PointsAway Q&A: TravelJunkette

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TravelJunkette is the home of Susan Shain. She’s been working seasonal and adventure jobs and traveling the world since 2008.

Her blog focuses on how people can work their way around the world by taking part in some really cool opportunities, such as teaching in schools, guiding tour groups and much more.

We sat down with Susan recently to discuss some of the incredible adventures she’s been on, and how her advice can help you achieve your travel dreams, too!

What inspired you to begin traveling and taking on seasonal jobs?

My parents were definitely my inspiration for traveling. They took me on an extended trip to Europe when I was 17, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

As for seasonal jobs, I had one really bad interview my senior year of college. I decided the corporate life wasn’t for me, so after graduation, I took off to ski bum in Breckenridge, Colorado. One season there turned into three, and I soon realized I could make a lifestyle out of working seasonal jobs. I loved the fact that I could work a job, then travel during the off season. It was perfect!

What was your favorite job so far, and what was your favorite place to live during a job?

I’m not sure if it counts as a job, but my favorite experience was volunteering at an elementary school in Nicaragua for three months last winter. I love kids, and Nicaragua is a wonderful country.

My favorite place to live has definitely been Ketchikan, Alaska. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and the culture is so different from that of the Lower 48. It’s like being in a foreign country — without any of the hassle.

Do you use points and miles programs to help fuel your adventures? Which programs are your favorites, if so?

Of course I use miles and points! Anybody who doesn’t is really missing out. My favorite program is probably Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Since I’m always moving around and traveling to different places, I don’t really have any loyalties to any airlines. I love that I can pretty much fly on any airline by cashing in my UR points.

What’s been your most valuable use of miles or points to date?

I just booked a flight on United (using UR points) to New Zealand and Singapore. It was 80,000 United miles to fly from SYR – ZQN -AKL – SNG – IAD, which is amazing.

I bought a cheap cash ticket with Jetstar and am going to fly to Bali from Singapore. The fact that I can see three new countries without paying for my ticket just blows my mind. I am so excited!

Do friends and family support your lifestyle of traveling and working around the world?

Yes, and I’m very thankful for that. I don’t know what I would do if they weren’t! Once I graduated college, my dad just said, “As long as you’re not calling us asking us for money, you can do what you want. We just want you to be happy.” Which is really the greatest thing anyone can say to you!

What would you say to those who are inspired by your adventures but feel like they can’t travel much the same for some reason?

If you want to travel, the time is now. Don’t wait until “someday” or “after I do this.” It won’t happen. You have to make travel your number one priority, or life is going to get in the way. Figure out what’s holding you back, and get after it. You won’t regret it. If you need help, join me for a free travel coaching session (what I like to call an Adventuretini) — and we’ll figure it out together!

Thanks to Susan for taking the time to share her story with us! You can follow her on Twitter, check in on her Instagram or head over to TravelJunkette to follow along with her adventures.

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1 Comment
  1. Chance

    Nice Lookin’ piece ;)

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About PointsAway
Casey Ayers is a consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for travel. After amassing enough miles and points to travel anywhere in the world for almost free in less than six months, he developed PointsAway as a way to help others make travel dreams big and small come true.
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