How working abroad changed my world perspective
Updated: Jun 13
“After working with National Geographic, UNESCO World Heritage, and other international companies, I’ve learned that people all around the world have good hearts”
I’ve always loved to travel. I had the opportunity to study and travel abroad while growing up and even did a semester studying abroad in Australia during high school. I also loved to film and edit videos during my childhood. I remember my friends and I would create short videos in the forest with different themes and I was always the one to create the storyboard, shoot, and edit. We had some great memories captured in those short movies. When I chose my studies in college, I knew I wanted to go into film.
After college, I had many different career paths in video to choose between. I chose to work abroad because it gave me an opportunity to see new places, experience new cultures and make new friends. Having the world as an office seemed like a better option than a cubicle. After 8 years in the industry, I've had the unique pleasure of being able to work on all 7 continents with multiple stints in Antarctica.
My niche is in the small cruise ship industry, so a lot of what I have done are marketing videos for the cruise ship clientele. I generally create content that is 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length. However, while working for National Geographic and Lindblad I would shoot and edit weekly 30-minute full length videos for their passengers. I've also done some work for UNESCO World Marine Heritage trying to create content that sparks conversations which will help drive further protection of the ocean. A cause that I am proud to stand behind as it aligns with my core values.
What I’ve learned from working abroad
The main life lesson I learned from working abroad is to keep a cool head and things will work out, whether working or traveling in general. I’ve also learned that people all around the world have good hearts. There is way more that I don't know about the world, cultures and history, compared to what I do know. You can never know exactly what’s going to happen when you head off on the road. You just have to take every moment as it comes, respond based on your knowledge and instincts, and be open to learning new things.
Working abroad has really changed my perspective on the world. I’ve learned that we are all connected and can learn so much from each other. There is so much knowledge in the world and shutting cultures or people off only does a disservice to yourself and the positive progress of humankind. There are many great projects around the world surfacing everyday which bring people together and help raise a common understanding amongst humans on particular subjects. Nowadays, video seems to be one of the most popular means of digesting information across the internet. That means my work has the chance to reach people all around the globe very quickly and influence their life perspective positively. And that’s a cool feeling for me.
This is my demo reel from shoots across the world. More videos are available on my website: Taylorbutz.com
My tough moments working abroad
There have been a few crazy moments on the road while working. One in particular was when I was coming back across the Drake Passage, a bi-polar body of water in between Antarctica and Argentina. We ran into a hectic wind storm that brought 30 foot waves crashing on all sides of our boat.
This made my video editing difficult of course, but then our main engine exploded in the middle of the night and the ship nearly flipped over. Everything in my cabin came flying off the shelves and it felt like I was on a roller coaster. We ended up making 3 knots and taking an extra 2 days to get back to port. It was a rough ride that nearly began with catastrophe. We were one wave from becoming a major international maritime disaster story.
There are moments like these all the time when working abroad. You have to roll with the punches and trust your instincts to get out of them. However, it’s not always chaos on the road. There are also many more great moments that you will never forget!
My “aha moment” working abroad
There was one moment in particular that made me realize working abroad was a great decision. This was in South Georgia island, in between Tierra Del Fuego and Antarctica. Hundreds of thousands of king penguins walking on a beach surrounded by an amphitheater of green cliffs with an audience of hanging glaciers. Being there at first light was a unique type of spectacular beauty that will stick with me forever.
It’s moments like these that keep me motivated to work abroad. Experiencing things that I would never have been able to in my hometown or if I would have worked in one static location for my whole career. These are the moments I live for.
The most unexpected moment working abroad
One of the strangest moments in my video career was when I was working in Colombia and had the opportunity to interview Cesar Gaviria, the President of Colombia who destabilized Pablo Escobar's drug cartel. I was watching the show Narcos at the time, so it was surreal to interview the real person who I was watching being portrayed by an actor on a television show.
Last tips for working abroad
After 8 years of working abroad in various forms, I have learned that it’s the simple things that I enjoy the most. The reasons why I got into the industry in the first place. If you’re going into a career working abroad or thinking about it, try to remember these last tips: keep cool, enjoy the scenery, drink the local beer and eat the local food.
Get in touch with Taylor
To book Taylor for film shoots or video editing projects, please contact him at any of the below links. If you’re looking for advice on working abroad, Taylor is also a great resource to bounce ideas off of.
People all around the world have had life-changing travel experiences. Whether it's studying abroad, traveling for leisure, working abroad, or living abroad! Check out more of our Traveler Stories.
Are you thinking about working abroad or have stories of your own from the road? Feel free to add questions or comments below!