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8 Ways You Can Travel The World

8 Ways You Can Travel The World

Travelling the world is often viewed as an incredible but expensive privilege of those who have the courage to do it. This is mostly an accurate assumption. It’s possibly one of the most incredible and important experiences you can create in your life. Everyone is entirely capable of doing it once they muster the bravery, if travelling is really something you want to do. Once you’ve done that, it’s just the financial aspects stopping you. But exploring the planet doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact you can earn a living doing it. Jordan Bates of Refine The Mind shares some insight and resources for those of you who are seeking an affordable adventure and life experience:

Find a way to travel abroad. This is one of the most basic pieces of advice I could give to anyone wanting to expand their view of life, themselves, and the world. I’ve written previously about why traveling abroad will be the best decision of your life and the empowering realizations you can’t afford to miss.

Still, I know that for many people the prospect of globe-trotting is a far-off, seemingly unreachable fantasy. Folks think “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had the money to do that?” or “Sigh, I could do that if it weren’t for [insert excuse here].” or “Some day I will do that, after [insert arbitrary life event].

People tend to believe that traveling abroad will cost them a fortune, or else deep down they haven’t overcome a fear of entering the unknown. Well, I’m here to tell you that traveling abroad doesn’t have to break the bank. I mean, sure, if you want to live a 5-star lifestyle in a foreign country it will cost a pretty penny, but you shouldn’t want to do that. You should want to live with the people and experience the culture because that’s where the magic happens.

Between cheap flights, living in hostels or CouchSurfing, and finding ways to earn money, food, and/or accommodation while abroad, travel can cost far less than you might imagine. Here are eight ways to partially or entirely finance a trip abroad.

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1. Teach English

In just over one month, I will be heading to Asia to teach English in Busan, South Korea for at least one year through the EPIK Program. English is, in many ways, becoming a universal language. There are job opportunities in countless locations all over the world, and often you only need to be a native speaker or take an online certification course (you may also need a college degree). Many programs will pay for your airfare and housing on top of a healthy salary. Google and Dave’s ESL Cafe are good resources to begin discovering your options.

2. WWOOF

This is something I’m probably going to do within the next few years. Through the World Wide Organization of Organic Farms (WWOOF), you can travel to many different countries and work on organic farms. Basically, you work for 4-6 hours per day in exchange for food and housing with a host family. This leaves the majority of your day open for exploring and other activities. With the necessities covered, you only need to pay for travel expenses. I have friends who “WWOOFed” for 6 months in Japan, and some friends of a friend did the same for about 6 months in South America.

3. Peace Corps

Peace Corps is another option I’ve strongly considered and may still do. Corps members make a two-year commitment to live and work in a developing country. Members work in the sectors of education, youth and community development, health, business, agriculture, environment, and HIV/AIDS, among others. In exchange, you receive a housing and living allowance, student loan assistance, a re-adjustment stipend of $7,425 upon completion, full medical and dental coverage, plus a few other things. I know the Peace Corps would be a profoundly life-changing experience.

4. Work on a Cruise Ship

Recently, I went on an extraordinary Alaskan cruise with my family. While on the ship, I met a woman from London who encouraged me to check out working for a cruise line if I was interested in traveling abroad while earning money. She said she makes $1,800 per month, and her housing and food are completely covered. She also told me she was on a 6-month contract, so the job wasn’t an overly large commitment.

5. Housesit or be an Au Pair

When I was in Spain last summer, I met a girl who was working as an au pair for the summer. She was spending time in Germany, Italy, and Spain looking after different family’s children during the workday. She was then able to spend her evenings as she liked and travel on weekends. It seemed like a pretty sweet gig. Housesitting is another related option I’ve heard about. Unlike being an au pair, you wouldn’t be paid to housesit, but you would have a free place to say. Some people bounce around the world housesitting for years at at time.

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6. Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)

VSO‘s vision is a world without poverty. They are an organization that puts people first, and I love that. VSO volunteers work in areas of animals and natural resources, communications and fundraising, communities and social development, engineering and technical, health, business, education, and more. VSO covers the travel expenses, insurance, and day-to-day living expenses for their volunteers.

They also offer Youth Volunteering Program for young people who might not yet have the experience to qualify for one of their main volunteer opportunities. Additionally, keep in mind that VSO and Peace Corps are two among many volunteer organizations around the world that will finance your travels to volunteer abroad. Don’t be afraid to do some digging and check out others.

7. Work at a Resort

Resort positions are among the most common forms of employment that can be easily acquired by people from foreign countries. And, there are resorts all over the planet. You could potentially work as a front desk attendant, in a restaurant, or in the activity/entertainment department. You could save money, and in your downtime, experience a tropical locale.

8. Blogging/Freelance Work

I had to include this one. It’s becoming more feasible all the time to work from a remote location, and people are capitalizing on this state of affairs to become digital nomads. Chris Guillebeau and Wandering Earl come to mind. A friend of mine and her husband recently quit their jobs to travel the world and started This World Rocks as a way to document their travels and gain some funds.

Make no mistake — there are no get-rich-quick-and-easy methods of making money as a blogger or freelancer. But, there are many people who do it, and if you’re curious, you’ll find mountains of helpful info online from places like Copyblogger. If you’re looking to brainstorm more ideas for making money while abroad, check out this longer list from Wandering Earl.

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Will You Do What it Takes to See the World?

Once you’re awakened to the reality of affordable travel experiences, it’s difficult to fall back on the same old excuses.

You’re forced to confront a difficult truth: I either want this badly enough or I don’t. If seeing the world is something you feel you definitely want to do (and it should be), you really have just one obstacle left to overcome: internal resistance.

We tend to resist change with all of our being. We procrastinate infinitely. Fear, anxiety, and distractions become ready-made reasons not to do things. We crave consistency and the eternal comfort zone, but whether we like it or not, life will change and we won’t be ready for it. That’s a fact, but you have a choice.

You can lock yourself indoors, peak out the blinds, and wait nervously for the day when life becomes a kamikaze. Or, you can dive headfirst into a foreign environment, gain invaluable experiences, and come out stronger and more capable than ever of facing life’s inevitable quagmires.

It’s up to you.

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” – Moorish proverb

8 Ways to Earn a Living While Traveling Abroad | Refine The Mind

Jordan Bates is an English teacher in Busan, South Korea. He’s a tenacious fellow who enjoys longboarding, creative writing, hip-hop music, and the study of literature and philosophy. He’s also made it his quest to broaden the minds of others while cultivating more kindness and understanding in the world. You should check out his website Refine The Mind, where he writes about shifting the status quo and the power of a loving perspective.

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Siobhan Harmer

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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