It has been almost two years since I quit my corporate job in the Philippines so that I can travel the world and work remotely. Looking back, the start of it all surely involved a lot of changes and spurts of fear on my part… but right now? I don’t regret the decision that I’ve made and I never will, because I have secured my future, I’m living my dreams, and I’m enjoying every second of it!
» READ: How to Start a Life of Travel
Besides, this is exactly the kind of lifestyle that I have always wanted. And working a 9 to 5 job — often, even more hours! — cooped inside an office setting with a very low wage? Well that didn’t fit me, nor did it motivate me at all…
Okay, I have to admit that at first it looked great because of the ‘sense of security’ that it gave me as well as the whole idea of achieving ‘success’ in the corporate setting of an investment bank at the age of 19. But as time slowly passed, I realized that I wanted to…
- Take control of my time (who doesn’t?) and not trade my 20’s for a job that I didn’t love
- Earn what I actually deserve with my set of skills (fresh graduates, in my opinion, will always be undervalued anyways); and,
- Get rid of unnecessary time-wasters (hello, horrible traffic and humongous stress!)
…in order to develop the career or business that I have always wanted while I venture out to see the world, meet different people, and experience various things all at the same time.
So after I did quit my job, I worked as a freelance graphic designer, web designer, SEO manager, and marketing assistant in order to earn and travel at the same time. Lately however, I mainly manage my Amazon businessm Adalid Gear (established last 2014 together with my business partner and best friend: Jonas) while also running this travel blog. After the success of this venture, most of my days now involve around 4 hours of working — not consecutively — which leaves me a lot of hours for traveling and things that I’ve never managed to do before (like playing the piano, learning how to swim [yes I never learned how!], learning a new language, singing in a band, etc.)
With all of this blah-blah, I guess what I just want to say is that: YOU can do the same thing!
And wth the help of this post, I will give you some ideas on how you can jumpstart your ‘life of travel’ that’s filled with financial + job location independence. Other than my own experiences, I will also share other jobs that my friends and travel bloggers have done or are doing.
★ To make the list easier, I’ll group related jobs in one number/heading.
#1 – DIGITAL NOMAD JOBS
This was how I started after I resigned in 2013. Being a ‘digital nomad‘ simply means making full use of the technology around you (ta-dah: Internet!) in order to work remotely and earn an income whenever and wherever you are — much like a nomadic lifestyle. (Truth be told, if you’re creative enough, you can convert any existing profession that you have into a digital nomad job!)
MY STORY: I first started out with oDesk to offer my services of: graphic design, web design, SEO management, and marketing. (Mind you that I didn’t know much about these areas at first. My course in college was about business anyways and none about marketing, design, or SEO — I just learned these skills by myself online which you can do too; there’s just sooooo many free resources on the internet that there’s no need to really enroll yourself to a school). With the work I’ve done in oDesk, I controlled my time and I accepted/applied for paid projects that I wanted right in the comfort of my own apartment or as I traveled and hopped to different countries. [In short: working remotely through the internet = digital nomad life]
I eventually grabbed a stable high-paying online job with a Swedish brand and that went on for almost a year (I first started as one of their Customer Service Staff, advanced to being their Product Line Supervisor, and eventually their Head Marketing + Social Media Manager). It lasted only for a year because come May 2014, I thought that it would be great to adapt their kind of business — I pitched the idea to Jonas and he agreed. So, after a bit of prep (and a bit of guidance from the CEO of thee said Swedish company), we set up our own online Amazon business: Adalid Gear. The best thing about this business is that I can run it from anywhere in the world since Amazon does all the inventory-handling and shipping processes for me.
