In the coming weeks and months I will describe how professionals with marketable skills–doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, business people, artists–can take advantage of “no-cost travel opportunities” around the world. But first let me explain what I mean by this phrase.
Actually, let me first say what I don’t mean:
• I don’t mean something as trivial as getting a hotel room “comped” because you are losing at the craps table or having someone pick up a dinner tab while you suffer through a high-pressure sales pitch.
• I don’t mean something as short-term as having your company, agency, or school pay for one or two weeks overseas while you attend a convention or meeting–even if you are able to slip out for a little bit of golf and swimming.
• and I don’t mean quitting your job, selling the car, giving Fido to a friend and heading off to another country for an untold length of time, perhaps forever.
What I mean by the phrase “no-cost travel” is having the opportunity to live within a different culture and become an integral part of an international community, all without giving up your “day job” in the US and without forking over tons of (or even any of) your own money. I am talking about working overseas for 1 to 12 months on temporary leave from your regular job while earning enough money (or getting enough grant funds) to finance your stay through work in the host country.
For example, here is the spacious four-bedroom home where my wife and I lived for two glorious months in Kathmandu, Nepal while I was teaching at the University of Kathmandu. The rental of the house, as well as the cost of household staff, food, and utilities was covered by my Fulbright Grant. The grant also included airfare and enough supplementary funds for side trips to India and Tibet. The net cost to me of this two-month Himalayan holiday was $0! And, by working in Nepal, rather than visiting as a tourist, I had the opportunity to become friends of Nepalis with whom I am still in contact today–a rarity on your hectic two-week packaged tour.
These working vacations as I call them are a realistic and attainable goal for any professional with a marketable skill as well as a spirit of adventure and discovery. It is a wonderful way to have unique travel experiences as well as overcome the boredom and fatigue of a job and a life that are becoming far too predictable.