How to get Paid to Travel the World as a Tour Guide

How to get paid to travel the world as a tour guide: An interview with Josh Henry 

Who doesn’t want to travel forever!? If you fancy getting paid to travel the world by working as a tour guide check out this interview with Josh Henry who does that!

Josh is from small town Canada. When he was 18 he left to chase adventure. After a quick stint in the 9-5 world he completely switched direction to pursue a full-time life of travel. He has done a variety of different jobs overseas but in 2014 becoming an Adventure Guide was the job that lead him to the path he’s on today. He now runs his own tour company the GiveBackGiveAway.com and last year he won a reality TV show called “Canada’s Greatest Explorer”. Josh blogs about his adventures at smallworldtravels.com

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The work and travel lifestyle is a dream for so many people. So can you explain briefly how you make money while also being able to travel?

I work as a tour guide, the job description at its very core is – “travel with people and we will pay you.”  As a Guide the job is to simply take people to destinations and make sure they have the greatest time of their life! Pretty cool, right?

And what made you decide to work like this and how did you make it happen?

I fell in love with travelling early but avoided it because I thought there was no future or no such thing as a job that paid you to travel. I thought my best bet might be to go into engineering and hopefully get a gig that demanded lots of travel. After I got into the 9-5 workforce I realized it wasn’t for me and went back to travelling.

After a year or two of the ‘saving money to spend it travelling cycle’ I decided I should look for a job where I’d be payed to travel. I met up with a traveller in Seoul and he told me his sister was an Adventure Guide in Europe. She had moved from Montreal a few years back and now travelled all over Europe with this job. Shortly after I was in NZ looking for this type of work. I  basically spam applied to every company I could think of and actually ended up getting hired in Canada, where I’m from.

What do you like the best about this lifestyle?

There are so many great things about being an Adventure Guide. I think some of the best things are; A) Getting to show other travellers places and culture that are special to you. B) Getting to do activities that people have saved up and dreamt about for months, you get to do every couple of weeks. C) At the end of it all, you have no expenses and a paycheck in your hand.

But nothings perfect right? Are there any downsides?

As much fun and rewarding as the job is, it is very demanding mentally and physically. As a Guide you are always on the clock. When I ran camping tours I was the first one up to cook breakfast, planning the days activities, driving people to destinations, explaining the places we were visiting, answering questions from dozens of people and then the last one to bed at night. Being with people all the time is fun but it’s a balancing act to find time to yourself. If you don’t, you’ll burn out fast.

Do you have one standout highlight, favourite destination or biggest achievement?

My career as a guide has lead to really amazing things. I started as a guide in Western Canada and it lead to contracts all around the world. I learned a ton of skills that most jobs can’t teach and it landed me being on a reality TV show. I have also used what I’ve learned about the industry to start my own tour company the GiveBack GiveAway that meshes travel with community development.

And what has been the greatest challenge?

Being an Adventure guide is not what I’d classify as an easy job, even though getting paid to travel sounds easy. It’s fun, rewarding, and exciting but, like I said – very demanding. You’re job description ranges from guide, to friend, driver, cook, nurse, medic, all around know-everything-guy. It’s a lot to juggle and it’s just knowing how to manage people and a list of a million things to do everyday.

What do you wish you had known before you started this type of work?

I only wish I knew how awesome the job is and where it would take me earlier.

So, what are your plans and ambitions for the future?

My plan is to continue to grow our tour company the GiveBack Giveaway to all parts of the globe working on sustainable travel community projects. I will also be circumnavigating the globe in 80 days (without flights) later this year with a friend and will be spending a lot of time taking photos of  my travels.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what tips would you give for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

The path to your dream job and lifestyle is anything but a clear straight line.  You have to believe you can achieve anything you want. My advice is to not give up. I applied to dozens of tour companies before I heard anything back. Just be patient and persistent and good things will come.

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