For more types of ‘digital’ jobs that you can do with the help of an internet connection (see the top 33 helpful websites you can use), just read through the list below (because one or more could fit you!):
- Consultation or Coaching
If you are a professional or an expert on a certain field (let’s say: financial management, events management, real estate, relationship + dating [pick up artists and so on], etc.) then this is something that you can offer online. This is because most companies (individuals too) often need the help without the need to permanently hire someone in their physical office. Other than building your own website to market your services, you can even sign up for sites like www.SkillShare.com where you can make passive income from prepared courses that you will make.
- Online Entrepreneurship
For my case, we do e-commerce retail or also called as ‘private labelling’ (different to drop shipping) on www.Amazon.com, but other than this kind of start-up (which you can also do on www.Etsy.com and www.eBay.com), you can try selling digital products like eBooks, games, and apps, or set up your own website and build a brand for your services (on programming, website development, tour organization/trips, etc.) Sure, it doesn’t always have to be something ‘online’, you can still be a business owner of a different kind but it’s just that most of the time, online-based businesses give you more freedom to move around. (To know more about other websites where you can sell digital products, see this article.)
NOTE: I just found out that there are Amazon courses online that can already teach you the basics of selling on Amazon. Check out these Udemy courses: “How to Private Label Products for Amazon” and “How to Sell Online on Amazon FBA“. Good luck!
- Online Poker Player
Aside from being an entrepreneur waaaaay before me, Jonas was also a professional online poker player ever since 2008 and that enabled him to travel to different places like the Maldives, Prague, U.S., etc. and eventually landing in Asia. This of course requires certain skills like bankroll management, number crunching, probability forecasting, etc. so it might be a bit of a hard start. But if this is something you want, once you learn the game, the return is enormous. I’ve tried to learn it before but decided not to really commit because it was just not my thing LOL (I hate dealing with numbers and probabilities). Plus: the plays here are just intense. If you’re in the U.S., online poker laws are a bit cloudy that’s why it’s best that you check www.LegalUSPokerSites.com. If you’re interested in learning the game, www.PokerStrategy.com is a good website to start and www.PokerStars.com is one of the best places to start playing poker online.
- Online Sports Betting
It’s exactly what it says and it can definitely help in funding your work-and-travel lifestyle. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about this and have never tried it at all BUT I know a couple of my friends who succeeds with it (one is on basketball and the other is on football) and they did say that there are a lot of resources online to help guide you. So if you’re into sports, as a start, check by http://Sports.Bovada.lv/betting-guide/ that has a very comprehensive introductory guide for online sports betting.
- Trading (Arbitrage, Foreign Exchange / Forex, Stocks, etc.)
If you have a strong background on these areas, make full use of it (otherwise, it can be learned). A LOT of money can be made through this, but then again, a LOT of money can be lost too; hence, it’s always best to really know what you’re doing. I have a background on this since I worked in an investment bank before but I don’t really enjoy it; but my best friend, on the other hand, enjoys it (since for him, it’s much like poker anyways plus he also holds a related degree that he got from university) so he does this on the side.
- (Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle, etc.) Blogging + Vlogging (YouTube)
This takes work, but once you’ve established yourself online, paid opportunities can be really good. Companies or brands will pay you for features and reviews, or give you a free stay/flight/meal. You can even make use of advertising and affiliate marketing opportunities that can really rake in some money. As for ‘vlogging‘, it’s one of popular things nowadays because the return can be enormous once you become a partner of YouTube. Most people do makeup and fashion videos or just make funny skits online. Whereas if you’re into gaming, you can do commentaries or compilations (yes, people actually earn millions just by recording themselves while playing a game — I know, it’s crazy, go to www.Twitch.tv and you’ll see what I’m talking about), or record yourself singing/dancing, or your cute pet moments. Simply put, the choices are almost endless that it’s likely that one of your hobbies would make a perfect YouTube channel and following.
- Virtual Specialists or Assistants
With the help of online websites (like these) and depending on your skills and interests, you can do:
- Administrative Work
- Customer Service, Data Entry, Data Processing, Management, Online Research, Secretarial, Transcription, etc.
