Welcome to another edition of the “Work and Travel Abroad“ Series! In this series, we feature stories from those who have managed to find ways to earn money while traveling by working jobs that don’t resemble a typical 9-5 routine. They share their experiences, give their advice, hopefully inspiring many of you to believe that paying your bills and saving for the future while traveling the world IS POSSIBLE!
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Today, we are excited to share our Q&A with Reni & Marcel from Swiss Nomads who share their experience working as scuba diving instructors.
Q: Who are the Swiss Nomads? Tell us a bit about yourselves.
A: We are Reni and Marcel, a couple from Switzerland and we’re living a nomadic life since 10 years. After we left our corporate jobs, we started traveling the world and became scuba diving instructors. That gives us the opportunity to live and work at the most beautiful places on earth.
Q: What was your life like before you started traveling full time? Where did you live/study/work?
A: We grew up in Switzerland where we did apprenticeships in electronics and commercial and studied. We both had well-paid jobs and we liked it. Life started to become extremely busy and we realized that we wanted to travel more. That was when we decided to quit our jobs, sell almost all of our stuff and leave for an indefinite period of time.
Q: What inspired you to start traveling? How long have you been on the road?
A: To explore the world and dive on the most beautiful places on earth was what we wanted to do. The dream of traveling the world was in our head for a long time already. It took a while to take the decision to leave our jobs, families and friends.
Q: How do you afford to keep traveling?
A: We worked hard for more than 10 years back home in Switzerland and during that time we could save money. Since we left Switzerland we work as scuba diving instructors on and off. Between jobs, we travel. It’s a mix of traveling and working. For example, we worked two years in the Maldives and with the savings from these two years we traveled for a year around Australia.
Q: How did you get into scuba diving as a way to earn money on the road? Did you have any formal training /education prior to starting?
A: We learned scuba diving in 2001 in the Maldives and we got hooked. We loved to explore the underwater world. Twice a year we went for diving holidays either to the Maldives or Egypt. We gained experience and did further training with PADI. In 2007 we decided to make our hobby our job and became divemasters and then scuba diving instructors.
Q: Where in the world has your job of scuba diving instructor taken you?
A: It took us to Thailand, two different islands in the Maldives and to Raja Ampat in West Papua (Indonesia), a scuba divers dream.
Q: What are some highs and lows of being a scuba diving instructor?
A: The best about being a scuba diving instructor is to teach people how to breathe underwater and to show them the beauty of the underwater world. It’s so great to see how students learn to dive and improve their skills. Especially when teaching children and you see their happy smiles, these are the moments you do the job for. And sharing your passion.
Of course, there are also some lows. It’s a job with responsibility and you are an entertainer during working hours and in your off time too. Usually, people are in a good mood because they are on vacation. That helps that the lows are rare.
Q: Do you make enough money as a scuba diving instructor to cover your expenses on the road? Are you able to save anything to continue traveling?
A: During the last 10 years we were able to cover our travel expenses with working as scuba diving instructors. We don’t get rich as scuba diving instructors but it makes it possible to live and work in the most beautiful places on earth. By the way, Marcel has written a great article about the income of a Scuba Diving Instructor.
Q: Have you visited any countries where earning money from being a scuba diving instructor was tough? What do you do when visiting those destinations?
A: No, we haven’t. We were always looking for long-term contracts, minimum a year. And we only agreed to jobs with well-known and reliable companies.
Q: Would you recommend being a scuba diving instructor as a way to earn money on the road to someone who wants to quit their 9-5 routine and explore the world? What advice would you give them?
A: As a scuba diving instructor you need to be a passionate diver. It is totally important that you love scuba diving, the marine life and teaching. Before quitting a 9-5 job we recommend to first learn to scuba dive and gain experience. If you love it and if you can imagine spending lots of time underwater and with people go for it. But don’t forget, working as an instructor is hard work and the salary is probably not as good as the 9-5 one back home.
Q: Where would one start if they wanted to follow your path of becoming a scuba diving instructor?
A: As mentioned in the answer above, first learn to dive and gain experience. You love scuba diving? Can you imagine taking a step forward to become a scuba diving instructor? Then check for a diving school to do the divemaster course. There are different options. You can either do a divemaster course which takes min. three weeks or pay for it, or you can do a divemaster training where, for example, you work for up to three months and during this time you become a divemaster – in exchange for work. Our goal was to teach others to become scuba divers. Therefore our next step was the Open Water Scuba Instructor training. It gives us more options to find a job and earn more money.
Q: What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2017?
A: We are currently on a road trip around Australia. How long? We don’t know yet. Time will tell.
About: Reni and Marcel are a couple who quit the 9-5 corporate jobs and sold everything to travel the world. They are on the road since 2007. After backpacking through Southeast Asia, they traveled through Australia and New Zealand, where they fell in love with road trips. They have worked as scuba diving instructors in some of the most beautiful places on our planet and earned money for traveling the world again. Their big plan is to do a road trip around the world. On their travel and adventure blog Swiss Nomads they share their travel stories, adventures and life as scuba diving instructors. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, & Pinterest.
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Does working as a scuba diving instructor sound like something you might want to do to help you travel the world? If not, check out other posts in the “Work and Travel Abroad” Series for more ideas and stories from other travelers.