I had my first job when I was 14, at a movie theatre in downtown Toronto. Before I decided to travel, I was as an administrator for a non-profit organization, a role I held for 7 years. So when I left home 10 months ago, I didn’t know where I’d end up nor what I’d be doing, there was no job lined up anywhere. This is what makes it a great adventure – going wherever the wind takes me.
The savings I left home with weren’t going to last forever, so I needed to find ways to be budget savvy but not compromise on enjoying my travels. What’s the point of traveling if you don’t eat all the amazing food different countries offer? So I set out to find creative ways to save and make money. Here are the different jobs I’ve picked up while traveling
Organic Farming in Australia
I spent a chunk of timing exploring Australia’s East Coast, and mind you, Australia can be quite expensive, especially compared to Southeast Asia. I decided to try “WWOOF” (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in Byron Bay; a beautiful, easy going surfer town. WWOOF is an organization that connects people (often travellers) looking for opportunities to exchange their labour for accommodation and food with organic farms; the program has opportunities all over the world.
It was a chance to save money on my biggest costs. Plus I grew up in a concrete jungle, farming seemed like a great life experience! I spent 4 weeks living in a teepee tent while working at Farmer J’s, an organic vegetable farm with free-range chickens. I worked in various roles, including making compost, weeding, planting, harvesting, packaging, and taking care of the chickens. We only worked 6hrs/day, 5 days a week so there was still plenty of time to soak in the sun, swim in the ocean, and explore Byron. Although it was physically hard labour at some points, but a great way to save some cash, meet new people, and gain some life experience.
Coffee Shop Manager in Vietnam
When I got to Vietnam, I was running low on cash so I needed to find work that paid me in dollars. After putting a post up on the local expat Facebook group, I got tons of leads for interviews. One of those was to manage a bustling cafe in the heart of Ancient Town, Hoi An in Central Vietnam. My Vietnamese has only been used in casual conversations and taking on the role of managing a team of 20 Vietnamese staff was a good challenge. They were an amazing team and we all got along really well, even though I was a foreigner stepping into a management role. Through getting to know my staff, I got to learn more about Hoi An – where they all grew up – and made new friends from around the world.
Flyering in Vietnam
This might be a job all long-term backpackers pick up at one point in their journey. And why not? It’s easy, you meet tons of other people on a travel journey similar to yours, you earn decent cash without making a long commitment, you work short hours and still have tons of time to explore. I worked a couple nights a week promoting a popular backpackers’ bar in Hoi An. It paid me well, I only worked 3 hours a night, most of friends also worked there, and it was all you can drink while you work (which at that point in my travels I was still spending a fair amount of money on, so this was a bonus!).
It was fun, easy, and hard all at the same time. The experience made me get creative with my approaches to people and taught me how to build a shield; as you’re often ignored or rudely responded to. I definitely have a new appreciation for anyone who does promotional street work.
Reception at a Villa in Vietnam
For a short period of time I got to get back to my administrative roots while working at a backpackers villa in Hoi An; where I built relationships with the guests, improved processes, made invoices, did a little bit of waitressing and bartending and even helped set up and clean rooms. It was a neat experience to be behind the scenes, instead of as a guest. It helped me understand how much hard work running a backpackers’ place can be!
Teaching Yoga & Mindfulness
This is the light in all of these jobs, sharing the practice of yoga and mindfulness. After completing my 200-hr Hatha yoga & mindfulness training through saigon om, within two weeks I started to teach at Nomad Yoga Hoi An, a beautiful, open air studio close to the rice fields. Yoga and mindfulness have completely changed my life, so being able to teach and share the practices is a privilege. I got to teach at the studio and on the beach for sunrise classes; there are really no complaints! It’s a role where you’re continually learning and growing and so I plan to teach wherever I travel to next; which is also the great thing about yoga, it’s practiced everywhere in the world so I’ll have lots of opportunities to travel and teach.
Freelance in Digital Marketing
Most recently, I’ve started to freelance my time in the digital marketing world through various roles (project management, social media strategist, content development, web site maintenance and even a wee bit of web development). Working in this industry is great – no wonder so many digital nomads do it! You have the flexibility of being location independent but can also earn decent money to support yourself and your travels. So far, it’s been a good challenge for me. It keeps me on my toes, as different clients require different strategies and different content. Freelancing has made me more disciplined as well as gives me the little bit of structure my carefree-no plan-travel-life needs in order to balance.
These jobs have given such great life experience, they took me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn, grow, and develop. Between teaching yoga and working in digital marketing, I’m starting to find that work/life/adventure balance!