My job went remote — so I got 2 more and started traveling the world in secret

A person on a laptop at the beach
Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images
  • Some people are using remote work to do things they couldn't before, like traveling or taking extra jobs.

  • Insider spoke to one who took two new jobs — in hospitality and airlines — to get travel benefits.

  • "I've shifted my focus," they said. "Work is a thing I do to secure benefits, not validation for my existence."

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a government worker whose job went remote, so they took two travel jobs and started touring the world. Insider has confirmed their employment and travels, but isn't naming them in order to protect their career. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Let me back up. A few years ago, I was pulling 80-hour weeks in the private sector. I was working in finance when my dad died, and it shook the foundation of my entire life. I remember thinking: "If I die tomorrow, my company would send their condolences, and then a week later, my job would be posted online."

It just kind of hit me: Why did I work so hard for them when they didn't care about me?

I left my big fancy finance job and took a position with the government

Even before the pandemic, I only worked in the office one day per week. (We went fully remote at the height of the pandemic, and we're now back to one day in the office per week.) I started thinking about how easy it would be to work from anywhere on the days I didn't need to be in the office, and then I developed a plan that would change my life.

I wanted to travel more, but I couldn't afford all the plane tickets, so I got a seasonal job with a major airline. That job came with flight benefits even after the seasonal work ended.

I spent 3 months working at the airport in what I like to call a kind of 'Swiss Army knife' position

I helped anywhere that help was needed. Sometimes I would be assisting passengers with their boarding passes, and other days, I would be cleaning planes or moving supplies within the airport.

I didn't really care what I was doing, because I've totally changed my mind frame around work. It's not about the accolade or external validation anymore — it's about the benefits.

Once I secured flight benefits, I started traveling more 

But with all the hotel costs, it was still expensive. I talked to other airline employees, and they told me I should get a part-time position at a hotel to get hotel benefits — and that's just what I did.

I got a position at an international hotel conglomerate, which meant that I could work just 15 hours per month on average and get hotel benefits. The benefits mean I sometimes only pay $40 for a hotel room.

I now balance my full-time, almost entirely remote government role with 2 other jobs

The hospitality work is part-time, and the airline work is seasonal. Both are for the benefits.

Here's what a day looks like when I'm traveling. I'll wake up in the morning in London, for example, and spend the day from 8 a.m. to around 3:30 p.m. sightseeing. Then I'll come back to the hotel, take a little break and start working on my government job around 4:00 p.m.

I finish around 10:00 p.m. and then go to sleep. Then I wake up and spend the day sightseeing again.

My friends ask if I get tired doing all this in one day, but honestly, the sightseeing doesn't make me tired — it energizes me. I'm invigorated by it. Plus, my government job involves a lot of longer-term deadlines, so it's not very intense. It's been pretty easy to balance it all.

I don't tell my bosses at my full-time job that I work from all around the world

I just don't think it's their business, and I'd rather ask for forgiveness than permission. As long as I'm getting my work done, I don't think it really matters.

If I want to extend a trip to miss a day I'm supposed to be in the office, I just take a sick day and work from "home."

I spent years in the corporate rat race, pulling 80-hour weeks trying to secure the external validation I was chasing

But now, it's different. I've shifted my focus — work is just a thing I do to secure the benefits I want, whether that's medical insurance, free flights, or discounted hotels. I'm there for a paycheck and the benefits, not validation for my existence.

Sometimes when I look at LinkedIn and I see my former colleagues getting new positions and moving forward in their careers, I feel jealous for a second and remember what it was like to be working toward career goals. But then, I think of the freedom I have — how I've taken 40 trips in the last two years and how I've responded to emails from below the Eiffel Tower.

That's when I remember: This is what I want.

Read the original article on Business Insider