We recently had the chance to speak with Susan Shain on a topic that we get asked about all of the time, how to afford travel.
No doubt being independently wealthy is the easiest route, but for those of us who are not rolling in dough our paths almost always involve working one way or another.
That’s where Susan’s expertise comes in, she has written a new e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Jobs: How to Have Fun, Make Money and Travel the World, that touches on some ideas that are new to us so we are happy to introduce it to our readers.
To us, this phrase from the book sums up your idea about as well as anything: Seasonal jobs = the SECRET to working where others vacation. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Obviously there are some tricks of the trade to be learned, and that’s where the book is so helpful. With that in mind, we thought that we might ask you a few questions.
Please introduce yourself and gives us a little background.
Hi everybody! My name is Susan Shain, and I’m a freelance writer and digital nomad. I’ve been traveling around the world for the past decade, and have lived everywhere from Colorado to Korea.
For several years after college (Go Blue!), I worked seasonal jobs, and eventually created a location-independent writing career. I now spend about half my time doing copywriting and marketing work for businesses, and half my time writing journalistic stories for online news outlets and magazines.
How long have you been taking seasonal jobs?
I started working seasonal jobs right after I graduated college. I worked at a ski resort in Colorado, a kayaking company in Alaska, and an elementary school in South Korea. For several seasons, I went back-and-forth between CO and AK, and ended up spending five years of my life doing the seasonal shuffle 🙂
You discovered seasonal jobs as a young adult, but most of our readers are in the empty nest phase of life, how do you think the idea of working this way fits for our age group?
I think it works wonderfully! I’ve met lots of empty-nesters while working seasonal jobs, as it provides a way to earn some extra money, live in beautiful new places, learn new skills, and meet new people. It seems like a great bridge between full-time careers and retirement.
I vividly remember one couple I met in Alaska: They were both in their 70s, and had been working summers up there for more than a decade. They worked for tour companies, greeting customers and taking reservations. They said they’d keep coming back “as long as they were able.” I loved that!
We like that you point out that the U.S. is so big and diverse that you’re guaranteed to find interesting opportunities here. So what are some of the difficulties with working in other countries?
The biggest issue you’ll face is getting permission to work there. Visas aren’t easy to obtain, and it can be difficult to find under-the-table jobs that pay well.
That’s not to mention the challenges of working in another language and culture, dealing with tax complications, or even finding health insurance that will cover you abroad.
You made another good point that it’s often easier to find volunteer opportunities than seasonal jobs in other countries. Do you have some ideas on that?
Yes! For many years, I’d work during the seasons (summer and winter), and then travel abroad during the spring and fall. Sometimes I’d use that time to also volunteer in another country.
Some of my favorite websites for finding international volunteer opportunities are Grassroots Volunteering and omprakash (more on my resources page). Or, if you’d rather go on an organized trip, I recommend Discover Corps (full disclosure: I used to help them with their marketing).
We know Discover Corps too. Did a trip in Tanzania with them that was fantastic. This brings to mind that many of us empty nest gypsy types want to travel together with our significant others or even our fur babies (you know, pets), is this possible?
Yes, absolutely. I traveled with my boyfriend for several seasons. We just applied to jobs in the same location, and then would only take the position if both of us were hired. It worked out great!
As for fur babies, that’s possible, too — but more difficult. Seasonal housing often doesn’t allow pets, so you’ll have to find your own. And you should keep in mind that you’ll be working long (and sometimes unpredictable) hours, which can make caring for them difficult.
Where do people live while working? A lot of us have RVs, is that an option?
This greatly depends on where you’re working, and can run the gamut from no housing at all (meaning you’ll have to find your own digs) to on-site room and board.
If you have an RV, that can work out wonderfully, as some employers offer rentable RV sites where you can park for the season.
Well, we want to thank you for your time and remind everyone that your book, The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Jobs: How to Have Fun, Make Money and Travel the World, is now available and chock-full of more valuable information. Can you tell everybody how to get their very own copy?
It’s been a pleasure — thanks so much for letting me share my story with your readers.
The ebook is pay-what-you-want, so for as little as $1, you can get way more info than I could ever include here. Plus, it’s filled with beautiful photos from my travels, and also comes with a 10-page workbook with packing lists, interview prep, and more.
Click here to get your copy of The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Jobs.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com