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from yachts to the United Nations


Many individuals occasionally travel for work.

But for some, travel is at the guts of their jobs.

CNBC Travel spoke with people from 4 industries about occupations where working from home — or an office for that matter — is not an option.

A yr of travel

Name: Sebastian Modak
Job: Former Recent York Times “52 Places Traveler” and current
editor-at-large for Lonely Planet

Modak was one in every of 13,000 individuals who applied for a task that sent one person to each destination on The Recent York Times’ “Places to Go” list in 2018 — the primary yr the newspaper hired for the position. 

He didn’t get the job.

“A yr later I figured, why not give it a shot again,” he said. “This time it worked out!”

Because the “52 Places Traveler” for 2019, Modak traveled to a recent destination every week — from Bulgaria to Qatar and Uzbekistan to Vietnam — in a yr he described as each thrilling and grueling.

“I often say it was one in every of the best experiences of my life … but additionally the toughest,” he said.  “I did not have a time without work for a complete yr, and the constant pressure of deadlines was hard to deal with.”

Modak, who’s now the editor-at-large for travel publisher Lonely Planet, said his advice for aspiring travel writers is to confess you understand nothing. “Step one to finding and telling compelling travel stories is asking questions and admitting that you’ve got a lot to learn.”

Source: Sebastian Modak

Modak said the job requires someone who can “do all of it,” from writing articles and posting on social media to shooting photographs and videos, he said.

“It was rather a lot!” he said. “Besides storytelling skills, they were on the lookout for someone with the stamina to get through the entire yr.”

He mostly credits luck for getting the job, but he said 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 essentially decided to maneuver continually.” Because of this, he grew up in places like Hong Kong, Australia, India and Indonesia, he said.

Modak said the job — which has been heralded because the quintessential “dream job” — was exhausting, stressful and even scary at times, yet one in every of constant growth and adventure.

“I would not take it back for the world,” he said. “It blew my mind wide open, introduced me to people on six continents … and cemented my love for going to a spot and in search of out a story.”

‘Humanitarian hero’

Name: Sandra Black
Job: Communications specialist for the United Nations

Black’s job doesn’t take her to typical travel spots, and her work trips are anything but overnighters.

Since 2008, she’s lived and worked in Senegal, East Timor, the Central African Republic, Iraq and, more recently, Mozambique, in roles that last from several months to years.

“Each [place] has its cultural highlights and heat,” she said, while noting that living “where movement is restricted as a result of security concerns” is probably the most difficult part.

Since October 2021, Black has handled external communications for the Mozambique office of the United Nations Populations Fund, an agency of the U.N. that focuses on reproductive health and rights and which is entirely funded by donations, in line with its website.          

“I personally feel driven to support those in biggest need,” she said.

Sandra Black (left) with women participating in a carpet-making project in a resettlement site after Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique in 2019.

Source: IOM/ Alfoso Pequeno

Black wrote about individuals who were displaced by Cyclone Idai in 2019 — one in every of the worst hurricanes on record to hit Africa — while working for the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. She recalled meeting a girl named Sarah who climbed up a tree along with her baby after her house collapsed from flooding. The girl said she was rescued seven days later.  

Originally from Recent York, Black speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and a basic level of Wolof, the national language of Senegal, and Tetum, a language spoken on East Timor. She said her language abilities are partly why she’s been urgently deployed to cover humanitarian crises.

“At night, I type until I can not keep my eyes open any longer, after which start again at 6am the subsequent day,” she said in an interview for the U.N.’s “humanitarian hero” campaign in 2014.

“Probably the most meaningful a part of humanitarian communications is to supply a platform for people affected by conflict and natural disasters to inform their stories,” she said. “Many sincerely want the world to know what happened to them and their communities.”

From chef to captain

Name: Tony Stewart
Job: Yacht captain

Stewart said he expects to travel for nine months in 2022 on the helm of the 130-foot tri-deck “All Inn” motor yacht. He’s already moved from the Caribbean to Central America and Mexico. From the West Coast of the USA, he’ll go to British Columbia’s Inside Passage and on to southeast Alaska, then fly to Florida and finish the yr within the Bahamas, he said. 

That is barely longer than a “typical yr,” he said, partly due to a rise in charter business this yr, he said. 

Stewart said he started off within the yachting industry as a chef in 1998, and “immediately fell in love with the approach to life, work and travel.” After a yr and a half of cooking, Stewart made a profession switch.

Tony Stewart has captained three motor yachts since 2006, he said, including the 130-foot Westport tri-deck yacht named “All Inn.”

Source: Fraser Yachts

“I made a decision I desired to work towards getting my license and turn out to be a captain, at which point I took a job as [a] deckhand and commenced my journey,” he said.

The job requires strong problem-solving skills, organization and a high tolerance for stress, said Stewart. Captains do “just a little little bit of every little thing,” he said, from trip planning and accounting to “HR duties” for the crew and golf bookings for guests.

As as to if it is a dream job — “it absolutely is,” said Stewart.

We endure long days, and sometimes weeks without days off,” he said, but “I could not imagine doing this … and never loving it.”

Italian villa expert

Name: Amy Ropner
Job: Head of villas on the U.K.-based luxury travel and villas company
Red Savannah

Of the 300 villas that Red Savannah works with, about 120 are in Italy, said Ropner. She estimates she’s visited about 80% to 90% of them.

She travels from London to Italy to evaluate the corporate’s collection of “exceptionally high-end” villas and to guage recent homes so as to add to the corporate’s roster, she said. During a recent trip, she traveled from Milan to Lake Como, right down to Tuscany, then further south to the towns of Amalfi and Positano, she said. Her next trip is to Puglia, she said, “since it’s beautiful and rugged and really popular in the intervening time.”

Red Savannah’s Amy Ropner said her work mainly focuses on Italian villas, but additionally rental homes in Greece, Spain and the Caribbean. “I’m at all times able to go at any point … we’re at all times moving.”

Source: Red Savannah

Some 90% of the homes are privately owned, said Ropner. She meets owners and analyzes every little thing from the scale of the pool decks to the beds (“there is a difference between a British king and an American king”).

Most bookings involve children, so she checks that staircases and balconies are protected for all ages; if not, the corporate notes this on the web site, she said.

“We want to [know] whether there’s cats on the estate, whether it’s down a mud track … which obviously takes just a little bit longer to get to … where the sun rises, where the sun sets,” she said.  

Ropner often stays within the villas, which rent for $5,000 to $200,000 per week, she said. She also explores local areas, so she will advise on restaurants, boat rentals and recent services reminiscent of e-bike trips and gelato-making classes, she said.  

“I feel people think it’s all glamorous [but] it’s loads of work,” she said, noting that she once saw 50 villas in a single trip.

“It’s glamorous,” she said, “nevertheless it also could be tiring.”




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