Over the past months, I’ve extolled the joys of living an adventurous life. Of course it is necessary to pay for an adventurous life and there again I have written volumes on the virtues of adventure jobs. In my last post, Living Your Best Life, I posted photos of exotic locations and talked about canoeing in Croatia, biking in Tuscany, and visiting the leaning tower of Pisa all in a two weeks time, while “on the job”.
However, there is a down side to the lifestyle and I promised I would write about it so here it is. Most people believe that working on a cruise ship or in a resort or as a tour guide is just about travel and fun. And while perhaps compared to many jobs, it may seem so, it definitely is still a job. Let me cover just a few things to be aware of when you apply for this type of work. I don’t want this to discourage you, I want to show you the reality of it. Here are six things to give serious thought to when you join the world of adventure jobs.
Travel in Adventure Jobs
Thanks to my adventure jobs, I have truly seen the world, all seven continents and 106 countries. And a free trip to Antarctica was worth ANY price of admission! But…you are not a tourist. This means you may have limited time to enjoy what’s special about a place. You may be leading or escorting a tour and spending your time counting heads or finding the bathrooms for people. Or you may be somewhere but not have a chance to explore it. Yesterday, for example, I was in Barcelona, one of my favorite European cities. However, I worked from 9:00am – 5:00pm and we sailed at 5:30. While I was IN Barcelona, I never had a chance to go and see it.
Long Hours in Adventure Jobs
Do not expect to work most adventure jobs five days a week from 9-5. On board a cruise ship, for example, you will work seven days a week for four to six months. A typical day will consist of 9-12 hours. And unless you are on your deathbed, you work because there is no one to take over if you “call in sick”. However, the up side to this is that your vacation (generally unpaid) can be four to eight weeks. During this time, you have no obligations or stress. You have weeks of uninterrupted time to do what you wish.
Bad Days in Adventure Jobs
They don’t exist. I don’t mean that you don’t have bad days, it’s that you CAN’T have a bad day. If you work with the public, you must be “up” and “on”. If you work doing some sort of sports activity where there is potential for accidents, you can’t party all night and show up half alert to do your job.
Friends in Adventure Jobs
This is a two sided coin. If you have lots of friends at home, expect that your relationship to them is going to change. If you go off to Club Med to work for six months, your friends continue to live their lives at home. You will become less important to them. The first time you come home from your adventure job, your friends will want to hear all about it. The third time, they won’t want to hear ANY of it because while you are out seeing the world and having adventures, they are still home going to the same job every day. This can be very difficult as you find yourself with less and less in common with them. The up side of this is that you will meet many fantastic new friends as you travel. You will meet people living the same life as you are now living and you will bond with them and make lifelong friends around the world. You must be able to accept that this will happen.
Handling Family in an Adventure Job
This same phenomenon will happen with your family. At first, they all want to hear about your new life but after awhile, they don’t. And it’s not always because they don’t want to know but they won’t understand it. They just can’t imagine what you are doing and can’t relate to it. You will miss weddings, funerals, divorces, and graduations. There will be family get togethers and you won’t be a part of them. You just need to understand and be willing to accept this. Now, after decades of living this lifestyle, I do not talk about my work unless asked.
Money in an Adventure Job
Most adventure jobs don’t pay much. It’s as simple as that. If you find one that does, hold on to it. And most employers get away with it because they offer you room and board or because there are enough people willing to do the job for pennies. However, here again, if you are clever, there is an up side. We worked for five years on board a cruise ship in the 1990’s. We had zero living expenses at home. No house, no car payment, no insurance, no gas, no food, nothing except $40 a month for a storage unit. Then we had all expenses paid on board, worked under a special tax law, and put all of our money into a stock market that could do no wrong. We were able to save 95% of what we made. So the key is to keep your at home expenses to a minimum.
In my next two posts, I will go into a bit more detail on a couple of these topics which I think bare more explanation.
To Your Adventures!