Can You Manage a Successful Career While Also Being a Traveler?

by Lea Woodward Nov 2, 2009

Note: This post is brought to you by our friends at

I BELIEVE you can have it all. There’s no reason to give up on your goal of becoming CEO of your own company just because you want to travel. The way to do it is to become location independent.

Location independence is a concept and lifestyle my husband and I stumbled upon after leaving the rat race ourselves a few years ago.

In our quest to find that one special corner of the world where we wanted to settle down, we created portable careers – businesses which can be run from anywhere in the world via an internet connection.

So far, having traveled to and living in places like Panama, Buenos Aires, Grenada, Toronto, South Africa, Dubai and Thailand, we’ve not yet found that place, but instead we’ve found and been presented with more professional and career opportunities than ever before. A few examples of how this has worked and the opportunities we’ve had so far:

  • Working with a portfolio of international clients for our web/graphic design business (from Australia, Dubai, the US, the UK, Italy, South Africa and more)
  • Working on a 6-month contract for a consulting start-up in South Africa, leading a project to improve the distribution of HIV drugs
  • Being able to build and connect with a community of like-minded peers online
  • National UK, Chinese, Brazilian press exposure about our Location Independent project

As a fellow travel enthusiast, I know work and career may be the last thing on your mind; perhaps you see it purely as a means to an end — a way to generate the cash you need to fund your travels.

But if you are keen to pursue a successful career without having to curb your enthusiasm for travel, how can you do this, too?

The answer is all about knowing how to actively manage your personal brand, your career and your professional network, no matter where you are in the world. With the advent of the social web, it’s never been easier … here are a few things you might want to consider:

If you’d like to pursue a location independent career, it may take you some time to get there; however, There is no better time than the present to start building a professional network that will better enable this kind of lifestyle. While LinkedIn is often seen as the “professional” social network, it’s more suited to simply displaying your network, not proactively building it.

Brazen Careerist is a new kind of network:

– It’s a network which is specifically designed to help you actively build new connections through sharing ideas and helping members of your network find success.

– If you are going to take extended breaks from your career or drop off the grid for a while, then managing your personal brand becomes even more important. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — all the usual suspects — make up part of your personal brand and can be one of the first places savvy employers look. I certainly use these tools to check out people we’re thinking of working with or hiring. One of the stand-out features of Brazen Careerist, is that when potential employers view your profile, they’ll see that you’re more than just your resume.

Their ideas-based feed is an interactive log of your great ideas, inspirations, and passions, all in one place. Organized and neat — just what employers are looking for.

Think very carefully about how you use social web tools while traveling. Those twitpics of you falling about drunk at a beach party in India may amuse your friends but might not look so good to a prospective employer checking you out online. Another option is to turn these tools to your advantage — join networks and communities like LinkedIn and Brazen Careerist which focus on your professional side — and which can be used to demonstrate the skills, experiences, and the knowledge you’ve been picking up on the road.

– If you’re looking for a job that gives you the opportunity for extensive travel (travel journalist, global sales rep, international recruiter, etc.) consider how your personal brand and travel experience can be used to give you the edge over another candidate. How will you demonstrate this? Where will you find these sorts of opportunities?

– Network, network, network. It’s the mantra of the social web! I am pretty sure that it’s the last thing you’ll be thinking about while gallivanting around the Galapagos but if you’re also trying to keep one eye on your career, it’s all too true. But if you’re smart about it, it doesn’t have to be as arduous or boring as it sounds and if you’re on Twitter or Facebook then the good news is that you’re already doing it!

Being able to conduct conversations, share ideas and stories and build relationships whenever you want, wherever you want puts you ahead of the game when it comes to looking for a new job.

Seek out tools that enable you to do this, no matter where you are in the world. Brazen Careerist is ideal for this — think of it like a 24-7 networking social. You can stop in and join the conversation when you have some free time, but it’s not going to hold back on-the-go travelers. In fact, you can sync Brazen Careerist up to your Twitter account and your blog. It almost (but not quite) does the networking for you.

Career management and travel do not have to be mutually exclusive – they can even be mutually beneficial if you leverage the right resources. To get started, why not join our Location Independent group on Brazen Careerist and grow your professional network amongst like-minded people.

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