The idea of going all the way around the world holds more than a touch of romance. From the early heroic navigators like Ferdinand Magellan to the fictional traveller Phileas Fogg, circumnavigators of our planet have always captured the imagination of adventurous souls. More recently Michael Palin's globetrotting television series and award-winning travel blogs like twoguysaroundtheworld.com attract huge audiences, perhaps because so many of us relish a chance to imagine ourselves - impossibly ambitious as it sounds - as round-the-world explorers.
Nothing can compare with the joy of the open road. The sense of possibility and adventure brings feelings of exhilaration, long submerged in the workaday routines of home. Cheap air travel has opened up parts of the globe once reserved for the seriously affluent. When travelling in far-flung corners of the world, you can escape the demands of modern life in the Western world, the chores, the clutter, the technology. Whatever your stage of life, travelling spontaneously means you have the freedom to choose from an infinite spectrum of possibilities. Those who have experienced independent travel normally catch the bug and long to visit more places, see more wonders and spend a longer time abroad. Today trekking in the hinterland of Rio de Janeiro or diving in the Philippines can be within the grasp of ordinary folk. The longing might stem from a fascination left over from childhood with an exotic destination like Madagascar or Patagonia.
The motivation might come from a friend's reminiscences or a television travelogue or a personal passion for a certain culture or natural habitat. At some point a vague idea begins to crystallise into an actual possibility.
That is the point at which the purple prose of brochure-speak must be interrupted by hard-headed planning. The first question is always: how can I afford such a trip? Magellan had the backing of the King and Queen of Spain, Phileas Fogg was a gentleman of independent means and Michael Palin could call on the resources of the BBC. How can ordinary people possibly move their dreams on to reality? The conventional means to an exciting end is to work and save hard.
A grim spell of working overtime and denying yourself a social life is one route to being able to join a safari in Tanzania, a water sport instructor's course on the Mediterranean or a bungee jump in New Zealand. But what if it were possible to skip this stage and head off towards the horizon sooner than that? Instead of trying to finance the expensive trips advertised in glossy travel brochures, what about trying to find alternative ways of experiencing those same places at a fraction of the cost?
The catchy phrase `work your way around the world' may contain the answer to the thorny question of funding. Picking up bits and pieces of work along the way can go a long way to reducing the cost. Even if it is unrealistic to expect to walk into highly paid jobs in Beijing or Berlin (though they do exist), other informal ways exist of offsetting the cost of travel. Work-for-keep arrangements on a New Zealand farm or Costa Rican eco-lodge will mean that you have to save far less than if you booked a long-haul package holiday to those destinations - in some cases little more than the cost of the flight.
Short of emigrating or marrying a native, working abroad is an excellent way to experience a foreign culture from the inside. The plucky Briton who spends a few months on a Queensland outback station will have a different tale to tell about Australia from the one who serves behind the bar in a Sydney pub. Yet both will experience the exhilaration of doing something completely unfamiliar in an alien setting.
Anyone with a taste for adventure and a modicum of nerve has the potential for exploring far-flung corners of the globe on very little money. In an ideal world, it would be possible to register with an international employment agency and wait to be assigned to a glamorous job as an underwater model in the Caribbean, history co-ordinator for a European tour company or snowboard instructor in the Rockies. But jobs abroad, like jobs at home, must be ferreted out. The hundreds of pages that follow will help you to do just that.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.