If you’re like most human beings right now, you’ve probably been sneaking in a liiittle summer vacation planning at work — or at least wistfully looking at pictures of Morocco during your lunch break. Picture this: Getting paid to travel to the most lust-worthy places on your list full time. Whether you’re thinking about making that kind of leap yourself, or you just want to live vicariously through people who have, these five women will pack your day with some major life and work inspiration.
The Tour Guide
Arien Torsius, Luxury Bike Tour Guide at Duvine Cycling + Adventure Co.
Born in South Africa and currently living in Tuscany, Italy, Arien Torsius’ life is nothing short of extraordinary. She gives bike tours across the most scenic parts of Italy, Holland and France—and if you’re one of her riders, you’re in good hands. Torsius has been cycling competitively since she was just 14 years old. Despite the “luxury” part of her top-shelf tours, she says it’s the people she meets throughout her travels that excites her the most, from Italian winemakers to chefs who want to talk her ears off about porcini season.
First-class tip: “Your quality of life is more important than having a stable, 9-to-5 job that makes you miserable.”
The Sharing Economist
Melissa O’Young, Head of NYC Community at Airbnb
Not many people can say they have led leadership retreats on Richard Branson’s private island. Melissa O’Young, however, is one of those few. It all started after leaving her job at Unilever to freelance and travel for a few months, and ultimately deciding to go back and get her master’s degree, building her expertise on the sharing economy. From there, she began consulting for the UK government, founded an organization called Let’s Collaborate, and now runs New York City’s massive community at Airbnb—and yes, traveling a lot is one of the perks. Her secret? Become an expert in one of your passions, she says, which has allowed her to speak at conferences all over the world.
First-class tip: “I’m happiest when I’m doing purposeful work — weaving your passion into your job makes for a happier lifestyle.”
The Thrifty Nomad
Erica Virvo, Director of Global Operations at Nomadic Matt’s Travel Website
A firm believer in spontaneous connections, Erica met her current boss (travel blogger Nomadic Matt) at a Meetup last year — and has been his right-hand woman ever since. She’s worked on the blog all over the world, including Thailand, London and even while backpacking in Cape Town. Prior to her current gig, she studied abroad for a year in Qatar. “That is still the best experience of my life — it sparked my passion for travel,” she says. Afterward, Virvo continued on to teach English in South Korea and work on sustainable living communes in the Caribbean, Zambia and Costa Rica. Talk about a packed passport.
First-class tip: “Travel on a budget — it makes your experience colorful and fun, and you won’t regret it. The world is not a scary place.”
Christine Amorose, Brand Partnerships at Vimeo & Curator of C’est Christine Blog
When she’s not working at one of the coolest video-hosting companies in the world, Christine Amorose moonlights as a successful lifestyle and travel blogger. Five years ago when she first started C’est Christine, she never imagined her daily snapshots would amass more than 80,000 followers on Instagram, and gain coverage by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler and Passion Passport. Check it out for yourself and you’ll find mesmerizing details on trips everywhere from Curacao and South Australia to Croatia and New Zealand. Even with her busy schedule though, she says she tries to prioritize the things that keep her grounded: yoga, coffee dates with friends and spending time with her boyfriend.
First-class tip: “Treat every day like a vacation.”
Jennifer Hawkins, Founder and President of Hawkins International Public Relations
Hawkins International PR started out as a lofty idea during an exploratory trip to Burma. Jennifer Hawkins realized she was helping the existing tour company gain new ideas and publicity, and wanted to start a business promoting all parts of the travel experience. The PR agency began with hotels, resort and tour operators and airlines, and has grown its digital division to include apps and travel service clients. Since its conception, Hawkins has been lucky enough to visit 45 countries across six continents during the past 14 years. And she credits part of her success to a willingness to ask for help and advice when she needs it. “The most important thing about starting your own business is surrounding yourself with people that you trust, admire and respect — including your employees, advisors and clients,” she says.
First-class tip: “I’ve always believed that asking a lot of questions gets you very far.”
Does this lifestyle appeal to you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
This post was originally published on Levo League by Tiffany Teng.