What if, one day, your job goes to hell in a handbasket?
You get laid off, or canned, or your company sinks. Or you do something you’ve been dreaming of for ages; you flip off your boss cause you can’t bear it another second. (I did this once and it feels as good as it sounds).
Anyways, what if your paycheck stopped coming?
What if, suddenly, you had more time than money?
The majority of us would do what we’re programmed to do; which is jump back on the horse.
We’d go find work. Pound the pavement. Make it happen.
But, just for fun, let’s pretend you don’t like horses.
And maybe, damn it, you don’t like hamsters either.
But you feel like you’ve been living like one … running on that hamster wheel non-stop.
And you might be, by now, completely in the throes of a quarter-life or a mid-life or a three-quarter life crisis.
And you want a change. You’re desperate for one: a change of direction. A change of outlook. A change of ‘tude.
But frankly, you’re a little freaked out that you no longer possess the steady cashola you once had.
Until is dawns on you, you have options.
And so, here’s a little reminder of a few.
6 ways to travel more, even when you lack money.
1) You could be a Wwoofer
Wwoof means “willing worker on organic farms” and it’s well suited to you if you’re an outdoorsy type. There are organic farms around the globe willing to house you and feed you too, in exchange for your willing work.
Check out how to get dirty at wwoofinternational.org
2) You could be a Couchsurfer
It’s absolutely crazy, ya know, that the internet has brought communities of people like this together. Maybe, it’s because I possess a five-year old’s spirit, and I just want everyone to feel connected (why are rainbows and unicorns poo-poohed when you’re a grown up, anyways?).
I find it absolutely inspiring that, in almost every country in the world where you would like to visit (including your own country), there is someone who has raised their hand and said, “Come stay at my house … it won’t cost you a dime”. I mean they’re not putting hotels out of business – it isn’t for everyone.
But it might be for you.
You can find these people at coushsurfing.org or thehospitalityclub.org
3) You could be a House Exchanger
If you have a house you rent or own and are willing to swap it for another house for a short period of time you might be interested in home exchanges.
I’ve written in length about this in my post about free accommodation in Italy.
4) You could be a House Sitter
Could you deal with feeding someone’s cat, or chickens, in exchange for staying at their gorgeous country house? Could you face the stresses of watering someone’s plants, while you babysit their historic apartment in the centre of Rome? Did I mention this won’t you cost you anything? Could you handle that? I thought so.
Check out trustedhousesitters.com, mindmyhouse.com or caretaker.org
5) You could be a volunteer
My friend’s mom got downsized for her government job over a decade ago, and after they had cleared out the grief counsellors from her office, she went home and accepted a volunteer position in Africa in a heartbeat.
A decade later … she’s still volunteering around the world. Luckily for her, her comfort boat was rocked, and her job went down the tubes … or else she’d probably still be there.
If you have an American passport the Peace Corps might be for you and if you don’t then check out VSO. Another avenue is Voluntourism.org
But wait, there’s more.
If you’ve got an itch to travel more there are literally thousands of opportunities to study, work, and volunteer.
When I was sixteen I stumbled across a magazine called Transitions Abroad, and for a small town girl before the internet, Transitions Abroad was epic.
Even if I never took any of those international job postings in the magazine, I did work and study abroad. It was likely inspired by those teenage moments; nights spent sitting on my bed, Sassy magazines thrown to the side while I ran my finger along the descriptive lines of international work and study options overflowing on the matte paper. Who knows where inspiration for your life’s path comes from? But the most important thing is to stay hungry. And stay curious. If you have a teenager in your life, do them a service and send them a link to Transitions Abroad.
But wait, there’s still more.
Do you think anyone on their death bed says, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office”?
I believe the greatest asset we all possess, right now, is our health and our time.
So, if you’ve read this far, I can assume we have a few things in common. You don’t have a trust fund or a savings account bursting at the seams. But you don’t feel poor; you measure wealth beyond the status quo. You believe a life rich with memories and experiences is the kind of life you want to live. And you believe in potential.
And that, in my mind, is a wonderful place to “be”, without going anywhere.
I’d love you to add to this article. Contribute to the conversation in the comments below.
P.S. Want more money saving travel advice? Check out my other articles: How to Stay for Free in Italy, 25 Free Ways to Awesomize Your Trip to Italy, Splurge and Save on the Amalfi Coast, and Who Else Wants Free Flight Around the World?
Fantastic….and hilarious….info. I remember the era of Transitions Abroad. I think the notion changed your life !
fantastic, sharing xx
Many countries have an exemption so that there is no duty for personal household goods for someone moving there. For example, someone going to Thailand on a retirement visa can bring in personal goods duty-free within the 6 months of issuance of the visa, and a Canadian returning home after a year or more abroad, or an immigrant to Canada, can bring goods for personal use duty-free. Some countries, such as Malaysia, even allow a retiree to import a car duty free.
Thanks for the info, Carmela!
Hi. I am currently teaching in the public school system in the U.S. I have 11 years teaching experience with a B.S. degree in Physical Education and I am interested in teaching abroad. I have also taught Math and Special Education. Would I be qualified to teach abroad, and if so, am I limited to teaching Physical Education?
Check out these resources, Emerson. You should be able to find some answers: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21946.htm
too funny and eye opening!
I’ve been looking for ‘signs’ that I need to make a change in my life and I gotta say, I’m finding quite a few!
You’re very welcome, Joanna! Yes, signs are everywhere if you open your eyes to them 🙂