how to travel longterm

Linger where it feels good to linger

You’ve probably heard this in yoga class before and this is one of those quotes that I remind myself of on the daily, especially out of the yoga class. That goes to spending time with friends to traveling overseas. I’ve been living overseas for 3 years now and lingering is just the natural fate of events in my book.

Many of my friends wonder how do you live overseas for so long? Well, it’s simple. I travel slowly and I work abroad. If you want to live and travel overseas you should definitely consider one of these two options:

  1. Traveling and Working Abroad
  2. Traveling and Volunteering Abroad

I know with a lot of travellers young and old there is pressure to move quickly from place to place, to see this and see that, go here and there, check this off the checklist, check that. I have even been given a life schedule by a fellow backpacker which went something like “you have until you are 24, then you can get your masters, that gives you enough time to settle and have your family and career”.

This is one of those modern day mentalities that I just don’t even know where to begin with. So, I won’t. I will however, tell you why you should linger where it feels good to linger and think about traveling and working abroad or traveling and volunteering abroad.

Traveling and Working Abroad

This is a great way to enjoy your stay and learn about the culture and customs of the foreign country you are in.

Working Holiday Visa – Many countries offer a working holiday visa which goes for a year, even two for some countries, for people aged 18-30. It allows you to work while you are traveling so you can really enjoy your extended stay!

There are Working Holiday visas in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Each visa has partner countries, so go check it out online and find one for you!

Work Visas – Other than the working holiday visa, there are many other types of visas available in this world of ours. For example, in Germany there is an artist visa or self-employment visa. In America there is the Entertainment visa if you are working in the entertainment industry.

Teaching English – In Europe and Asia you can get a work visa to teach English quite easily and for some countries like Vietnam you actually don’t even need this (you can check out my article on my experience teaching English in Vietnam).

I took on a working-holiday visa in Australia and New Zealand. That’s where the most of 2 years of my life abroad have gone! It was amazing and a real eye opener. I remember I had all these crazy self doubts like why would Australians want to hire me, this random American girl? And that’s just silly. In the end I was able to pick up so many different jobs and made many great friends while getting to know these beautiful people Down Under.

Traveling and Volunteering Abroad

There are so many ways to dive into a community and really give back. Volunteering is a no brainier for a lot of travelers.

HelpX – This is my main tool for finding great volunteer opportunities. This site offers an international network and for a small yearly fee where you can connect with organisations and people around the world. The standard Helpx situation is 4 hours of volunteer work a day, 5 days a week, in exchange for living in the local home with free room and meals (It’s really great! We’ve had beautiful Helpx experiences in Australia and Malaysia from working at an upcycling initiative in Malaysia to live in nanny to beekeping to permaculture farms in Australia).

Our honey extraction from our Helpx experience on a permaculture farm in the hinterland of Queensland, Australia

Our harbour side home in Sydney, Australia. We worked 3-4 hours a day painting and helping where needed

solar oven biji biji

Jonas spent a few weeks building the first prototype of this solar oven for the startup Biji Biji in Malaysia. 

Workaway – Same same as Helpx. There are many of the same people on both sites. However, workaway has more hosts for South East Asia. I just use Helpx to avoid double fees.

Wwoofing – willing workers on organic farms – This is another great way to start traveling and working abroad. If you’re interested in organic farms and permaculture this might be for you.

Gumtree – I found this amazing opportunity to sail from Australia to New Zealand on Gumtree, Australia’s craigslist. There are many of these volunteer and crewing opportunities around the world on Craigslist and Gumtree.

Local Papers and Community Boards – If you are already traveling, have a look around in local papers and community boards. I saw a pretty cool opportunity in a the Balinese newspaper to help rescue wild birds on a small Indonesian island; I looked into it and you just needed to pay for your boat there and accomodation on the island was about $15 a night.

Surf the Web – You can find opportunities all over the internet, I found a unique opportunity called Volunteering for International Professionals. I had to go through an application process, was accepted and had to unfortunately decline in the end. However, it really showed me there are so many opportunities out there. This organisation pays for your flights, room, meals, allowance, and in exchange you provide your professional skills (in my case video and design) to help the developing parts of the country.