Long term travel, The perfect job for a job interview

By , June 16, 2011 6:00 am

Long term travel is an amazing experience. It’s captivating, educational, challenging, and inspirational. Those who have done it have laptops and smartphones full of photos of far away places and email addresses from those whom they’ve spent a few days with; sharing taxis, hostels, hikes, museums, beach side bars and overnight trains.

Let’s face it though. Most of us aren’t witty travel writers and we’re not glamorous TV stars. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives traveling the world, submitting creative blog posts or poignant documentaries from exotic distant lands. Of course there are those doing it, but they’re the minority in the global travel community. The travel community is made up of people like you and me. Most who mark the calendars, strap on a backpack and look forward to scuba diving, mountain trekking and passport stamps are the temporary traveller. We’re able to take 3-12 months and head out into the world – seeking to learn about the unknown in other countries, and deep within ourselves. Sooner or later, the trip will come to a conclusion and you’ll be back in the job market, nervously anticipating sitting across the table from a prospective employer in an interview.

Was your trip a waste of time?

Was it a job killer?

Honestly . . . no.

It was the best thing you‘ve ever done and just the thing that you’re new company is looking for.

Christine and I left Seattle in July 2009 and travelled for 18 months, returning this past January, 2011. With what we’ve done and where we’ve been, we were ready for what lay ahead.

Think about the basics of interviewing and the questions that are presented. It readily becomes a question of not, what do I say, but rather what cool story of my travels will best summarize my abilities to handle whatever this company has in store for me.

“Tell me about a stressful time and how you resolved it”
How about the time in Athens when the port workers went on strike and the ferries sat empty, forcing us to quickly change our transportation plans to include a train and a bus to get to a different ferry in a town hours away enabling us to continue on our journey, making sure we stayed ahead of the wave of thousands of others travellers who need to do the same.

“How do you adapt to new situations”?
Every situation is a new situation while traveling. Where to go, how you get there, where to sleep, what to see, where to eat. . . . sometimes even how to eat! Travellers are continually in a revolving door of temporary friendships and meeting fellow travellers from different countries, ethnic backgrounds, ages and mindsets.

Many travellers know what it’s like, stepping down from a train in a town who’s name they can’t pronounce, in a country they’ve never been to, trying to find the hostel or guesthouse, then locate a good plate of street food and a cold beer.

“How do you handle conflict”?
Tell them about being in Cairo and fare haggling with taxi drivers, the servers who demand an extra tip stating that the one on the bill is “for the kitchen staff” or dealing with the manipulative and pushy perfume and papyrus vendors?

How do you work in a team environment?:
How about learning to travel with your spouse, and the demands and conflicts that arise from spending 24/7 together.

“Tell us about the time you went outside your comfort zone”
. . . . boy, where do I begin!

Listen to your inner self, the thoughts in your head. Quit your job and travel the world. It could be the best job decision you’ve ever made.

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