Combine work and travel to see the world!
It’s easy for life to feel a bit much sometimes. Things get on top of you. You end up following a path you don’t remember signing yourself up for and before you know it, you’re stuck in a job you hate and can’t see a way out. That was my daily struggle for a long time and you can see how many end up stuck in the same position when so many twenty-somethings are forced to take any job they can get rather than taking the time to find one they are passionate about. Times are tough for millennials attempting to make it out in the big wide world and it can be easy to feel like a failure when you don’t match up to the impossible expectations placed upon us by society.
But what if there was another option?
What if you didn’t have to stay in that dead-end job to afford the flat in London, what if you didn’t have to work every hour of the day to scrounge together the pennies to afford your next trip? What if you could combine chasing your dream job with travel?
It’s become a bit of a rite of passage for twenty-somethings to take a gap year and travel round the world trying to “find themselves” after graduating from university. But so many do this only to return home to the UK afterwards and promptly forget themselves as they dive into corporate life, forgetting all the promises they made themselves.
I went through a phase where not a week went by without me hearing of another friend-of-a-friend packing up, quitting their job and heading to the airport to travel South-East Asia and Australia. That typical backpacker route promises a heck of a lot of fun but how on earth does anyone afford it?
Did their parents help them out? *Sigh* You’ll think to yourself, “I’d never be that lucky.” Well, I’m here to tell you the truth about combining work and travel as a twenty-something and why it could be the best decision you ever made.
For those in their twenties, this is the time to seize the opportunity to combine work and travel – by investing in a working holiday visa. It’s as simple as that.
At 25, I quit my job and used my savings, and my working holiday visa to travel across Asia, Australia and Europe and three years later, I’m still going strong. The trick is not to get your parents to pay for everything, but to see your time abroad as an opportunity to further your skills and to take on some exciting job roles.
One thing I’ve really learned from my travels is that the UK is very expensive to live in, and to be honest, the quality of life is terrible compared to places like Australia or New Zealand. Heading down under, the sun is always shining, the people are positive and friendly, there are endless places to explore sights to see. Plus, with it being an English-speaking country, the job possibilities are endless and they pay a lot better than the UK.
As a waitress, it is possible to be earning $27 an hour which works out as almost triple the average wage of a waitress in the UK, plus if you work public holidays your wage could even go up to $40-50 an hour. Now imagine how much you could be earning if you went into your chosen career and actually used the skills you were trained for!
Anyone under the age of 30 from the UK is able to get a working holiday visa, these are available for countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. You can also get a second year visa for Australia and New Zealand by completing three months of regional work which can range from fruit picking and working on a cattle station, to traffic control, construction or fishing.
Don’t fancy regional work but want to stay in the country? You can also get a company to sponsor you to stay and work for them – this can be in a skilled working role or a management role and are surprisingly easy to secure. This accounts for the countless UK citizens who have gone over to Australia on their travels and haven’t come back, finding jobs and accommodation in down under is much easier than you might imagine.
Whether you want to focus on having fun and travelling or on furthering your career and staying long-term, there is an option to suit everyone.
Don’t fancy travelling so far away from home? Don’t forget that Europe lies right on your doorstep and, at the moment, people from the UK are still free to work and travel across the European Union. Goodness knows how that will change when Brexit eventually comes into play, but now is the time to make the most of the amazing travel opportunities we have right in front of us.
You don’t have to be a grubby backpacker who goes off to find some deep hidden meaning to the world, you can combine work and travel and find a whole life waiting out there that you never dreamt of. Instead of being stuck in an office in Shoreditch, you could be working for a vineyard in the south of France, or pacing the cobbled streets of Rome on your lunch-breaks.
You could be basking in the sunshine of Portugal or exploring the best brunch spots in Berlin on your days off. Travel doesn’t have to be something you put off your whole life while you focus on your career, it can be something you combine with work to better yourself and your career prospects. It looks great if you have worked in your chosen field around the world, employers love the experience and the confidence you will have gained from it.
Plus it may even inspire you to try something a bit different – I used my journalism, blogging and sales skills to start my own freelance business and travel gave me the time, and the inspiration, to pursue it.
Leaving the corporate world behind and picking travel inspired me to research, to work hard in different roles and to find the things that I’m really passionate about. It helped me realise that I didn’t have to choose a career, that as twenty-something in today’s world, I had the luxury to design and build my own career.
And you can do the same. You don’t have to stay in that dead-end job, you don’t have to feel frustrated because you’re not using your degree or skills. You have the opportunity to change everything about your life, to seize the life that you want and to make it your own.
Why not take the plunge and see where you end up?