Aside from, “you’re insane”, the next most frequent question I’m asked is, “what do you do for money?!” Oh wait, “you’re insane” isn’t a question. In that case, let me answer that #1 burning query.
I quit my professional job 5 months ago, and have been traveling the world since then. It’s been a fantastical ride and one that showed me life can be bigger and more exciting than I ever imagined! How do I financially sustain this new lifestyle, though? Well, here’s a secret fact about yours truly:
I plan the SHIT out of EVERYTHING.
I plan, I scour, I create Excel spreadsheets, I research the webs and interview other people “in the know”. It doesn’t matter if it’s putting myself through private university on my own as a teenager with no one to help or co-sign loans, or buying a fucking down pillow. I will research the shit out of it and figure out the best ways and all the secret ins and outs. I actually kind of enjoy following a rabbit hole of information to find hidden knowledge. As a result, I spend an inordinate amount of time searching out the all the tricks I need to put together to create the ultimate plan.
My penchant for information digging is aided by a very diverse set of friends. I have friends of all ages, incomes, stages of life, and stages of craziness. As I’ve traveled, I’ve picked up an even more diverse set of contacts. There are a lot more people in my “vagabond traveler” tool kit (tool kit, not toolbox) who have given me priceless gems. These in-the-know people shared with me more ways to travel on the cheap or even free and rescued my sabbatical plans on more than one occasion!
Ok, but where does the money come from that you’re spending?
Let me ask you a question — what are you hoping I’ll say? Are you looking for a solution for yourself or an excuse as to why you’re in a different situation and could never do what I’m doing? Are you hoping I’ll tell you that like the Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, I have a writing gig on the side that sends me a steady flow of Benjamins? Nope, sorry. I’ve had not a single paying gig since leaving my engineering job. Are you hoping I’ll say my parents are loaded and they’re sending me money? Hahahaha… Nothing could be farther from the truth in that assumption. Nope, I’m totally on my own in this.
I have some of my own, hard-earned money sitting in the bank. I withdraw it as slowly as possible. That’s the short answer.
The long answer is I:
- Set up a way to save money painlessly many months before I took the leap.
- Sold everything I owned that people would buy and have very little to come back to. (It actually is a very freeing feeling, as other people who did this will tell you.) I sold much of my stuff for less than it was worth because of the short time frame, but still managed to re-coup around $1,000. (Thanks again to everyone who bought stuff or shared my sales notices – especially to the newly made snow bunny.)
- Researched the best credit cards to apply to right before I made the leap, back when I still had great credit and income. The credit cards were specifically selected for their no-foreign transaction fee, 0% introductory interest, and foreign car rental insurance coverage perks.
- Worked my final few weeks while housesitting and staying with friends, thereby saving $1,450 in rent. Thanks again, ladies!
- Came up with a fun game on the road where my friends gave me ridiculous amounts of money as gifts. See here. I kept receiving gifts even after the game ended and in all, received over $1,000 worth of INSANELY generous generosity. Thank you again, everyone!
- Found the best ways to book airfare on the cheap. The best websites, times of day to book and how to fly all go into finding the cheapest flights possible. For example, I recently paid $127 less on a flight from NYC to India than an Indian who is an expert in finding cheap fares for this exact route did — for the same time frame.
- Found ways to stay all over the world very inexpensively, and often even completely free! There are surprisingly a TON of ways to do this and I now have a bunch of unusual methods and websites I can go to when forming a plan for the next stage of my journey.
- Go to places where the US dollar is stupid strong. When I’m not having to pay in British Pounds or Euros, or Singapore Dollars or Japanese Yen, then my housing and dining options are a bit wider. Right now, for example, I’m in Bali and could be paying $2,000 per night at a fancy tourist resort down the road, but I’m staying in a nice hotel room all to myself with a big bed, A/C and a pool for $13/day. This is the very high-end of accommodations pricing that I’ve paid in my travels, by the way. I’m splurging because I needed some quiet, downtime to work on my 6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop. Same with food. I can easily get by on $3/day getting stuffed with food here in Indonesia by visiting street vendors instead of restaurants aimed at tourists. If you go where locals go, you can eat and live like a king for a mind-boggling small percentage of what your typical tourist pays.
… plus even more things I don’t have the time to mention here.
If you’re looking for solutions to escape your professional job and travel the world instead of excuses why you don’t, check out the “6 Months to Sabbatical Workshop” I’m creating, HERE. I’m building out a complete plan for you, taking advantage of all the hours of research and connections I’ve made with other travel experts out here where the action is. You can create a practical escape plan from well before you make the leap, and I can work with you to make it happen. Hurry, the course starts February 25th, 2016, and registration ends February 23rd, 2016 at midnight, Eastern Time. I don’t know if this course will ever be offered again, so if you’re interested, go to this site for more information on the course and to register:
Hope to see you out here soon and hear from you even sooner!