I’ve got the itch…to travel that is

Lately I’ve been getting that traveling itch again. This itch is not the kind that can be cured by a quick trip for a few days. This is the kind of itch that needs to be scratched hard, and for a long time. Excuse my graphic metaphor but what I’m talking about is quite serious.

I need to get back out there and travel; I need to experience more of the world again. I absolutely love living in Thailand and my plan is to keep this wonderful country as my base. Right now though, I need to be wild and free. I need to be out in the unknown for an unspecified amount of time that can only be determined by circumstance.

There really is nothing quite like the feeling that you get when you first arrive to a new and unknown place as a completely anonymous person. That new place is like the most interesting book you’ve ever read, it’s the best conversation you’ve ever had, it’s the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen, it’s the best cup of coffee that’s ever been made, it’s the scariest and most exhilarating roller coaster ever designed, it’s just everything. It’s a hard feeling to describe (as you can see). What I know about this feeling though is that it’s one that I’m ok with being addicted to. It’s one addiction I’ll welcome with open arms because the great thing is this world is massive I can keep chasing this feeling forever. As long as I’m breathing I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop exploring.

This need to travel, this itch, it comes to me quite frequently and I try my best to most of the time I scratch it. There are always things that hypothetically should stop me from dropping everything and going, for example no money, no plan, a steady job that I want to keep, love, no body believing in me and my dreams. These things have yet to actually stop me though. Bring it on, adversity!

No money – I make it work no matter what. Check out my other post about how to travel with a small amount of money.

 

No plan – I am a planner by nature and currently by profession but in traveling I’ve found that as long as I have a base plan, for example sticking to the eastern hemisphere of the world, everything else will work out in some way. If things do not go exactly the way that I envisioned them to, they usually end up turning out well, or at least are experiences that were worth having in some way.

 

Steady Job – I have to tell myself “Self, you can ALWAYS get another job.” I tell myself this because I know it to be true and I’ve proven it to myself multiple times. I’ve noticed that some people get really attached to their jobs; if you’ve had one before and you want another one, believe me, you will get one. Your dream job may not land in your lap but you can always find something to keep yourself sustaining life.

Also, I always remember to tell myself that even though I know working is an essential part of life for most people, working is not what my life is all about. So I don’t have a problem letting something good go because in the end I’m not going to look back on my life and think, “wow, I had a really stable and well-paying job. Well done Sophia” I’m hopefully going to look back and think about all the crazy experiences I had, how I helped people in some way, and how much I opened my mind and heart to the world.

 

Love – If I’m leaving love to travel and its real love, it can and will survive. This may not be true for everyone and I know that every relationship is different but if traveling is an important thing to you, then your partner should know that. They should also be willing to either join you in your travels or let you do what you need to do on your own.

 Nobody to believe in your dreams – I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve had some great supporters on my side over the years but I do get the occasional doubt from people. To these people I say – HAHAHA. I always make my dreams come true no matter how many nays the nay sayers say, and you should too!

In my opinion there are not too many reasons a person should not travel and get out there to experience as much as they can. I know cannot wait for my next adventure!

Thanks for reading

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Common Jobs for foreigners- South East Asia

To begin with, it is totally possible to move to another country and start a new life for yourself including finding a job that you could potentially love. This is possible, but it is not without it’s challenges. You’ve got to stay focused and be determined in order to find a job abroad!

I’ve put together a list of what i’ve seen to be the most common jobs for foreigners in Thailand and a few other areas that i’ve been in South East Asia.

Teaching- The easiest way for native English speakers to move to a new country in Asia and find a job is to become an English teacher. Surprisingly, this job does not require a teaching degree but having one would help and would also raise your salary. A lot of schools will require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree but it does not necessarily need to be for teaching. A TESOL or TEFL certification is also very helpful when trying to get a job as an English teacher. I’ll go into a bit more detail about these certifications in another post.

