There are a lot of considerations that go into finding and establishing the right career. Often this is about identifying what job meets your highest personal and values-led priorities in life. You may be one of the increasing numbers of people wanting to find a position that sees you making a meaningful impact on the environment. Not just where eco-friendly methods are used but a career where you’re empowered to truly make a difference.
At the same time, you may want to also take the opportunity to explore more of what the world has to offer. Making connections with other countries and cultures has never been more accessible. As such, you’re likely to be searching for work that involves travel and a job that enables you to travel across the country or internationally in the course of your duties.
But are there options providing you with the best of both worlds? Let’s take a closer look at how you can identify and pursue a career involving sustainability and travel.
Sustainability Travel Jobs in Development
As we have reached a point of climate emergency, there is an urgent need for change. This is beginning to occur at the infrastructural level with various civic, private, and scientific fields contributing to developing solutions. This also presents opportunities for enriching jobs that combine sustainability and travel. Many development positions involve spending time in various areas of the country — or even the planet — and applying your expertise to making meaningful change.
One of the key sectors to engage in this way is urban planning. Many towns, cities, and rural communities have committed to making sustainable alterations. Urban planners are tasked with developing design strategies for both short- and long-term projects aiding revitalization and better health. Sustainability is an increasingly central part of this career path; not only in managing the environmental impact of projects but also in making design choices that reduce pollution and waste. There tend to be opportunities to find work that involves travel, both to find inspiration from other sustainable communities and in moving from project to project. To engage in the field, you’ll generally need a degree in a relevant area — architecture, economics, and sustainability are good options.
However, if city design isn’t in your wheelhouse you can still pursue development through a career in environmental science. Becoming an ecologist is a great choice as your work with institutes and government agencies will see you traveling to a variety of locations to research ecosystems. Following periods of analysis in the laboratory you can then provide reports on your findings to help address both local and global environmental challenges. As with any science field, you’ll generally be expected to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, in this case, ecology, biology, zoology, or other related areas.
Work that Involves Travel and Sustainability in the Nonprofit Sector
While some sustainability efforts are being made by large corporations and governments this tends to move at a glacial pace. At the moment it seems like dedicated environmentally-focused nonprofit organizations are doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to educating the public and pursuing projects. This means often your best route to a job that involves travel and sustainability is with a nonprofit. Just as volunteering holds travel opportunities, you can adopt paid professional careers with these organizations across the planet.
While it’s certainly possible to get administrative positions, you’ll tend to find more success with specialized professions. Accountancy, legal expertise, and cybersecurity are common demands. Sustainable nonprofits are also likely to be looking for those with technical skills for hands-on projects like solar electricity installation and community development. When applying for these positions in countries abroad, you’ll also find specialized jobs are often more eligible for visas than those jobs that can be performed by locals.
It might seem like an insignificant thing, but when you are pitching your skills abroad, you need to make sure you’re mindful of local customs. Australia is one of the common targets for those seeking nonprofit experience but the sustainable travel job market has some specific requirements for resume formatting and standards. You need to adapt your resume for tone — don’t come across as overconfident, extend your 1-page summary to 3-4 pages of high detail, and nix the headshot. Small, culturally relevant considerations help indicate to sustainable nonprofits abroad that you’re respectful of their standards and keen to engage with them.
Tourism Careers Combining Sustainability and Work that Involves Travel
The tourism sector has always been a good option for work that involves travel. However, it’s only natural that you might have some reservations regarding how jobs here reflect your environmental priorities. After all, tourism is responsible for around 8% of global carbon emissions. The good news is there’s an increasing number of businesses in the travel and hospitality sectors that offer consumers sustainable options through eco-tourism.
Guiding is a popular choice for careers in ecotourism that combine sustainability and travel. It sees you operating both as a storyteller and environmental educator, helping to solidify tourists’ connection to the natural world and their responsibilities to it. Guides can often find on-the-job training but in ecotourism, it certainly helps if you have knowledge or experience in conservation. Alternatively, you can target hospitality positions in sustainable hotels which are identifiable through apps like Expedia that allow you to search for businesses with eco-friendly practices. While some simply have eco-conscious aspects, others are specifically aimed at providing holistically sustainable travel accommodation.
Whichever position you pursue, it’s important to remember you’ll be interacting with the public. This means you also need to be committed to practicing COVID-safe protocols such as wearing your mask in public. It’s vital, too, to get a vaccine, which is considered to be safe, having gone through rigorous testing and approval processes. While you may experience some initial side effects, immunization is a tool to keep you, your colleagues, and the general public safe and healthy. It also moves us closer to achieving herd immunity.
Finding a career that blends your sustainability priorities with your desire to travel is more achievable now than at any other time. Sustainable development, the nonprofit sector, and ecotourism are just a few of the current industries you can target. Take time to explore the possibilities and you can find you can make a difference in far-flung destinations.