Many people travel occasionally for work.
But for some, travel is at the heart of their work.
CNBC Travel spoke with people from four industries about occupations where working from home – or an office on the subject – is not an option.
A time of travel
Name: Sebastian Modak
Job: Former New York Times “52 Places Traveler”
Modak was one of 13,000 people who applied for a role that sent one person to each destination on the New York Times’ “Places to Go” list in 2018 – the newspaper’s first year.
He did not get the job.
“A year later I understood, why not give it back,” he said. “This time he did it!”
As the “52-member traveler” for 2019, Modak traveled to a new destination every week – from Bulgaria to Qatar and Uzbekistan to Vietnam – in a year he described as exciting and exhausting.
“I often say it was one of the biggest experiences of my life, but also the most difficult,” he said. “I did not have a break for a whole year and the constant pressure of deadlines was difficult to cope with.”
Modak, who is now the editor-in-chief of travel publisher Lonely Planet, said his advice to aspiring travel writers is to admit you know nothing. “The first step to finding and telling exciting travel stories is to ask questions and admit that you have so much to learn.”
Source: Sebastian Modak
Modak said the job requires someone who can “do it all,” from writing articles and posting on social media to taking photos and videos, he said.
“It was a lot!” he said. “Apart from storytelling skills, they were looking for someone with the stamina to go through the whole year.”
He’s mostly credited with getting the job done, but said he believes his upbringing and travel enthusiasm helped. Modak’s father is from India and his mother is Colombian, he said, adding that “as a cultural compromise, they actually decided to move around constantly”. As a result, he grew up in places like Hong Kong, Australia, India and Indonesia, he said.
Modak said the job – which has been hailed as the quintessential “dream professional” – was tedious, stressful and even scary at times, but a constant development and adventure.
“I would not take it back to the world,” he said. “It opened my mind, introduced me to people on six continents; and consolidated my love of going somewhere and looking for a story.”
Name: Sandra Black
Position: Communication Specialist for the United Nations
Black’s work does not lead her to typical travel destinations and her business trips are anything but overnight.
Since 2008, he has 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] it has its cultural moments and warmth, “he said, noting that living” where movement is restricted due to security concerns “is the most difficult part.
Since October 2021, Black has been handling external communications for the office of the United Nations Population Fund in Mozambique, a UN agency that focuses on reproductive health and rights and is funded entirely by donations, according to its website.
“I personally feel compelled to support those most in need,” he said.
Sandra Black (left) with women involved in a carpet project at a resettlement site after Hurricane Idai struck Mozambique in 2019.
Source: IOM / Alfoso Pequeno
Black wrote about the people displaced by Hurricane Idai in 2019 – one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded in Africa – while working for the United Nations International Organization for Migration. He recalled meeting a woman named Sarah, who climbed a tree with her baby after her house collapsed due to flooding. The woman said she was rescued seven days later.
Originally from New York, Black speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and a basic level of Wolof, the national language of Senegal, and Tetum, a language spoken in East Timor. She said her language skills are partly the reason she was urgently developed to cover humanitarian crises.
“At night, I type until I can no longer keep my eyes open and then start again at 6 the next morning,” he said in an interview with the 2014 “Humanitarian Hero” campaign.
“The most essential part of humanitarian communication is to provide people affected by conflict and natural disasters with a platform to tell their stories,” he said. “Many sincerely want people to know what happened to them and their communities.”
From chef to captain
Name: Tony Stewart
Work: Captain yacht
Stewart said he expects to travel for nine months in 2022 at the helm of the 130-foot “All Inn” motor yacht. He has already moved from the Caribbean to Central America and Mexico. From the west coast of the United States, it will go to Inside Passage in British Columbia and southeastern Alaska, then fly to Florida and end the year in the Bahamas, he said.
That’s slightly more than a “typical year,” he said, in part because of the increase in charter companies this year, he said.
Stewart said he started in the yachting industry as a chef in 1998 and “immediately fell in love with lifestyle, work and travel”. After a year and a half of cooking, Stewart made a career change.
Tony Stewart has owned three motor yachts since 2006, he said, including the 130-foot Westport three-deck called the “All Inn.”
Source: Fraser Yachts
“I decided I wanted to work to get my license and become a captain, so I got a job as a [a] “I started my journey,” he said.
The job requires strong problem-solving skills, organization and high stress tolerance, Stewart said. Captains do “a little bit of everything,” he said, from trip planning and accounting to “human resources tasks” for crew and golf reservations for guests.
As for whether it’s a dream job – “it’s absolutely right,” Stewart said.
““We endure many days, and sometimes weeks without a break,” he said, “but I could not imagine doing it and not loving it.”
Italian specialist in villas
Name: Amy Ropner
Job: Head of luxury travel and villa company Red Savannah based in the United Kingdom
Of the 300 villas that Red Savannah works with, about 120 are in Italy, Ropner said. He estimates that he has visited about 80% to 90% of them.
He travels from London to Italy to evaluate the company’s collection of “extremely high” villas and evaluate new homes that will add to the company’s roster, he said. During a recent voyage, she traveled from Milan on Lake Como to Tuscany and then further south to the cities of Amalfi and Positano, she said. Her next trip is to Puglia, she said, “because she is beautiful and rugged and really popular right now.”
Red Savannah’s Amy Ropner said her work focuses mainly on Italian villas, but also rental homes in Greece, Spain and the Caribbean. “I am always ready to go at any time; we are always moving forward.”
Source: Red Savannah
About 90 percent of homes are privately owned, Ropner said. Meets the owners and analyzes everything from the size of the pool decks to the beds (“there is a difference between a British king and an American king”).
Most bookings are for children, so check that the stairs and balconies are safe for all ages. If not, the company notes it on the website, he said.
“We have to [know] “Either there are cats on the estate, or they are on a dirt road; which obviously takes a little longer to get to; where the sun rises, where it sets,” he said.
Ropner often stays in villas, which rent from $ 5,000 to $ 200,000 a week, he said. He is also exploring local areas so he can advise on restaurants, boat rentals and new services, such as e-bike trips and ice cream making classes, he said.
“I think people think all this is brilliant [but] “It’s a lot of work,” he said, noting that he once saw 50 villas on a trip.
“It’s bright,” he said, “but it can also be tedious.”