How to travel the world and get paid while doing it:
By Tyler Eliot
How do you deciding on what to do?
The decision was not an obvious and easy one to choose, I thought hard and long about what I was interested in and what I could do that I would take the most value away and learn as much as possible in the short time frame that I had.
I had always wanted to work on mega and super yachts, I had a friend in school and his older brother went to work on super yachts after school. I remember my friend coming to school and always telling us about the stories and showing us pictures and videos of his brothers travels across the world. Myself and a friend then decided that we would do the same thing after school and work on super yachts. We did some research on what the requirements were, we started to prepare our legal documents and booked our 4-week training course in Durban that year.
How do you decide where to go?
There are many beautiful and amazing places to visit around the world, deciding on one place can be challenging but figuring out what you want to do and then looking at your options of destination is the easier way to go about this.
At first, I wanted to go to Europe, I had never been before and I had always seen beautiful photographs of the different European coastlines and islands. After speaking to a few people in the industry it was clear that this would not be the best option as there always seemed to be a gap in the language. So we decided we would go to Miami Florida USA. English was the most spoken language, Miami was warm and beautiful and apparently was a popular destination for superyachts.
What legal requirements do you need?
Depending on where you want to go in the world, different countries have different legal requirements for visas and documentation. Do your research on the country, research things like languages spoken, cultures and religion, what documents you need to fill out, speak to your family and friends and ask them about the country you are looking to go to and see what useful tips they have for you about the country. Doing some online research will help you get the basics of what is needed in order to apply for visas, work permits and costing for your travels.
I needed to get a B1B2 visa which was a work and travel visa for the states. I had to do my STCW 95’ course in durban which was a 4-week course which included first aid, sailing, mapwork and coordination, scuba diving, fire fighting, and some basic yachting techniques and etiquette. The STCW 95 course is the minimum legal requirement for all crew working commercially at sea and is essential knowledge used to protect the lives of the crew and guests onboard.
The course is internationally recognized and meets all international standards prescribed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). South Africa is one of the most affordable places in the world to complete your STCW 95/2010 course and is usually 3 – 4 times less expensive than other countries. The B1B2 visa allowed me to stay in the USA for 3 -6 months at a time, I had to every 3 -6 months leave the country for a day and return to receive another 3 – 6 months in the USA.
You can complete your course at any one of the following institutions:
Do you want to gain money or experience?
To be honest it would be a bit of both. Money is always great but I think the experience that came along with the journey was worth more than the money itself. I got to travel along the entire east coast of America as well as to the Bahamas on many occasions. I saved a lot of money when I was overseas sending a minimum of $1000 home every month. The pay was very good, but the memories and experience I gained through that year was just amazing.
Do you travel or work?
Choosing between traveling or working or doing both can be a challenge to some. I think the best option is to take a look at yourself and decide whether you want to travel the world and get experience, or are you looking to gain work experience in a particular field or career path. This can be something that relates to what you want to study, or a career path you are deciding on.
I was fortunate enough to get paid while I traveled. Working on superyachts you are lucky enough to travel the world while getting paid. It was a great experience and I encourage any young teen who is finishing school to take a gap year, do something you enjoy and love whether that’s people, traveling or just to learn some experience. Traveling is a great way to meet new people, learn about different cultures and religions and to explore new parts of the world. Working brings you money and experience and can open up many doors through networking and making connections.
How long do you go for?
Typically a gap year consists of 1 year, depending on what you are planning to this time frame can be anything from a couple of weeks to months and even years. To gain the most value you will want to spend the most amount of time possible to experience as much as possible about the desired country or career you have chosen.
I did a single year after school and returned home to South Africa at the end of that year just before Christmas. I then decided to stay home and study a degree through university. My friend, on the other hand, turned that gap year into a 6 year gap year and has now only recently come home from all his adventures. I highly recommend this because there isn’t a lot of people out there at the age of 25 who have seen pretty much the entire world’s coastlines, met some of the world most famous celebrities and richest people in the world. Getting paid to travel and see the world.