- Specialist Services
- Content Writing / Copywriting / Editing / Proofreading, Finance (Bookkeeping), Legal, Medical, Marketing/Marketer, Social Media Management, etc.
» READ: A Guide to Freelance Writing
- Technical Services
- Graphic Design, HTML, Programming, Web Design, Web Development, Video/Audio Editing, etc.
- Administrative Work
★ TIP: Some countries are open to granting self-employment visas such as Germany. To learn more about this, read my article ‘How to Legally Stay Longer in Europe‘
» REGARDING VISAS: While traveling abroad, work permits don’t apply to us digital nomads since we don’t really work for a ‘physical business’ in the country’s territory. However, it’s your responsibility to research the laws of the country that you are in since some countries might have different laws that goes against this general rule. If I may add, it is also your responsibility to file your taxes appropriately in the country of your origin.
Do you want a detailed guide on how YOU can become a digital nomad? Come read below:.
#2 – COUNSELING, TEACHING OR TUTORING JOBS
- Teach English Overseas
Countries that don’t have English as a first language should be an instant destination for you especially if you don’t mind teaching or if you already have previous teaching experience. Don’t worry as well because some schools or language centers would just require you to have a Bachelor’s degree + knowledge of the English language. Still, most of them would still expect you to have a TEFL (or TESOL/TESL) certificate. There are a lot of courses and certifications online where you can get this, and one good site is Premier TEFL. As for the pay, it can be really good and it becomes better if you do freelance private classes or one-to-one (doing it private won’t necessarily make you need a TEFL certificate) as compared to teaching in language centers or schools. You can also choose to work long term or just short term. Now, where are the best places that you can go to…?
Japan, China, Korea, and Thailand are the hottest countries right now that needs English teachers (with Japan, Taiwan, and Korea paying the highest). Just type your search in Google for this (keyword is usually ‘ESL teacher’) and a LOT of resource websites will show up for availabilities, applications, and more. (For starters, you can try: www.ESLcafe.com)
- SOUTH AMERICA
If you are from the Philippines like me, you can definitely go to the high-paying Asian countries that I mentioned above, but most of the time these specific countries would require a Visa from you (if you’re from the US or Europe, such would not be the case). So other than going to visa-free Thailand as an alternative for an Asian destination, the next best thing that you should do is head to South America (SA) given how they have several countries that are visa-free for Filipinos. Just take Brazil and Colombia for example and those are already the highest-paying countries for English teachers in SA. If you ask me, this is such an awesome ordeal (especially because I have developed a certain hatred towards Visa applications). If you’re planning on heading there to become a freelance English teacher, other than ESL Cafe, try www.VolunteerLatinAmerica.com
Spain, Turkey, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, to name a few are typically in need of English teachers and ESL Cafe also lists openings for this. Also try www.GoAbroad.com/teach-abroad.
★ OTHER WEBSITES: www.TIEOnline.com and www.SearchAssociates.com
- Online Teacher or Tutor
(This also qualifies as a ‘digital nomad’ type of work) Websites like www.Tutor.com, www.Verbling.com, www.Kukuspeak.com (more here) are great websites to begin with. It’s important to note that there are application processes for this and most websites require years of experience.
- Summer Camp Counselor
If you like kids, camping, and outdoor activities, being a summer camp counselor can be a really fun thing to do! Other than the fact that you get paid, you also get to have free meals and accommodation. To start looking for opportunities on this, try: www.SuperCamps.co.uk, www.PGL.co.uk, www.EuroCamp.com, or www.ActionQuest.com
(This also qualifies as a ‘digital nomad’ type of work) Self-explanatory. Therefore, if you’re fluent in Chinese (as an example), there are a lot of clients out there that would need your service.
