“How do you make money to live your life? To travel?”
When I left nursing to move to India after meeting Ben, I wasn’t sure what direction my career would head. I didn’t like nursing, but needed a job, and knew I wouldn’t want to work in healthcare in Goa. I have this website more as a hobby at the moment, but when people e-mail asking: “How do you make money to live abroad and travel? How can I?”
It is possible for the average person to do, because I found a way! No, not by blogging (well maybe by blogging if you’re really good at it), but by learning a new skill. One that can be put to use all over the world.
I’ve gotten e-mails asking if my parents pay for my travels, or if I make a lot of money from my website, if I sell crack, even if India tourism is paying me to be here. I haven’t made much money from my website at this point. I just put ads on this week, as you’ll notice in the side bar. When people click on them I make 3 cents. Also, when someone clicks an amazon link in my posts and buys something, maybe not even what I linked, I get a 3% affiliate payout. Other than that, I make money from massage, a skill I never thought I’d use!
Intro to Learning While Traveling
While you travel, you’ll see signs and ads promising to teach you to become a yoga teacher, learn reiki, or become a masseuse. People travel to Goa and the mountains constantly to learn to be yoga teachers. In fact, most girls I meet that are in Goa for a month are here taking yoga teacher classes. I saw the signs while I was traveling, some of them only a week long and thought, “it’s a scam”.
My friend Chloe came to India planning to take Thai Yoga Massage classes in the mountains. I told her I’d find something else to do, but eventually I went ahead and took the class since it was only Rs 5,000 (90 USD).
I’ve been a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist for a year and a half. I earned that money back in the first two massages I gave.
I was a nurse before I traveled to India and took the class for fun. I figured I could give my friends massages at least. I was shocked to find it a legitimate class with one-on-one teaching and a true certificate at the end. Although, no one has actually asked to see it. Many Westerners come to India to learn to teach yoga and go home to open their own studios. Think how much you pay for a yoga class. Other than paying rent for their teaching spot, those teachers are making a nice amount of money! Learning a new skill abroad that you can monetize from is a way to start a new life.
How to Become a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist
Thai Massage is a healing art using the combination of acupressure, meditation, yoga, Reiki, physiotherapy, and reflexology. The masseuse gets almost as much of a work out as the client using feet, elbows, and entire body movements to massage the client. The client wears loose clothing, like pajamas and receives the massage along with positive energy transferred through Reiki, pressure points, gentle rocking, and twisty, joint-cracking fun! This is not your typical Swedish massage, and is my favorite type to receive.
Also called the “lazy man’s yoga”, the client feels like they’ve just done a work out when actually they’ve just laid there.
Truly, you could become any type of massage therapist, not just Thai yoga. I preferred this method because I don’t like the idea of rubbing naked folks down with oil, although I love to be the one getting rubbed down! I am a huge fan of massages and got one every other day in Thailand.
In India’s tourist zones: Pushkar, Mcleod Ganj, Goa, Manali, and Udaipur to name a few, you will see signs to learn massage. Classes may be a couple weeks and it could cost upwards of Rs. 10,000.
You don’t need to plan ahead for this, as there are numerous outlets for massage training. If you want a certificate that is translatable to the U.S. you can go to Kerala to an approved school.
How I Got Certified & Tips to Promote Yourself
I was training by Ram in McLeod Ganj. He’s a kind Indian guy that training in Thailand and Mexico in Thai massage, Reiki, Reflexology, and healing.
In my training I learned all those aspects along with chanting, meditation, and small amounts of holistic healing with reflexology.
Because it was off-season, Chloe and I were the only ones in class. This meant we got a great deal and class was only one week (all day) because Ram had more time for us. He is the main massage teacher in McLeod so ask around and you’ll find his place near the center of town.
I don’t interject the chanting, meditation, or Reiki into the massages I give, as I don’t truly feel comfortable teaching or implementing all those aspects. As a western trained nurse, I also don’t use Reflexology to treat heart failure or high blood pressure. I do Reflexology, but just for pain and stress relief.
I have fliers (pictured below) up around town in the yummiest of restaurants like Thalassa and Baba Au Rhum. I use those and word of mouth as my only source of getting clients now. I put the name and price at the bottom and don’t negotiate rates as I feel I offer a fair price. If you do the same, of course it’s up to you to figure out how much you want to charge.
I work from home either in a room of my house I fill with relaxing music and incense, or I take the ordeal to someone else’s home, in which case I usually charge a little more. The massage is given on a yoga mat, which is ideal for switching up locations.
The only negative: I am careful to go to someone’s place where multiple men want massages. Indian men, when alone with a woman, are very forward and may ask you on a date as well. The other snag is that many call for massage expecting oil. I make sure to explain on the phone what the massage is, in case they didn’t actually read the flier. Many times when I say no oil, Indians don’t want the massage, as their national massages are with lots of oil (Indian Deep Tissue and Ayurveda).
Work For Yourself
The great thing about working for myself is that I can publicize more if I like and become busier, or I can continue to focus more on my blog. I could even go to classes to become a Thai yoga massage teacher myself and teach from Goa. For a 100-dollar class I took on a whim, it sure has been beneficial to me and I truly enjoy doing it.
I could also do massage in the U.S. by word of mouth, as a private service, as I don’t think I am certified in the U.S. As long as I’m upfront with people, and will be charging less than a salon, I could still make a living is I market it right. It’s great to have back-up plans. Even as a backpacker, imagine offering massages at cheaper rates to people you meet abroad in the hostels!
So, now my readers, (you guys!) know how I make money abroad. For more options, check out Alex’s series “Earning Abroad” where others’ share how they live abroad. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re bored of your 9-5 and looking for change, you could look into classes in somewhere like India where they are much cheaper than home. Just make sure what you learn is transferrable.
Doing a Yoga Retreat in India or Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in India
If you are interested in taking courses but want to pay safely and not get ripped off, you can use bookyogaretreats.com for retreats and bookyogateachertraining.com for YTT. These are owned by the same team and they only list the best of the best on there. There are reviews for other yogis who have been there so you can dive in and do some serious research. I recommend sorting by the “top recommended”.
The top places for yoga in India are Rishikesh, Dharamshala, and Goa.