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The people who got the dream jobs to travel the world reveal what it’s really like – and it isn’t all paradise

DREAM jobs seemingly gets advertised all the time, with people getting to travel the world while being paid huge amounts of money for it.

But are they really as good as the adverts make out?

Ben Southall Ben admitted it was hard always being "switched on"

Sun Online Travel has spoken to the lucky few who have managed to snag one of these top positions.

So from being paid to live on a Greek island surrounded by kittens, travelling Australia for free or selling books in a luxury Maldives resort, here's what they said…

Ben Southall, 43, caretaker of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef

In 2009, Ben beat 34,000 other job applicants to become the caretaker of the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, while being paid £70,000 to travel in Australia for six months.

Ben Southall Ben beat hundreds of thousands of applicants to get the 'Best Job in the World'

He told Sun Online Travel: "The position was advertised the week after I returned to the UK after driving around Africa for a year in my old Land Rover, and as I hadn’t got anything else lined I thought… why not.

"Before I won the job I was selling garden turf!"

Luckily, the six-month job included some amazing opportunities, such as diving with humpback whales, as well as presenting a series for National Geographic.

It did come with some difficulties though.

Ben Southall He worked for six months travelling around the Great Barrier Reef
Ben Southall He used the experience to set up his own travel companies
Beth Southall However he admitted it changed his life

Ben said: "The toughest parts were trying to be the best I could all of the time.

"It meant I forced myself to work long hours to ensure the work I produced was really good."

Ben used the rare opportunity to create his own film company and adventure company, where he admitted he has to "pinch himself" to make him realise it isn't a dream ten years later.

He called the experience an "incredible ride" and admitted he would never want to do a 9-5 job.

Ben added: "Work hard, find and follow your passion and put yourself out there – you never know where it might take you."

Hugo, 25, bookseller at Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives

@barefootbookseller Hugo is the first bookseller on the Maldives resort
@barefootbookseller The job doesn't just involve selling books

Hugo, originally from Wiltshire, was the lucky person who managed to beat thousands of other applicants to the Ultimate Library's bookseller position at the luxury Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives.

He told Sun Online Travel: "I chose to apply to for the dream job as it was the perfect time for me to do it.

"I didn’t have too much responsibility back in the UK and was working freelance and wasn’t quite sure what to do with my life career-wise.

"Going to the Maldives to write, to read, to sell books and to get some sun seemed like the perfect place for contemplation, decision making and applying for future jobs."

@barefootbookseller Hugo has also set up three bookshops and run creative writing courses
@barefootbookseller The 25-year-old works at Soneva Fushi
@barefootbookseller He is the first bookseller at the resort

His job includes setting up three book shops, working on the Barefoot Bookseller Instagram feed and blog, selling books as well as hosting activities such as creative writing lessons and dolphin spotting cruises.

He admitted it isn't all fun and games, as it is "still a job," despite being a "fantastic" one.

Hugo explained: "The difficult part of the job has been trying to balance all the varied things I’m doing out here.

"This is a great job for three months but spending your life as a bookseller in the Maldives wouldn’t be something that I'd be able to do.

"I do miss home occasionally and I’m glad I’m not here for life.

"But I’ve been able to read and talk about fantastic books, go snorkelling on my lunch break and I've met people from all over the world."

Jeffyne Telson, 63, rescue cat worker on a Greek island

Jeffyne Telson Jeffyne Telson worked with God's Little People Cat Rescue on the island of Syros

Jeffyne, from California, was accepted to live on the Greek island of Syros for six months to help look after rescue cats, living rent free with God's Little People Cat Rescue.

While she currently runs her own non-profit organisation RESQCATs, homing abandoned kittens, she knew it was the "opportunity of a lifetime," when she applied in November.

She said: "I had visited the Greek islands several times over the years and always wanted to return to help the cats.

"So this opportunity was a dream come true, not to mention an honour to have been selected from 35,000 applicants."

Getty – Contributor She lived for six months on the island of Syros
Jeffyne Telson She will soon hand the reigns over to someone else later this month

She even gave back her salary to put back into the rescue sanctuary.

Jeffyne said it changed her life in in the most positive of ways.

She said: "As a rescuer, you want to be able to help all animals. But there are 13,000 stray cats on Syros and I can only help a few.

"I have enjoyed having a lot of hands-on time with my fosters, something that I don't get to do a lot of at RESQCATS with all my other responsibilities, so this has been a most precious gift to me."

She admitted however that it was hard to be away from her own animals and her husband, with her position ending later this month.

Jeffyne Telson Jeffyne admitted it was hard being away from her husband
Getty – Contributor She had previously visited the Greek island and always wanted to return

Jeffyne said: "We both understood that it would be a long separation, and although he did visit me here, we are very close and I do miss him."

The rescue worker was also shocked by how many people got in touch with her after she got the job.

She said: "What I didn't expect was the people that it brought into my life through social media.

"So much of the time, a rescuer feels alone, like no one really understands how we feel about animals, but this job has given me the opportunity to connect with so many who do feel the same way.

"I highly recommend people apply for their dream job. It is the opportunity of a lifetime and unless you 'go for it' you will never reach your dream!"

Richard James, 38, Visitor Services Manager on St Michael's Mount

Richard James Richard James was the lucky man to work on the stunning St Michael's Mount
Alamy The stunning property is part of the National Trust

Richard, from Cornwall, was able to live and work on the beautiful St Michael's Mount after the dream job at the landmark was advertised.

He applied for the job after regularly visiting the area on holidays with his wife and now lives on the mainland nearby.

Richard said: "As we have family here, we used to visit as often as we could for holidays, and had always planned to move here at some point.

"When I saw the Visitor Services Manager role advertised, at what is arguably the most iconic location in Cornwall, it was too good an opportunity to pass up, so we moved our plans forward a little."

While he admitted it was a tough job to start, having started the job before the busy May half-term holidays, he admitted it changed his day to day life.

Richard said: "For a start, I don’t spend ages sitting in traffic or crammed onto public transport anymore, my commute is now an easy drive finished off with the boat over to the island from the mainland.

Richard James He now commutes to the stunning castle by boat every day
Alamy Live News It is only accessible by boat during high tide, or by path during low tide

"Outside of work my family and I are making the most of being just a short drive from some stunning beaches and countryside.

"The best thing about working here is the team. I have never worked with a group of people as passionate as they are.

"The job itself is extremely rewarding, with lots of challenges to keep me busy and improvements to make to help everyone enjoy the Mount whatever the weather or time of year."



Sun Online Travel recently revealed a dream job for someone who wants to travel the world while enjoying the high life.

Luxury shopping website HushHush are currently looking for a Luxury Product Tester, to travel the world to test yachts, private islands and homes.

The lucky applicant will even be paid £75,000 a year for the role.

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