Living the Dream or Not! – Working Abroad

Where it all begun

I hated school with such a passion and when everyone said “you will look back and miss these carefree days, one day” I knew for a fact that I never would, and you know what I never did!

It’s fair to say I’ve never been one of those people who just knew what I wanted to do when I was older. I’ve wrecked my brains over the years trying to incorporate my passion with my job title, but lets face it if you really have to search your brain for a passion, then its just not a passion is it.

College

After leaving school, I had no idea what I wanted to do so I done what every other young, uninspired hopeful does, I went to my local college and signed up for pretty much the only course my grades would allow me to study and this landed me in a Diploma for Beauty Therapy, which I was pretty stoked with, especially when all the make up kit arrived with its 12 make up brushes, neatly laid out in a leather wallet, separate compartment for each and a brief case type box full of brightly coloured eye shadows and different shades of lipstick. It was like all my Christmases had come at once, what more could a girl of 16 years old want. Exchanging my pencil-case and fountain pen for make up brushes and a studex ear-piercing gun was a welcome sight.

Unfortunately about half way through my two-year course, I knew I couldn’t see myself continuing with this profession long-term or even short-term for that matter. However I done the right thing and carried on to complete my course and get rewarded with the certificates of completion I needed to justify, that it hadn’t just been a complete waste of two years of my life and for that I will be forever grateful. As you will see it does come in handy many years down the line as most things do tend to, and for this I can only thank my parents for urging me to stick with it and see it through till the end.

The Real World

At the ripe old age of 18, which I guess is quite old in some people’s eyes to be getting there first actual paid job, I entered the office world, which in my head consisted of dressing up in nice suits, teamed with a cute pair of heels, painting my nails to match my jewellery and going for nice all expenses paid business lunches. (I’ve always had a great imagination). At no point did I actually consider the fact I would be the office skivvy, making cups of tea, answering the phone to angry clients ranting about things I had no clue of or at all what to do about. Lets just say the office wasn’t the picture I had conjured up in my mind in the slightest.

Again the grass is always greener syndrome kicked in and after a long eight months in the office and three all expenses paid Christmas parties later, (of course there were some perks) I was out! There was just no burning desire in me to do anything other than see the world and experience everything in its path.

Hanging up the many matching suits and replacing them with an oversized all singing all dancing backpack, the best money could buy back then. I was off, fear of the world I might be missing out on got the better of me and before even discussing the matter with anyone. I’d paid a lump sum of £500 (which was almost all the money I had in the world back then) and in return I had an open-ended ticket to Australia, followed by New Zealand, and finally Thailand before returning home, when ever that may be (however in my mind the longer away the better). I needed a break, life was just too tough and it was about time I took a holiday, a very long one!

I don’t think the fact I was leaving ever really felt real or sunk in, until I landed in Sydney after a momentous 24 hours plus of travelling, alone, hung over and full of a stinking cold. I remember as clear as day getting a transfer from the airport to my pre booked hostel in the centre of Sydney, just thinking and now what the hell am I supposed to do. It was like I thought travelling to the other side of the globe would magically make life clearer and answer all the hazy questions in my mind.

I really hadn’t planned quite what to do past, well past buying the plane ticket really, so lets just say I had a lot to think about and I loved every minuet of it once I got over the week-long jet lag and got to grips with my unfamiliar surroundings .

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, I just wanted to give you a quick glance at my background and how it all started for me. Now I will move onto what this post is actually about and that’s all the weird and wacky jobs I’ve had along my travels and whether I would rate them dream or NOT!

Route 69, Bar Crawl Rep – Sydney Australia

Well this was a fun one let me tell you. For this job I was required to sell tickets for Route 69, Sydney bar crawls, to other travellers and whom ever would buy them really, so mainly aimed at going around all the hostels etc. I always managed to do pretty well and for each ticket sold I made a small amount of money (so small I can’t even remember how much exactly) and obviously I would drink FREE, yes that’s right FREE in all the bars we visited. The word FREE to a backpacker is like a siren going off in your ear, the thought of getting anything you don’t need to pay for is golden and backpackers will run for miles to claim whatever it is on offer.

I had a lot of fun with this job, dancing up and down the party bus as we moved from one bar to the next, making friends, with locals and other travellers. It was fantastic for the three weeks it lasted, before the Manager told me I get more inebriated than anyone else on the bar crawl and therefore struggle to round people up to move on to the next bar, as I am always busy dancing or talking.

