When you live outside the rat race and have an advice-giving travel site, people are always asking questions. Like:
How Do You Afford to Travel?
This topic deserves a whole series of posts, but here’s the shorter answer:
- I’m rich in time.
Once I quit my desk job, I was suddenly a time billionaire, which can make the rest of life pretty cheap. I’m able to wait for cheaper transit options. I can work-exchange and do touristy activities. I can afford the time it takes to shop at markets and cook meals.
- I fly for free.
If you don’t have the financial habits it takes to travel hack, get them. And then start flying for free. Since I finally started travel hacking two years ago, I’ve flown thirteen times. I paid $11.20 or less for twelve of those flights.
- I find dirt cheap flights.
When I do pay to fly, I use Skyscanner like this or get an error fare.
- I’m flexible.
Being rich in time makes it easy for me to go with the flow. Example: flights from the U.S. to Australia are usually $2,000 roundtrip. When I saw a deal for $600 in early 2017, I dropped all my plans for April and May to fly down undah.
- I stick to a budget.
I write down everything I spend. Every. single. thing. Seeing my spending tallied up regularly keeps me in the know about what’s happening with my bank account. It also prevents me blowing cash on big nights out and items that don’t end up adding much value to my life.
- I live other people’s lives.
Travel that isn’t 100% about you is usually cheap or free. To me, taking a train somewhere, staying in a hotel, going out to eat, and visiting museums or shopping barely registers on my fun meter. Yawn. I’d rather go to a locals-only watering hole, a family home in a remote village, an Italian rooftop birthday party, a moonlight sail to a private island. You can, too. For free. How? See #1-5 here.
- I go without.
The happiness I get from doing whatever I want makes it easy to live without the lesser happiness of having whatever I want. Those who kill off the seeds of longing sown by western culture end up with rich experiences that money can’t buy. Try it! For travel, start with #6-10 here. For everyday life, I do or have done all but a handful of these 101 everyday money ninja strategies.
- I travel slowly.
Example: One month I rented a Croatian apartment, bought groceries at markets, walked all over historic Zagreb, read books, went running every day, talked to my family and friends, and never wanted for anything. Total cost: about $400. Spending a month in 10 cities all over Europe, however, costs thousands, is exhausting, and can even be boring.
- I work as needed.
There are tons of jobs to do while traveling the world. In seven+ years of travel I’ve worked for thirteen months total. In 2014, I started teaching myself how to make money with a website. In 2015, I got more serious about it. Because I’m unwilling to treat this site like a job, I still make less than half of what my poorest friends are making. But I have enough money to do the things I want to do, and I’m rich in the commodity I care most about: time.
How Do I Start a Blog Like You?!
There are tons of things I wish I’d known before monetizing my little site.
If I could only do one thing differently, I would have paid for a how-to blogging course like this one. Instead I spent hundreds of hours researching and implementing ideas with no overall game plan. Silly. And exhausting.
Why Does Your Domain Name Suggest Pornography?
Ha! Because I am an idiot.
I may have had a dirty mind when I was a teenager, but not in 2010 when I was reading a zillion travel quotes trying to come up with a good site name.
I’ve always been wary of the way “the things you own end up owning you.” Susan Heller’s declaration about packing resonated:
Traveling with less really does net you more incredible experiences. The less you have, the more you see how little you need. The less you need, the more you give. The more you give, the more you get. Really.
A “half the clothes” mentality unlocks a quality of life that’s the best I’ve ever had. Maybe being mostly naked would, too. Ha!
Aren’t You Scared?
Yes. I’m scared shitless. I’ve said before: life is terrifying; travel won’t change that. But we’re all scared. Life is full of uncertainty, and that’s permanent. All you can do it try to get good at being uncomfortable.
Sometimes. When you live outside the mainstream cultural script, there are scary days where you feel intensely lost. You wonder what you’re doing with your life, if you’re ever going to regret not getting a master’s degree, getting married, having kids, buying a house, pursuing a career, etc.
For me, the scary days now are far fewer than stress-ridden days of my 9-5 desk job, where I longed to spend my time in a way that would ensure I escape the most common deathbed regrets.
I get through the scary days pretty easily, because there are so many days now where I’m thrilled about what I’m doing. Way, way, way, way more than my old, “safe, secure,” cookie cutter life where I felt tied down.
Are You Ever Going to Settle Down & Get a “Real” Job?
Oh good golly, Ms. Molly.
Well… none of us can predict the future. But you’ve heard of the “adventurer” or “wanderlust” gene – DRD4 – 7R? ageneticists are quick to remind us no one gene is singly responsible for one behavior. I’m pretty sure I must have it. So on “settling down,” I can say this: sure, sometimes I long for a stronger sense of community and set out to stop in one place for more than a few weeks – especially when I travel too much/fast. But after I’ve hiked or run every trail within five miles of any front door, I’m usually itching to move on. One guy I met blamed my photographic memory.
As for a “real” job – not if I can help it! 40 hours a week as an employee just isn’t compatible with my priorities. Read: Why a Hard-Working Perfectionist Doesn’t Want a Job.
Can I Buy You a Drink?
Is it because I motivated you to start flying for free?
Or my stories made you laugh?
Or you loved my RTW packing list?
Or I helped you decide which house sitting site to use?
Or I showed you how to work and travel?
I’ll take an oaked bourbon on the rocks.
Or a Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cab.
Or a prickly pear margarita.
Or a flat white.
Or water. I drink a lot of water.
Or my favorite super-legit hangover pills.
Do You Accept Guest Posts?
Yeah, if you’re cool.
Fair warning… I kind of hate the commercialization of the internet. Like, so bad I once quit for a month.
So if you’re just following some wallet-emptying guru’s advice to “build your brand,” I’m not sure I’m the online buddy for you. But if you want to share your travel expertise, or your saving-money-to-travel wisdom, or the ten things travel taught you… let’s do it!
Happy Travels, Y’all! ♣
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