» NOTE: Teaching jobs that require you to physically work in one of the institutions in a foreign country would mean that you need to operate with a working visa. You should NEVER work and receive a salary if you’re on a tourist visa only since that’s illegal. Anyhow, getting a work permit should be easy once you are accepted by a school or institution abroad that wants to take you in as their ESL teacher. Nevertheless, I have heard of a few countries in Europe and South America that won’t require a work permit for ESL teachers; still, as always… do your research!
#3 – AU PAIR JOBS
If you love dealing with kids, an au pair job is the best thing for you! It’s basically like being a nanny where you might also be expected to do some light housework. I haven’t experienced this yet, but it’s very common in Europe wherein most au pairs are female. I even know several travel bloggers who are doing this while doing their freelance work (or studies). For this arrangement, the family would of course provide the accommodation and food and they would also pay you. (Other countries where au pairs are common: US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
Unfortunately, if you want something short term, this might not be ideal since most au pair contracts need you to do it for 6 months and more. But that aside, it’s worth a shot! Besides, the organizations that handle au pairs would even help you get your visa.
★ WEBSITES TO CHECK: www.GreatAuPair.com, www.IAPA.org, www.Europa-Pages.com/au_pair/, or www.TransitionsAbroad.com
#4 – NON-PAYING JOBS/ACTIVITIES (But with Free Accommodation and/or Food)
The jobs that I’ll be listing below will NOT pay you… BUT in exchange for the work you do, they will give you FREE accommodation and/or food. In my opinion, that’s still a great deal if hotel costs for example are digging too much into your wallet. Besides, with these kinds of set-ups, you can also mix in your freelance or digital work like the ones I mentioned in #1!
I actually already mentioned this in point #1, but it also applies here because though some companies or brands pay you for a feature or review, some of them prefer NOT to pay as well since they consider the feature/review (of experiencing their establishment, tasting their food, or having a free stay) as their ‘payment’. As a blogger, this no-payment arrangement often applies if you’re still a newbie; but as you go on and gain authority, you can certainly start to chaarge for your services.
- Couchsurfing or Home Stay
I love the website: www.CouchSurfing.org when searching for couchsurfing hosts! This is because each profile will show people’s testimonials about them. So, what’s couchsurfing? It’s basically a ‘coined term’ that refers to the act of letting a friend or a stranger stay and sleep in your house for FREE, using whatever space available: may it be the couch, floor, or if you want someone to be lucky, a whole room. As a couchsurfer, you will enjoy that perk and you will also get the chance of meeting new local people as you experience the country/city with the host that can serve as your tour guide. (In a way you can also call this a ‘home stay’ too if you specifically search for families and not just individuals in CouchSurfing.org; however, there are actually other sites online that focuses on family or home stays such as www.HelpX.net or www.HomeStay.com. And oh, if I may add, if you want to find another community like couchsurfing.org, you can try www.StayDU.com)
- Home Swap
If you’re leaving your house/condo/apartment behind, why not swap with someone else’s residence from another country? This means that you will let someone (a family or an individual) stay in your residence for X amount of days and then you get to stay in theirs as an exchange. (Good website for this is www.HomeExchange.com — it even seems like some people in the site exchange children too for cultural immersions, etc. Sounds a bit risky to me, but I guess if the references/testimonials are good for the host, it will already give you a sense of security. Moreover, you would also know their complete address, identity, and details.)
- Hostel Work
Most hostels will let you stay for free and in return, you have to do some ‘light work’ for them (such as cleaning, running errands, etc.) So the next time you try to book into a hostel, try emailing them first to ask if they are open to this kind of set-up. Otherwise, you can try these websites: www.HostelTravelJobs.com or www.HostelJobs.net
» NOTE: Some hostels can actually hire you formally and pay you in cash, but be reminded that in this kind of exchange, you would need a proper work permit — NEVER do work and take in cash if you don’t have this. Informal ones like working in exchange only for food and bed is a different matter. It depends on the country you’re staying in, but it’s generally a gray area. So technically speaking, you still need a work permit; but in reality, no government institution will care that much if you managed to stay for free by doing a bit of work for a hostel or hotel. Some establishments and travelers though still do paid work even without a work permit; it’s a rampant practice and you can do it too, but I am warning you that it can be very risky.
