Certified abroad- travel/work opportunities abound for a perfect work-life balance.

March 8, 2015
Calzada street

The opportunities you will find along the way when long-term traveling are endless. This post outlines paid opportunities if you are interested in volunteer opportunities read this. The most common work for people traveling/working is teaching ESL (English as a second language). As we’ve traveled we’ve encountered people doing a variety of other things aside from ESL. There are so many certifications you can pick up along the way to help you make a living at home and/or abroad. Below are a list of only some of these certifications and work opportunities we’ve seen people use to fund their lifestyles.

Taking a tuk-tuk back I had to ask the driver to stop so I could take a picture. A view San Pedro from this hill on San Juan.

There were so many opportunities for different certifications at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The lake provided a great work-life balance and was really cheap destination.

  1. ESL- This is the most popular certification amongst travelers. A lot of places such as South Korea or Saudi Arabia will take most native speakers with a bachelor’s degree and put them in front of a class of non-English speaking students. Other places ask for a TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language) or TESOL (Teaching English as a second or other language). You can easily obtain these certifications abroad or online (prior to your travels) whether in Costa Rica, Spain, Czech Republic, Brazil or Thailand. Prices for a month’s certification course will run $1000 give or take depending on the location but can be a bit more expensive in Western countries. Many places will even guarantee job placement after.
  2. Yoga- In nearly all the places we’ve been in there are yoga studios set-up or hostels and hotels that are offering sessions. The majority of these sessions are being run through work exchanges where the yoga instructor comes in as a “volunteer.” Sometimes they get part of the money paid for each session and room and board. There are also Yoga hubs where people go in for a few weeks or months at a time for certification and for yoga retreats. meditation
  3. Meditation- Aside from yoga but very related to it is meditation. Some places that offer yoga also offer meditation. Often times they are run through donations or with a small nominal fee. While in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala there were 1 month meditation sessions to increase awareness of the practice and for people to be able to empower and teach others the practice.
  4. Massage therapy- In each region of the world there are different types of massage therapies and you can learn these from locals and get certified as a masseuse.
  5. Cooking- Go live in the hills of northern Thailand, in the countryside of France, or in the urban sprawl of one of India’s large cities. Each place will have opportunities to taking cooking classes with some giving certifications.
  6. Handyman- While we haven’t run into certification courses we’ve come across a lot of people who have a trade whether electricians, carpenters or plumbers. If you can put a nail through wood with some precision you’re likely to get a lot of work exchange opportunities building schools, fixing hostels, or even working on boats.

    Cafe Circles- seats made of recycled tuk-tuk tires and filled with second hand clothes.

    Cafe Circles- seats made of recycled tuk-tuk tires and filled with second hand clothes.

  7. Hotel and restaurant management- A lot of travelers talk about eventually settling down and having their ownhostel,B & B, or lodge. There are lots of opportunities for work exchange in this area. While you may not receive a degree in hotel management you will definitely have a lot of on-the-job training, eventually carving out your own likes and styles.

    This could be your next job location!

    This could be your next job location!

  8. Artist – in many of the tourist hippie towns of Central America we see people on the streets selling their hand made jewelry, artwork, and crafts. If you have a skill in making necklaces or bracelets, can paint, or design clothing you can.
  9. Blogger- Some people get into blogging as a way to get sponsorship for trips, free stays, and other perks. This is quite difficult but with enough dedication you may be able to produce enough quality content and get enough traffic to get the attention of people interested in your story and in getting exposure for their own companies, products or brand through your blog.
  10. Social Media manager- as long as you have an Internet connection, social media skills, and some social media management programs such as Hootsuite you can easily find ways to manage people’s accounts.
  11. Travel and lifestyle coaching- We found, through reading many travel blogs, that people with lots of media attention and a huge following end up travel consulting and travel/lifestyle coaching. Apparently there are a lot of people who want some direction in living their dreams of travel or changing their careers moving away from the rat race and into location independent jobs.
  12. Designers- Interior designers and landscape designers can roll up onto hotel, hostel and lodging properties have an eye out for changes that would greatly benefit owners of this hospitality business. Create and keep up a portfolio and keep traveling. Your story is you’ve seen the world, pulled in what works, pushed out what doesn’t and have created a style that should be shown and designed and offer service that should be paid. Go get it!
  13. House-sitters- Ever dream of living in Costa Rica without having to pay for accomodation? There are so many expatriates, gringos and Americans living down there and it’s created a need for house-sitting especially for those who are only on their beachfront house a few months out of the year. Got an an internet connection? Learn new skills and start creating you location independent lifestyle, travel in between, get paid in dollars and spend in pesos (or other weak currency). This is currently something we are exploring and we’d like to find a place to house-sit, travel the local area, and do some online work including making more blog posts. We’re in the process of signing up for some of the following websites- Trusted House Sitters and Mind My House.
This is a small list of ways to keep the traveling going once you start slowing down, dipping into your bank a little too much, or want to try a different lifestyle. These jobs are also easily combinable so you aren’t stuck in one job (unless your passionate about just one). Add some volunteering in there, get a good work-life balance, and you are set.

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