All the Jobs I’ve Worked Abroad

I’ve been getting a ton of emails lately all asking one question: what exactly do I do for work abroad?

Maracuja Caipirinha Rio de Janeiro Leme Brazil
contrary to popular belief, all my days aren’t spent drinking on the beach

I’ve worked a weird variety of jobs, including both “in-person” and remotely, so it’d be easiest to put them all into a list, and then describe the progression a bit more in-depth afterward.

Over the past 6 years, I have worked abroad as:

  • An international patient coordinator in a medical tourism clinic (in-person)
  • An international sales manager at a medical tourism clinic (in-person)
  • A sales manager for a medical tourism clinic (remote)
  • An English tutor (in-person)
  • A blogger (remotely and in-person, here’s how I make money as a blogger, or don’t)
  • A freelance writer (remote)
  • A virtual assistant for bloggers (remote)
  • A social media manager (remote)
  • A copyeditor for a contractor’s internal 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics documents (in-person)
  • A copyeditor for marketing materials for companies with English as a second language (remote)
  • A consultant for expat living and travel (remote)
  • An editorial assistant doing article layout for a travel publication (remote)
  • An editor for a travel publication (remote)

Now, I’ll go a bit more in-depth as to what exactly I did while living in Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico.

How I Worked Abroad in Thailand

Bangkok Protest March Bangkok Apartment Silom
R: view from the medical tourism office / L: my apartment building’s pool

I came to Thailand on vacation and didn’t plan to stay, but fell in love and never went home.

But while my love for the country grew, my bank account dwindled.

I received several job offers to be an English teacher at various schools, but accepted an offer to work as an international patient coordinator at a medical tourism clinic. A year in, I was promoted to manager, and later started dating the man who would become my husband.

How I Worked Abroad in Brazil

View Rio Brazil Home
view from my home office (aka a patio table) in Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro

After the military coup in Thailand, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My husband worked in consulting for the Olympics. I did copyediting work for English documents for a contractor for the Olympics, and also worked remotely in sales full-time for the same medical tourism clinic I worked at in Thailand.

While in Brazil, I made the decision to quit working remotely in medical tourism, and to devote more energy to my then-hobby blog (at that time it was called My Quarter Life Epiphany), along with continuing to edit documents for the Olympics, picking up freelance writing and social media gigs (remotely), and tutoring in English for tourism (in-person).

How I Worked Abroad in Mexico

my travel blogging office in Puebla Mexico
the home office my husband created for me in Puebla

Neither my husband or I loved living in Brazil, so when he received a job offer in Mexico, we made another move. By this time, I was working fully remotely, which made our moves between Mexico City, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta no problem for me, professionally or legally.

My main sources of income were freelance writing, virtual assisting, and social media managing. I also picked up occasional remote short-term jobs editing and revising marketing materials for companies who were not native in English but whose clients were.

After our move to Puebla (and a month before we got married), I started my master’s degree (a mostly remote program) in counseling psychology. A few months later, I also started working for a major online travel publication as a layout assistant (and eventually as their copyeditor, as well), and let go of the smaller bits of one-off piece work.

How I Work Abroad Now

3 Day 2 Night Tour in Salar de Uyuni Bolivia Salt Flats
working on my photography

Currently, I’m in the final classes for my master’s degree, so I’m focusing more on school and learning and less on hustling and work. I even resigned from the position doing layout and copyediting with the travel publication a few months back.

I’m spending most of my time devoted to studying and writing papers, and less of my time on blogging. I still take occasional but more lucrative jobs in copyediting, content creation, and consulting work for clients. I also coach expats.

How I’ll Work Abroad in the Future

Stephanie Kempker Edri of in Puebla, Mexico
future me is still gonna love blue nails and Mexican textiles

After I finish my master’s degree (including the in-person practicum in counseling), I hope to counsel clients in-person. Yep, this will be a big change from what I’ve been doing professionally over the past 6 years. I’m excited.

At the same time, that’s not to say I haven’t loved what I’ve been doing. I have, and I know that travel and living abroad will always remain a passion of mine. I will maintain this blog (though it’ll be shifting in subject a bit) and take on occasional client passion projects (especially those that have sustainability, supporting local economies, community and connection, and/or female entrepreneurship as key points).

How about you? Do you work abroad, or do you want to?


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Petra
    November 16, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    Interesting post! I am wondering if it’s easy to find non-teaching jobs in Thailand and how did you find them (online)?

    • Steph
      November 17, 2018 / 12:56 pm

      It really depends on your profession, but it is definitely harder than finding teaching jobs. I found my job on Craigslist but know of others who found theirs on LinkedIn or through networking.

  2. andrew mac
    November 29, 2018 / 2:50 pm

    Amazing blog post! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • JoyAndJourney
      November 30, 2018 / 9:05 am


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