So pretty much not excelling or even achieving my actual job role. Looking back it was probably a good thing, I’m not sure how much more free alcohol my poor liver and kidneys could have handled, but in those short few weeks I met some wicked people and had some hazy yet totally memorable nights, including the Sydney harbour booze cruise, which was even more epic because it was FREE!

I would rate this as a Dream short-term job, if you love to socialize and can actually say NO and handle your liquor, otherwise maybe give it a miss!

PR – Airlie Beach, East Coast, Australia

To be honest PR (public Relations) is definitely an over the top job title for the role in question, which actually consisted of me handing out leaflets every evening for the Koala Bar situated at the top end of Airlie Beach, however this is the title it was sold with.

One of the streets most popular bars where all the backpackers would hang out, it was also attached to a backpackers hut type accommodation, out back and this is exactly what I had in exchange for handing out a few leaflets (almost 200-300) in a one lane street and walking around with a few shots later on and chatting to anyone who would listen, I would get a roof over my head every night and one meal in my mouth from their restaurant which only opened at 6pm every day.

As you have probably already guessed this was desperate times of zero funds left and just trying to save myself from sleeping on a beach or even worse having to go back to England with my tail between my legs and admit I’d only lasted three months as I’d frittered away all my money.

Again this was hardly the job of a lifetime, literally a means of surviving! I lasted just under two weeks before I had an answer phone message, to say I needed to move out ASAP and I was losing my one meal a day, I was pretty shocked at first, but then she went on to explain in her message that someone from Koalas had seen me throw the leaflets in the trash the night before (I’m not being funny but there just aren’t 200-300 people in Airlie Beach in cyclone season).

Definitely NOT a Dream Job.

Masseuse & Body Specialist – Cunard, Queen Victoria, Cruise Liner

Here we go finally getting to put that two-year Beauty course into practise four years down the line, I knew it was worth finishing. I thought this was it the perfect job, I was going to be paid to live and work onboard a prestigious cruise liner whilst travelling the world, what could be better, I’d totally nailed life.

The day I found out, I’d been successful in the interview process, I literally jumped for joy, a ticket to escape the rat race which was making me no money and certainly not helping me pay off my Gap year debts, my ticket to happiness awaits!

After a rigorous six weeks of training at Harding Brothers in my hometown of Southampton, I was selected to join the Queen Victoria cruise Liner as a Masseuse and Body Treatment specialist (wow I even had a fancy title this time). I boarded the prestigious block of flats, dream boat, in my newly made threads especially stitched for this momentous occasion. My heart full of hopes and dreams of wonder for the future. Where would I go? what would I see? who would I meet? so much anticipation, but I’m sorry to say this was most definitely NOT the dream boat or job for me.

I completed my five month contract with hatred, I really need to get my head out of the clouds and realise no job in the world is literally going to pay you to travel and do no work, that’s not the way the cookie crumbles! (But dreamers can’t help but dream).

Even though I couldn’t wait to step foot back on land once my floating prison sentence was over, I can now look back with found memories of the snap shots of places in Greece, the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Norway that I did get to see, even if it was only through my floor to ceiling, treatment room window.

My Treatment Room with a view – Norwegian Fjords

 

Looking down on the Queen Victoria from beautiful Santorini, Greece

Flotilla Hostess – Greece, Aegean Sea

Now we are really getting to the fun part.

The part where my life changed unexpectedly for the better. Let me set the scene for you.

I was 24 years old and since leaving the cruise shit life, I mean ship life, I had been hiding myself away in a factory, working as a warehouse operator, close to where I live in the South of England. I just couldn’t bear to deal with any form of customers and so this was perfect for me to just show up, go through the daily motions and then leave again. However once being injected with the travel bug there is No known cure and it took one, two-week holiday in Ibiza to reignite that bug into full fury.

“Thats it, I’m done the factory is no longer satisfying my needs, I want out, I need a new adventure, In a new country and I need it now!” I began applying online for anything and everything, not in the UK, mostly hotelier jobs. After a few days I had a call from TUI Travel Group, inviting me to attend an interview for a Flotilla Hostess. I kindly accepted and when putting the phone down, immediately googled ‘What is a Flotilla?’

