I’m an engineer by schooling, and at first when I left engineering I got asked all the time why I would give up the money and the job security. Now, at first when I stopped working as an engineer, it wasn’t exactly my choice. I had decided to leave my current job at the time so I could move to a different city, where my boyfriend at the time lived, and was planning to get an engineering job there and go back to school. Well, fast forward to my last day of work and flying out to that city to start looking for apartments when my boyfriend promptly dumped me — all of a sudden I wasn’t so keen on moving anymore. I flew back to Michigan without a job and without solid plans on what I was doing in regard to going back to school since most of the programs I had applied to were based on the move.
Of course, the most logical thing to do at the point in time when your life gets flipped upside down is to flee to Southeast Asia… or anywhere else for that matter, and that’s exactly what I did. I went on an almost 6-week trip that took me to Frankfurt, Beijing, through Cambodia and Vietnam, and Bangkok. I knew I loved to travel well before that, but I fell in love with travel on that trip. I fell in love with long trips, making new friends, and off-the-beaten-track destinations. Finding a way to do flexible work so I can travel the world and make a living became a priority.
When I came home, that made it relatively easy to decide to enroll in Indiana University’s Kelley Direct program, since all of the classes are online. At a points and miles conference, I became friends with the owner of Award Magic, one of the award booking services available, and began working for him on a part-time basis. There were a lot of days and weeks and months of not knowing exactly what to do in order to support myself, and let’s be honest… I’m still figuring it out, but I’m getting there.
Types of Flexible Work I Currently Do
- Award Bookings
- This is the first real flexible ‘job’ I ever had. The award booking agency I work for, Award Magic, communicates only through email with clients, so I can be anywhere in the world as long as I have an internet connection! Need help using your frequent flyer miles? Submit a request now.
- Travel Agency
- The travel agency is a new venture. We are still in the set-up phase, but I look forward to sharing more details in a few weeks.
- Freelance Writing
- While I’ve been writing for a while now on my own blog, I have truly only started freelancing in the past few months.
- I’ve been blogging for a while now, and while it is not the most lucrative of the work I do, I enjoy it quite a bit and am hoping to continue to grow my audience.
- If you read my blog, you’ve probably seen quite a bit of my photography. I also do art shows in the summers and restaurant displays anytime I can. I have a website that people are able to order from.
- Substitute Teaching
- This is a new gig I have started doing within the past month. I was looking for consistency, and since there is a national shortage of substitute teachers, there is work any day I want it. It does require me to be home, as I am only approved in districts in Michigan that would make sense to go to, but I have had a job subbing every single day I have wanted to make some extra money.
- I pick up other gigs as I can, in the past I have done business development, social media marketing, and editing of various documents. If I have the skill set and the time to do something I am always open to opportunities.
I have given up a lot of security by not continuing my path in engineering, but I love that what I am doing now gives me the flexibility to travel anytime I want to. I do have to be conscious of my workload at all times and make sure that I am constantly exploring new opportunities, but at this point in my life, at the very least, I wouldn’t change a thing.