There are volunteering opportunities in most popular charity groups (like WWF etc.) but unfortunately, those tend to have expensive registration fees (which will defeat the purpose of trying to gain financial freedom). There are even stints (such as being a volunteer for the Olympics) wherein you won’t get accommodation nor pay in return — only the experience, which is still appealing, but not really ideal if you are tight on a budget and you want to continue ‘living’. So what you can rather do is look for volunteering jobs (work exchange) that have NO fees and which still provide something in exchange for your effort. These are usually the kind of jobs that you can get at hotels, restaurants, bars, fruit farms, etc. wherein in return for the help that you give them, they will give you free accommodation or food. To search for these, you can try searching at www.WorkAway.info, www.AnyWorkAnywhere.com, www.OverseasJobs.com, www.FruitfulJobs.com,
» NOTE: Much like the hostel jobs, volunteering jobs can be also done in a paid manner, and again it is considered illegal if you don’t have a work visa or permit on you. Still, most establishments freely offer paid jobs ‘under the table’ even if you don’t have a work permit. (In fact, they know that it’s illegal that’s why some of these sites even put up a tip saying that you shouldn’t mention that you’re going to do volunteer work when going through immigration). As for those who simply offer free accommodation and food for the labor that you do, like I said, it’s a gray area and still very possible to do.
- House Sitter / Pet Sitter
It’s just like what you think: you get to stay and have a whole house to yourself for FREE (sometimes to take care of the pets too) while the whole family is away on vacation. The biggest site so far is www.TrustedHouseSitters.com and then there’s also www.MindMyHouse.com. (If you want to look for a longer commitment, go to: www.HouseCarers.com)
#5 – TRADITIONAL JOBS
These are the commonly known ‘conventional’ careers that will make you see more of the world, but the downside is that some of it would still require a lot of hours (fixed). Of course my aim for this article is to give job ideas that not only allow you to travel, but it should also allow you to control your time and the amount of work that you put in. However, I thought that I would just enumerate these jobs nonetheless because they can be your options too! (And if you’re lucky, the hours can still be flexible!)
- Artist (Art, Crafts, Fashion, Makeup, Designer, Music, etc.)
Depending on your skills and reputation, you can go a long way as an artist. Some bloggers make collaborations with the establishments in the country they are visiting in exchange for money or accommodation. The profit you can earn becomes greater if you mix it with an online presence; like I’ve mentioned above, YouTube for instance is home to many artists. You can do hair or makeup tutorials online, painting or drawing tutorials or time-lapse videos, and more. Other than these, if you’re a musician, you can work in bars or hotels; if you’re more into crafts, you can sell your work overseas and more!
- Busking (Street Performer)
This, in my opinion, is the most basic thing that you can do while you’re on the road. In exchange for money or even food/drinks, you can perform in public by singing, dancing, making street art, etc.
- Biologist / Geologist
If you have a degree related to this, the chances of traveling the globe is highly likely since you can be stationed in places like Hawaii or in more remote ones (which would prove to be an adventure!)
- Film, Creative or Camera Crew / Director / etc.
Back in 2012, I met several people abroad who worked for the Survivor U.S. camera crew (yes, that American show) and naturally, they told me tons of crazy stories from their travels to many remote places (it’s Survivor anyways). It follows then that this is definitely another option for you especially if you’re into the showbiz or creative industry; besides, with the rise of independent (indie) films, you might even make a name for yourself as a director. Though it’s important to point out that this kind of work often requires loooong hours of work.
