StRuth Adventures (Steve and Ruth) gave up everything to travel 5 years ago. We sold the house. We re-homed our beloved cat to our next door neighbour. We gave the car away. We either sold or gave away 90% of our possessions. When we left the UK in 2012 we didn’t know how far we’d go, or for how long. We just knew we wanted to travel, and had one question – How can I afford to travel the world?
Since then we have been to 11 countries. We have lived and worked in most of these countries, if only for a short time. What a small number I hear you say! Well, we like to fully explore a country and are not interested in just ticking somewhere off a list and moving on to the next place. Our aim is now to travel indefinitely. We need a different mentality to those living abroad, or on a gap-year.
Traveling Indefinitely Vs Living Abroad
Living abroad is moving to a specific country and starting a new life there. You will have a job, pay taxes, maybe start a family, or relocate your existing one, with children attending the local school. It’s possible you may choose to buy a house and build a home. Traveling indefinitely, on the other hand, is more about not putting down roots and being free to relocate whenever you choose. This gives you the freedom to stay as long as you desire in each country (visa permitting). In your heart you know it’s not a permanent home and sooner or later your itchy feet and restless soul will crave somewhere new and a fresh adventure will begin.
Is it for you?
A lot of people I know romanticise about traveling the world and ditching their boring work life. Together with the promise of meeting new friends from different countries, there’s the aspiration of flying off to tropical beaches and dancing under a full moon with sand between your toes. Or, wrapping up in warm thermals and sleeping in a hotel made completely of ice. These kinds of dreams cost money and unless you have a sufficient regular income, savings will run out and you will be forced to change lifestyle again. In order to move from country to country, you must have skills or qualifications that can be utilised anywhere in the world.
The Cost of Dreams
Dreams rarely come for free. If your dream is to travel eternally you will need to apply yourself to planning a strategy for how you will finance this. You may have enough money to book a round-the-world trip for one year and not have to work whilst you’re away, but if your plan is to stay away from your home country for as long as possible you will require a qualification/ trade that allows you to work in as many countries as possible.
Planning Your Trip
You are about to embark on a completely new and exciting lifestyle and this takes planning if it’s to be a success. Ask yourself some questions- What do I want to achieve from my life? Where do I want to go? What qualities or qualifications do I have that will earn me a living? Do I want to secure a job prior to setting off or will I look for work along the way? How will I support myself if I am out of work or I have an accident? These are all important starter questions and will make life easier for you later on.
Training for your new life
You need to decide if you wish to gain any expensive qualifications whilst retaining a full-time job or whether to save money and relocate to do an intensive training course. There are pros and cons to both, depending on your particular situation and the reasons for your new life will determine which route you choose.
I have worked as a Dive Instructor for four years and did most of my courses in my home country, and the final Instructor course and exams in Vietnam. Training to become a PADI Dive Instructor can be done in as little as six months as an intensive course, or over a potentially much longer period through a club in your home country. The cost of reaching this professional level runs into the thousands when you consider the courses and kit required.
Where to start the journey?
You need to understand world geography and it’s a good idea to start by looking at different seasons around the globe. If you are able to work from anywhere, online for example, it is feasible for you to travel to a country during their off-season to save money on accommodation. Long term agreements are always far cheaper than nightly rentals. Flights on main routes will be cheaper in the off-season, however, not all flight routes are available throughout the year. The cheapest flights often need booking online and this requires some form of payment card. Do you have funds for this? Sure you might now, but what about in 2 years time?
Tip: Check visa requirements well in advance – some can take months to process!
Do NOT use a Credit Card
Unless you have a secure, permanent job and have the means to pay off the bill, do not use a credit card. Not all countries allow you to move money out of their borders. Iceland, for example, has only allowed International bank transfers in the last year. Also, think about the value of the currency you will be earning. If you have a debt on a credit card in a first-world country and you plan to work for any period of time in a third-world country it is unlikely that your salary will be adequate enough to pay the bill and to live comfortably. You need to live within your means!
Examples of jobs you can do anywhere in the world
As you move from place to place there are always jobs that can be done in bars, hotels, restaurants etc. Unless you are managing these establishments, leave these jobs to the backpackers. You need something more rewarding. This is the life you have chosen, and it is not a holiday. It won’t always be an easy life and you need to make sure you can earn enough to cover flights and visas, and also health insurance and some form of pension fund.
You can do online work from anywhere in the world with a decent internet connection. These jobs include writing a blog, web design, graphic design and online translation.
Location specific jobs include sports coaching, language teaching, medical professions or trade jobs.
Ideally, you will choose something which offers career progression options.
As a traveler, you can easily write about a destination you have been to and get paid for it. Click here to see who I write for.
Do you want to become a Dive Instructor and potentially work somewhere new every 6 months? This type of job can also allow you to be based in a country for a year, or more, and really experience what that culture has to offer. Visit the PADI website now by clicking here. PADI, like other websites, have a classifieds section and can help you work around the world at bucket-list destinations.
If you love working with people and want a flexible lifestyle then language teaching could be for you. A great company I like for this is i-to-i as they offer both courses and internships. Click here to view their website and the range of destinations on offer.
Whatever you decide to do, ensure that you are always learning and striving towards new skills, knowledge and/or qualifications so that you are as marketable as possible to prospective future employers, either freelance or permanent. This also helps you to keep motivated and not stagnate.
So, where do you want to go first?