Passport Lifestyle: Anna Huffman

Passport Lifestyles is a new Travel Palate series on different people whose jobs or pursuits give them the opportunity to travel. If you’re searching around for jobs that involve travel, let these travelers’ paths inspire you! 

This week’s person of focus is Anna Huffman, a friend I met through Couchsurfing.org while we lived in Germany! She has many interesting jobs and experiences that have let her see awesome parts of the world. Read on for her story…

Alaska Denali National Park

What do you do that allows you to travel or live abroad?Where do you live or mainly travel to?
I graduated last year from college having studied German and International Studies. I started work at a travel insurance company immediately after graduating with high hopes. After a few weeks, I was starting to become pretty unhappy. Working in a call-center, even if travel related, wasn’t my forte. I worked and interned with my university’s International Programs and International Students and Scholars Offices and had been hoping to continue working in the international education field initially after graduating. I left that job and unable to work in my field, I started working in hospitality instead. Eventually it was time to move on and experience something new, so I googled something like “adventurous jobs”. After scrolling through a few websites, I stumbled upon a horse wrangler position in Healy, Alaska for this summer. I worked for that company for about two weeks, learning to drive covered wagons and give guided tours around the Denali area. Just a day or two ago I decided to accept a job offer at a small family-run lodge called Creekside Cabins, a few miles south of the Denali National Park. The living conditions are a lot nicer and the management is better organized. I’d say having multiple skills and hobbies is beneficial when wanting to work abroad. Being flexible is key to surviving the nomad lifestyle! I’ve traveled much of the United States, Brazil, Paraguay, Spain, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. I had planned on teaching English in Japan in 2011, but had to cancel my trip because of the tsunami. I studied Mandarin for a semester so I’d really like to check out China one of these days.

Dog Mushing in Alaska

For how long?
Depends. I travel whenever possible, even if it’s a few hours from home for the weekend. I studied and worked abroad in Marburg, Germany for five months in 2012 and had an ESL internship in Koblenz, Germany afterwards. Being open-minded and making friends from different countries is nice when you’re looking to travel! It’s sort’ve a general rule with my friends that they’re welcome to stay with me whenever they’re in town and vice versa. I traveled to southern Germany as a Rotary Exchange Student when I was 16 for the summer, and I’m still in touch with friends I met that summer. I’m currently working and living in Alaska until September, then I’m honestly not sure where I’m off to. I’ve been applying to hotel jobs in the San Diego and Denver areas, so fingers crossed that works out. If not, I’ll move back to Wisconsin until I find something more interesting.

What is the best part about your travel lifestyle?
I love not feeling too tied down to one spot. I live in one area and work while I enjoy it, but if I start to feel restless, I know it’s completely possible to pick up and move someplace new. I believe that we may only live once, so see and learn as much as possible while you can.

What is the negative side about it?
Traveling and moving often makes having a relationship difficult. Long-distance isn’t practical most of the time.

Killarney National Park

Which country is your favorite to visit?
I’d love to go back to Ireland.

Which country will you never want to go back to?
I haven’t had a bad enough experience in any one country to swear it off really.

Where is your favorite place to stay (hotel/hostel-wise)?
I don’t really have a favorite spot. As long as I have running water, heat and either wifi or cell phone reception I’m happy. I don’t mind being remote but it gets old after a few days.

Best travel memory?
Learning to just go with the flow and not worry about the small stuff is what’s really makes traveling so enjoyable to me. I especially enjoy the random moments that always seem to happen when traveling, like hitchhiking in Alaska or cracking open a fresh coconut along the roadside in Brazil. You can’t really plan that sort’ve thing.

Worst travel memory?
Probably having my appendix taken out in Germany… though staying in the hospital for three days mostly surviving off my German was pretty beneficial in the end. I hate being sick abroad though. I always feel like I bring a pharmacy with me, but I guess I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve never really regretted being overprepared in that sense.

Kilkenny Beer in Killarney

What is your favorite travel souvenir?
When in Killarney, Ireland, my bus driver offered to buy anyone a drink who’d write a good review of his tour on Trip Adviser. Of course I had to take him up on his offer and I met him at a pub that night. I was introduced to all of his old Irish farmer friends who went between “English” and Gaelic. It was awesome. Mr. O’Neilly was a poet and wrote me a poem titled “Anna Dawn” as a farewell gift, which was pretty cool.

How do you typically remember your trips? (souvenirs, drawings, photos, recordings)?
I enjoy taking pictures, though I’m admittedly not a very good photographer. I’d like to draw more and I’ve brought my sketchbook along with some art supplies with to Alaska so I hope to make that a habit.

Killarney National Park

Any advice for people seeking your type of travel lifestyle?
Be flexible! Let go of the idea that you’re supposed to do one thing and one thing only with your life. You can learn a lot more from your journeys that way.

Photo Credit courtesy of Anna Huffman

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