- Cruise Ship Crew / Yacht Crew
A few of my cousins do work as entertainers or bartenders in a cruise ship but it’s important to note that they operate on a contract that can span for months or years. (You can go to www.AllCruiseJobs.com to look for opportunities related to this). If you want something temporary, like just helping out in a yacht for a brief time in order to go from one place to another, you can use this awesome site that I found: www.crewseekers.net or www.findacrew.net/
- Flight Attendant / Pilot
Starting can be quite tough because new employees almost always have no chance of choosing their own shifts or destinations. But you can still get to travel around while being paid; you might even get a few free flights or huge discounts (not only for you, but your family too).
- Freelance Photographer
At least for this one, you can control your time but be mindful that it’s becoming insanely competitive out there and it might be a bit hard to start.
- I.T. Technician
I’ve been told that I.T. people tend to travel and move around a lot; and it’s true. It made me remember some of my friends who manage to go to other places because of this kind of work. Though I think I should point out that the downside to this is that it usually requires intense and long hours of work and you’re cooped inside the office — this is why I give mad respect to them.
- Scuba Diving or Surf Instructor
If you have the certification AND if you love diving or if you simply love to surf, why not share your knowledge and earn from it? There are a lot of places in the world where you can apply for these kinds of jobs, some of which are the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii, Maldives and more! Check out www.DiveZone.net and www.SurfTravelJobs.com
- Travel Agent / Tour Guide / Tour Organizer
This was one of the usual dream-jobs before that is deemed to give you the highest chance to travel the world; but, with the advent of the internet, the industry is slowly waning (what with people booking their own trips). But this could still be a viable option for you especially if you have a degree in tourism and you would want to put that into use. Otherwise, you can be a ‘digital nomad’ by setting up your own tourism business online wherein you create and organize trips for others.
- Yoga / Dance / Exercise Instructor
It takes work to start because often times you need to build a reputation and a network; you can’t just show up in a resort or studio and offer your services when you can’t back up who you are. Once you got those things covered, it will be a bliss to do and share an activity that you love while traveling around.
I hope this post helped give you an idea on what types of jobs you can do in order to travel the world, and leave the job that you are not happy with! I also hope that I helped inspire you into adapting this kind of lifestyle, because it’s one of the things that I would absolutely recommend to everyone.
(Do imagine that at that time when I was starting, I had little to no guidance — I stumbled through and picked things up all by myself. Yet, here you are, reading this article as a start-up advise, with me as one of your ‘guide’! Therefore if you think about it, this is already a ‘stepping stone’ for you: so take advantage of it!)
Remember: I have listed these jobs as a start to launching a travel lifestyle so that I can help you launch your dream! But take note that it is still and always important to think long term in order to secure your future even more. So while you are doing one of the jobs above, try to think of other ways to attain an even more sustainable travel lifestyle. (Example: try being an online entrepreneur like me, try setting up a resort in a more affordable country abroad, etc.)
★ TIP: Much like what you have learned before in school, it’s a wise choice to ‘diversify your portfolio‘ — meaning that when applied to this kind of lifestyle, make the most of what you can do or what you love to do. Don’t just settle on one job for your earnings, go mix and match! Example, you’re great on lettering and calligraphy, other than selling your services while on the road (to hostels, restaurants, galleries, etc.) also build your digital nomad opportunities by building a website of your own, selling your prints, and more. There are just so many opportunities out there! And once you find the best fit for you, start thinking long term because (for instance) you wouldn’t to keep working for somebody else (bars, hostels, etc.) for all your life, right? So try to find a business or profession that will secure your future; may it be a stable online company, a tutoring school, a dance studio, etc.
★ LAST TIP: Are you under 35 and planning to stay abroad for a year? If yes, consider the possibility of getting a youth working holiday visa! Some countries allow travelers to work (and look for work) during their vacation which can last up to one year — this would act as some sort of residence permit. To know more about this, simply check this article to see which countries have reciprocal agreements (if you’re from the Philippines, we have an agreement with New Zealand so it’s worth checking out).
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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.
My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel too (no matter the odds), and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel guides, adventures, resources, tips, and MORE!
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