How Do I afford to travel?
I get that question often and Im sure people wonder it a lot more than I hear.
To sum it up, here is a conversation I had tuesday night.
Facebook Friend: What is the secret? How do I get to be like you and travel all the time.
ME: Lots of sacrifice!! No secret
FF: Ok. I want to do the same. I’m ready to flee!!!
ME: Don’t you have a dog? That’s a serious travel killer. My pets are low maintenance.
I rent my place on airbnb when I leave so it doesn’t cost me to be gone. And I don’t have stability. Never have so I don’t need it now… Most people need to have comfort and plans and nice things, I only need adventure.
FF: I do have a bulldog. Yeah I hear you. May I ask a personal question? What do you do for income?
ME: I have multiple airbnb properties I manage now
And I do marketing consulting
So I can work abroad
Writing, photography, video, social media, branding
And I will trade those services while I travel at hotels and stuff
FF: You rock!!!!! I want to be you when I grow up!
ME: Awww you can do it! Start Tomorrow!
Couchsurfing and airbnb is great for finding places to stay with locals for cheap. Skyscanner is a great place to find cheap flights as well as blogs for finding flight deals or airline glitches. (Had an around the world ticket for $300 last fall!)
FF: That is amazing. Since I started my jewelry line I’ve decided I want to travel the world to find ocean makings for my jewelry.
ME: What a great idea!! DO IT!
That was the exact conversation. As I wrote it out to her I thought to myself, I should blog about this.
This conversation just shows that travel and freedom and abundance is totally available. I am not wealthy or from money, I have no “sponsor” and I have a lot of responsibility and relationships in my life. It is a juggle and it is not for everyone but it CAN BE if that is your choice.
My friend didn’t write me because she was really that curious how I made money, she wanted to get confirmation that she could do it too.
Maybe you need that confirmation too.
Go do it.
Find a cheap flight somewhere you have always wanted to go. Read a few blogs while you pack and just GO. You will feel so uncomfortable and out of place in a city where no one speaks your language. You have to figure out a map to find the right train to your cheap hostel for the night where you might meet some cool Germans who heard about this waterfall that isn’t on any tourist maps but apparently theres a rope swing and a rad view. You will have an amazing time but wont instagram it because you don’t have service and you are having too much fun anyways. Until later you are on the train again by yourself, on to the next town, feeling lonely and uneasy and the bread roll you bought to last you the day is starting to get stale and you wish you at least had wifi so you could instagram how much fun you were just having. You think about the past and home as you look out the window and see a totally different world outside rushing past you.
Its a completely different world and it creates a completely different you.
That is the adventure and the type of travel I love.
So what about that sacrifice I mentioned to my friend? The lack of stability?
Its true. The travel life costs more than money.
I have to work twice as hard when I am home to catch up with meetings, with friends, with family, with myself. I am always in a state of playing catch up. It costs me a lot of free time. I think most people take that for granted, not realizing that the hours spent shopping or on Netflix or on games, could be spent scheming your next adventure or the way to pay for it.
Travel can cost you relationships. I am always missing something, someone, somewhere. The first month of my new relationship was long distance because I was in Colombia and Nicaragua, two weeks after we got serious. Good thing he likes me!
I’m always living out of a suitcase, sometimes between two suitcases. One will be packed with regular every day clothes with a nice outfit for dinner and meetings and looking professional, the other one packed with hiking boots, bikinis & those zip off shorts/pants (yes, I own those.) This might sound awesome but it can feel like my life is in compartments and I never feel settled. I’ve had to create a lot of systems and stay very organized.
For business abroad, I use the organization, communication and productivity tools like Google Drive, Rescue Time, Alfred, Trello and Skype. I have a plan with Boingo, a premium global Wi-Fi provider so I can work between adventures, especially airports and layovers. I have learned to be self disciplined and get stuff done wherever and whenever possible.
Okay I promise not to talk about the boring logistics in the crazy tight rope walk that can be my travel lifestyle if you promise to stop making excuses for yourself and just GO.