Unbelievable I would be working on a sail yacht with a skipper and engineer, leading the way to a host of up to 12 other sail yachts (I knew nothing about sail yachts, other than the fact they floated).

I by some absolute miracle, managed to completely wing it at the interview and four days later I was packing my bags for Greece (amazing the Gods had shined down on me once again).

I spent the summer cruising around the Aegean Islands in Greece, on a 12 foot sail yacht, learning everything I could about sailing as I went along, sunbathing, socializing, hosting punch parties, BBQ’s, cocktail competitions, group meals and much more.

I can confirm this to be an absolute corker of a Dream job abroad, if you are a social, sun worshiping butterfly, who doesn’t get seasick or suffer with claustrophobia, get yourself a chilled summer job working for Sunsail Flotilla Holidays, they run in lots of locations around the Med and they even operate in the Caribbean.

I have to admit these were some of the funnest days of my life and they were so fun in fact. I wanted to re live the whole event and completed the summer season in the same location the year after this one.

My Home and office for the Summer Season

 

Me cooking up a storm in our tiny onboard kitchen

Hotel General Assistant – Valliore, French Alps

Whilst still working for TUI Group Travel, under the same umbrella, I went to do a Ski Season in the French Alps with Skibound. I had always wanted to learn how to Ski after my six days of falling down the mountain on my arse in Queenstown, New Zealand and what better way to learn than to spend a solid four months somewhere with ski lifts and slopes on the doorstep.

I worked as a Hotel General Assistant, which consisted of, well everything really (general dogsbody, one might say). waitressing, bar tender, housekeeper, entertainer, I wore many hats for this role and to be honest, I did enjoy the variety and non routine that each day bought and when you can mix that up with a few hours each day on the slopes , yes it was a pretty good job. As long as you’re not planning on saving too much cash. I earned £200 a month, however I had a free roof over my head, free meals every day, free ski hire and free lift pass (are you seeing a pattern here, working for freebies and a life full of fun).

After four months in the mountains, I had learnt how to just about chuck myself down a red slope and had a hell of a lot of fun doing so, but the addiction to ski wasn’t really they’re for me, so I knew this was going to be a one time wonder. I wanted to get back to the freedom of the ocean. and carry on chasing the sun. Therefore Ski season falls into the not a dream job category for me!

Stewardess – Various Luxury Private & charter Super Yachts

On leaving my Sunsail Flotilla Hostess job, I learnt of an Industry I have never been introduced to before ‘The Super yacht Industry’. Intrigued as I was, I researched extensively, everything there was to know. I completed the courses I needed too and saved enough money as I could to set myself up in a hiring port (I chose Antibes, in France). There I waited patiently, dock walking by day and networking by night. After three weeks I was lucky enough to land my first gig on an 80m Motor yacht.

I was flown out to Spain full of nerves. I’d heard so much about this insane Industry, serving the rich and famous on their billionaire, beyond wealthy yachts (literally mini cruise ships, owned by one person) it still blows my mind to this day, how one person can afford all of that and that’s just one of many toys to them!

The Stewardess job itself entails keeping the boat up to ridiculously high standards at all times, you will literally clean and toothpick things you didn’t know were possible too. When the guests are on you will wait on them hand and foot, with any crazy requests they have and believe me they do have some.

In return for this I get all of this, a job that pays very well (tax-free), taken to all sorts of destinations (the Med, the States, Caribbean, UAE and that’s just to mention a few). With budget being no issue, the world is literally the owners oyster and I’m lucky enough to come along for the ride with our own onboard chefs, free food, free accommodation (even if it is a bunk bed), even free toothpaste.

I’ve now worked on Super yachts for just over six years and I still can’t get enough. I mean of course I’ve moved around a bit, tried a few, sail, motor, private, charter, large, small. It’s like shopping for jeans, you have to get the right fit and that means you have to try a few, before you commit, but lets just say this is definitely the Dream Job for me, finally I’ve found it.

The Ultimate Dream Job!

Birdseye view of Motor yacht in Gocek – Turkey

 

Competing in the St Barths Bucket Regatta

 

Group Shot on the bow of a 100m Super yacht

 

Nothing but sea

Its becoming more and more common now for people to work abroad, the option is there and there are so many different and unusual job openings around the world.

I’d love to hear from you with your stories of working away from home, so please leave a comment, I know there are still jobs out there I have probably never heard of! 

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