Austin Langlois, a 2013 graduate with a major in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Spanish, knows his way in the world.
In the past year, the peripatetic PR professional has been all over Europe, including Croatia, England, Spain, Germany, Greece, and Italy. He’s been to the Canary Islands, Iceland, Egypt, Lebanon, Mexico, and Bali.
Unlike some college students who see the world right after graduation before settling down, Langlois had some good work experience before embarking on his global adventures. He was a full-time intern at Amway while in school, and then hired after graduation. He worked with the company from 2014 to 2017.
In 2018 he moved to Miami to work at a tech PR firm with a unique agency model where each staffer was the only person on an account. Work was all retainer based and what Langlois calls very intense. He was expected to have 30 media placements per month. He left after 7 months but had gained great experience—he got clients in the New York Times, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Men’s Fitness, and CNBC as well as other national media. He honed his media relations skills and pitching at this job.
But it was a former boss who got him trotting the globe.
“My old boss at Amway said what would you do if you could?, and when I said travel she said why aren’t you doing that?” Langlois explains. “So I sold everything, shipped a bunch of stuff to my parents’ house and booked a one-way ticket to Bali.”
He was based in Bali. From there he went to Thailand, Japan and Korea, as well as other places mentioned above.
“I went where the weather was good,” he said. “I would stay three weeks to a month, sometimes less. I came in as tourist and also worked remotely. Then at a coworking place in Bali where I frequented they asked me about being a marketing director. So I did that for four months before deciding to come home.”
He made a living while traveling by freelancing for magazines and doing public relations for a handful of clients, including Amway and Boxed Water and other clients he picked up remotely. He wrote articles for Bon Apetite, Grand Rapids Magazine, TimeOut Miami, AskMen.com. While he could easily work remotely, he did occasionally have to join conference calls remotely at 2 am.
“I was making enough,” he said. “It’s cheaper to live outside the U.S .so you don’t need to make as much. I didn’t have a lot of expenses by not having a car. A lot of people look at travel at this big thing but you just take steps like anything else. You have to sell stuff, budget, look at costs of living in different places, and understand priorities and objectives in traveling. For me it was to work and travel at the same time.”
Eventually, Langlois wanted more stability. He had kept in touch with Amway and they were one of his clients, for whom he had done media relations, crisis communications, corporate communications, executive communications, speechwriting, strategy and planning. Hired at the beginning of 2019 to return to the home office, his role is social media for Amway Corporate and he is PR lead for Home and Durables brands, a $1.5 billion brand.
Langlois has advice for students that is characteristically adventurous.
“Always take the meeting,” he says. “Even if you’re not looking. Explore every opportunity. I’ve interviewed everywhere from British Ambassador office to Samsung. Sometimes I wasn’t a fit, sometimes they weren’t, but you learn about other companies, workstyles, leadership, and where you fit in the competitive landscape. Also, it’s good to try to find a position outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to look for jobs outside the country or outside your career trajectory or plans. You may find the experience will be useful or that you find that it was more enjoyable than you imagined.”
You can see Langlois’ articles and photos of his world travels on his website: https://austinlanglois.com