Working in Paradise – An Insiders Guide

What is it truly like to work in paradise? Behind the snapshots, the blog posts, the sunglasses, and tan, is it all its cracked up to be? Or do the mosquito’s bite too hard to make you crave the creature comforts of home? This guide will take you through what it truly means to live and work in paradise, and you can see if you have what it takes to become a guide for One Life Adventures. We will go through the benefits, what to expect, the islands, the blue skies, and all the swimming but it will also touch on some of the not so nice bits as well. So as always, let’s start with the good news. Your life will be one big Instagram post, you will meet amazing and inspirational people from around the globe, places you’ve never been to before, who will open your mind to a world of possibilities. These people become friends instantly and you know that if you ever end up in Sweden, Germany or Mexico, that you have a couch to crash on. They will show you that despite the differences in culture and social upbringing that we are all one and the same, that we are here to enjoy these amazing feats of paradise that our collective home has so generously provided us to enjoy. Your skin will darken, your teeth will whiten, you will look and feel healthier, happier and be the envy of all your friends. Remember that time you went to Greece for a two-week holiday only to look disillusioned in the mirror a week later to find your glorious tan fading? Not any more, you will have a 12 month golden, brown shade (after initially overcoming the inevitable sunburn) and will seek out clothes to enhance it. Everyone on your tour will comment on how brown your skin is as they struggle to banish away the jumper and sock tan lines and catch up with you on an island somewhere. No time for tanning? No worries, walk around topless or in a bikini, a large proportion of your job takes place on a beach! You will be living every traveler’s dream, I got paid to travel, you would never see me again well, technically, you are. You are being paid to chaperone 14 of your best mates around the number one island in the world, exploring the depths of its reaches and doing everything you would have done and more if you came here independently. And that’s not all, with One Life Adventures we have bumper packages to other parts of the Philippines that we will actively encourage you to experience which includes; snorkeling with Whale Sharks, chasing waterfalls, traversing a white beach on the most famous pub crawl in SE Asia and cliff jumping!

This is your opportunity to take control and dictate how you want people to experience and how to take advantage of this glorious place. You will be setting up the times, the activities, organising the parties and making dinner plans. Have an insider tip of beach party in El Nido, or know a restaurant in town that makes burgers that you HAVE to try!? Then organise it! Remember, if you’re having the time of your life, then no doubt your group members will be as well.

What day is it!? Every day is a weekday, there are times you’ll be out with friends and won’t even realise it’s a Monday. Breaking free of the 9-5 and living for the weekend lifestyle is as liberating as it sounds. Those times you panicked because you had no plans for the weekend and sat inside watching TV are gone. Spend your days hiring motorbikes to explore islands, go kayaking, scuba diving, zip lining or lie on one of the many pristine beaches reading a book, or in a hammock under a palm tree with a cocktail you deserve it.

Your knowledge of the world will vastly increase and you get to experience a country the way it should be experienced, by living there. You will seemingly absorb information about a country you never thought you would as well as developing a lifelong affinity for it. The more you begin to find out, the more you seek out yourself. You’ll improve your understanding of the language and the cultural practices, develop local friendships and become and expert in your field of infrastructure and travel. People will seek your advice from around the world about travel, not only in the Philippines but in SE Asia and beyond.

It could open another line of work or help you change your career. Ever wanted to work in travel in tourism, or felt you were handy as an entertainer or photographer. Think you are a professional salesmen or budding marketing executive. This job can open up so many different avenues for you, to try your hand at so many different skills and professions. A job at One Life Adventures will not only give you motivation, leadership skills, responsibility, independence, enhance your creativity, your well-being, happiness, IT skills, communication, bar tending, dance moves, DJing and amongst others, that the only thing holding you back, is your motivation. The perception of yourself could change as you find out what you\’re good at and what you want to continue to work in.

The Hard Truths. Sweating, yes sweating, be prepared to do this a lot. The Philippines is hot and you’ll be seeking out the cool, inviting radiance of the air conditioning. But it doesn’t stop there, you have to think about this when you go out drinking and dancing, coming back drenched in sweat-stained clothes as if you’ve taken a dip in the sea (which you, of course, can do). Your clothes will smell and your laundry will pile up until that white top you loved so dearly is too yellow to be deemed white anymore (the good things is you can buy another one for the fraction of the price of course). Mosquitos are a pain in the arse, equip yourself with Tiger Balm and get ready to itch your legs for sweet relief. Not so bad during the day, but at night, without an adequate mosquito net or choking on spray, the hungry insects will eat away at you all night ensuring you wake up sweating with a few nice new bumps to start the day.

Whilst the mosquitos are biting you and the sweat is pouring down your head from the relentless barrage of heat, the responsibility of your position never fades away. You have to be the cool, calm and collected in the face of problems or make diplomatic decisions on your feet. What if you have no cell phone reception, you’ve run out of water and the nearest clinic is 70 miles away whilst 14 people are staring you to make a decision!? Have you got the necessary skills and ability to handle the situation and think on your feet whilst all those around may be panicking in a country they don’t necessarily know about?

Tired after a long day? That’s understandable, take an hour to lounge in a hammock but be ready as the job starts again the next day with new sets of rules and responsibilities and in a new place. Tour guiding is a hugely rewarding job, but one where you are moving a lot and where you won’t have time to settle in as much as you would like. Living out of a bag for a month can sound to some people like a dream, but could you unpack and re-pack your bag every other day for 6 months?

Bali/Bombay/Asia belly, yes, it had to come up eventually. We’ve all had this at some point in our travelling career but that was when you were in a touristy area, in a nice guesthouse or hostel where you could afford to relax and ride the wave until it passed. What happens when the morning before you go island hopping your on the toilet wishing it would just end? Grit your teeth, swallow down some Immodium, you’ve still got to work and do your business in a bucket on the islands.

Remember, it’s all about the experience at the end of the day! You’re going to not only be in control of your own finances, but of the finances of the entire tour. Can you be sure that you distinguish between the two and ensure that you have a respectable cash flow to ensure a smooth running of the tour? Make sure you don’t mix up your personal cash with the company’s when you’re buying a round of shots for people at 3am on a beach somewhere as it could leave you with an extra headache in the morning that the shots didn’t provide.

Despite the sweating and minor stresses, I wouldn’t exchange living in paradise for anything. The opportunity to look back in your 60s with admiration that you went out and explored your life is something not many people enjoy. You lived it to the full and, eventually, the small things like the mosquitos and heat will be a minor reflection compared to all the phenomenal experiences, friendships, night outs and memories you have made as a tour guide in the Philippines for One Life Adventures.

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