On this edition of How She Does It, learn how Maegan Burke became a remote travel agent, allowing her to live her truly ideal lifestyle for the first time. Let’s begin with where I met Maegan, or better yet, how I met her. Maegan and I met in the Remote Like Me community group on Facebook. She dove into the free trainings and really applied herself! Before I could blink, she had snagged up a remote travel agent position and was sharing her successful tips with the rest of our community. She specifically learned the most from the trainings on following up, using Facebook to job search, and how to create a video application. I knew I had to get in touch with such a vivacious, generous person, who had landed a remote job so quickly. We’ve since stayed in touch and I love talking with her about remote work. Here’s her story.
Remote Travel Agent, Pana
Start us off with your current situation. What is your remote job and where in the world are you living?
I’ve recently started as a travel agent at Pana and I’m loving ittt. I’m in Chiang Mai for a few more weeks with 3 childhood friends and then I’ll head to Bali. [Pana is actually hiring remote customer experience reps right now. Jump on it!]
Is this the start of your digital nomad life? Or have you been living abroad for a while?
I’ve been living as a nomad since April of last year but started my “career” as a DN one year ago in Chiang Mai. Previously, I’ve lived in Paris twice and briefly in Barcelona.
What were you doing for work to be able to travel like that then and how is it different from what you do now, as a travel agent for Pana?
I was teaching with VIPKID for a year. I gave myself a one year limit and they happened to fire me right when that year was approaching!
My work life is super different now because I have scheduled shifts and although I always buy local sim cards so I can have data, I don’t have to stress about my wifi going out while teaching a VIPKID class. Also, I’m making about double ($) what I was making with VIPKID. I love to work from my bed now.
With that said, do you think teaching online is a good stepping stone to a full digital nomad lifestyle?
OMG absolutely. I’ve encouraged so many people to apply. Although you have to plan your schedule at least two weeks in advance, it provides a great amount of flexibility, you can control your paycheck essentially, you can teach anywhere there’s wifi and for people like myself who struggle with discipline, it’s a great way to stay focused since once a class is booked, you have to show up or you’re docked pay. I absolutely loved my time teaching English online.
When it was time to make the switch to another remote job, what made you go after the travel agent position?
I’ve always wanted to be a travel agent. I plan all of my group trips with friends, I even plan travel for my friends because I’m nice! So I set out on a mission to find a job as a remote travel agent.
How long did your job search take?
Honestly like two weeks? The Remote Like Me tips helped me expose myself and someone from the company actually messaged me directly the week after I applied so I think that helped a lot.
How long did your application process last?
They were pretty serious about making sure I fit the culture and I’m so appreciative of that. So all in all, a 7-step interview process.
They asked a lot about past work experiences. For example, they asked about a tough time at work and how I dealt with it. Since they’re a startup, they also asked about how I would respond to them if they said they were close to running out of funding and what my course of action would be. They also asked about my experience working with teams.
How has it been working there?
It’s awesome so far! It’s an entirely remote team. Management stresses efficiency and there are changes happening pretty much weekly for the better. They also constantly ask for our feedback on changes and things that we want to see improve. It’s been a dream so far.
What kind of tools do you use to do your job and communicate with the team?
What is your favorite thing about the people you work with?
I absolutely looove them. The culture interview plays a huge part of it. Everyone is young (I’m not sure anyone is even over 30), super chill, relaxed, motivating, and always in high spirits. The remote culture helps to create such a stress free environment. The company is growing so there’s been heavy volume and it’s not rare for someone to stay on an additional 3 hours after an 8 hour shift, just to help out the team. It’s everything.
Sounds amazing! What makes YOU a great remote worker?
I think I’m a great remote worker for a few reasons.
- I work better in solitude without the distraction of office chit chat.
- I still get to satisfy my travel bug which only makes me even more grateful for this opportunity and in return makes me a happier employee.
- My job revolves around traveling so my personal travel makes me a more knowledgeable employee.
- I’ve managed to maintain all of my important relationships while traveling so I’m capable of bonding with my coworkers, even on the other side of the world.
- I constantly have questions, so I’m always learning and always in contact with management.
Lastly, if you could give anyone starting out a piece of advice what would it be?
I’d say, be ready to test your discipline. For example, I’m in Pai for the weekend with my friends and while they’re out exploring, I’m working a 9 hour shift today and tomorrow. The best part is I don’t even mind because I truly love this job.
Secondly, I’d say be prepared to never look back. I’ve had moments of many “what-ifs” and have contemplated going back to traditional office life, but I know that I’ll never be able to be a great employee in that kind of environment after exposing myself to this lifestyle.
Maegan is a very active member of the Remote Like Me community. Come join Maegan, myself, and many other remote workers and hopefuls in our free Facebook group.
Want to read more inspiring stories just like this one? Check out the previous editions of How She Does It here.
Follow Maegan on social media!