So, you’ve got a freshly minted BA and you’re ready for an adventure! Or maybe you’ve been slaving away in a cube farm and you’re fairly sure that a warm beach is calling your name. Since you’re not tied down with a mortgage/child/spouse yet, why not have a bit of adventure? Here are five way that you can explore the world and escape your cubicle — all without breaking the bank.
1. Work a tourist season in Alaska.
Imagine spending your summer in a place with 18 hours of sunlight, river-jumping salmon and rugged, outdoorsy cuties. Yes please!
Alaska’s booming tourist industry requires thousands of seasonal workers every summer. If you have experience in the hospitality industry (or if you’re willing to get some) you could spend the summer working your ass off, making decent money and having tons of adventures under the (almost) midnight sun.
Most Alaskan employers include room and board in their employment packages, so if you’re careful, you’ll be able to save most of the money you earn. And if you’re earning tips on top of an hourly wage? It can add up to a tidy sum.
2. Teach English with Fulbright.
How impressive would it be to add ‘Fulbright’ to your resume? Incredibly impressive. There are multiple Fulbright programs, but the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Program is a great fit for recent grads.
Teaching assistants are usually placed outside of capitol cities (so, no Paris for you), assist English teachers and act as cultural representatives of sorts. When you apply for a position, you can only apply to one country (rather than applying to the program, being accepted and then choosing a country) so you’re more likely to get a posting if you choose a less popular locale. Again, maybe not Paris.
In order to apply for the program you must be a US citizen, have a BA and be proficient in the language of your proposed host country.
The idea of getting free lodging in a foreign city seems almost too good to be true, right? If you’ve ever spent months crashing in hostel dorm rooms and cooking ramen noodles in shared kitchens, you know a space of your own is nothing short of heaven.
But house-sitting is, in fact, a thing. People who live in lovely homes, in busy areas, will happily hand over their keys to someone with good references and a trust worthy demeanor. It’s rare that you’ll actually get paid to stay in someone’s house, water their plants and feed their cats, but you’ll save piles of money on lodging and get out of the hostels for a bit.
More info: House-carers // The Care Taker Gazette
4. Stay on an ashram.
Despite what Eat, Pray, Love would have us believe, ashrams don’t exist solely in India and you’re not required to do yoga constantly and eat daal with your hands. Though there are plenty of ashrams like that if you’re interested in yoga-doing and daal-eating.
Traditionally, an ashram is located in a relatively remote area, to allow participants to focus on spiritual enlightenment or committing to the study of music, yoga or another physical practice. These days, ashrams are located all over the world and you can visit them for months at a time or just a few days and pay a pittance or a lot.
5. Volunteer with WWOOF.
If you are deeply, deeply over museums/historical ruins/cathedrals or you need to do something other than lay on a beach, may I recommend WWOOF? World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms allows travelers to exchange labor for food, lodging and the experience of living with a local host family.
You don’t pay your hosts and they don’t pay you. You work for a pre-arranged number of hours and they feed, lodge, (hopefully) show you around and include you in their daily life. Potential WWOOFers purchase a ‘membership’ to a country they’re interested in – so, you can’t trawl aimlessly through WWOOF listing from all over the world. You choose a country, pay the membership fee and then trawl through that country’s listings.
Once you’ve purchased your country’s WWOOF membership, you can browse farm listings and begin to contact hosts who interest you. Every farmer has different expectations and accommodation, so it’s important to gather as much information as possible before you commit.
Like most things in life, these adventures come with risks. Please, please do some extensive research and soul-searching before undertaking any of these endeavors. But if you’ll allow me to wax cliche for a moment, isn’t the biggest risk failing to take one?