From day one, the actual date was November 26, 2016, the common question has been, “How will you afford to do this ( “this” meaning travel). There are multiple blogs and articles out there that explain and explore this topic so I will not rehash. What I would like to discuss is sustaining your long term travel plans and the highs and lows that come with living away from your home country for an extended period of time.
The beginning…I left South Carolina to pursue my dream to travel. With this came with giving up a business I had been building for several years. Because I worked all of the time, I was able to save up enough money to begin to pursue this crazy dream of mine. Because I didn’t have any plans of returning to the states; items needed to be bought and sold.
Two Items that needed to be bought: new laptop, noise canceling headphones with bluetooth ( which have been life savers). Of course I did buy other “stuff” but looking back, it was pointless. The only consistent personal items that have survived traveling are the computer, headphones, and my phone.
Everything else in my life was insignificant. I am fortunate enough to have free storage space for things I felt like I could not give up: antique furniture, a sofa that I love, a few childhood memories, and a box winter clothing that I may or may not need while traveling. All else was either sold or given away. The 50 in flat screen tv…given to a friend; kitchen supplies…..sold; desktop computer….sold; sewing machine…sold; clothing, mattresses, towels, dishes, vases, pictures all donated. Car, sold!
Letting go of these items was very hard! If someone tells you that letting go of everything you own is easy, they are liars. But being free of all things makes life a lot easier, promise. Here begins my journey. One backpack, and one duffle bag.
With money in the bank and semi support from my family and full support from my friends, I am off. I bring up support because this is important to long term travel. If you don’t have support than your adventure will be a million times harder. With the advent of computers, social media, Skype, FaceTime, texting, and all of the other way to communicate via a device, it is so easy to talk to your loved ones. I honestly have not spoken to my family more than since I left. Knowing that others are happy, excited, and thrilled for your next life step helps you cope on the bad days.
Unfortunately, sometimes, the same people who are your number one fans will leave you in the dust. With traveling comes a separation of friendship. This is something you will have to deal with, emotionally. It’s hard when people stop communicating. You begin to think of what you may have done wrong or what you may have said for them to stop talking to you. The friendship may pick up in the future but right now, it’s on pause. That is how I am looking at it, a paused friendship, with hopes that it will return one day. While traveling it’s ok to be emotional about things, or people. Let it out because if you don’t your time away will be ruined. Focus on the present and maybe the past will return.
Just like friendships, money doesn’t last forever. I am not a rich person. I just worked my ass off to get here and have found ways to keep up this type of lifestyle. After 4 months of a steady paycheck in Thailand, I wanted to be able to do and see more, without being held to a classroom or contract. If you don’t know, I am teaching English as a foreign language. The month before my contract ended in Thailand I applied to several position around the world. I accepted one in China. But quickly realized China was not where I wanted to be. I found an alternative way of making money, teaching online. Am I going to get rich off of this, nope. But does it help me to travel and see other places, yep.
Once hired, I decided to take a week off and travel to Cambodia. From there, it was a 3 weeks in Rome, next 4 weeks in Croatia, and currently I am in Germany for two months. While in Germany I am pet sitting for a friend. Which is certainly the way to go, rent free! Because of this I have signed up on a petsitting website so I can sustain this way of life.
Thinking outside the box is a major player in continuous travel. If you don’t have a trust fund or millions in the bank; which most of us don’t, it is a very important. So let’s review: save money, have a job before you leave, work while traveling, letting go of people and things.
Now, it’s gut check time…do you go on Instagram and see the whimsical photos of that one person and think, how the f*&^ are they doing this? All of these places around the world, they must be spending a fortune. Well they may be spending a fortune but I know I don’t have that kind of money to spend. While in Germany, I have done very little in the way of travel. By looking at my Instagram it would appear that I am spending money left and right. This is not true. Budgeting is my #1 priority. Other than that, I have been working almost everyday, shopping at the local market, watching Netflix at night, and going to Fests on the weekend. It’s just like living back home.
My time in Germany is to rebuild the bank account and spend as little money as I can. Today, I will be going to a bathhouse which cost 5 euro for an hour. Later on this afternoon, I will take the train 5 euro into Frankfurt to explore what the city has to offer. For the month of July, I plan on going on day trips that will not cost more than 50 euro.
Just like everything else in life being able to sustain long term travel is hard and needs to be worked on every single day. Create wonderful memories but not tons of debt and follow your own path.