Job ideas?
June 1, 2021 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I have always wanted to travel more, to see places that were new-to-me, especially in other countries and I recently came to the realization that I'd like to do that through work. I have traveled domestically for work and I realize work travel is not the same as personal travel but I love experiencing places I wouldn't otherwise go on a work trip.

Currently I work in evaluation and research, at a museum. I have a degree in museum studies and another one in anthropology. Feel free to memail me for more details on degrees etc. I'm interested in finding jobs that someone with this kind of evaluation and research background could do where travel to other countries might happen 1-4 times a year. I do not necessarily want a job where you have to live in another country. I also want to settle into where I currently live and develop a community here, so I want some kind of job where I can do that and also occasionally see new places. I love evaluation and research because I love project based work where I can make a difference using both data/numbers and words.

Any thoughts on evaluation and research companies I should look into? Any jobs in other fields you think I might like?
posted by azalea_chant to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I had pretty much exactly this job for most of my 20s. I was a research analyst for a large nonprofit survey company where I worked on impact evaluations in developing countries - essentially, large aid organizations like USAID, FAO, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Gates Foundation, etc. would contract us to conduct independent evaluations of their projects, primarily through surveys conducted by local subcontractors. I traveled anywhere between 2 and 5 times a year to about a dozen different countries, usually for one or two weeks at a time, generally to train the interviewers on the surveys we designed.

I was hired because I had GIS (geographic information systems) skills and knew French, and I picked up everything else on the job - statistical analysis programs like Stata, how to use and code in a bunch of different brands of CAPI software, lots of survey design and methodology stuff.

It sounds more glamorous than it was - a lot of the time I'd basically just be shuttling between my hotel and a conference center, with maybe a day or two in the field and a single day off to do tourist stuff if I was lucky. I eventually burnt out on traveling, which I started to dread rather than look forward to, and also became disenchanted with the usefulness of what I was doing, but I definitely saw some places I'd probably never visit otherwise.

Feel free to DM me if you want to know more!
posted by theodolite at 3:37 PM on June 1 [2 favorites]

I do some international standards work, and there are quarterly in person meetings (or there were, and there will be again) where we hash out the things we have been arguing about over email and calls for the previous quarter. Meetings basically rotate continents, so I have colleagues who basically go somewhere in the world once a quarter, plus some amount of ancillary travel.
posted by rockindata at 3:50 PM on June 1 [3 favorites]

Have you ever written a grant or a tender proposal? I know grants for museums are ridiculously competitive and they have professionals who are paid through the nose for their expertise in writing them. I know this because I was partially trained by a museum grant writer when I was seeking grant experience. I tend to find the chances of getting experience in writing tenders does not come around very easily. It is very much an as-luck-would-have-it lottery to get real experience managing the process, and much harder to be the person who will manage the grant once it has been won.

Both of these roles offer tremendous benefits to those who put in the time to learn them. Every weekday, governments all over the world put out tenders for the most obvious and obscure things. In Minneapolis, the city is currently looking for a welcome sign for Olmstead County Graham Park, metro transit uniforms, board development at St Cloud Technical and Community College. You're asking yourself, "How can I write bids for these things?" but the real question is "Who can supply these services and only needs a bid manager to coordinate and submit the response?" Working proactively, you're likely to find organisations that need this skill, even from a complete beginner. That St Cloud College opportunity sounds like something that could be great for the museum to do as a side project but maybe you know better.

Feel free to message me, I would be happy to advise any future bid and grant writers and managers.
posted by parmanparman at 4:06 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]

An all-remote job might not have trips built in, but it would give you the flexibility to travel internationally a few time a year and just continue to work during your trip. I did this for a couple years with a remote job and had a lot of fun
posted by horizons at 4:19 PM on June 1 [3 favorites]

This isn’t a start-tomorrow suggestion, but a lot of the travel I’ve done has been for work in the software industry, specifically user training. I only traveled domestically myself, mostly because the first software company I worked for only had domestic clients, but at the second company I worked for sent people internationally (which is, incidentally, how I knew where Wuhan is). Software training doesn’t have a lot of formal credential requirements - I mean, I got into it, so the standards can’t be too high. But it can be fairly remunerative, and the travel is nice. Work travel isn’t the same as leisure travel, for sure, but if you find the right company, you can do a bit. I saw a lot because I was never working past 4:30pm local time. I’ve seen national parks, played mini golf, and gone for walks on the beach after training was over. One of the cool things for me personally was that I got to go to some out-of-the-way places I wouldn’t have otherwise gone to, like New Boston, Virginia, Green Lake, Wisconsin, or Yoakum, Texas.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:01 PM on June 1

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) work? If you’re in the US, most of these jobs are based out of DC with frequent or occasional site visits. There’s a whole host of contractors that provide this service to USAID, among others.
posted by whitewall at 9:14 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]

Depends on your gift of gab, you can be a travel writer. If you have a small RV towing your own car, or towing a camper trailer, you can live pretty frugally. (or even just pitch a tent every night).

If you want your JOB to send you places, then you pretty much have to work for giant corp that has branches everywhere and move you around a bit.

There's another way: be a "digital nomad" and do all remote work from almost anywhere in the world. But you need some industry-specific knowledge to find your own niche.
posted by kschang at 7:52 AM on June 2

If you could bill yourself as a consultant who works internationally as an independent contractor that might allow you to travel around, but it could get complicated if you are looking to travel internationally because different countries have tax and residence regulations. You could also look for research travel grants, but that might not be enough money to save up for retirement and cover other benefits. Museums might have curator-in-residence type programs as well that may include a travel stipend.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 10:26 AM on June 2

Similar to suggestions above, I work remotely, and live/visit where I like.
I mostly live in one place. And then will visit another place for a few weeks at a tine, continuing to work during the day.

It does limit you to places with wifi most of the time, but that's still a pretty big set of options.

if you're willing to get creative, maybe you can be a travelling exhibit curator? Is that a thing?
posted by jander03 at 12:30 PM on June 2

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