Many people ask me how I am living this life. Quitting my job in America, again, and roaming the world freely.
Some assume I inherited money.
Other assholes assume I am being funded by a sugar daddy.
Just to set the record straight-neither are true.
Want to know the secret?
I worked my butt off for a whole year to save up-that’s it folks!
I worked a full time job while driving Lyft on the side before, and after my shifts to make it happen!
After staying in Thailand for 6 months in 2016, while living out of a bag I packed for a two week vacation, I realized there were so many expensive things back home I was addicted to. Things I formed an attachment to that were no longer serving me once I realized how little I needed to be truly happy.
It became apparent that most of my adult life I had been filling a void with these things I thought were making me happy. If anyone challenged me that some of the things weren’t necessary for my existence, I would swear to the ends of the earth I still needed these things to survive.
I had started to form my identity off these things, it was how I lived my life, it was all I ever knew, and it was ridiculous.
I would justify for hours that I needed a whole new outfit every weekend if I was going out.
I needed my acrylic nails and hair extensions.
I needed to go out to happy hour and dinner at least three time a week.
I needed the hottest new lipstick shade and the most expensive eyeliner.
It finally hit me, if I eliminated these silly needs from my life I could actually save quite a decent amount of money and take a meaningful trip of a lifetime. And that’s exactly what I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had fun while I back home in the states this past year. This time, I was just actutely aware of every dollar. I made sure to be extremely conscious of what I was spending.
By being aware that I didn’t need to shop, eat out often, or pamper myself I shifted my priorities and went into full on “save mode”.
As I am here on the road, I live day to day very consciously and as if I don’t have money. I’m not flat broke, but I’m definitely not rich.
The goal is for my funds to take me as far as possible, and for that to happen I have willingly made sacrifices.
The thing is, I don’t see these sacrifices as just giving something up, I am gaining so much more by letting a few things go. I want to feel fulfilled with every dollar I spend.
Hey, I’m not knocking vaycay mode! I’m just pointing out there is quite a difference.
Allow me to explain travel mode.
My ideal budget is $10 a day, not including travel costs (ie: bus/flights) or extra add on activities (i.e: Machu Picchu).
$10 in the perfect world would equal $5 on accommodation, and $5 on food. Breakfast is preferably included in the stay, so I just need one more meal and a few snacks (ie: chocolate) to get me through the day.
Spending $15-$20 a day has been more realistic so far, $10 on accommodation, and then other $10 for food. I was most recently in Costa Rica, which is more expensive than I would like when it comes to food and activities.
I’m not completely limiting myself, there are things I will invest in. I have splurged on the fancier bus, the convenient taxi, a sushi dinner…but these are the exception, not that rule.
Here at a few examples of what my travel mode looks like:
My excursions are limited
I don’t do the typical tourist adventuring unless it’s free or cheap. I pick and choose my activities wisely before engaging because I can’t do it all. I stick to the free activities like hikes and beaches, with activities I have to pay for just sprinkled in.
I can experince the country by just being there and exploring on my own each day rather than always having a planned excursion. Hey, all I need is a beach and some good company and I am a happy camper!
I am crossing countries via bus
In the beginning of my trip I spent and lost wayyy to much money on flights. Unfortunately, there was a situation in Peru where I was not able to board a flight to Colombia because I didn’t have an exit flight booked. Traveling you hear about these nightmare urban legends, but it happened to me! Needless to say, I wasn’t able to board the plane. Lost out on $400 while having to book another $400 flight in the process. Painful!
Buses are the cheapest way to travel, but definitely not the most glamourous. I have been packed into a 12 person van with 15 people. I have had to stand up during a 30 minute ride in a school bus that was winding through crazy roads. I have been in 85 degree heat, with leather seats, and no AC. I have been stuck on a bus for 3 hours with no bathroom stop until I cried to the bus driver to pull over for me. But, it’s the cheapest way to go, so I’m in!
When it comes to food I can be a health nut, but out here it is all about balance. I usually crave a huge salad, veggie burger, or a burrito most days. There are some days I eat out and enjoy glorious meals, other days I eat ramen noodles and PB&J, or just fruit. It’s ever changing, but the common theme is my meals are basic and therefore cheap. I’m all about the value when it comes to the grub!
I enjoy few and far between personal space
I am staying in hostels for accommodation. For those not familiar with hostels outside the horror movie, let me explain.
Hostel rooms are dorms with anywhere from 4-16 bunks beds in a room. So just like summer camp, it is completely shared space. These rooms usually have 1-2 shared bathrooms inside, or outside the room. Sometimes the shower and toilets are literally outside.
Luckily, I am able to build myself a fort if I get the bottom bunk, it’s almost like my own room!
I am hand wash my clothing
Laundry is one of the most annoying expenses, you don’t even have to think about it at home when you have a washer and dryer in your place. It’s not always cheap to get a load of laundry done. It could cost anywhere from $2-$10 a kilo. Crazy!
I try to hand wash my clothes once, and then take to the laundry the second time. I still enjoy that “fresh out of the dryer” crispness! I bought an amazingly convenient clothesline that I can hang from the dorm bed posts to dry my laundry after washing with detergent in the sink. Mom would be proud! I’ve it said before, it’s not all glitz and glam on the road! I have had to make decisions about what is important to me and what I want to accomplish while traveling. I know now I enjoy the simple things in life and the times I have to rough it are often the most memorable.
I worked hard to save up, and I am sacrificing the glamour for the experiences of a lifetime. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else!
If you have ever considered taking your own trip and have questions about how to make it happen, I’m here to answer as best I can!