It’s my favorite time of the month… the time where I get to inspire you with the tale of a new seasonal worker! This is my first interview with someone whom I haven’t met in person. Arielle and I initially connected on Twitter, and I thought she’d be a great fit for this feature — because her job is so cool and unique!

If you’ve ever been interested in traveling around the world on a yacht (and getting paid for it!), you’re going to love Arielle’s story. She offers some wonderful insights and insider advice.

Arielle in the Gili Islands, Indonesia, witht he tender in the background
Arielle in the Gili Islands, Indonesia, with the tender in the background.

Meet Arielle

Name: Arielle Jordan
Age: 24
Hometown: Annapolis, MD
Current location: Perth, Western Australia
Current job: Nanny (on a private yacht)
Life philosophy in one sentence: You control your own happiness.
Spirit animal: Giraffe
Favorite quote: “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be; it’s easy.” – The Beatles
Favorite condiment: Hot sauce
Fun fact: I can’t stand tomato seeds.

Arielle’s Seasonal Life

What’s the first seasonal job you worked?

I guess this one (working as a yacht crewmember), even though it’s turned out to be long-term. However, we move around seasonally. I did work at Rita’s Italian Ice when I was 15, and it was only open during the summer, so maybe that counts, too.

Anchored off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia
Anchored off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia.

What led you to getting that job?

I was about to graduate college and the idea of sitting in a cubicle day in and day out made my skin crawl, so I searched endlessly for ways I could travel and still be able to save money (wish I would’ve known about this site then!). I had a friend who had been working on yachts for a few years who I had always followed (read: stalked) via his pictures and statuses from all over the world, and I learned all about the industry through a series of messages back and forth with him. After following all the necessary steps, I had a few minor setbacks, but then my additional experience in childcare (my friend has her own daycare) led me to this specific yachting job.

Among those, what’s been your favorite and why? 

Well, by default this has been my favorite, but I think it would be even if I had other options to compare it with. I get paid to travel on a luxury yacht, need I say more? Honestly, I’m pretty lucky because we have had an amazing itinerary that involves more than just the Caribbean (which there is nothing wrong with, but I want to see the world, not just pretty beaches). I also work with an amazing group of people who have become like family. And the best part? I don’t have to worry about booking flights or dealing with visas; it’s all taken care of for me!

View from a porthole in Fremantle, WA, Australia
View from a porthole in Fremantle, WA, Australia.

How did you get that job? Any tips or advice for others interested in the same thing?

As the yachting industry is somewhat elusive, I wrote an in-depth guide about how to get a job on a yacht on my blog. As for advice, I would say first and foremost, look the part. You typically need to be clean cut, without any visible tattoos or piercings, as you’re representing both the yacht and its owner. A background in the service industry is also a big help as it is essentially a floating restaurant/hotel. Lastly, be flexible but relentless. Breaking into the industry can be hard (it took me a while), but if you’re determined to make it happen, stick it out and you’ll eventually land a job.

Playing on the back deck
Playing on the back deck.

Have you tried a traditional “grown-up” job? If yes, why did you stick with it or why did you quit? Do you see yourself working one in the future?

I never did anything much more than a little bit of filing as an office assistant for a very brief period. I still am really interested in advertising and marketing work, and would love to maybe pursue something in that arena in the future, but I knew if I didn’t see the world now, there was a chance it would never happen. I honestly have no idea where the future will take me, and at this point, it includes writing, teaching, marketing. The possibilities are endless, and I have traveling and exploring to thank for that. Sometimes I fantasize about the idea of being a 9-5 career woman, kicking ass and taking names all in a pencil skirt and stilettos, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that.

What rocks about seasonal jobs?

The freedom to try on all kinds of hats! You can teach, nanny, work as a tour guide, work in an office or a boat or a plane! You aren’t pigeonholing yourself into any career path and you’re building a network and a resume filled with names and specialties all across the board. And if you find something you don’t like, it’s only for a few months. Best of all, they can take you all around the globe.

E hanging out in the bridge
E hanging out in the bridge.

What sucks about seasonal jobs?

I guess that you’re changing so often that there’s a lot of packing up and leaving and very little consistency. Seasons can fly by in a flash.

Have you used seasonal jobs to travel? If yes, how and to where?

So far we’ve sailed in Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore and are en route to Canada and Alaska for the spring/summer. It’s also allowed me to spend a visa run in Malaysia and visit a friend in Chile during my holiday time off.

Relaxing off the back deck while E naps in Lombok, Indonesia
Relaxing off the back deck while E naps in Lombok, Indonesia.

Have you gained any special skills or qualifications through seasonal jobs?

I’m trained to work on yachts in the generic capacity, but I’ve had a bit of experience helping out in the interior with our stewardess and help with exterior maintenance a bit, as well.

What’s the one coolest thing you’ve done through seasonal jobs?

Anchoring out in the middle of a secluded bay in Australia and coming across a huge school of Manta Rays was pretty memorable.

Do you have any general tips for seasonal job seekers — to find jobs, keep them, and have fun?

As for finding jobs, there’s a person employed for almost everything so keep your eyes peeled and think creatively. Most people don’t think about yachting, because they aren’t often surrounded by yachts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a millions different kinds of jobs available on them.

Sunset while sailing up the coast of WA to Bali
Sunset while sailing up the coast of Australia to Bali.

What would you say to someone who is interested in a seasonal job, but is scared of quitting their grown-up job?

If you aren’t comfortable with where you are and what you’re doing — make a change. Change is scary and hard and daunting, but that’s because the payoff is SO WORTH IT. I cried like a baby when I left home for good (for the first time… long story), but now I look back and I’m a completely different person and so much better for it. You will be happier, healthier, and probably more appreciative and it will reflect in everything you do. Life is too short and the world is too big to sit around unhappy — go exploring and find where you belong in it.

A huge THANK YOU to Arielle for sharing her advice and knowledge with us. If you’d like to follow Arielle’s adventures, or learn more about working on a yacht, check out her beautiful blog, little mermaid at sea.