For many people, traveling is a vacation away from home, from work, from reality. It’s a quick trip to relax and forget about the real world for a little while. This is why it’s hard to explain how or why I’ve been travelling for so long. To many, I’m just escaping having to “work” and just living in a fantasy world. Many people voice their concerns for my professional career, thinking this prolonged travel will leave a gap in my resume. They wonder how I’m going to fare going this year without holding down a “stable job.” Some are shocked that I moved to Australia instead of attending Grad School. And others just have absolutely no idea what to think.
It may not be a conventional way of life, especially for the standard of the “American Dream.” I didn’t fast track towards the rat race of the 9-5 straight out of college. I’m not spending thousands on graduate schooling. Hell, I haven’t even stayed in a city long enough to claim a postal code in over ten months.
So why on earth would I be a desirable candidate to a prospective employer? Aside from stating the obvious habits you pick up from traveling, such as strong communication skills, problem solving skills, resourcefulness and intercultural relations, I’ve been advancing my professional skills in ways that many people working in “real” jobs don’t take the opportunity to do. Maybe I have more drive to keep my skills sharp due to me being out of the corporate world, or maybe I just have more free time on my days off of travelling. Either way, I can say I feel more in tune and on-track professionally now in this tiny café in Vietnam than I did when I graduated college in the United States.
Let me just state that I work in Marketing, Social Media and Content Writing. I’ve been freelancing in those areas for the last year, and have been able to extend my travels because of it. I’m also (obviously) a blogger. So there are literally thousands of resources out there on the World Wide Web to help me learn and practice my skills in this particular profession. But even if you don’t work in Social Media, there are still so many resources for you to continue to advance. From graphic design to cocktail artistry to everything in between, you can continue to build your resume even while on the road.
How is this possible?
- Writing – Many travelers these days keep a blog. No matter what profession you’re in, you can never get too much practice writing. You’ll also learn about the way websites run, maybe even a little bit of website development. Basic website design/development skills, along with regular writing is a great way to keep your skills sharp or learn how to build a website one day for your own business.
- Learn A New Language – If you’re travelling slowly through a country, you’ll eventually pick up a bit of the language if you try. You can use apps like Duolingo to help you along the way. Even though I’m in SE Asia, I’m continuing the process of learning Spanish by practicing on Duolingo each day.
- Volunteer – One of the best ways to give back while on the road is to volunteer. You really get a sense of the area you’re in, and you’re doing more than just boosting the economy. It’s also a great talking point in your Resume.
- Co-Working Spaces – These little hubs for entrepreneurs and freelancers can be found around the world. They’re great spots for meeting like-minded travelers and expats. Co-working spaces regularly hold professional networking events and skills workshops as well.
- Online Courses – In case you didn’t know, there’s a WEALTH of information online for you to peruse and learn. I love using online webinars, courses and certifications – most of which are free. Some of my favorites I use each week are:
- HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification – If you’re in marketing, this is an amazing FREE course to take that is a widely recognized certification.
- Copyblogger – If you’re a writer, content marketer, social media manager or blogger, Copyblogger sends you FREE daily articles and webinars to help you become a more efficient and successful copy writer.
- Skillshare – This has been my absolute favorite tool so far. You can find mini-courses (usually about 1-2 hours long) on very practical, useful skills you can apply right away. They have courses on graphic design, business development, lettering, art, social media, SEO, and so much more. It’s not free, but they’re having a massive deal at the moment for .99 cents for three months of classes.
- Future Learn – I’ve enrolled in their Intercultural Communication course starting in November. I think this is an important topic to learn about, as our world is becoming globalized more and more every day. Future Learn has a wide variety of courses to take for free!
- Work Online + Travel The World Course – If you’re looking to take your skills, turn it into an online business and establish location independence, this is the course for you! The ladies behind this course have built it with care and give amazing instructions and examples. It’s not free, but you’ll be earning the cost of the course back within a month, I promise!
- Canva – You may look at some of my designs on my site and think I’m semi-handy at graphic design, but to be honest I know just as much as you do (unless you’re a graphic designer, and then I know nothing!) Canva is an incredible, free tool to create quick and easy designs for blog images, social media posts, etc. For my profession, this is a great skill to offer for basic designs.
- Industry Updates – It’s never been easier to stay up to date with the trends and changes in your industry. Just because I’m not working a 9-5 doesn’t mean I’m not aware of all of the new trends and strategies. Subscribe to your biggest industry publications and influencers. So for me, these would be Marketing Mag, Social Media Examiner, Melanie Duncan and Rebekah Radice. You won’t be left in the dark in an interview if you can talk about your industry with confidence.
So this is what I’ve been doing on days when I’m not exploring. As you can imagine with traveling long term, you can’t be on the move every day. Staying up to date with my industry and advancing my skills is something that is extremely important to me. I dedicate about 2-3 days of each week, working on projects for clients, watching my online courses/webinars, writing for my blog and reading industry news. When I’m not behind the computer, I’m meeting new people from all different backgrounds, exploring different corners of the world, trying new food, learning new ways to solve problems and becoming more and more confident in myself every day.
To those of you who want to travel but are afraid about not having any job prospects when you return, I can only hope these resources have reassured you that you can indeed travel the world and still build a stellar resume. Whether you’re sitting in a high-rise office in New York City or working in an open-air café in Bali, it’s up to you to put the time in to continue to learn.
Tell me what you think! What are your favorite online tools for learning?