Rat race getting you down? Eager to leave the office? Sick of the nine-to-five rigmarole? Never fear, there's a whole world out there to explore, and today it can all be done without having to break the bank. In fact, these days record numbers of people are leaving the traditional career and hitting the road to work. What's more, there are more adventure travel jobs than ever before, helping travellers get out and about while earning. They go from ski seasons for the snow-hungry winter buff to trekking positions for those pining for real adventure in the world's wildest corners. Check out our selection of some of the best. You can thank us later!
Whether it's the glacial summits around British Columbia, the jet-setter pistes of Verbier and St Moritz, the legendary runs of Chamonix, the craggy peaks of the American Rockies, the more intrepid reaches of the Indian Himalaya (check out Gulmarg), the sun-kissed tops of the South American Andes, the Carpathians or the Caucuses, being a ski instructor is one sure fire way to ditch the office and take your professional life outdoors. Just imagine it: waking up at the crack of dawn each day to fresh powder, donning the salopettes and skis (or snowboard if you prefer), and spending hours carving through the mountains, meeting new people and helping folk hone their riding skills. It's hardly a wonder that ski instructing has risen to become one of the most popular adventure travel jobs in the world, drawing in gap yearers and career changers alike. Yes, the work is seasonal, but boy do those seasons pack one serious punch, with reports of all-night parties and mountaintop get-togethers, guarantees on the best conditions and even pretty decent money to boot!
A coveted role if there ever was one, most positions for conservationists are of the volunteer type. That said, there are a few golden opportunities going that do offer pay and the chance to travel the world at the same time. They range from saving sloths in Costa Rica to running elephant sanctuaries in Southeast Asia to helping protect the last remaining rhinos in Africa, and promise to be some of the most fulfilling of adventure travel jobs. Of course, conservationist positions will be hard to come by, and you'll almost certainly need the right set of qualifications and experience to even have a foot in the door!
A sturdy pair of walking boots, a strong set of calf muscles, some Gore-Tex and a genuine passion for adventure is what's required of trekking guides. These folk are the ones who look to the trailheads and the mountains for their fun. They're the guys who aren't afraid to lead parties into the wilds of places like Costa Rica's Fortuna Forest, home to waxy tree frogs and swinging primates, or the wind-blasted plateaus of the great Fitz Roy in Patagonia. They find work in the altitudinous reaches of India, Nepal, China and Tibet, going into the awesome peaks of the Karakoram ranges and up to Everest Base Camp. They get jobs taking travellers up to volcanos in Bali and Java and Lombok, across the fir-dressed peaks of the Canadian Rockies, or into the deep and untrodden recesses of Georgia's hidden high Caucuses. You'll need a good knowledge of the area you intend to trek, along with an amenable character, an understanding of mountain and trekking etiquette, and a good set of survival skills.
Okay, okay, so TEFL teaching might sound just a little staid, and it is true that most language teachers will spend the bulk of their time hidden away in a classroom somewhere. However, it doesn’t all have to be nine-to-five and indoors in this line of work. For the most intrepid of teachers, it's possible to find some jobs in the wilder reaches of the world. You could be working in the far-flung backcountry villages of South America for example, or the tribal hamlets of Thailand. And while that does mean sticking to teaching during the week, the weekends could mean breaking out to the local waterfalls, scaling soaring mountains, surfing the Pacific swells or sampling spicy homemade cuisine. And Viola: TEFL teaching goes from being safe to being another viable option on our list of the top adventure travel jobs!
Only the best waves will do for the surf teacher. Something of the summertime equivalent of ski instruction, this one's built for the budding snowbirds; the folk who frown with the coming of winter and chase the sun around the planet. You'll spend your days running classes for every level of surfer, getting beginners started on the low swells, or helping advanced boarders tear up the bowls and conquer the harder tubes. You'll also get oodles of riding time yourself, to hit the waves, catch the best swells and check off the best spots that no one else knows. What's really great is that there are opportunities for surf instructors right across the globe, from the old Berber villages of western Morocco to the shimmering Gili Isles, Bali and Lombok in Indonesia. Just think, you could spend one year riding the legendary waves of the Central American Pacific and the next kicking back on the beaches of the Indian Ocean, not a jacket, scarf or speck of snow in sight!
Tour leaders are the jack of all trades of adventure travel jobs. They fill a huge diversity of different posts in the industry and operate in a range of different capacities. Take LBW's own tour guides, who could be partying the night away on rooftop bars in Nica one month and then riding a 40-footer through the deep blues of the Adriatic Sea the next. Others will be working on specifically adventure-focussed tours, which means having a real passion for the great outdoors, adrenaline sports and exploration. You might be leading an itinerary which includes skiing, surfing, hiking, wildlife safaris, whitewater rafting and sea kayaking in the same couple of weeks, so being fit and healthy will also help. However, the most important part of tour leading has to be the social side of things. That means a smiling, outgoing attitude at all times, a real love for meeting new people and forging new friendships, seeing new places in the company of folk you may not know, and a genuine interest in giving the trip of a lifetime.
Of course there are countless other adventure travel jobs out there, and even some with LBW! If you think we've missed something important from the list, then we'd love to hear about it in the comments below…
Find more information on all of the tours LBW offers HERE!
We believe that travel is not a reward for working, but the most valuable and impactful form of education for life. We aren’t just a travel company; we were built to introduce you to the rest of the world. LBW Travel is about more than taking vacation time. We connect you with people and offer experiences that will change the way you look at your world. Travel reminds us what is truly important: family, friendship, love, exploration and adventure.
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