I’d say that out of all the things I love, I love to travel the most, which is why when I graduated from the University of Texas I seriously considered just moving away and starting fresh somewhere new.
But, alas, responsibilities, commitments and otherwise, prevented me from making that fresh start right away. I got a job as a nurse at a reputable hospital in the Houston area, but most of my time was spent behind a desk doing paperwork for the doctors.
To say this was satisfying my needs as a person would be erroneous, at best. I needed something more, and that is when I started my search, a search that would eventually lead me to the most fulfilling jobs I’d ever dreamed of and to meet the most interesting people I’d ever met.
I’ve compiled this list of jobs that get you out from behind the desk and into the world not because I want to sell you on the idea of picking up and going, but to help other people like me find that passion in their personal and professional lives.
5. ESL Teacher
In my time traveling the world, I’ve met many different people, but there aren’t many that I respect more than teachers that go to foreign countries to help children and adults, alike, learn the English language.
My friend, Henry, whom I met in Guatemala, has been an ESL teacher in Mexico, Central America and Japan, and when we first met, he couldn’t tell me enough how much he loves his job.
“First and foremost, I get to travel and meet incredible people. I haven’t met a single person in my 20+ years doing this that has turned me off the profession. They’re all so great. I’m really lucky in that sense. As someone who has a pretty good understanding of the English language, I get to share my passion and knowledge and help them to share that same passion and knowledge with their families and friends. And it’s so rewarding to see the excitement in kids’ and adults’ faces when they grasp a concept or have their first conversation in English. It’s incredible.”
Of course, as with most jobs, there are requirements, so keep that in mind if you feel like picking up and moving to take on this exciting career.
4. Freelance writer/photographer
Sometimes I feel a bit like a freelance writer. I’ve co-written with other nurses in trade journals at the various locations I’ve made stops, but as a true freelance writer, your work could take you anywhere in the world.
I met John in Paris (Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten to work in Paris, but I was there on vacation as I made my way to India for a job) as he was covering some type of racing event in the city. John, as he told me, is like most freelance writers, in that he just goes where the work takes him. And according to John, the places are usually fantastic.
“We in the journalism field are usually taught that the major newspapers or magazines will take you on and you get to cover local news. If you make your way up, you might get to cover more substantive news. But, the travel is so mundane. Cramped American hotels, the same food you eat at home – there’s no sense of adventure, and that is what I was really craving. I’ve been to five continents and covered everything from beauty pageants to the birth of rare animals, but it’s all about location for me, as I imagine it is for many other that do what I do, and I’ll do it until someone tells me I have to stop. Then I’ll probably do it some more.”
Looking for a job that lets you write all day? All you need is a degree in English or Journalism (typically) and a love for the written word.
3. Locum Tenens
This is what I do. I’m essentially a travelling nurse. I get brought on by hospitals or medical facilities to help out when help is needed and then I get to move on to another hospital, help more people and see more of the world.
I’ve been to India, Mexico, the Caribbean, China, Hawaii, Germany, the Middle East and all across America. Aside from getting to travel to all these places, and many more I imagine in the future, my favorite part, as I said earlier, is meeting new people and experiencing new cultures. Helping people get healthy isn’t so bad either.
Like, in Germany people you meet on the street will try and help you learn German and take you to a Bier Garten, even if you’ve only met in the past few hours. In the Caribbean, the people are so grateful you are there for the work you do, and they are gracious and accepting, and won’t hesitate to include you in a meal.
Of course, to be a locum tenens in any field, you’ll need to be certified. And most of the locum tenens jobs are for doctors and specialists. But I will tell you this – don’t let that stop you.
2. Flight Attendant
This one may seem obvious, but it doesn’t change the fact that flight attendants get to travel – a lot. And of course, they get paid to do it.
Sure you have to put up with passengers, listen to screaming babies and persevere through turbulence, but as my good friend Sylvia says, it’s all about the places you get to go and the people you get to meet.
“There are few drawbacks to being a flight attendant. At first, I was pretty uncomfortable because of the cramped space and my aversion to public restrooms, but honestly, after a few trips to places like Venice and Hawaii, that dissipates as you travel the city on your layovers. Those cramped spaces open up and become places you’ve never been before. Then, you get to meet new co-workers on many different flights and build relationships… all at 40,000 feet.”
And check this out, it looks like there are a few places that are hiring, so take to the skies adventurers.
So you’ve got the gift of gab… in three languages. My new friend Antkirsh speaks Hindi and most of the major languages in India, Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Farsi, French, German and of course, English.
“In my 7+ years with [Fortune 500 company], I’ve traveled the world with some of the most powerful people in modern commerce. I grew up travelling a lot with my family and I grew up learning languages everywhere we went. It was a natural progression for me to take a job where I got to use those languages and travel around the world to help others better understand each other. Plus, it’s not too bad when the boss decides to stay a few extra days and take in the sights.”
Maybe you’re not the Fortune 500 type. Fear not, you can also work your linguistic magic for the government, community organizations, hospitals, and any organization that has international interests. The only requirement is a certification… and knowledge of many languages.
Jennifer Botner is a locum tenens nurse that has traveled the world helping people at hospitals and clinics. She is currently in Mexico working at a childrens hospital and working toward her Master’s degree in Nursing.