At Behere, we’re constantly inspired by the amazing women in our community. We’re thrilled to feature some of their stories and share how they’ve made traveling while working possible. From unconventional roles, to starting businesses abroad, these women have made exploring new places a priority. They share their biggest learnings, favorite memories, and advice for someone thinking about traveling more.
Today’s community feature, Katherine McCombs, has a rather unconventional career. She runs a circus – in Dubai – we’re not kidding. This energetic woman spends half a year managing a circus of performers from around the world in Dubai. The other 6 months she spends in NYC. This summer she decided to spend one of those months in Barcelona. Read more about her unique lifestyle below!
You have a very interesting job, can you share more about what you do for work?
“I’m very lucky that my work is rather unusual. Six months of the year I work at a theme park in Dubai, as the Circus General Manager, or as I was more often called, the Mother of Clowns. I handle everything from running the show and daily schedules, to the venue details including repairs, security and the general public. It’s hands-on, a lot of work and wildly fun. I come back with nearly unbelievable stories and strange tan lines. That along with immense gratitude that I can take the other six months at a slower pace, doing one-off events, writing, and house managing at a theatre in NYC.”
Can you share some of your favorite memories from your travels?
“My favorite memories always involve food! I joke the reason I travel is to eat my way across the world. While living in Barcelona for the month, I took a side trip to Mallorca. There, I was brought to a friend’s neighborhood bar where she and her friends insisted I sample all the local favorites while flamenco music was played by the owner. It’s still my favorite night and some of the best food I had in Spain.
Or my friend’s invitation to celebrate Vishu (South Indian celebration of the completion of Spring Equinox). There I was given a sari and enjoyed a traditional feast, eating with my fingers and praying I wouldn’t drop curry on myself.
I love how food brings groups of people together no matter their backgrounds. It’s the one thing we all have in common.”
How has Behere helped you on this journey?
“Behere is an amazing resource! I’ve been telling everyone about it since I found them on Instagram. After a few misjudged living situations in my past, I do get nervous about traveling alone as a small woman in unknown areas. But not enough to stop doing it. Behere takes so much of that worry off of my shoulders. I know it was a woman who chose the apartment and neighborhood, and that makes a difference.
It was also amazing to have Meesen as a city host, and friend, to introduce me to other women and show me her favorite places. Knowing there’s someone local who you can trust if you have a problem was an incredible stress relief (and my mother was also a fan). Everything was so easy. All I had to do was arrive and everything I needed to succeed in Barcelona was waiting for me thanks to Behere.”
Can you share your #1 piece of advice for someone who’s thinking about traveling long-term?
“Do it! Just take the plunge and go. I went back and forth for nearly a year about going to Barcelona before I booked the trip through Behere and am still kicking myself for wasting the time. I chose to go freelance so I could have more freedom to live the life I wanted. Yet here I was, only going where work took me and not taking the time to see the places I have always wanted to see. You never know what can happen if you book that trip, send that email, or strike up a conversation with that stranger. I answered a Facebook post and wound up getting my dream job in Dubai. Literally, anything can happen if you want it to and put it into the universe.
Also if you’re traveling, do your research and invest in good luggage! I had a cheap suitcase that I traveled with and the wheel jammed as I arrive for my flight at JFK. My first night in the UK was spent using a penknife to try and fix it. I do not recommend this. Make sure the wheels will last (or have a good replacement warranty!). Also make sure anything you’re carrying on your back is designed well and won’t put you at risk for injury if/when you over pack it. (On the injury note, travel insurance! You might not need it, but you do not want to be without it if you do, especially if it’s a long term trip.) I’ve become so hugely into researching luggage and travel gear, it’s become a banned topic at the dinner table.”
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Words and images by Katherine McCombs.