I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while, but something kept holding me back from writing it. I kept thinking that maybe it was an exaggeration to say that seasonal work could change your life, how could a job change your life? Then over the winter a few people who have previously left the travel industry have messaged me. They’ve either asked for advice about coming to work overseas again or telling me that that after a break, the pull of working overseas is too much to resist and they’re heading “back out”.
So, no, it’s not an exaggeration. I really think seasonal work overseas can change your life. I also think that once you’ve experienced this way of life it can be really difficult to walk away from the lifestyle. I’ve completed five seasons now and although I know without any doubt that moving on from seasonal work is right for me, it’s definitely had an impact on my life that a regular 9 – 5 job just wouldn’t have had.
Here are the top 3 ways that I believe seasonal work can change your life. If you’re brave enough to let it.
One: It’s A Safe Way To Take A Risk
Moving abroad, relocating, finding a permanent job overseas. That’s a huge risk for anyone to take. The beauty of seasonal work is that it allows you to test the water of living and working abroad without the upheaval and commitment of a permanent move. That’s not to say it doesn’t require dedication and commitment to your job, but if at the end of your season, you decide that you want to go home, never to return, that’s fine. You’ve still achieved your goal and completed a season of working overseas.
Taking risks can be super scary but is also such an important part of life. Do you know the saying, “A life without risk is a life without opportunity”? I absolutely, completely, 100% believe in this. If you take a risk and things work out, you’ll be more confident, less risk averse in the future and who knows where it could lead? For me, taking the step of working overseas has led to marriage, a new career and a huge surge in my confidence and self-awareness. Five years ago, I hated public speaking, but after being an overseas trainer for four years, I am more than happy to speak to a room of people. It even gave me the confidence to make a beautiful and heartfelt speech at my own wedding. What if you take a risk and it doesn’t work out? That can be positive too; you can learn valuable lessons from what happened, realise that even though things didn’t work out as planned, you’re still fine and, most importantly, you won’t have the regrets of wondering what if?
The best thing about the ‘safe’ risk of doing seasonal work is that if you find that working overseas is perfect for you, you can relocate and find a permanent job overseas. That transition that can be so difficult for most people will be much easier for you, as you’ve already taken the first steps.
Two: It Will Change Your Perception Of Life
One of the reasons I first moved overseas was that I was completely done with sitting in commuter traffic every morning. I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore and five years of working in the French countryside later, I know without a doubt that I can’t ever do it again. That’s not to say that I’m never going to sit in traffic again, but I certainly won’t be doing it every morning and night, five days a week. One good thing about breaking out of the mould and doing something different, even if only for a season, is that you start to think about things differently. You start to realise that life can look however you want it to, and you have the freedom to make this choice.
My husband and I have realised that one of the reasons we enjoy seasonal work is that we both value freedom. However, like most people, we also have a need for some structure in our life and the great thing about seasonal work is that it allows you to have both of these things.
Having a seasonal job meant I had to make a choice each winter about what I was going to do. Many people that do seasonal work travel during the winter and South East Asia is a particularly popular destination, for very obvious reasons. Other people go home either to work or spend time with their family and this is the option I prefer. I was lucky when I first worked overseas as my incredible manager kept my job open for me and was very patient when I returned to work. I’d been away for six months and everyone in the team (quite rightly) felt that I’d had my time off and should be working over Christmas so that they could have their time off. Now, they were all completely right. The only problem was that didn’t work for me anymore. I simply didn’t want to work over Christmas when I’d been away from my family and friends all Summer and so I had to find a new option that did work for me. Working overseas has made me consider everything from a different perspective and question rather than accept others’ opinions of how life “should” be. I’m currently in the process of setting up my own business so that I can work and live on my own terms. This isn’t as scary for me as it would have been five years ago, given that I’m already used to taking calculated and safe risks!
Three: You Will Grow, Grow and Grow Some More!
Hands down, the best aspect of my job in France was picking up people from the airport when they arrived overseas. No matter what happened throughout the season, almost everyone arrived in France feeling much the same. Some people were nervous, but mostly they were excited, positive and full of hope. This was even more true when I picked people up from Nice Airport during the summer months in the Cote d’Azur.
Now, I love all things self-help; I spend hours reading, listening to podcasts and soaking up everything I can help me become more focused, organised, empathetic, anything! So, it’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed this aspect of the job more than anything else. People of all ages, situations and backgrounds do seasonal work and I was also responsible for taking them back to the airport at the end of the season, so I was lucky enough to observe the whole cycle of their seasonal journey. This wasn’t always pretty, not everyone loves working in the travel industry, but for the most part it was quite magical.
You will always grow when you move out of your comfort zone. Moving abroad, starting a new job, living and working with people you’ve never met before, carrying out day to day tasks in another language (or at least trying to!) and being in a different country to all your friends and family is a challenge. As a result of this, I saw so many people really blossom over the season. I’ve seen people become more confident, more open minded and more ambitious once they realise what they are capable of achieving, whether that’s learning to live alone, speak a new language or that they’ve achieved a long-term dream of working abroad. It wasn’t just young people who were living away from home from the first time and learnt to live independently, people that had retired or their kids have moved away that started working abroad to give them a new focus in life and everyone in between.
Whilst my seasonal journey has come to an end, I’ve learnt and grown so much during my time overseas and I don’t regret one single thing. The incredible life lessons from the past five years are a big part of the reason I am moving into the next stage of my career with such grit and determination.
Have you done seasonal work before? Do you agree with my top 3 ways that seasonal work can change your life? How did it change yours?
If you’re thinking that you would love to work abroad, try something new, taste a little bit of freedom or take a break from the usual routine, maybe 2020 is the perfect time to try seasonal work. If you want to know, have a look at some of these websites for more information:
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any more information or advice.