here. We are talking people have escaped the 9-5 and set up something they can truly do from anywhere. There are people running entire agencies remotely, where they wouldn’t be able to do it without a great system (likely involving scheduling social media in advance), a virtual assistant or even staff, and a communications infrastructure (such as business landline texting). There are also plenty of people enjoying the gig industry while they travel, and doing things on a much smaller scale. So, what are these digital nomads doing then?

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Teaching English

One of the most common ways to make money while you are traveling is to teach English as you go. While many schools require a degree or qualification, that’s not always a necessity. You can also tutor English and all you need is a firm grasp of the language. If you are a native speaker, that is ideal and will ensure you are in higher demand. 

Freelancing

You don’t have to be writing great content for travel sites. Instead, you might like to be a developer, graphic designer, web designer, marketing or social media management professional. The options are pretty endless, and you can choose to work as much or as little as you like. It all depends on what you want to earn. Online sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and People Per Hour are excellent options – watch out for those pesky charges though.

Hospitality

Bartending and café work. In most areas that you will visit you are likely to find bars and cafes that have a range of service staff, many of which will have been traveling and decided to stay a little while here. The jobs are not hard to come by, and they all rely on the same skills – punctuality, customer service and a reasonably upbeat personality.

Planning on staying a while? Use your new local knowledge about the area you are making your new home. Tour guides usually need to speak English, and you can even get a 2-year contract out of it. The pay isn’t great, but if you’re not in it for the money, it’s a great way to fund your travels. 

Photography

Photography is a popular one that is most difficult to make a living on. Anyone with a cell phone camera is taking shots, but if you have a knack for it and a decent camera, you can try your luck selling some of your shots to travel magazines or photography publications. You’re going to need a tremendous Instagram as a portfolio and keep media outlets aware of where you are heading next. Try and remember that there are a lot of sites now that are overflowing with photographs and they are free to download. Competition is stiff and paying publications are sparse. Nevertheless, if you enjoy it and see it as a bonus if and when you sell a picture, it’s a fun hobby that might just buy you a few more nights in your favourite destination. 

In the end, if you want to make it work, ensure you have cash saved up before you go. Cast your net far and wide and be resourceful. If you’re prepared to put in the legwork and set realistic expectations, you can make it work. 

*Photo at the top of the page by Manny Pantoja on Unsplash
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Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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