What is your professional / educational background and how did that
enable you to achieve your work / travel balance?
I majored in accounting and graduated from The Ohio State University in June 2011. While not the most exciting way to spend a summer, I spent the summer after graduation before I started working full-time pursuing my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license and ultimately passed all four parts of the licensing examination before starting with KPMG in Chicago during October 2011. I feel that having a background in accounting and my CPA license helped me achieve my work/travel balance because accountants are always in demand and the skill set is generally the same, regardless of the country.
How did you end up in this career / role?
I participated in KPMG's Global Internship Program between my junior and senior year of undergrad and that's what really made me interested in a global career. I had the opportunity to spend four weeks working abroad with KPMG in Dublin, Ireland and had an amazing experience. After working for KPMG after graduation for about a year, I was approached by a recruiter who was working on a job with a telecommunications company that would "pay for me to see the world". This opportunity was one that I could not pass up and I interviewed and was hired into the company's internal audit group. In that particular role, I would travel for three weeks at a time and visited Brazil, Tanzania, Germany, India, China, South Africa, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and Finland for audits. I also had the opportunity to visit other surrounding countries on the weekends when I wasn't in the office. One of my favorite memories from that role was beginning with the company on aMonday and then heading down to Sao Paulo, Brazil for an audit the very next day. I've since moved on to a different company, but it was that role in internal audit that made me realize that jobs with international travel exist and aren't just a fantasy.
What's your favorite place to travel? Why do you find it appealing?
My favorite place to travel is Cape Town, South Africa. I've traveled a decent bit, and have yet to find another place as unique as Cape Town. Within 50 miles, you can observe penguins on a beach in their natural habitat, participate in a wine tasting at a winery in a world renowned wine region, and take in breathtaking views from the most southwestern point of the African continent. The views from Camps Bay are also unrivaled by anywhere else I've visited. I'd move there today if I had the opportunity.
What's your worst travel experience?
My worst travel experience involved food poisoning during one trip to South Africa. I got a little too adventurous and tried some questionable food from a street vendor and ended up spending the next three days in my hotel room. One of the days I was sick was Valentine's Day and my fiancee at the time (now wife) was a little upset that I didn't email or call that day - she completely understood once I explained the situation.
What's the most fortuitous (read, lucky) experience you've had
One of the most fortuitous travel experiences I've had while traveling was being able to visit Kiev, Ukraine in October 2013 before any of the recent conflict began. I was shocked to see "after" pictures of major landmarks in the city once the conflict began and it really made me appreciate the time I spent there.
Any advice or tips for others looking to bring travel into their lives?
If you work for a larger company and are looking for company-paid travel, I'd recommend looking into the internal audit group. At the companies I have worked for, the groups have occasionally pulled in "guest auditors", or people working in non-internal audit roles, to assist with audits. Outside of internal audit related travel, make sure that your manager and/or HR are aware that you are open to travel opportunities. Many people view travel as something negative and may not necessarily see it as rewarding so it's important to make it known that you'd be open to travel instead of just hoping and waiting for it to fall into your lap.
Josh has traveled around the globe without compromising his career in Finance. Feel free to reach out to him with any questions.