Whether it’s a few weeks, a few months, a few years or a lifetime…travel continues to share its gifts with friends on the open road. Stories change, jobs come and go, families grow, friendships are made, life happens and adventure awaits. The journey, no matter how great, makes an impact. Perhaps it changes your perspective, perhaps it provides lessons you wouldn’t have otherwise learned or maybe it just gives us all a chance to take a minute to embrace all life has to offer.
Meet Ivana and Gianni who are new to the digital nomad lifestyle and recently began their travels in 2013. Ivana (originally from Slovakia) and Gianni (originally from Italy) left life in Germany and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok where they began their adventure. Here they share their story.
1.When did you get started traveling? We started our travels in October 2013.
2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? We used to spend too much time building someone else’s dreams. At the same time when we started to be aware of it, we quit smoking and drinking alcohol and we started to save money for a long-term trip.
3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? We are glad that we do the job we were always dreaming about- to travel the world with our cameras and share our experiences with other travel enthusiasts.We are happy we taste the food we have never heard about, that we go to places that we never imagined visiting and that we meet amazing and inspiring people on the road. Regarding nay-sayers, we let them be the way they are. If someone is interested in our way of living, we love to share about our adventures. But if someone tries to convince us that we cannot stay on the road for long, we just smile and reply, “Let’s see.”
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 started to save money from the day we stopped smoking. Day by day we saved more money, and we slowly got rid of our stuff in our apartment, too. It took us 14 months to get ready to hit the road.
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? Our first destination was Thailand and the reason for that was the fact that it was pleasantly warm when we arrived. Also, monthly expenses in Thailand were one third of what we used to spend back in Germany. We choose destinations according to our budget, climate (we carry only summer clothes), or we just go with the flow, which is not bad at all. Sure, we sometimes arrive to a place that is more challenging than the others; we might be limited with food options, the average accommodation rate could be much more expensive than we expected or we could have little to no internet connection, but that’s the way we like to explore the world and we wouldn’t change it for now. We prefer to stay in a guesthouse or a home stay, although from time to time we don’t mind splurging on a room in a hotel for a few nights. Usually we look for places on agoda.com, we do Couch-surfing where it’s possible or we just walk around the area we want to stay and we try to find something affordable and comfortable.
6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? We’ve been on the road only seven months, so we can only calculate our expenses for half a year, which total about $10,000.
7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? So far we are living off our savings and we aren’t thinking about our retirement finances at all.
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 updated our passports and did our visas for our first destination, Thailand, in Germany. Otherwise, we do visas on arrival, like we did in the Philippines, Borneo and Indonesia. We do some research before we head to any destination so we do not have any bad surprises. Although, one time we didn’t know about an exit fee in the Philippines, but luckily there was an ATM machine near the customs so we could pay it and catch the plane. We got some vaccinations in Germany, and the one for rabies we got in Thailand. We travel with travel insurance so we feel much safer on the road. But of course, it’s better when you do not need to use it at all.
9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? We are still newbies to the digital nomad lifestyle, which we really enjoy, so it’s too early to think about settling in one particular place. We opted for slow travel, and this gives us a feeling that we are at home, even in countries other than our homelands.
10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/ travel-heavy lifestyle? Save money from now on. Read other travel blogs and join travel communities in social media networks. Ask, read, be curious, do your research and set priorities in your life.
To find out more of Ivana and Gianni’s travels check out their website.