(Warning: there are no pretty pictures in this post. You’ve been getting distracted too easily recently and this is important)

Shhhhhh, come closer. I have a secret. Many of you may think you know me through my blog. I try to be open, transparent and honest about my life on the road.  But I still have secrets. Recently people have begun to associate me with the recent trend of travel and lifestyle bloggers who have dumped their corporate world and stifling cubical for the freedom of the open road.  It’s a compelling story, a dream of millions. It tugs at the emotional triggers of the reader for a life of endless beach cocktails, far away romances, and awe inspiring moments as you stand in center of a 10,000 year old monument, feel the ancient dirt shift between your feet, breath in the scent of accumulated history and finally make a real connection to the ramblings of Mrs. Garret, your elementary school ancient civilizations teacher. See, that was such a wonderful image you probably didn’t even realize how long that last sentence was!

So what is my Secret?

It’s a big secret. It might even change the way you view me and Todd’s Wanderings. It could shatter the growing mythology that surrounds my lifestyle and blog (well maybe my egotistical long term travel blogger head could use a quick deflation anyway).

One thing is for sure, it will shatter the image that only the rich travel. It will shatter the image that you need to save tens of thousands of dollars to travel the world.

OK, here is my big secret. The one I’ve been afraid to reveal to you. The truth is…

I didn’t ditch a 9-5 corporate job. I didn’t decide one day to be brave and cast away the life I had built until that point, sell all my possessions and hit the road. I’m NOT a corporate escapee.

This would be impossible for me. The truth is: I never had that life to begin with! There never was any cubical. I never acquired any possessions, house, cat, dog (although I really really want one). I’m just a regular guy.

What did I do?

I made the simple choice to see the world before I got bogged down by a career. Right after college I left the US and moved to Japan were I worked as a teacher for 5 years. I spent every minute of free time, and the money I earned each month, to explore Japan and Asia. I didn’t save a dime and I made the most of my time. (Catchy, I know.)

I changed jobs often, and lived in different parts of Japan. I never allowed myself to settle down and get into a routine. I didn’t want a career as an English teacher but it served its purpose of allowing me (even with my college loan debts, still have them by the way) to travel, live and work in other countries.

When I became bored with teaching, when I felt that itch in my soul that I needed a change I simply did it…I changed. I went to graduate school and started my life as an international development worker. This has allowed me to travel even more of the world, for both work and fun. Again, I change jobs often. I pick projects and causes that I believe in. I try to integrate my passions with my work so that they blend naturally together.

I will write more about what exactly I do in future posts, and will explain how development work is one option to help you see the world in an upcoming guest post.

So what’s the point? I thought I was getting a silver bullet to fund my world travel!

Everyone is different, everyone has a different story. Everyone can find a unique way to travel and experience the world. Many people have assumed that I saved a lot of money to fund my travels, that I did an around-the-world-trip and loved it so much that I continued traveling. Others assume that I have a location independent lifestyle and business that allows me to volunteer for great projects and sip cocktails on the beach.

Still others have assumed that I ditched corporate life and started traveling using my story as my hook to earn money (and millions in stock options). Nope, not true, any of it, especially the sipping part. I like gulping.

The truth is I found a job and left home, found another job and left home, left home and then found a job, quit my job and left home and then found another job. I’m three months into my current job and already thinking about my next country and next job. I’ve been working my way around the world, living a lifestyle of freedom and choice from the very beginning. That was 11 years ago. I’m still doing it and so can you. You don’t have to have the same story as others, or me. It’s better if you don’t.

The whole point of striking out and discovering the world is that you discover your own path and create your own story. The more you follow the path of others the more crowded the path will become, the less benefit you receive.

So how do you do it? You said there would be Steps!

Well, that’s up to you. Seriously, didn’t you read the point of this article! But I did promise steps. So here is a framework to work off of based on my own experience. This is how I not only funded my travels  but learned to get paid for doing what I love. Hopefully it will lead to something equally unique for you:

Step 1: Find a Job Abroad

-Pick a country you like, find a job that you might like and go

Step 2: Travel, travel, travel some more

Step 3: Do things that make you happy, hobbies, learning whatever. Do it all. Volunteer your time. Don’t worry about getting paid except for your regular job.

Step 4: Listen to your heart and change something when you are not happy or satisfied.

-Change your job, change your country. Just move, do something new.

Step 5: With each change, with each new job make it closer to what you would do for free.

-ALWAYS take something you love, a skill from each job to apply to your next step.

Finding what we want to be when we grow up is a process. But it’s one that can be combined with world travel without saving money for one big trip. Tailor your job to your interests and just go. Yes, it takes work. Yes it takes preparation. Yes, you’ll run about of money at times. But if you keep with it experiences will pile on each other and eventually you’ll succeed. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself in a wonderful place of loving your job, being able to travel the world, and getting paid to help others and be creative. It’s a wonderful feeling, trust me, I know.

Go ahead, push back. Tell me what you think or ask questions and advice on how to make it happen.

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98 Responses to “5 Steps to World Travel and Getting Paid to Do What You Love”

  1. miriamNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing. My concern is: it is incredibly difficult for me to just “find a job” in anothoer country, i have a bussiness bachellor degree and plenty of experience, i dont mind working on any other field or even as a waitress, but thing is “work permit or visa”, if i enter any country as a tourist and get a job, or inmigration finds that i am proactively searching for a job, they will just kick me out of the country. Is not supposed to be legal. So, how do you do it? could you help me here please? Thank you!!

  2. seeratNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Tod,

    Love your spirit..way to go!!!….I also have a higher degree in International development (MSc in Development Economics) and would love to explore the world based on that….though my real passion is exploring the culinary offerings of the world……i had a question…is language a barrier for working in international development? i am very fluent in english…….can you recommend me jobs in europe that would take on english speaking professionals who do not speak the local language …i’d really appreciate any help/guidance and also it would be great if you could recommend job websites that i could explore…
    Thanks a ton…seerat

  3. KyleNo Gravatar says:

    Although I’m in a corporate jobish situation currently, I realized/ knew already pretty immediately that it wasn’t going to be what I do for the rest of my life… and that’s ok!! Simialrly to you, I’m looking for an opportunity to learn a little in a place I want to explore. For me it was law and NYC. In perhaps a year or less I’ll be on my way back to Sydney to explore some tech work and beautiful beaches. Exploring is not confined to places, but also careers, and passions, and experiences. I like to think it’s one in the same. Love that you have lived a rich life of exploration.
    Kyle´s recent [type] ..Why Traveling Makes You Do Crazy Things You Never Would’ve Otherwise

  4. megan gazzoNo Gravatar says:

    Life is not about seeking new landscapes, but instead seeing it with new eyes. i always thought that i could pack my life in a suitcase and take off. then when something uncomfortabe happened there- i could just pack up again and go. i found out 3 times around the world later that- no matter where i go no matter who im with no matter what- it is all about the permanent residence of ourselves and our souls that we have to like . no matter what- we cant run away from ourselves. and we cant pretend that a new place is going to bring us happiness- its all within.

    • Hai-Ho TranNo Gravatar says:


      You have made a profound statement. I totally agree. I think settle down at one place where there are close friends and family as an anchor. Down size and live within your means and save the money for traveling. It’s great that Todd and his wife able to find a way of financing and living abroad. I am still looking for a photo editor/magazine to hire me to do a travel photography assignment.


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