Interview with Mapping Megan

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been traveling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure.  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home. Here she shares her story about how she got started, how she chooses to travel and how she chose to make her own ‘reality’.

1.When did you get started traveling? My first international trip was in 2003 – I joined a school language trip for two weeks to Japan, and it was a wonderful experience. However I didn’t really start traveling, and wasn’t truly bitten by the travel bug, until I arrived in the UK in 2007. Fresh out of high school, I spent 12 months working as a teacher’s assistant in a UK boarding school, exploring Europe during the 17 weeks of school break. Between spending St Patrick’s Day drunk in a pub in Dublin, to skydiving over the Swiss Alps; packing on the pounds in Italian pizzerias and spending the summer sailing across the sparkling waters of the Croatian coast – I fell in love with travel, and fell in love with discovering the world.

Skydiving in the Swiss Alps in 2007

2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? It was a mixture of extreme wanderlust and extreme jealousy. Jealousy, I’ve learned, can be an incredible motivator, and one January back in 2012, catching a flight back to Australia from the US, I was seated next to a man who had not only been traveling the world for 5 years, but was managing to make a living while doing so. I then realized that people all over the world were doing this: establishing and monetizing travel blogs, allowing them to live a completely nomadic lifestyle, working for themselves, from absolutely anywhere in the world. I’m a fairly ambitious person, so by my reasoning, if other people could make it happen and live their dream, why couldn’t I?!

3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? I’m happy. It really all comes down to that. The ability to travel the world and discover new destinations is my dream, so to have created a career which allows me to do this every day is my definition of happiness. I don’t listen to negativity. There’s too much of it in our world. There will always be those who will attempt to pull you down, or those who don’t believe in your abilities to achieve a goal or push beyond your limits. If you listen to them and let their words affect you, you’ve already lost. Thank them for their opinion and continue living your life.

I’m happy! Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru in 2014.

4.How did you save money to be able to afford living ‘on the road’/traveling often? How long did it take you to make the jump to a location independent/travel-based life? We cut costs and sacrificed unnecessary luxuries, however it was hard work and determination which saw me actually earn the money required to continue to travel. After my gap year in the UK in 2007 was over I wasn’t happy accepting that “reality” meant I couldn’t travel any more.  I worked incredibly hard to make my dream of seeing the world MY reality.  I did the “normal” thing to do and started University after my year away; however while studying full time I also juggled multiple full time jobs. Before I knew it, I was working two full time jobs while also studying full time.  This meant that during University semesters I was working 16-20 hour days.

5.How do you choose your destinations and for how long you’ll stay? What type of accommodations do you typically choose? Are there any specific resources you recommend? We choose our destinations based on opportunities and cheap flights on offer at the time. Now that we travel as a couple we opt to stay in hotels and apartments; however, will be looking into house-sitting for our upcoming travels to cut our accommodation costs. A great resource for international house-sit opportunities is Trusted Housesitters.

Moving towards house-sitting…luxurious and free accommodation.

6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? We haven’t yet hit a year of full time travel – this is our first year on the road.  We have spent the last 6 months hitting fairly remote and expensive bucket list destinations (Easter Island, the Amazon, Galapagos, Iceland), and have spent $25,000. Though to sustain a lifestyle of travel it’s very possible to live on a lot less. Once we finish our “honeymoon period” of full time travel we will begin to line up house-sitting gigs instead of paying for hotels, and start spending more time in individual destinations as opposed to continuing on a whirlwind tour which ends up breaking the bank.

Crossing the Galapagos off our bucket list.

7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? By earning more than we spend and saving. We’ve saved fairly consistently for the last few years, and before we hit the road we had built up a fund specifically for setting up our lives once we decide to stop traveling/for retirement.

8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base or an ever-changing one? Since we haven’t yet hit a year on the road, we haven’t come up against those dreaded taxes yet! We’ve also been incredibly lucky in that we have had no issues to date with healthcare or loss of legal documents. We always travel with the contacts for our local embassy, and keep copies of our passports and legal documents electronically as well as printed out in our luggage in case of any loss or damage. With no home base or address, we have our mail forwarded to my parents in Australia who keep us fairly up to date on any urgent issues which need attending to.

