If you’re looking for jobs that allow you to travel, you’re going to get a big heap of inspiration from today’s post. Today’s Travel Job feature falls on Charlotte. She quit her corporate 9-5 job of ten years for a location-independent job. Charlotte is now her own boss and is able to live the style of life that she really enjoys. It incorporates a love of travel, so I think you’re really going to like finding out how she did it and how you might be able to do something similar (if, of course that’s what you hope to do).
Flexibility. I realised that my work and my industry don’t fit the traditional 9-5pm mould. It requires, evenings and weekends too – that’s the nature of social media and news services being ‘always on’. Yet, working for companies means you have to be in for a certain time, have a set holiday allocation, only be allowed certain dates on the Christmas, etc. Yet all I need is a wifi or 4G connection and I could work from anywhere at any time, so it was time to break the mould and work for myself. Best of all, this opened me up to be able to work from anywhere.
Q. What do you now do?
I’m a communications consultant essentially. Whether that’s online through social media, press, email, word of mouth for brands, companies or people, it’s all part of what I do – it’s just the medium that changes. I started my career in PR, when a couple of years in the agency merged with a digital agency. I was one of the few to cross-over and sit between the two. It’s very much now known as ‘earned media’, but there wasn’t a name for it back then. It was all new, for example Twitter wasn’t even invented when I started university, which considering how much I use it now for my clients is a very strange notion. Even in Sri Lanka, there were a group of girls taking a selfie on their phone under a sacred tree. I clearly can’t escape it!
In truth, I’m not a very ‘9 to 5-type’, so the corporate world isn’t very ‘me’, but I do love my job and my industry. The only boss that’s going to allow me to have so much flexibility and trust me to do the job at hand is me. I know myself so well and how disciplined I can be when I set my mind to something. Setting up on my own felt like a natural step in my career progression. I’m also very creative and for me, I find it hard to turn this on in a ‘working day’ window. I have deadlines of course, but in order to fuel creativity you have to have experiences. Of course I can do the whole sitting in a bland room with one-hour to come up with ideas, but it doesn’t inspire me: it’s just conveyor creative fuelled through past experiences, churned out time and time again. So I wanted to shift the balance: more experiences through travel (and whilst travelling) became something to aspire to. And now it’s a reality.
Q. Did you save money as a safety net before quitting your job?
I had very little savings as my safety net, but that’s because regardless of the tangible things around me, my instinct told me it was the right time. Not that I’m advising people to take uncalculated risks, of course, but don’t play it too safe. Timing is key, but sometimes a leap of faith is all that’s required. And success in that choice comes from the conviction in your choice made – where you head’s at, rather than the state of your bank account. If you feel empowered to do it, strike whilst the iron is hot!
Yes, mainly through friends and ‘friends of friends’ as a starting point.
Q. How do you get new clients?
At the moment it’s word of mouth as the results speak for themselves. Plus, given my PR background, I’m used to juggling many things at once whilst still retaining a smile on my face no matter how busy I am, which I hope makes me easy to work with. Clients want to work with likeminded people too, so many recommendations come from people within similar industries.
Q. How does your previous work life differ to your current one?
They are worlds apart. Everyone has different priorities in life, but having flexibility in my job is a huge perk for me. Of course there are things about office culture I miss, but when I’m laying on a beach responding to emails in my own time, that quickly fades away.
One hundred percent, yes! I firmly believe that people do their best work when they’re happy and nothing makes me happier than travelling. It doesn’t even have to be abroad, since getting back from my trip around Sri Lanka I’ve been to about three other towns and cities in as many weeks. I was in Sri Lanka for a month working on various projects that didn’t require me to be in the UK, as well as for Cocoon Resorts who recruited me to create social media content for them through Instagram and Twitter. Through exploring and chatting to locals I also found out about a dog rescue centre, set-up by a lady who wanted to help stray dogs who have no care and nurturing them back to health. As I can’t be in Sri Lanka all the time, I have offered to help by improving its online awareness globally, to encourage volunteers to give their time and assist in this wonderful project.
Of course you should always trust your instinct, but also know your market and know your industry. For me the work allows me to be flexible and travel, but there are some industries that don’t offer it as readily available. Before you make a drastic career move, remember why you’re doing it, stick to your guns, but do careful research beforehand.
Q. What is the reality of any worries you had before you made the leap?
It’s better than I ever imagined to the point where I’ve often said ‘I wish I had done it sooner’. But I know that couldn’t have happened as I needed the big agency and client experience to get me to this point over the last 10 years, so for those opportunities I’m truly grateful – now it’s time to exercise those skills in my own way.
The most valuable training was my gap year in industry whilst studying for a BA (Hons) Public Relations degree in Leeds. If anyone is still at university and gets the opportunity to work in industry, take it. I undertook several placements from year one which meant that by my fourth and final year, I was working part-time at the biggest agency in the North of England as an Account Executive. And that was before I’d even graduated! It was after a stint here I moved to London to continue up the career ladder.
If you’re Generation D, then you already have an advantage in that you’ve grown up in a very social media-fuelled world. You’re a digital native, which is very appealing to companies at this time as they want to tap into how you think, how you consume information. If you’re interested in going into this type of career, my advice is to showcase this in everything that you do. Office skills can be taught, but having an innate understanding of the online social world is a valuable skill you may not even realise you have.
Big, big thanks to Charlotte for sharing such a great insight into her role. If you’ve found it as interesting and exciting as I did, follow Charlotte on Twitter @charlottebrophy to keep up with her adventures.
Did you enjoy this interview? Is it something you could see yourself doing? Do you have any other questions for Charlotte? It’d be lovely to hear from you in the comment section box below. X
There are plenty of other options to make your travel job dream a reality. Every month I share suggestions and insights through interviews with real people – people who are actually travelling the world, or part of it, through their job. Visit the ‘Travel Jobs‘ section of Taylor Hearts Travel to discover more. If you fancy taking part, get in touch.