One thing to remember though if you’re looking for a job as a teacher is that you should only take this job if you plan to actually care about what you are doing. Chances are you’re going to be working with children and it’s really important that you try hard to help them to learn and actually care about what you say to them. Please keep that in mind!

Tour guide- You can get a tour guide job usually if you have a native language other than English and if you also speak English or Thai. I personally know a few people who are tour guides in Russian and Korean. Chinese, French, Arabic, and Hebrew might be other popular languages for potential tour guides to know. I often see job postings asking for Chinese speakers here in Koh Samui.

Dive Instructor/Working at a Dive Shop- These jobs are infamous for not coming with work permits. It may be relatively easy to land one of these jobs, but actually getting the dive shop to provide you with the legal paperwork you need to stay here in probably not going to happen. If you do go for a job like this, prepare to have to do frequent border runs. Simply working in a dive shop as someone that books trips etc is a common job but you can also work as a dive instructor. Working as a dive instructor obviously is going to require a lot more work and commitment as you’ll need to get lots of experience and of course you’ll need to get the certification if you don’t have it already.

Hotel Work- In popular tourism areas you will often find that hotels hire foreigners for various positions. Most of the positions are upper level management positions rather than something like a front desk clerk etc. These jobs are no joke though and not the kind that you should take unless you are really committed to them. Landing one of these jobs is also not going to come that as easy as you will likely need to have years of professional experience and typically they look for people with the experience in the hospitality industry. If you are lucky enough though to get a job like this you will enjoy the awesome benefits which most of the time include things like free housing, very high salaries (for south east asia), free food, and occasionally for those special ones even a car.

Business Owner – In Thailand it is common to find foreign owed businesses typically they will be restaurants or bars. It is most common to find this in high tourism areas. The thing to keep in mind though if you are interested in starting a business in Thailand is that as a foreigner you will never truly own your business. What I mean by this is that in order to own a business or land etc in Thailand it must be with a Thai partner. This does not have to be someone you are married too or in a relationship with but it must be a business partner. The Thai partner will have to own at least 51% of the business and you can own 49%. In my eyes this is a great law to have in place because if it weren’t I’m guessing Thailand would have been bought up by now with all of the ex pats currently living in this country and countless others wanting to live here.

Bar and restaurant work – Again, in major tourism areas it will probably be easy to get a job working a bar or a restaurant however these jobs most of the time do not come with a work permit. The pay is also not that great but the job will likely be tons of fun. You’ll meet so many new people and have a fun lifestyle. This is not always a stable job to get though as you run the risk of getting caught working with a work permit and also bars and restaurants open and close here constantly. This is not a bad thing to try out though while you just hoping to make some quick cash.

Most of the jobs that you will find in Thailand for foreigners are going to be teaching jobs especially if you’re not in a high tourism area. If you are interested in the other jobs that do not involve teaching then I would recommend looking in places that are well known for tourism and that have a lot of businesses.

I am interested in hearing if anyone else has anything to add to this list or any other input about working as a foreigner.

 

Thank you for reading!

Being a wedding planner: The basics

It is really kind of funny that I’ve ended up being a wedding planner and it has turned out to be my most favorite and the best job I’ve ever had.It is not even a job to me anymore- it is my long term career. The reason it is funny that I’ve ended up as a wedding planner though is because I remember when I was in university studying Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on event management) I told myself and I declared it to my classmates as well that I would never be a wedding planner. Never say never, as the saying goes! My reasons back then were probably that I did not want to have the pressure of being in charge of one of the most special days of peoples’ lives which as you can imagine is quite a pressure to put on yourself. Now that I have been doing this for almost a year I can say though that I want to continue my career in wedding planning for as long as possible, and I really do love this work.

The pressure of being in control of someone’s wedding always turns out to be wonderful because if you are successful, you know that have just helped people to have the best day of their life. What’s not to like about that?

The title of this post a little be a bit misleading because in my opinion it is a little difficult to actually pinpoint the “basics” of wedding planning as every wedding is different and all the clients are different. I’ve put together a list though of what I find to the basics things for me to do or remember with each wedding and things that help me to make my experience as a wedding planner the best it can be.

