I am celebrating today.
Exactly 9 years ago today I moved to the Caribbean island of St Maarten. And although I had lived abroad before, this time it was different. This move marked the start of my nomadic existence: in the past 9 years I have not lived in the same country for more than 9 months…
I have lived in 13 countries all over the world in these 9 years and traveled to many more. In most countries I would find a short term job or volunteer project and when after a few months the project ended or the job started to bore me I would move on to the next…
It has been an interesting 9 years. It hasn’t always been easy and I definitely have developed a love/hate relationship with airports (the countless times I cried saying goodbye to people I had come to love, but at the same time the excitement I felt to move on to something new).
But I have seen and done so much!
I swam with dolphins as part of my job, I stayed at some of the most expensive resorts in the world without paying much for them, partied on luxury yachts but also taught English at a slum school in India and have seen more poverty, corruption and injustice than I ever imagined possible…
I have felt loved by people I just met, I got to immerse myself into cultures so different from my own and I sometimes feel I have lived 13 different lives. And all of that helped me grow as a person.
Growing as you travel
By now things have changed a bit for me: the marketing company I started many years ago as a side business is now profitable enough to sustain my traveling lifestyle. So no longer do I have to search for local jobs that sometimes do turn out to be nothing like what you expected. At the same time, not working locally anymore has taken away part of the experience as well: I don’t have local colleagues anymore and don’t get to know their ways of life.
That being said, I am off to the Bahamas soon to volunteer with a local marine conservation organization so I guess I will get that local experience again!
The way you travel changes as you change
My travels and experiences abroad have definitely changed. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I had no money but also little to no fear and no issues with discomfort. I stayed in cheap hostels where I met so many different people from all over the world. But in these hostels I also shared my room with cockroaches, bed bugs and once, in a remote hostel in Honduras, I even had the pleasure of sharing a room with iguanas, frogs, a snake and a scorpion…
These days I more often travel to visit one of the many friends I have made all over the world and tend to spend more money on private hotel rooms and rental cars.
So my advice: don’t put off traveling! The way you travel when you are young and (relatively) broke is something you will never be able to recreate when you are retired, have some money to spend and need some basic comforts in life!
My tips to work abroad & travel the world
It might feel difficult and intimidating to find a job or even (affordable) volunteer work abroad but it really isn’t that complicated.
As long as you are willing to work hard and see the job as a travel experience more than a good way to make money (most of my jobs were poorly paid but then the countries they were in were also very cheap), you will have no problem finding something.
Check out the following two pages for my tips about working abroad and traveling the world:
- Tips & Resources For Long Term Travel
Here I have added links to useful sites for finding work abroad, international networks and general tips about working abroad and long term travel.
- How to Find The Perfect Job Abroad
I have applied for countless jobs all over the world. These are my tips on how to find a job abroad that suits you and how to make the most of your international experience.
And, if you want some more insight into what it feels like to be moving from country to country all the time, read my article Traveling For Life: What it’s Really Like
I am writing this while driving through Mexico, on my way to a winery to celebrate my 9 years of constant traveling. And once again I am realizing how fortunate I am to live the life I live. A life of freedom and adventures. A life that makes me feel alive.
I hope my travel stories inspire you and help you create a life of travel to experience this beautiful world of ours!
Whether you prefer to take day trips to explore the area you live in or want to move to the other side of the world: don’t forget to appreciate the little things! Talk to local people, get to know their ways of life and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the place you find yourself in…
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