Published: Jan 22, 2020
You don’t have to wait until you retire to travel the world. If you choose the right career, you’ll be able to see the world while you earn a living. In fact, there are many career paths that support location independence or require a nomadic lifestyle. So, if you dream of a life on the road, you’ll want to consider the following five careers.
1. Travel nurse
Although most people don’t associate a career in medicine with wanderlust, there’s always a need for traveling nurses to help fill staffing gaps at medical facilities all over the world. And today, as many countries’ populations of senior citizens are rising, demand for careers in the medical profession is increasing. In particular, aging populations are boosting demand for ongoing care for chronic conditions.
Typically, travel nurses work as contractors in 13-week blocks, caring for patients while easing the burden on permanent hospital staffs. Travel nursing is a challenging but exciting profession that’s perfect for people who are adaptable, like to experience new places, and want to work in medicine and make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes, travel nurses even receive free housing or a housing stipend when they take an assignment.
Requirements for traveling nurses vary, but in the U.S. you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a multi-state license if you want travel opportunities. If you want to take your nursing career abroad, you may want to consider opportunities like medical mission trips, which give nurses the opportunity to help people in countries with limited medical facilities and resources.
Organizations that facilitate missions can help nurses get the necessary paperwork in order, but it’s important to note that these trips can be emotionally and physically challenging. No matter how you choose to become a traveling nurse, it’s crucial to understand what the expectations are for your assignment and to be flexible and willing to learn and dive right in.
2. International FEMA worker
Want to make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with the aftermath of a disaster while getting to see the world? While you probably won’t be sipping many piña coladas on the beach in the role of international FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) worker, you will be able to see the world while helping people who are at their most vulnerable.
International FEMA workers respond to disasters ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis to fires and even acts of terrorism. The working conditions can be extremely harsh, but it’s a career that can be very fulfilling, as you may save lives and help people get back on their feet.
U.S. citizens can apply for FEMA positions. Applicants must be able to pass a background and drug test and should be motivated, empathetic, innovative, and adaptable. Self-discipline is also key for FEMA workers, as they will sometimes have to work under limited supervision and in difficult conditions.
It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you become a disaster worker, but if you’re trying to find a way to give back while making a living, working with FEMA to respond to disasters could be a perfect fit.
3. Travel blogger
It’s the dream for so many: traveling the world and getting paid to do it. The good news is that it is possible. Sponsorships, ad revenue, courses, eBooks, and traditional book deals can offer bloggers multiple streams of income over time if their blogs are popular enough.
You may have heard that travel blogging is dead, but that’s simply not true—it’s just changing as time goes on, and it can take some time to build your audience and start making money. If you’re interested in becoming a travel blogger, it’s important to think of your blog as a business from day one. But it’s also important to make sure that you’re not relying on making money until you’ve found your stride and built an audience.
There are no educational requirements for becoming a travel blogger, but you must have something of value to offer your audience that they can’t find elsewhere. With thousands of travel blogs out there, yours needs to have a unique aesthetic or angle if you want to stand out. The good news? That unique angle could be almost anything.
It’s easy to get started in travel blogging. You just need to be tech-savvy and invest in a domain name and hosting to build your site. From there, it’s all about delivering value and consistent content on your blog and social media. Can’t afford to go too far from home yet? Start with local destinations and work your way up.
4. Hospitality and tourism professional
What better way to build a career around travel than to get into the field of hospitality and tourism? Now that air travel has become more accessible to the average person, this field is only becoming more important. In the U.S., some regions have huge tourism industries fueling their GDP. Florida, for instance, earned $90 billion in 2017 from tourism alone.
The hospitality and tourism field offers a huge range of career options for those who love to travel. You don’t have to just stay in one place and work at a hotel—there are dozens of options that could open the door for your own travel opportunities.
Travel agents’ roles have shifted, but if you want to create your own agency, you can easily fit your own travel into your life, partnering with different providers and previewing restaurants you can add to your clients’ itinerary. Another option would be an event planner—you could help arrange conferences or retreats and plan destination weddings.
Some jobs in this sector do involve committing to one place and often not traveling much yourself. But there are also many different options for travel within the field, whether it’s overnight tour guiding or working behind the scenes to help travelers have an amazing experience. A degree in hospitality and tourism is definitely helpful but not required for all careers in this sector.
5. Performing arts entertainer
If you love to be on stage, then you have lots of options for simultaneously traveling and working. Many orchestras, bands, theatre companies, and dance troupes hit the road to seek out new audiences and to share their entertainment with the world.
One of the best ways to see the world as a performer is by taking a job on a cruise ship. Since the same passengers need to be entertained night after night on cruises ships, a variety of performers are need on board. Not only does a cruise ship job allow you to make a living performing, but it also gives you room and board, making it easier to save money and reach your financial goals.
Talent and persistence are important if you want to pursue a career in the performing arts. While a degree can help, it’s also important to take as many jobs or gigs as you can while you’re working to get your name out there. The more people who see you on stage, the more likely you are to land a traveling gig. You’ll also need to learn to ace auditions, keeping your cool under pressure.
Even though performing and traveling can seem dreamy, it’s important to remember that the work can be physically and mentally taxing and you might not always have the time or energy to see the sites. Work and your health come first, and you should be prepared to take care of yourself when you get tired.
A final note
These five careers are just a few of the many work options that could take you around the world. With the number of location-independent careers on the rise, more and more people are living nomadic lifestyles and exploring the world while they work. You don’t even have to take a travel-related job to travel—just one that allows you to work remotely.
In the history of the human race, there has never been a better time to travel, with so many different ways to make it happen. Travel isn’t just for the rich anymore—it’s for everyone with enough determination and will. If you’re able to adapt and take opportunities as they come your way, then you may be well-suited to life on the road.
If you’ve been dreaming of your next adventure, then it’s time to get started and stop saying, “I wish.” Now is the time to start working on your destiny. Turn your dreams of international travel into reality by taking the first step toward launching your new career.
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.
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