A lot of people ask me how I went to travel blogging as a full-time job and looking back, I can remember all the crazy things I did just because I didn’t want to go home.
Sorry mum, that was the case. I was in South America, broke AF and didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay.
Even if I didn’t have any idea how to pull it off, I TRIED. The urge of not quitting the life I was living was getting into me. Again, I didn’t want to go home.
That urge lead me to a few discoveries on how I was able to sustain myself. Like most things, nothing comes easy but today, I’d like to share with you what pushed me to stay and travel forever aside from not wanting to go home.
Just to clarify, the ‘jobs abroad’ I do are not jobs that require a working visa. The jobs I did before were short-term. It helped me sustain my life on the road. This post applies best for long-term travelers and backpackers.
When translations go wrong
South America is where I learned how to speak Spanish fluently and when reading restaurant menus, I cringe. Their English translation is fcking wrong.
“Sirred aunt in lemon citron suace.”
What the fck is this? I don’t want to eat my aunt! NEVER! I mean, my aunts are pretty annoying (but really really cool) but I would never want to eat them!
This translation sucks. The funny thing is, I observed this wrongly translated menus in top restaurants. In small eateries or street food, I would understand.
But something that’s labeled ‘top’ on TripAdvisor? Come on! I walked to the reception/hostess and asked: “Excuse me? May I speak to your manager?”
“Sorry, madam, but the manager is out. I can give you her card.”
I got her card and sent her an e-mail the next day. I was already fluent in Spanish at that time so I wrote her in Spanish. Below is the English translation:
Dear Miss Melissa,
Honestly, your English translation in the menu sucks. Last night, I was fortunate enough to eat at your restaurant (I’m broke AF but I always make sure to eat great food!) and I noticed that most of your English translations are not correct.
There were Australians, British, and Americans dining with me and we all said the same – it sucks. Now, I am no native English speaker (I hail from the Philippines) but I’d like to believe I am a really good writer.
Along with that, I am also fluent in Spanish so maybe, just maybe, I can help you translate your menu? Now, this comes with a price but I am sure it’s nothing you can’t afford.
If you are interested, please feel free to e-mail back. You can check my work at trishavelarmino.com. (Back then, this was my domain name)
Within an hour, she replied.
“Dear Trisha, I’d like to meet you this week to discuss this possibility. When will you be available?”
That same evening, I found myself browsing the menu in her office, shaking my head multiple times, looking at it like it was something that couldn’t be repaired.
Imagine, how many people have seen this menu? Although I am not a part of their employee brigade, I felt ashamed for them.
“So tell me, how much should I pay you to make all these right?”
It was my first time to walk up to someone like this and I didn’t have any idea on how to charge.
“$500 USD. I blurted. Not entirely sure about this but yes, five hundred freaking dollars.”
“Show me your work and we’ll see what it’s worth.”
I went back to the hostel where I was volunteering and immediately worked on the translations. I e-mailed it to her and the next day, she transferred $500 USD to my account. I got it just like that.
Lesson of the story
Do not ignore little things. I am sure I wasn’t the only one who noticed the poorly translated menu. But what made my move differently?
I walked up to the management and offered what I can do. The menu translation is just a sample and I can’t honestly tell you specific non-existing jobs abroad you want to apply for but you get the picture?
You don’t have to look for it! It can happen in your daily long-term travel routine! All you have to do is to actually do something about it.
Don’t keep your mouth shut if you think you can do a difference. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid if they tell you that you are wrong. JUST DO IT.
What if a top brand/company’s Instagram account is so ugly you keep wondering why people follow it?
What if you are really good with Google keywords and you notice that Brand A doesn’t get the traction that they deserve?
What if you are a photographer and you know that Brand X has a budget and you can do so much for them?
Jobs abroad need not be posted on Craigslist, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. You can find something by yourself through analysis.
Create your job posting (according to your specialties) and pitch it to brands! We are the mighty millennials – we can do whatever we want.
Let’s not focus on looking for jobs abroad to sustain our travels through job postings. Do not limit yourself because you know you can do so much better than that!
My will to not go home pushed me to be creative with what I do and continue a life of travel.
What wouldn’t you do to fulfill your dreams?