Au pairing has been my ticket to seeing the world

This article was created for The Travel Project by Kayla Styger, an Aussie traveler living the au pair life in Canada.

What happens when you quit that 9-5 job and deicide that you need a little break from the "work" life?

For me, it all started in 2014 with my first real overseas travel experience. I went to Hong Kong, and fell in love with the concept of traveling. At this stage I was 17 and didn’t think that moving overseas was really an option.

I remember thinking for months after my trip, I'm so young, how can I be so unhappy? I'm healthy, have a roof over my head and a loving family and friends. But for me, it wasn't enough - I needed to challenge myself and get right out of my comfort zone.

One thing I knew for sure was that all I needed was one more year of saving and a bit more maturity before I could take this idea and turn it into a reality. So I went back home and worked and saved as much as I could, and finally applied for a work holiday visa in Canada in May 2015.

Fast forward 6 months later and I was now 19, in America, and travelling on my first Contiki trip. I knew by now that traveling was definitely the lifestyle for me, so I gave myself a lot of time to research and make a game plan. I promised myself that for the next 2 years and whilst in Canada, I would continue to travel and not fit the traditional ‘working’ mould.

But how? Well, I was going to become an au pair!

Incase you’re wandering, an au pair is basically a live-in Nanny. I’m sure some people would definitely have the opinion that looking after children is “working”, but for me it never feels like it. I found myself a host family who needed an au pair for their 1 & 3 year old in Toronto, and I have now been with them now for over a year and haven’t looked back.

Although I live and look after the children 45 plus hours a week, cook dinner for the family every weeknight and assist in casual cleaning around the house, it still doesn’t feel full on. If you genuinely love the company of children like I do, then this is definitely a route to traveling you could consider.

In 2016 alone, I ticked 11 different countries off my bucket list.

Being an au pair has allowed me to be free in a way I never could be with a regular 9-5 job.

I have made everlasting friendships whilst living abroad and I hope that I will continue to do so wherever I move next. Germany? Switzerland? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, you can turn your travel dreams into reality no matter what your age or situation.

Au pairing has been the best choice I have ever made. I have changed in so many ways.

I think so much clearer, my outlook on life is so positive and I am so much more grateful for everything life has to offer. I know it’s not a job that is talked about so much as a travel option, but if you love kids and also want to see the world, it could just be the path for you.

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