Many people travel occasionally for work.
But for some, travel is the focus of their work.
CNBC Travel spoke to people from four industries about careers where working from home — or the office for that matter — isn’t an option.
Name: Sebastian Modak
Job: Former New York Times “52 Tourist Places”
Modak is one of the 13,000 people have signed up for a role that took one person to every destination on The New York Times’ “Places to Go” list in 2018 – the first year the paper had hired the position.
He didn’t get the job.
“A year later, I thought, why not try again,” he said. “This time it worked!”
Behalf of “Travelers 52 Places“for 2019, Modak travels to a new destination every week – from Bulgaria to Qatar and Uzbekistan to Vietnam – in a year he describes as both thrilling and exhausting.
“I often say it was one of the best experiences of my life…but also the hardest,” he said. “I don’t have a day off all year, and the constant deadline pressure is hard to deal with.”
Modak, now editor-in-chief of travel publisher Lonely Planet, says his advice to aspiring travel writers is to admit that you know nothing. “The first step to finding and telling compelling travel stories is to ask questions and acknowledge that you have a lot to learn.”
Source: Sebastian Modak
Modak says the job requires someone who can “do it all,” from writing articles and posting them on social media to taking photos and videos, he said.
“That’s a lot!” he say. “Besides storytelling skills, they’re looking for someone with the stamina to get through the year.”
He mostly attributes it to luck for getting the job, but he says he believes his upbringing and enthusiasm for travel helped. Modak’s father is from India and his mother is Colombian, he said, so “as a cultural compromise, they basically decided to move constantly.” As a result, he grew up in places like Hong Kong, Australia, India and Indonesia, he said.
Modak said the work – foreshadowed is quintessential “dream job“- sometimes exhausting, stressful and even scary, but one of constant growth and adventure.
“I’m not going to give it back to the world,” he said. “It opened my mind, introduced me to people on six continents … and reinforced my love of going to one place and finding a story.”
Name: Sandra Black
Job: Communications Specialist for the United Nations
Black’s job doesn’t take her to typical tourist attractions, and her commutes are just overnight trips.
Since 2008, she has lived and worked in Senegal, East Timor, Central African Republic, Iraq and more recently Mozambique, with roles spanning several months to several years.
“Every [place] there are cultural highlights and warmth,” she said, noting that living “where movement is restricted due to security concerns” is the most challenging part.
Since October 2021, Black has handled external communications for the Mozambique office of the United Nations Population Fund, a United Nations agency focused on reproductive health and rights, and is funded entirely by donations, according to its website.
“I personally feel motivated to support those in greatest need,” she said.
Sandra Black (left) and women participating in a carpet project in the resettlement area after Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in 2019.
Source: IOM / Alfoso Pequeno
Black writes about displaced people by Cyclone Idai in 2019 – one of the worst storms on record to make landfall in Africa – while working for the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration. She recalls meeting a woman named Sarah who climbed a tree with her baby after her house collapsed due to flooding. The woman said she was rescued seven days later.
Hailing from New York, Black speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese and has a basic proficiency in Wolof, the national language of Senegal, and Tetum, a language spoken in the East Timor. She said her language ability was part of the reason why she was urgently deployed to assist in humanitarian crises.
“At night, I type until I can’t open my eyes anymore, and then start again at 6 a.m. the next day,” she said in an interview for the United Nations.humanitarian hero“in 2014.
“The most meaningful part of humanitarian communication is providing a platform for people affected by conflict and disasters to tell their stories,” she said. “Many people sincerely want the world to know what happened to them and their communities.”
Name: Tony Stewart
Job: Yacht Captain
Stewart said he expects to travel for 9 months in 2022 with the leadership of 130-foot three-deck “All Inn” motor yacht. He has moved from the Caribbean to Central America and Mexico. From the US West Coast, he’ll travel to British Columbia’s Inside Passage and head southeast to Alaska, then fly to Florida and end the year in the Bahamas, he said.
That number is slightly longer than a “typical year,” he said, in part due to increased charter business activity this year.
Stewart said he started out in yachting as a chef in 1998, and “instantly fell in love with the lifestyle, work and travel”. After a year and a half of cooking, Stewart switched careers.
He said Tony Stewart has commanded three motor yachts since 2006, including the 130-foot Westport three-story yacht “All Inn”.
Source: Fraser Yachts
“I decided I wanted to work towards my degree and become a captain, at which point I took the job as [a] bunker and begin my journey,” he said.
This job requires problem-solving skills, organization and a high tolerance for stress, says Stewart. Captains do “a little bit of everything,” he said, from trip planning and accounting to “HR duties” for the crew and golf reservations for guests.
Whether it’s a dream job or not – “it totally is,” says Stewart.
“We have to put up with long days, and sometimes weeks without a day off,” he said, but “I can’t imagine doing this… and not loving it.” “
Name: Amy Ropner
Job: Head of Villas at UK-based luxury villa and travel agency Red Savannah
Ropner said that of the 300 villas that Red Savannah works with, about 120 are in Italy. She estimates that she has visited about 80% to 90% of them.
She traveled from London to Italy to evaluate the company’s collection of “specially high-end” villas and evaluate new homes to add to the company’s list, she said. On a recent trip, she traveled from Milan to Lake Como, down to Tuscany, then further south to the towns of Amalfi and Positano, she said. Her next trip is to Puglia, she said, “because it’s beautiful and rugged and really popular at the moment.”
Amy Ropner of Red Savannah says her work is primarily focused on villas in Italy, but also has rentals in Greece, Spain and the Caribbean. “I’m always ready to go anytime…we’re always on the go.”
Source: Red Savannah
Ropner says about 90% of the homes are privately owned. She meets the owner and analyzes everything from the size of the pool deck to the bed (“there is a difference between an English king and an American king”).
Most bookings involve children, so she checks that stairs and balconies are safe for all ages; otherwise, the company notes this on its website, she said.
“We need to [know] whether there are cats on the property or not, whether it’s a trail… obviously it takes a little more time to get to… where the sun rises, where the sun goes down,” she said.
Ropner often stays in rental villas for between $5,000 and $200,000 a week, she said. She also explores local areas where she can recommend restaurants, boat rentals and new services like e-bike trips and gelato making classes, she says.
“I think people think they’re all sexy [but] It’s a lot of work,” she said, noting that she once saw 50 mansions on one trip.
“It’s glamorous,” she said, “but it can also be tiring.”