What really inspired the idea of Jetsetter Jobs
Kathryn came to visit the founder, Olam, while he was working in a Brazilian hostel last year. Realising the opportunity for a different lifestyle, she took the plunge and started working in the same hostel later that year! Our vision is to help show people opportunities and share in Kathryn’s experiences.
Here is her story:
Booking confirmed. In a moment of spontaneity I bought flight tickets to join my three close friends on a last-minute holiday to Rio de Janeiro. I was bursting with excitement at the prospect as I sat at my desk watching the rain beat off the window. At that moment, I certainly didn’t realise the impact those two little words would have on my life.
A few weeks later we travelled to the “Cidade Maravilhosa”. Within moments I had fallen in love. Completely enamoured with the incredible scenery, the inexplicably electric atmosphere and the passion of the Cariocas who were so proud of their home, I knew that ten days here would not be enough.
While in Rio, we stayed at a hostel where my friend’s brother was living and working. Having decided to leave the stresses of London behind him, he moved there and worked in exchange for accommodation. Seeing how happy he was, the opportunities he had to immerse himself in local culture, and to meet people from all over the world, I too decided that this life was for me.
I returned to London feeling genuinely upset that my mini adventure was over, yet equally hopeful that a move to South America was imminent. In the few months that followed I decided that clichés exist for a reason – life is too short, you only do live once, and nothing lasts forever. So, I handed in my notice, secured a job with the hostel where I had stayed in Rio, saved as much money as possible and learnt some very basic Portuguese. In November of the same year, I boarded another flight to Rio.
From the moment I arrived, I felt completely assured that my choice was the right one and from day one on the job, the steep learning curve began:
- By working at the hostel reception and bar I had no choice but to improve my Portuguese and Spanish, so I took extra lessons and used encounters with locals to learn more. I noticed that South American guests really appreciated an English speaker attempting to converse in their native tongue (even with the added twist of my Irish-Latina accent). I also noticed that there was a direct correlation between my language confidence and my Caipirinha intake. Either way, I’ve returned to the UK with the ability to communicate with millions more people than when I left.
- The world of hospitality endowed me with a range of skills that my previous job in politics would never have forced me to consider. I became used to multi-tasking in different languages, understanding the various tenets of customer experience and dealing with unforeseeable challenges of Brazilian infrastructure. I know that in my future career path, the skills gained will be invaluable, and an asset to my CV.
- Most importantly, I gained a wealth of knowledge, perspective and understanding from the wide variety of people I had the pleasure of meeting. Every day brought new and interesting travellers to learn from, share experiences with and bounce ideas off. I was treated like member of the family by the Brazilians I worked with, and had the chance to visit the homes of some of the wonderful friends I made when I later travelled to Argentina. I learnt that no matter how different we may initially seem from each other, it does not take long to find a common ground. This new attitude has returned with me to London and I look forward to the doors it will undoubtedly open.
My 6 month career break was by far the best experience of my life to date. It was the turning point that I was not aware I needed, it was the eye-opener to a host of rich cultures of which I knew nothing, and it was vital in helping me understand and embrace my own priorities in life.
Upon returning from Brazil with a refreshed outlook, I have chosen a new and exciting career path by joining the education charity Teach First. I will teach history in a low-income London secondary school throughout a two-year programme, after which I plan to focus my career on education development in South America. Without my 6 month career break, I am relatively certain that I would be sitting at the same desk, in the same job, still watching the rain bounce off the window.
Throughout my trip to Brazil I learnt so much, laughed so hard, and loved every moment. I encourage anyone with even the slightest incline, to do exactly the same.