“Working where others holiday”! This sounded like beautiful music to me. It was about March 2000, and I was on Mallorca, the biggest of the Balearic Islands, attending a workshop organized by Tui-Service A.G., a Swiss company responsible for recruiting staff for the company which would become one of the biggest Tour Operators in the world.
About four months earlier, I was looking out the window at the Himalaya range on the flight back to Europe from Nepal. I had a tremendous good three-week experience on a trek towards the Everest base camp on the Solu-Khumbu trail. An incredible time.
Working where others holiday is possible and much more accessible than you would have thought. You need to be flexible and be open-minded. Today, the opportunities are limitless, from international corporations over to a whole hospitality industry, which covers every corner in the world. You have only to decide what job opportunity is yours.
It was there, during this trek, that I experienced the moment that changed my life forever. Every day along the trek, I had so much time to spend with myself that I began to think about my life, and I decided to take a complete break and to travel and see as many places as possible.
So now, just a few months later, there I was, sitting in the middle of many other folks listening to the tutors who had to prepare all of us to be ready to guarantee other people a nice vacation. Wherever it would be, this was the deal I agreed to when I signed the contract with my new employer, the TUI Group.
I will never forget that I was one of the oldies in a group of nearly fifty students. Most had a common denominator, which was to have parents from two different nationalities.
Of course speaking another language was required, and I was lucky to have learned both German and Italian in my childhood.
My English was not perfect at that time, to be honest, but yet good enough to get the job.
I was not sure if I could work as an employee after having been in business for myself for several years.
But I knew I needed a change. And I did the right thing! You know, that experience gave me a new view of the world and my own life.I perfected my English and learned Spanish, French, and a bit of Greek too. So now, I had become a polyglot with real-world work and business experience in over a dozen countries.
After two weeks of learning with TUI and armed with an in-depth knowledge of business experience, I was sitting on a plane headed to Greece, where I had the pleasure to live and work for about seven months on Santorini in the Cyclades Islands.
Our flight from Germany landed in Athens, where we took a domestic trip towards the south.
We spent some days in a hotel, just enough time to find flats for my other colleagues and me, and at the same time, we prepared our office and got to know the island.
In Italy, we say: “Che Spettacolo!” Santorini was just breathtaking.
My flat was very spartan—just a big, white room with a little bathroom.
A kitchen corner and a bed-that were all. But for me, it was like living on the Beverly Hills with a view over Los Angeles.
It was precisely on the point where you can see the “Caldera” on one side and the Aegean Sea on the other.
Imerovigli would become my new home for the next few months.
Since I was responsible for the ferry transfers to and from Naxos and Mykonos I had to be at the port every morning very early and spend the whole day together with my colleagues from all over the globe representing all the travel operators, you can think of!
When I left Santorini, I had to say goodbye to a new family. The first of many other new families that would come.
It was a great experience, and we had a lot of fun. But it was a damn hard season, too.
Each year, when I visit my family in Italy at Christmas, I always have a look at my photo album (you know …in the past, people collected paper printed moments LOL:-)
Each photo is a moment, a person, a situation that has contributed to change my life to what it is now.
I have changed a lot of places and collected many experiences, and today I am glad to have done all the things I have done.
I still remember when I was very young, and I was passionate about history and nature, and I read all I could think about discoveries around the globe.
National Geographic Magazine was my bible, and I made myself a promise. I promised myself that when I become older, I would never have to look back and think: “Why didn’t I Just Do It ?”
From the Cyclades Islands, I went to the Canary Islands. Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria and then over to the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives was the cream on the top of all these locations. Few places in the world can compete with such a scenario.
You always think the pictures you see of these places are touched up with Photoshop until you get there yourself. It is incredibly beautiful. The color of the water and the atmosphere, and the food, and the people, and so on. All in all, a great and unique experience.
I could write a single post for every only place I have been working or doing business, and probably I will.
But today, my priority is You.
The purpose of this post is to awaken or recall this feeling in you, that you have undoubtedly experienced as I did myself many years ago!
I mean that feeling that you have in your stomach when you watch a TV show, or you read a travel book or when you take a walk through the streets, and you see an add on a corner.
You know that you want to do something different in your life, yet you are still chained to your 9-5, and all around you, everybody is in a similar situation.
So, how to escape? How can one achieve it? How can you overcome the fear?
Well, I guess there is just one answer: do it!
You don’t have to escape at night and leave behind you everything.
Do it step after step.
Prepare a plan and try to do it as you would do with a new business venture.
Where would you like to go, and what could you do there? Do you have any specialized knowledge, or do you speak any foreign languages?
If it’s a restaurant or a beach bar you are dreaming of, I highly recommend that you read my “Free Report” about “how to open your own lifestyle restaurant business.” I will introduce you to a tutorial in the course form that I have created for people dreaming of owning a Restaurant Business.
But if you are looking for something more manageable, start with getting a job abroad.
Well, of course, it depends on what you can offer, what your personal value level is. But there is a lot you could do.
For example, you can try to get a job at a tour operator, like me. Or start working as a waiter in a restaurant. If you have enough cash to survive for a while, you could get a job for any non-profit organization around the globe.
You know, when I was younger and looking on how to start my own “way out,” I wanted to buy books, but there was very little available on the subject.
I read all I could get my hands on. But first I had to find those books.
Today you ́ve got smartphones and Google – no excuses!
Ok, again, if you have a high PVL (personal value level) to offer, you might have to send a handful of cv ́s to get a job somewhere.
But if you jumped out of college or have the unspecified experience, then you can take your chances by sending hundreds of cv ́s out to many companies, and one might get back to you.
It worked for me years ago, and it can work for you too.
When you look for a job in a foreign country, and maybe on a different continent, you must think about how you best present yourself.
I mean, when I get an application letter from someone looking for a job at my business, I look at what kind of experience the applying person has, but more importantly, I try to get a feeling about their attitude.
I try to understand it by reading between the lines. What has he or she gone through? What value will they bring to my business? And most importantly, will they be willing to learn from my staff and me?
Got it? You must sell yourself if you have no degree to offer!
With this in mind, give it some thought and start making notes.
If you already have a destination in your head, I recommend you visit the place personally and try to get as many contacts on the ground as you can.
Find out when the season starts and get the timing right. Not too early, but not too late either.
If you decide to start looking for a job in the Hospitality or Service Industry and you are open to any destination you might check out firms that offer jobs worldwide like big Tour Operators, Hotel chains, Cruise Companies and so on…
So go on and DO THE WORK!