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An Interview With Traveling Engineers

Engineers are seriously all over the world, living permanently on the road, going from project to project. This is one of the best ways to travel and work concurrently. Watch an interview about the lifestyle and work of the traveling engineer.

They travel the world and build it too. If you’re looking for a job that pays well and will send you to all corners of the planet, it’s engineering. Building is global: American companies are putting up massive works in China; Chinese firms are working in Angola; Swedish designers are in the United States . . . If you get into this fray you can rest assured that you will be lead around the world from project to project, ever going to where the work is. There are perhaps few better professional type jobs available if you want to live a life on the road.

traveling-engineersI met a couple of wandering engineers in the Zhangjiajie part of Wuling park in the north of Hunan province. One was originally from Bangladesh, the other from Michigan. They work for a German company that specializes in building unique, gigantic, or otherwise non-standard types of elevators, and were in the active process of installing one on the side of towering cliff face. After talking with them for a moment it became clear that their work has taken them around the world: they set up for a project in one country, build an elevator over the course of a few months, and then move on to the next project somewhere else on the planet.

Interview with Salman and Ben about the lifestyle and work of a traveling engineer

In Zhangjiajie, Salman and Ben are working on the Bailong elevator project, which is known for being the highest outdoor elevator in the world.

Filed under: Atypical Travel, China, Engineering, Other Travelers, Work

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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  • Félix Gervais May 24, 2013, 11:56 pm

    The thing is that as the guy mentions, they usually are so busy working on their projects that they have little to no time doing anything else… which kinda defeats the purpose of being abroad.

    My experience with traveling engineers is unfortunately not a very positive one, since they spend too short of a time in a place to learn about it, yet long enough to really start getting irritated by the little cultural obstacles, so they are sometimes not very pleasant to be around… They’re usually sent by their companies, so some of them are not interested at all in the traveling aspect. And last but not least, they are sometimes VERY condescending to freelance writers, English teachers, or anyone that doesn’t have their idea of a “real” job.

    That said, I do know a few guys with such a gig and they cope well with it, or even embrace it. One such guy works three/four months on very high paying projects in the UAE or Japan with a shipbuilding company, then spends a year or more just living on his savings.

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