Feature photo and photo above by Matt Scott.
Among the various options for a fulfilling career on the US J1 visa programme, perhaps the worst is working along the ‘intestine route’: sorting innards for various other uses.
Never pleasant, but especially bad for Hans Dowwen, who works in the Swedish Constipation Clinic. I’ll leave it to your imagination what happens when the dam bursts……
Watching two guys jump on one another is a popular sport in much of Central and South America. Many bars, clubs or other arenas that have wrestling matches will offer cash to anyone who dares climb in the ring with one of the masked heroes.
When you signed up for WWOOFing you imagined just a bit of picking and weeding, perhaps? In the cattle industry, nothing can be left to chance so artificial insemination is the way to go. Sadly, nature isn’t allowed to do its thing, so you have to.
Taxi Driver (in Antarctica)
The McMurdo science station in Antarctica is the continent’s largest and someone has to shuttle everyone from station to station. Marty Gilligan spent six months driving a giant people mover around the station. Unfortunately for Gilligan, there was no meter, so nobody tipped.
Bungee Jump Master
Start your day off with terror and screams by assisting those jumping into the void. AJ Hackett, the world’s largest bungee company, has many job opportunities available, but if you don’t like heights you can always help to fish people out of the river below.
Especially popular among volunteers on Israeli Kibbutz. Seal the fate of thousands of male chicks by sorting each new hatchling onto the relevant conveyor belt. Expect to handle several hundred chicks an hour in some places.
Earn perhaps several hundreds dollars a day for taking a pill (or perhaps agreeing to a minor operation). Sounds like easy money until you sign a waiver that’s an inch and a half thick- they’re not really sure what that pill will do and you’re the guinea pig. If you’re lucky, you may just get the placebo.
Sex Shop Cleaner
The highlight of a summer in New York, Tony Holland worked for minimum wage mopping the floor of video booths in a sex shop close to Times Square. He made sure he had waiting and bar experience before he returned!
Sensory Deprivation Research Subject
Want to escape from it all for a while? Always wanted to earn great money for doing nothing? NASA, the CIA and various other scientific intuitions are on the look out for people to lock into a dark, soundproof box for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months, just to see what happens.
Disney World Character
The wonders of the Magic Kingdom soon wear thin when during the middle of summer you are put into a huge suit of itchy, un-breathable fabric and are then asked to act chirpy while children, high on sugar, get to meet their favourite character.
Sheep Skin Factory
New Zealand is the perfect spot for a gap year if you’re into farming or the outdoors. Jasper thought just that but ended up spending his days scraping residue carcass from skins, then stretching and drying them in a small factory. The smell was almost as bad as the ‘matter’ that found its way into every part of his body.
Wander around Mumbai for a day or two and you’re sure to be approached by a film scout. Bollywood often looks for foreigners to play tourists in street scenes, but occasionally, a more challenging position comes up, like playing a dead body or pretending to be an international film star.
Adult Video Star
A popular Australian website often recruits from hostels and backpacker bars for girls to take their clothes off ‘and perhaps more’. Pay is generous but you probably wouldn’t want to show your mum these holiday snaps.
Sewer Tour Guide
Imagine wandering around Paris translating for a professional tour guide. Sounds wonderful, right? Except that the guide is an ex-sewer worker who is giving a tour of the egouts – Paris’s sewer system. How many other translation jobs would you have to get turned down from before taking this one, I wonder?
Emma Thomas has travelled the world standing still. Dressed in starched clothes hung with price tags, she picks a busy spot and pretends to be a shop mannequin, busking for tips while kids, families and drunken stag parties all try to make her twitch or laugh.
Busboy (at an S&M Club)
One backpacker (who wishes to remain anonymous) worked at an adults only club in Jaffa, Israel. He describes clearing tables as clients were whipped, spanked, sat on and numerous other things. Tipping was good apparently, as clients were keen to get him out of their way.
Assistant at the Travelling Circus
What better way to discover a country than to go with a bunch of clowns! As well as feeding the animals, assisting with the set up and take down of the event space, there are great opportunities to meet the locals.
Many travellers to the UK find work in hotels, restaurants or bars, but Mike Davis was hired to collect, empty and clean portable toilets from sites all over South East England. Reclaiming toilets after a weekend music festival finally made him quit.
‘Slime Line’ Worker
Fishing is big business in Alaska and teams of workers are brought in for the summer season to slice, gut, fillet, pack, clean and carry out any other general processing job. You’ll never eat sushi again!
Have your own recommendations for weird travel jobs? Share them on Matador’s Forum.
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