Japan will always hold a special place in my heart among all the countries I’ve visited on my travels. It is one of the most exotic places a Westerner could choose as his getaway destination, and their culture is truly unique and very different from our own… so spending a few months in Nihon is sure to broaden your horizon in numerous ways.
But the first thing that always comes to my mind when I think of Japanese a very important life lesson I learned there and it’s probably not what you think! You see, when I first arrived on the Archipelago of the Rising Sun, I did what I always do, I took a couple of weeks to travel up and down the whole country and to choose my favorite city – and I finally decided on Tokyo, where I ended up staying for a couple of months.
A few weeks later, however, I talked to a friend of mine from Nagoyaand what she had to say about my choice of residence really made me think. Was she just trying to scare me, or was she serious? Could it be true… was Tokyo really that dangerous?
If you’re wondering what danger she warned me of – I am talking about the frequent earthquakes in Japan’s capital and sure enough, during my several months in the country, I experienced at least one tremor every couple of weeks. Quakes are really incredibly common over there, and it can be a scary experience! In fact, one night as I woke up at two a.m. with my whole apartment moving and shaking around me, I really got to thinking about how fragile life really is.
And that was the biggest lesson Japan taught me: to live each day as if it was my last. Or, in the words of James Dean: “Dream as if you you’ll live forever… but live as if you’ll die today.”
But of course I’m no Pollyanna, and I realize that life isn’t always that simple… it’s not always possible to simply do what we want, and there are certainly complications in life that we have to take care of from time to time. One of these complications that people ask me about frequently is the question of visas and I’ll let you in on a couple of secrets about this topic today.
Of course you will always find travelers who simply work without having a visa and to be honest, it doesn’t usually pose much of a problem. I have yet to hear about anybody getting into trouble because of that kind of thing. That said, I don’t recommend you break the law, because there are certainly legal ways to do the same thing and here are some of them.
- The easiest way to legally work in a foreign country is to get a work permit or temporary residency. For Brazilians, this is easy in several South American countries, but I also have a lot of friends from Brazil who were able to get a second passport from places like the EU or Japan, because their parents or grand-parents had immigrated to Brazil from there. Chances are, your ancestors came from other countries too and if so, this is something you might want to look into!
- Another way is to actually get sponsorship for a working visa from an employer in a foreign country. You usually need the right qualifications for this kind of program, and covering every country where this is possible would probably go beyond the scope of this article, but there are always countries where foreign immigrants with the proper skills and education are welcome and in high demand.
- Thirdly, there are actually a whole bunch of jobs where you don’t need any residency or passport at all. For example, if you work on a cruise ship, like I discussed in my previous article, you are working on the open sea, and you are therefore not inside the jurisdiction of any single country – this is by far the easiest way to travel and work at the same time without having to worry about legal complications.
- A fourth way to legally work abroad is the so-called “Working Holiday Visa”, and this is how I was able to live and work in Japan. Unfortunately, Japanisn’t currently offering this program to Brazilians, but New Zealand is! And if you can get a second passport, as described above, a whole laundry list of other countries might open up to you based on the working holiday program… you can find out more about that here.
The above are just some of many ways one can go about legally finding work in a foreign country… what options you have to get a hold of a working visa or even a legal residency greatly depends on what country you want to visit, so your best bet is to pick a place and then do research on the web about the specific requirements, as well as about programs offered by that country’s embassies in Brazil.
Just trust me when I say: this is very possible… I know hundreds of people personally who have found a solution to this problem… and where there is a will, there is a way!
Alright, enough of the rather dry topic of the “legal requirements” a traveler might run into as he roams from country to country… but I wanted to make sure I cover this issue, as it is a question that does come up rather frequently. In the next article, I will let you in on a few more of my secrets, and talk a bit more about one of my favorite topics: “Location Independence”.
Often abbreviated as LI, it simply means that you don’t depend on any one location for making a living. While most people have to spend at least 11 months per year in the city where their job is, some travelers have cracked the code of being able to make money anywhere at any time. They could even live on a deserted island or in a remote mountain village and still make as much money as in a big metropolis in the West.
How? Stay tuned, I will tell you how this works in my next post.
Until then, leave me a comment below or join the discussion on the forum… I’ll see you there!
Always the best,