Most importantly – Have a great attitude

Weddings can be stressful, especially if you’re like me and tend to take other peoples’ stress on as your own. The most important thing that you can do though is keep a positive attitude. If things are going wrong or you have a bridezilla, or even if the wedding is just not enjoyable in some way, you have to remember to keep it together. If your attitude goes sour, this will show and will likely affect your clients.

Treat each wedding like it is the only wedding you’ll ever work at 

I mean this in the sense that you have to make sure to dedicate yourself fully to each wedding and not constantly be thinking about one you had in the past, or one you have in the future. In January, I planned 8 weddings….I repeat, 8 weddings. Some of them drained me physically and mentally but I had to go into each new one with a clean slate. The way I do this is by reminding myself that the bride and groom don’t know (or care) how many weddings I have to work at, all they know as that their special day is the most important thing to them so that is how I treat it. I don’t bring any baggage from my previous weddings with me.

Be as flexible as possible 

I mean that figuratively, not literally although being physically flexible may come in handy being a wedding planner as you never know what crazy request you may have to fulfill!

You need to make sure that you can adjust to pretty much ANY situation, anything can happen at a wedding.

Be quick on your feet and creative if you can! 

Being a wedding planner is a great way to let your creativity really shine. You are going to have to come up with crazy ways to put broken shoes back together,  make a garter (learn how to sew!), to make dresses fit when they might be a size or two too small, make a beach look wider than it is, to make a bouquet morph into a table centerpiece, or even to fix a wedding cake that accidentally looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. You’ll be asked to move mountains and you’ll only be given 20 minutes to do it so be prepared to come up with something genius, and come up with it fast!

Do not be afraid to say NO

It is so hard to have to disappoint someone but you have to be strong and tough to be a wedding planner. You cannot be afraid to say no to people, especially the bride and groom. In my last point I said you will be asked some crazy requests, and to the best of your abilities, try to do them but do not forget that some things just cannot be done. When it comes down to it you are not the bride’s friend, you are her wedding planner, so even though you’re ultimate goal is to make her happy, you have to have your limits.

Don’t take the romance for granted! 

No matter how many weddings I have been to or how busy I am at a wedding I always make sure that I catch the look in the bride and grooms eyes when they first see each other. Nothing beats seeing that pure look of love, terror, excitement and every other emotion in the world. That moment to me is the most romantic in the entire wedding. You may be surrounded by love, happiness, and emotions all the time as a wedding planner, but don’t take it for granted, appreciate it and bask in it because it’s one of the best parts of life.

Ask for help

As the wedding planner, you are going to feel like the pressure of everything running smoothly is put completely on you, but there are times where you are going to need help to make this happen. Do not be afraid to ask people for help, it does not make you look incompetent, it just shows that you care and want everything to be as perfect as possible. It’s really important also to have a good wedding staff. Get people that have experience, that you can rely on, and people that have a great attitude just like you!

Stay organized

I cannot stress how important it is to keep everything organized. As a wedding planner you will have about a million different tasks, appointments, papers, things to remember, and things to do. You have to have a good way of keeping this all on track. Lists will become your best friend! Make sure you have a good planner/diary/calendar, and if you can, make sure you have some sort computer system set up specially for weddings. I am lucky enough that at my company we have an extremely well organized computer system where I can keep essentially every detail that I would need to have about a wedding. Without having everything organized and all in once place I am not sure i’d actually be able to do this job; it is so important to stay organized.

Have fun!

You have got to have some fun at your weddings! You have to remain professional and on top of things but don’t forget that what you are doing is amazing, creative, and super fun. Laugh as much as possible, meet new people, and take in all the beauty and excitement around you at each wedding.

 

There is so much that goes into being a wedding planner but for me these are the basic things that will help get the best experience out of this career. Coming soon will be a post specifically about planning weddings in a foreign country, or working as a destination wedding planner.

 

Thank you for reading!