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.
1.When did you get started traveling? Travel has always been part of our nine-year relationship, although we greatly intensified our obsession when we took off in February 2013 with a one way ticket to Burma. We spent about nine months exploring Southeast and South Asia before heading down to New Zealand for an extended stay.
2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? We realized that we were lucky enough to have the money and no real commitments (i.e. children) at home, so there was no reason NOT to do it. That said, I’m glad we waited until we had savings and established careers because it made our trip that much easier to enjoy. It’s hard to leave, but even harder to come back!
3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? The learning opportunities are endless. Whether it’s a new language, custom, or lifestyle, travel ensures that you never stop learning. Just when you get comfortable, a new situation confronts you and you have to deal with that. There’s no time outs and taking it easy. It’s a constant whirlwind of information blasting you in the face. Think about what I just said. In what job in the 21st century is the ability to juggle multiple projects, work at lightning speed, and keep your cool NOT a huge plus? When people ask us how we could just give up our successful lives, I tell them that we’re just making ourselves that much more desirable by traveling.
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 were fortunate enough to have careers that compensated us extremely well, although we were also smart enough to always be frugal with our salaries. We know people who made the exact amount of money we made but never put any of it away. At the end of the day, almost everyone who works in a non entry-level position can “afford” to do what we did. Even though we had a lot more saved, we made the goal to travel on $1000 pp/month, primarily to show people that it’s possible. If you don’t have kids or a family to support, you can do the same. Make lunches, buy one less drink at the bar, sell your clothes instead of buying more and soon you’ll be well on your way to the trip of a lifetime.
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 wanted to see and experience a completely different way of life, so Asia became our top priority for travel. We never really planned anything out other than the “must sees” in each country. Our itinerary was open ended and we typically just got up in the morning and decided what we wanted to do that day. Once we needed to start flying, things got a tad more planned, although we still really only ever had a flight in and flight out. Giving yourself this freedom teaches you a lot about what you really desire in travel—and in life. We realized that our favorite moments were spent with locals, not necessarily at the top attractions, and so we customized the rest of our trip to focus more on that. Our website is an awesome source of information, so check it out for tips, itineraries and information on everywhere we stayed. We hardly ever booked in advance, which bit us in the butt a few times. The best tip I can offer is talk to your fellow travelers. They’ll tell you where to stay, and what to avoid.
6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? Our trip cost each of us $1000 per month. You can definitely spend more and you can spend less, although we wouldn’t recommend it. Obviously, a lot depends on where you’re traveling to, but that’s a solid budget for Asia.
7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? We don’t really, but it was never our goal to do so. We make a tiny bit from our website with affiliate links, although it’s not enough monthly for one meal in New York. We don’t accept ads because we don’t want to ruin the design of our site, but many bloggers do take ads and make money that way. We day trade our stocks a bit, which has helped. Mostly, we live off of savings and rental income.
8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base or an ever-changing one? We took care of all vaccinations before departing, but visas and legal documents we handle on a one-off basis as needed. Many countries don’t require visas in advance, which makes it easy. You just need to be sure that you have U.S. bills to pay the fee and then you’re golden. For healthcare and travel insurance, we used WorldNomads and highly recommend them. We never had a health claim, but several of our electronics got destroyed on the road and they took care of the claims really quickly!
9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? At the moment, we’re actually back in the States and crashing in Connecticut with my family. There are some really nice things about being back in America (large to-go cups of iced coffee!), but also some difficult ones (health insurance and lack of affordable organic produce). I have no idea if we’ll be staying or going, but if you have magic 8 ball I’ll gladly use it to make the decision.
10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/ travel-heavy lifestyle? Just do it. Do it for the love of travel, not to make money. Do it for change. Do it to discover who you really are and what you want going forward. Don’t make excuses. Just book a ticket—anywhere—and go.