9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? Australia. While this lifestyle is a dream come true, we only plan on traveling full time for a few years before settling down in Australia. Ultimately, we will enjoy the comfort of having a home base, and Australia is a great country to settle in. There are great job opportunities, great quality of life, we have a large family base, and there’s great healthcare and education if we decide to start a family.

We’ll end up settling in Australia.

10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/ travel-heavy lifestyle? Make sure you’re prepared, and travel slowly. Do your research about how much money you need, and take more. You don’t realize how quickly the little expenses for day to day life can add up, and these are generally overlooked when you do a travel budget. Travel slowly because otherwise you will burn out. It’s ok to spend a few days relaxing and chilling out; you’re not wasting your time in a location in doing so. Yes, you’re in a completely new place and you might want to make the most of your opportunity to get out there and experience everything each destination has to offer, however you have to remember you’re traveling full time and you WILL get exhausted if you push yourself too hard.

Meg authors “Mapping Megan”, an adventure travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on traveling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. You can follow her journey on Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+, YouTubePinterest and Instagram also.

 

Holiday Lifestyle Amidst The Routine

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Home in Long Beach, NY

Home in Long Beach, NY

Anyone who knows me will tell you that it’s the simple, little things that make me smile. I choose experience over things, sunshine over snow, barefoot over heels and laughter over tears. Since I spent my summers at the beach as a child, it’s the only place I’ve ever wanted to live and I feel lucky to spend my days next to the Atlantic with my feet in the Long Beach sand.

As a traveler, I love to explore and rarely do I want to return from an adventure. Since those adventures take a bit of cash, there are stretches of time spent ‘at home’ saving for the next journey. While I wait, why not make home an adventure in itself. There’s travel in the every day if we put our minds to it. Routine is boring but travel is exciting, so why not find the exciting in the every day. This summer more than any other before, Mathew and I are doing just that and last weekend was a perfect example-it was Craft Fair weekend in Long Beach! Read the rest of this entry

Interview: The Professional Hobo (Nora Dunn)

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For many of us who love to travel, we have to fit our adventures into a finite period of time. That long weekend is precious and we might spend the entire year looking forward to that two-week holiday. There are even some of us who can grab four, five, or six weeks to enjoy an extended journey. For those who are looking for more and want to travel slowly, deeply and with no end in sight…meet Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo. This location-independent writer has been traveling the world for seven years and sharing her adventures from the road. Focusing on traveling in a financially-sustainable way, here she shows how the gifts of travel have changed her life.

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1.When did you get started traveling? It was a dark and stormy night in late 2007 when the plan was hatched to sell everything and travel full-time. I’ve been on the road ever since early 2008. Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Rob and Lina Erohism of Erohisms

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RobandLina

Two weeks a year is more than some people ever get to travel. Often life, bills, schedules, work and so many other things get in the way and it just doesn’t seem feasible anymore. What you felt compelled to spend your money on as a university graduate may be different for those in their thirties, forties or beyond. Travel doesn’t have to stop when you get that career. For many travelers, the skills and abilities picked up along the way might just make you more ‘employable’ or give you the push to leap out on your own for that company you always wished to create or the life you dreamt you’d have in ‘retirement’. Meet Rob and Lina of Erohisms. A couple, who after experiencing life ‘traditionally’, decided to make the jump (for awhile) to that of the ‘non-traditional’. With a ‘grown up GAP year mindset’ they set out into the unknown of long-term travel to see what it could be like for them. Here they share their experience. Read the rest of this entry

Beyond Melbourne’s CBD

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There’s a world of adventure beyond Melbourne’s Central Business District. Short trips (and of course long ones as well) on all sorts of modes of transport take you to exciting destinations. Just a tram ride away finds the seaside feel of the Docklands, the boutique shops of Chapel Street or the drool-worthy cake shop windows of Ackland Street. If you have a few hours or days to spend away from the CBD, you can find your toes in the sand of the Great Ocean Road, eating fish and chips with the little penguins of Phillip Island or getting up close and personal with native wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary. Be it beach, adventure, restaurants or just a road trip filled with fun-Melbourne’s surrounds have it all. Read the rest of this entry

