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Why Hospitality Jobs are Ideal for Working Holidays

And to think I used to have an office with no windows! Amanda Belcourt

It turns out scrubbing toilets is a blessing in disguise. 

My fantasy about moving abroad did not involve cleaning toilets. I had nothing against jobs in hospitality, I just felt like it would be a step back and wasn't related to my career goals. However, after applying unsuccessfully to various positions in my field, I needed a paycheque. This girl's gotta eat.

Since then, my perspective has changed. Little Miss Judgemental had to take a seat when she realized the pros outweigh the cons. These are the realizations I have made during my first two months of working abroad in hospitality.

It's a breeze

It is work, like manual labour that gets you dirty and stinky. But at the end of the day, you leave it all behind. There are no deadlines, no preparations, and nothing that keeps you up at night, really. (Except maybe the blisters on my feet; they are plentiful.)

Once I got the hang of everything I looked forward to going into work everyday because it felt "cruisy." (My co-workers are turning me onto Aussie slang.) It’s exactly what a working holiday should feel like—a holiday.

You'll meet amazing people 

I have met so many wonderful people: Other travellers, locals, co-workers and people from all walks of life. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting paid to have hundreds of compelling conversations. My interactions are all remarkably positive given that most people are interested in my “accent” and magnificent afro (the latter being very rare in the Cornish countryside).

Sometimes I feel like I’m getting paid to have hundreds of compelling conversations.

Do people suck sometimes? Of course. Thankfully, my job is both a server and bartender in the restaurant, and a housekeeper in the hotel. A couple times a week I get to avoid people altogether and watch British MTV while I clean rooms. It's oddly blissful. (And also very sweaty; I will never abuse a hotel room again out of respect for the hardworking housekeepers.) 

Hospitality jobs provide opportunities to explore elsewhere

My current job offers accommodation, a daily staff meal, and even a car. (Like, what?! ) Not that it is a palace or anything— actually quite the opposite because I have to share one bathroom with four other people—but it’s cozy.

It turns out most of my working-holiday-visa peers are able to see many places in their chosen destination by jumping around in positions like these. When I had initially thought about moving abroad, I thought I would live in London for the entire two years. Now I’m like, "Screw that." I might as well take every opportunity to see as much of this island as possible. The cherry on top is that I know I will always be housed and fed, with possibility of some sweet extras.

I'm not going to lie: I still have a fear that taking two years off the career track could be detrimental. And then I realize I’m a fly PYT that has a rare opportunity to travel the world. You only live once and I’m sure it is not something I will regret (and all other cliches).

I am always actively looking at different options, yet the vision has shifted to maybe more of an internship or something that isn’t as permanent as a full-time position within a company. My priority is the freedom to go as I please, and if scrubbing toilets and scraping plates allows me to do that then I am grateful and #blessed.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Amanda Belcourt

Amanda Belcourt is a Canadian with big hair and big dreams of living abroad. Now situated in the UK, she plans on documenting her experience to hopefully inspire others to travel as well.

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