Interview with ytravelblog (Caroline Makepeace)
1.When did you get started traveling? When I was at University, my brother moved to London to work and travel Europe. I was captivated by his stories and knew I wanted the same adventurous and carefree life. 3 days after I graduated from University in 1997, I jumped on a plane to work in London and travel. I’ve pretty much been traveling ever since.
2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent existence? There just isn’t any other life my soul yearns for. It’s so used to living a life on its own terms that I can’t settle for anything else. I love to have complete control over how every day looks. If for whatever reason my heart and soul decides it needs to live in Bali to learn and grow more than I want the freedom to follow that urge.
3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the naysayers in your life? The biggest benefit is that I have inner peace and I feel as if I get to live the full expression of myself. There are no walls trying to box me in. I think one of the best ways to repel the naysayers is to always be completely supportive and encouraging of everybody’s dreams. Believe in others and help them to see how their dreams are worth pursuing and they can do it. It’s just a like attract like karma thing. And if they naysayers come, I just ignore them. I don’t need anyone’s validation to live the life that my soul wants me to. My life, my choices.
4.How did you save money to be able to afford living ‘on the road’? How long did it take you to make the jump to a location independent life? I’ve always sort of lived a location independent life. I’ve moved from country to country working in various jobs, mostly teaching. It’s by far the best strategy for long-term travel. It is so much more affordable, you don’t have to save as much money initially and you have a much deeper and more rewarding travel experience. Jumping into location independence as a direct result of our travel blogging business took us about 3 years. It takes a long time to build a business to the point that it can sustain you with an income to travel.
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 love the outdoors and are quite adventurous so we choose destination based upon this. We also have to consider cost and, previous to having our own business, the opportunity for working holidays. We used to typically work in a country from 1-2 years and then travel in between countries for about 3-12 months. At the moment we are road tripping around Australia and generally stay in an area from a few days to a few weeks. We tend to camp, or stay in apartments. It’s much better for the kids.
6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? This depends on where you travel, what your travel style is and whether you are going to work or not. Here in Australia you’d need at least $40,000, but that would be very low-budget. But, if you were to travel in South East Asia you could do it for $15,000 comfortably.
7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? I don’t worry about retirement. I kind of already am retired. I have my own business so feel very secure. I’d rather focus on enjoying each moment now then delaying it till I’m too old and tired to do anything. We make money through our travel blog and related activities.
8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base? We’ve always had either a home address to use, like our parents, or addresses where we were going to live for awhile. We’ve also used the addresses of friends to help up. If we’re in need of a doctor, we just track one down wherever we are. For our taxes, we’ve just filed under the rules of the country we are living and working in (as an employee). Now, we have our own business, we just file in our own country and we have an accountant who helps us with that. Bureaucracy can be a giant pain, but we manage to make it work. The world is so much smaller now thanks to technology. My thinking is that everything is figureoutable. You’ll find ways to make it work.
9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? We are on a big road trip of Australia at the moment and are hoping to find the place. Possibly on the Gold Coast, Queensland or Melbourne, Victoria. If not in Australia, we’d like to settle in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s a much loved old home of ours.
10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent lifestyle? Research what the options are for you in terms of working and creating an income. Work out the costs of living + travel costs for whatever location you are going to. Use basic math- have more money coming in than out. Have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t work out. Stack the odds in your favour and then just go. We have an in-depth section in our travel eguide on working holidays and saving money on the road.
**If traveling with children on the road:
1.How do you manage the education of your children? Our eldest daughter is enrolled in distance education. So she has a teacher, who she corresponds with via Skype and email. The teacher mails out all her lessons for the term, and we implement them. It’s pretty easy and helps us stay accountable to her education. Although she learns far more just from travel then she ever would in school. I am a former primary school teacher, so managing her education is pretty easy. I wrote more about it here
2.How do they feel being world travelers and moving from place to place regularly? Generally they love it. They get excited whenever we move to a new place. They run squealing into each new “home” to claim their bed and see what surprises are in store. They’ve both been travelling since they were born so it is a very natural part of their lives. Our eldest, Kalyra, can sometimes get homesick and misses her friends.
3.What do you think they gain from living life this way as opposed to a ‘traditional upbringing’? So so much. They are learning so much about adaptation and flexibility. They are learning to embrace every day. We are always on adventures, even if it is just taking a bike ride to explore the new place- it’s so grounding for them. The girls bond is really strong and being together as a family every day is incredible. A strong family unit is essential for a child’s sense of belonging and self-esteem. They are also becoming very independent thinkers and developing great social skills. They’re happy to play and talk with other children they’ve just met and are okay to say goodbye when it’s time to go.
4.How has location independent living changed your family dynamics? It’s amazing. We’re so much closer. We notice it a lot in particular with our youngest daughter. Before we left she was quite unhappy and sick all the time. She hated being away from Craig and I. She went to child care 3 days a week and would scream and cry when we left. It broke our hearts to see her so unhappy. Now she is thriving. Healthy, happy, and just so delightful. Sometimes I feel I’m crazy to be with my kids 24/7, but mostly I’m elated that I get to share every moment with them. I’m not missing out on any of their milestones or happy achievements. We have way more time for lots of cuddles and laughter. We still have our moments and bad days, but generally we are much closer as a family unit. We’ve done amazing things together, and we’ll always have those memories.
5.How do you feel this lifestyle will help your children in their future? It will help them to understand themselves more and to appreciate they are part of something so much bigger and so beautiful. They’ll have the confidence to follow their heart and use it in a way to serve and make the world better.