Updated: Mar 27, 2020
By Christine Seibold
Ever since I was a little girl, foreign countries, languages, and cultures have always intrigued me. The first foreign country I visited was Spain at 19 years old. I studied abroad for a year and later went back to teach English for two more years.
Travel opens your eyes to see and want more!
I have traveled to 45 countries (I will tell you how!), fallen in love with foreign men (ooh lala!), learned 2 foreign languages (Hola! Olá), worked with foreign clients in a law firm, planned trainings for foreign doctors, completed my Masters in International Relations…
BUT I STILL WANT MORE. That’s what travel does to you!
I still have this yearning inside of me that makes me want more. Never in a million years did I think it was possible to work for myself, never mind quit my 9-5 job, and travel full-time making a sustainable income. But it is possible, and in 6 short months, that is what I did.
For the last 5 years I’ve worked at Harvard University as a Project Manager, planning and executing leadership programs for physicians. While I have learned a great deal from this job and have taken advantage of the generous vacation in my benefit package for time to travel, it simply isn’t enough for me.
So, here are five strategies to consider if you want to step outside the traditional workforce.
1. Start Planning – Plan to get what you want one year out.
I want to work and live all over the world, and have the freedom and flexibility to be where I want and do what I want. I made the decision to give myself one year to quit my job. I started working part-time on Upwork with different clients doing various administrative jobs and projects, and working with social media. I then established a freelance business and just went for it!
2. Keep your day job while you plan and build a client base.
Although there are some people who will quit their jobs and just go for it, I am a little more conservative. We are all at different places in our lives and you should consider where you are in the process as you begin to plan your exit strategy. While I am still working full-time, my schedule allows me to have free time in the evenings and weekends to do my freelance jobs. I also have found clients who allow me to work flexible hours. Now, a couple months later, with some hard work and a little bit of faith, I am on my way to building the life that I want that will enable me to work from anywhere.
3. Do your research.
When considering a career change to travel the world, money is usually one of the biggest concerns. Start out by picking places to live that have a low cost of living. One of the best places to live and work on a freelance budget is South America, so that is part of my plan. In my current situation, I am already making enough to live in places like South America or Southeast Asia on my freelance salary alone.
4. Save your money.
I have been saving for the last few years to do something travel related, I just didn’t know exactly what I was saving for. Most people like to save for houses, cars, families, and retirement. While those things are important, I like to save my extra funds to travel. I want to show people (especially women) who are on the cusp of leaving their office job that it is possible to do if you are careful with your money and you just take action.
I am a middle of the road type of traveler. Sometimes I enjoy staying in nicer hotels and eating in nicer restaurants, however many times, I also like to stay in hostels with private rooms or to save money.
5. Consider what you will be missing if you don’t try this now.
Life is short, and I know I am much happier when my work day consists of no traffic, no cubicle, working in pajamas, and not answering to a boss. Working for yourself is a lot of work, but it is worth it to me. I don’t really care what the job is, if it can be done remotely, and provides me an income, then I will gladly do it in front of a beach.
Meet the Author - Christine Seibold
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