You may be aware that I’m more than a little travel-crazy.
When people ask what I’ve been up to lately, I usually start gushing about my most recent trip and excitedly detail my upcoming plans to zip across one of Earth’s many oceans to somewhere I’ve never been before.
I don’t mean to make anyone jealous – I just can’t help but be a tad (ok, more than a tad) excited about it. Travel is what I live for and it’s what I like to talk about.
As a response, I often get “You’re quite a jet-setter!” or “You travel a lot, don’t you!”. It’s true, I like to spend every spare second I have and every last cent in my bank account on travel. Since 2006, I’ve left my home country of Australia 12 times and spent an average of about 3-5 weeks abroad every year.
But the question I get asked most often is how do I get to travel so much? Did I win the lottery? Do I have a job that pays for me travel? How do I go about pissing off overseas multiple times a year, travelling for longer than most people get on annual leave, even when I’m earning a reasonably low salary?
I own very little
My apartment is not filled with many things. I don’t have much furniture and I have a minimalist wardrobe of less than only 40 clothing items.
Having not much stuff means I can pick up and go at any time without worrying about what I’ll do with my possessions. Everything that I need to live and work (my laptop, camera, and entire wardrobe) can be bundled into my backpack at any time.
It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ people can accumulate over a few years. The thought of giving it all away might sound scary, but could you imagine how freeing it could be if you had no possessions to worry about?
I save as much as I can
Aside from a daily coffee, I spend barely any money. I only eat out only once or twice a week, and I limit how much I spend on new clothes. I even save money by not owning a car.
I budget all my income and expenses and find where I could spend a little less, then put aside anything extra for my next trip.
It may not sound like fun, but it works. I know exactly how much money I can save, and if I feel like purchasing something that’s not accounted for in my budget, I have to think twice about it.
To me, giving up a few luxuries to save extra money for travel is totally worth it. I’ll be glad I didn’t buy a new pair of shoes or upgrade my smartphone when I’m sitting in a café in a foreign city, mapping out which area I’ll explore next.
I travel cheaply
It’s amazing how far your money can go when you’re actively trying to make it last. There’s a common misconception that travel has to be expensive, but that’s not the case. Travel can actually be cheaper than staying at home if you’re smart about it.
My travels do not involve any luxury 5 star hotels, expensive private tours, or fancy restaurant dinners. Most of the time you’ll find me staying in hostels or budget accommodation, walking or taking public transport wherever possible, making my own meals in hostel kitchens, and finding travel hacks to save money.
I travel cheap, which means I can stretch my dollars further and travel for longer.
I make my own rules
Life seems to be full of rules. I’ve noticed that we get taught from a very early age to stay in line, go to school, go to college, get a job, work hard, be happy with your sucky life, and don’t get in anyone’s way.
Well, to hell with that. I guess I’m comparable to one of those annoying kids who constantly asks “Why?” when you tell them they should do something. I live an unconventional lifestyle by following only the rules I want to, and I think that’s totally ok.
Sure, there are some rules that should be followed, but there are some pretty stupid ones too. Why should we have to give up doing something we’re passionate about, just because it’s not a ‘steady job’? Why should we only get a limited number of weeks of paid leave per year? For what reason are we expected to settle down with a ridiculous mortgage, pump out a few kids, send them to fancy schools, and spend our lives complaining of how little money we have left over?
We don’t have to live life the way other people expect us to. Once I stopped abiding by the rules, my whole world opened up. I could travel as much as I wanted, and no one was going to stop me!
I now work (mostly) for myself
Now that I’ve quit the 9-5, I don’t have to stay in one place. Making money online as a freelancer means I can move around while I work. I don’t have to save up annual leave for months until I have enough to travel. I can actually spend as much time away as I want.
Of course this lifestyle has it’s downsides. I’m working more than I used to, I’m not making loads of money, and I’ve had to give up many luxuries to be able to work for myself, but having the ability to pick up and leave at any time makes it worth it.
I’m willing to face my fears
We’re all scared of things, and travel can often seem like a bad idea. I’m a nervous flyer, sometimes I worry about my safety, or hear stories of people getting sick or injured while travelling. There are always going to be ‘what ifs’ going through my head.
It’s fine to be scared or nervous about something, but what’s not fine is letting fear of the unknown get the better of you and stop you having a great experience. How will you ever live a life of travel if you’re not willing to try something different and see what happens?
I’ve been slowly moving towards this lifestyle over the past few years. I honestly believe that most of you can do this too. It takes hard work and preparation, but it’s not out of reach. All you have to do is go about making it happen, instead of waiting for the opportunity to fall into your lap (which it probably never will).