Best job in the world just became best life in the world for nomad couple living the dream!
The man who won a dream job as a tropical island caretaker nearly a decade ago has revealed that he’s swapped his dream job – for an ever BETTER one.
Ben Southall, from Petersfield, Hants, hit the headlines in 2009 when he beat off competition from 34,000 applicants to become caretaker of Hamilton Island, on the Great Barrier Reef.
But after the six month contract on the job expired, Ben was determined not to return to his job in events management – and bagged a job exploring the most amazing places Down Under for the Australia New Zealand tourist boards.
He and his wife, Sophee, who he met while travelling, are now paid to travel across the globe as part of their travel blog, The Best Life In The World.
The pair complete challenges in and around the world’s most beautiful places – including longboarding around Tasmania, and a 54,000 mile journey from Singapore to London in a mustard Landrover.
Ben said: “Life is pretty cool when you can work, live and travel with the person you love but even then it can also throw up a few testing situations.
“The benefits are you get to enjoy and share the experience of some of the world’s most stunning places together.
“Being stuck in an office all day, every day would bore me and I’ve no idea how people stick to the same job for a decade or more.”
Since Ben got hitched to aspiring globetrotter, Sophee Smiles five years ago they have not stayed still, becoming one of the most enviable couples on the internet.
Ben said: “Sophee and I met whilst I was emceeing an awards ceremony in the Whitsundays, where the Best Job in the World was based.
“Last we drove 54,000km from Singapore to London in my old Land Rover for our own project – Best Life in the World.
“It was something that naturally followed after Best Job with so many people telling me they had the Best Life, and not me.”
Sophee has earned a living from her own travel blog ever since ditching her dull desk-job in publishing in her home city of Brisbane.
The writer and photographer is currently on a mad mission for charity to travel 1000 km across Tasmania on just a longboard.
Sophee said: “The daily humdrum, predictability and lack of freedom were really starting to bring me down.
“I wanted to make a career out of facing the unknown.
“I hoped to share my experiences with others and inspire them to defy expectations, live on the edge and enjoy their passions – travel and beyond.
Ben insists that with long hours and angry mobs, doing what he loves with who he loves, is not all fun and games in paradise.
“The scariest moment I’ve ever had was being chased by a mob of around 50 people in Ethiopia after a lady walked out in front of my Land Rover and was ‘knocked over’.
“It was a big scam – I was doing around 3mph and she saw a chance to make some money from the situation.
“I had to leave the scene as quickly as possible, made for a Police station 100m up the road and dealt with it from behind the security of their compound walls.
“After taking her to hospital for X-rays that failed to find her supposed broken bones, I covered the loss of her broken shopping bags and went on my way.”
On their travels across some of the world’s least known borders in a bright 4×4, Ben and Sophee have paused enough times to capture breath-taking photos of their surroundings.
Ben said: “Hard work in a nine to five office job compared to hard work living on the road doesn’t really compare.
“Constantly trying to create content in some of the world’s most beautiful locations can be challenging as you struggle to find the patience to get it right every time!
“More often than not we’re trying to get the perfect picture with no-one else in it!
“Having air conditioning fitted to my 1986 Land Rover was probably the best move I could ever have made for reducing stress in hot humid climates!
“Sometimes though the idea of being on a working holiday all of the time, blogging, filming and photographing can mean long days and nights.
“This leads to more than a little frustration to get it all published and to keep partners and sponsors happy.”
“I’m sure there’s one day in the future when I’ll head back to the UK as my friends and family are all there and I do honestly miss them, but I don’t miss the dark days and long nights of winter at all.”