Can you find work…get a job…earn a living…overseas?
The truth is, speaking and thinking conventionally, the answer is no.
Well…you could find a job teaching English in China…or waiting tables on a cruise ship…or tending bar at some tropical outpost…
But I’m guessing that’s not what you mean, dear reader, when you write, as you often do, to ask about your prospects for finding gainful employment in your chosen haven abroad.
Unless you’re sponsored by and have a formal guarantee of employment from a local firm, you aren’t going to “get a job” in a country where you don’t hold a passport.
And a local firm isn’t going to be able to sponsor you or furnish you with a formal guarantee of employment…unless they first acquire a work visa for you…and they aren’t going to be able to apply for a visa for you until they first advertise locally to try to find a national to fill the post (sometimes for three months or longer)…and until they jump through a lot of hoops and deal with a lot of immigration red tape and paperwork…
And, even after all that, you aren’t guaranteed your work visa will be approved. Some countries flat out won’t issue work visas for non-nationals for certain kinds of jobs.
Here are your realistic options:
1. Arrange a posting in another country through your current employer. This is how friends organized their move to Costa Rica. They’d both worked for Dell in other countries and requested the chance to continue working for Dell…in San Jose. Obviously, this works only if you’re working for an international organization with an office in the place where you want to relocate.
2. Set yourself up as a local consultant. What business do you know? What skills do you have? Where in the world might your experience and expertise have value? We know a guy who’d been in the pool business in Miami his entire career. His search for his ideal retirement haven took him to Roatan, in the Bay Islands of Honduras…where a lot of people are interested in building pools. He was able to parlay his decades of experience into a retirement income.
3. Set yourself up as an international consultant. Maybe you could counsel people on building a swimming pool in Uruguay from your beach home on Roatan…but maybe not. On the other hand, an expat living in Uruguay likely would be eager to avail of your consulting services if your area of expertise isn’t pool building…but, rather, international tax strategies. If you’re an accountant, an attorney, or a money advisor, say, you could make a great living helping expats and retirees abroad structure and then manage their financial lives in Paradise.
4. Cultivate a trade you could practice anywhere. Frankly, this can be your best option. It can work for anyone. And it’s highly portable.
In fact, I’m a laptop-carrying, letter-producing poster child for the best mobile trade I know: travel writing. And, every day, I communicate with at least a dozen others like me, writers (and writer wanna-be’s) on the road and eager to file their stories.
“But I don’t know anything about being a travel writer…”
Do you like to travel? Do you like to tell stories? Then you know about being a travel writer.
I’ve been in this business for two-dozen years. In that time, I’ve worked with thousands of “travel writers.” Yes, some of them were “professional”…
But do you know what “professional” means? It means you get paid for what you do.
At first, though, most of the travel writers I’ve worked with weren’t getting paid…they were dreaming of traveling the world, writing about it, and seeing their stories published.
One of the most successful and prolific travel writers I know started her professional life as a barmaid. Others have been housewives. Engineers. Investment advisors. Accountants (yes, I know…that one is particularly unlikely…but it goes to show that, truly, anyone can do this…)…
If it sounds like I’m pushing this idea…I am. You see, in my previous life, as Publisher of International Living, I built an extensive, far-reaching network of correspondents, contributors, and writers all around the world. It took me more than 23 years…
In my current position, my appetite for content is no less great. So I’m doing what I did at International Living—I’m putting out a call for contributors.
Again, in my experience, successful travel writers come from all walks of life. You certainly don’t need a BA in English or Communications to give this a go.
You need an eye for detail and a penchant for telling a tale.
Bottom line? Often your best bet for earning an income while you live (full- or part-time, in retirement or otherwise) abroad can be as a travel writer.
Here’s the best way I know to get started, a How To Become A Travel Writer program created by one of the best travel writers I’ve worked with, Jen Stevens.
Take a look…give it a shot. When you’re ready to begin producing articles, get in touch. You read these dispatches. You know what I’m looking for.
Bonne chance…and bon voyage.