Confessions of a World Traveler

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Everyone travels in his/her own way. Some grab a few days at a local spot while others book a year in advance knowing they have to travel on ‘school holidays’. Some are intricately linked to the idea of last minute adventures and yet, there are still others who ditch the norm and try to make travel a life’s focus. No matter the type, each and everyone finds the meaning of travel and its gifts have an effect. Endless long-term travel may not be in store for every traveler, but most who have ever left the confines of their own four walls can agree that boundaries have the tendency to change, perspective sometimes arises and new people are often met. In this guest post, Akaisha Kaderli shares just some of the gifts she’s found in ‘Confessions of a World Traveler’. Read the rest of this entry

Getting to know Melbourne

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Welcome to Melbourne

When I was twelve years old I had a counselor at sleep-away camp from Australia. I couldn’t get enough of the accent at the time and not much has changed since. Over twenty years later, I married an Aussie and in our travels, we moved to Melbourne for a while. I loved every minute of living there and wish everyone I know the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. To date, some of my favourite restaurants, markets, shops and things to do are held in this city filled with lane ways, a love of cafes and an outdoor lifestyle. Take a journey with me around this wonderful city. Read the rest of this entry

Interview: The Happiness Plunge (Adam Pervez)

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Have you ever had that feeling that there was something more out there? Do you find yourself daydreaming from your cubicle, classroom, job or office and thinking ‘I had a goal, I’ve met that goal but now I have a new one?’ How many times do you say to yourself ‘this is no longer my passion and if I could, I’d rather be doing THIS!’ Meet Adam Pervez. He did just that. He went to school and then more university, had a career and then a second career and decided to ditch it all for HAPPINESS. He quit a six-figure job to explore the world and created the Happiness Plunge. Traveling, remaining off the beaten path and learning how others find their happy became his. Here he shares his story of bringing out his happy and what he believes to be the gifts of travel.

208 Speaking At TEDxYerevan In Armenia (4)

Speaking at a TEDx event in Armenia

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Travel and Money Saving Tips – Melbourne, Australia

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Travel can be expensive and often the littlest tips can go a long way. Whether you’re living, visiting or traveling through – major cities can be expensive. Melbourne, Australia is one of my most favourite cities in the world. Join me in the next few posts to experience Melbourne and many of the amazing gifts of travel it has to offer.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help those budgets along the way.

melbourne sign port Read the rest of this entry

Reflections of a 20yr old Traveler

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As travelers-we’ve all had that one special trip. For some it might be with families while for others it might be on a group trip or even a solo adventure. It almost doesn’t matter where or how as much as the effects of that journey. I knew I wanted to go to Israel. I knew my parents were afraid for my safety. It was on an organized trip after my sophomore year at Brandeis University that I made it to that special land. There I found a love of travel and it was there that I built up the courage to plan the next big adventure with a few friends to Europe. Exactly twenty years later (almost to the day), a former student of mine had a similar experience. She too had traveled before, but an organized trip after her second year at university granted her access to Israel and instilled more confidence than she ever had, more independence than she ever knew and a love of travel that has truly taken flight.

Do you remember the trip that did that for you? Can you pinpoint the moment it happened?

So many places…so little time!

I met Sarah Hecht when she was fourteen years old. She was an exuberant student at the high school at which I spent more than a decade teaching and advising extracurricular clubs. As a freshman, she ran for office in the class of 2012 (I was the advisor) and won the title of Treasurer. An energetic teenager, already active on the swim team and in the process of earning her lifeguarding certification, she was not your typical kid. The youngest of three children in a family that fostered education, community-mindedness, responsibility and volunteerism, she spent the next three years of high school planning every class event with a genuine heart and positive spirit. She often reminisced about a mission trip to Guatemala (early in high school) where the project was to give back to the community and rebuild for a few weeks. That trip may have peaked her interest; but it wasn’t until graduating high school, finding her feet at CW Post University, joining a sorority and booking a ticket on a Birthright adventure to Israel that she found the amazing gifts of travel. Here she shares her reflections of her first trip to Israel and what those ten days of constant smiles meant to her. Read the rest of this entry