I ‘met’ Peter and Susana of Always Twirling online. In the growing world of travelers and bloggers, they are doing their best to make a go of long term travel and to figure out what works for them. Spurred on by Rolf Pott’s beliefs in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, they’re on a search for how to build the best life for themselves, traditional or otherwise. Here they share their story.
1.When did you get started traveling? We started traveling in 2011 but have recently returned back to our hometown of Toronto for a while as we decide on our future plans and build up some more customers/contacts for my consulting business.
2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? Rolf Pott’s book Vagabonding was the spark that lit the fire of imagining life outside of the confines of “traditional” boundaries.
3.What benefits do you feel you get from this lifestyle? How do you handle the nay-sayers in your life? The benefits are an appreciation and embrace of time over money and freedom to enjoy life at a different pace. Naysayers are usually those that are secretly jealous so you can’t pay much attention to them.
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? I worked in India (while being paid a North American salary) for 4 months which let me save a lot of money. The rest comes from having a modest lifestyle. We’re still making the adjustments financially so I wouldn’t say that we’re 100% there to be honest.
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? Destinations are chosen by interest and price. You can’t be ignorant to how much a location will cost but at the same time, going somewhere that doesn’t have an attraction for you just because it’s cheap is silly. Accommodations are either Airbnb or hostels depending on the duration of a stay. The only recommendation I would have for people is generally to remember that a hotel without reviews is different than a hostel with bad reviews. Don’t be afraid to stay somewhere just because it doesn’t have raving great reviews. They can sometimes be great gems that cost less.
6.How much money do you traditionally need annually to support this lifestyle? It depends on where you are in the world. 20K USD can do you very nicely in some Asian or south American countries for up to a year. Less so in Europe for example. The trick about lifestyle is that money + creativity + adventurous spirit = cost. If you have more creativity or sense of adventure, you can save on the money.
7.How do you make money on the road and save for retirement? This is not easily done. Since I’ve come back to Toronto for a while, I’m trying to build up a foundation of customers that I can then provide work for while on the road. You have to be committed to developing these remote cash flows though since they aren’t people’s default answer when looking for help. In my case – technology development – there’s usually two worlds; cheap outsourced to third world or expensive, onsite. I’m trying to re-invent a third; targeted value without onsite. Don’t cut the cost to customers just because you aren’t on site but know their business so well that you can drive new value to them.
8.How do you handle visas, vaccinations, legal documents/passports, taxes and healthcare while living without a home base or an ever-changing one? The big point here is to have travel insurance. Most all of the rest can be done while you’re on the road but you can’t retroactively get health insurance when you inevitably get sick. It’s worth the money.
9.If you decide to settle somewhere – where and when do you think it will be? That’s hard to know for sure. We entertained Australia for a while but backed away. Honestly, it felt too western and like home. Somewhere in Asia or even central American would be interesting to us but we haven’t gone so far as to get committed to one place.
10.What advice do you have for others trying to make the jump to a location independent/ travel-heavy lifestyle? The lifestyle makes little sense to most people and for that reason alone it can be isolating and lonely. If you’re really interested in the lifestyle, you’ll need to embrace a certain swagger to life and understand that it won’t make a lot of sense to a lot of people. Don’t be afraid to be different, but, understand that you will be lonely/afraid/doubtful at times. Breath, embrace it and move on. If it’s right for you, keep going. If it’s not, then stop. There are no failures.
To follow Susana and Peter on their travels, check out their website.