How To Travel The World Indefinitely
I quit my 9-to-5 job in November of 2010 and have been living a nomadic lifestyle ever since, never staying in one place for more than four months at a time. I often get asked how this is possible. What do I do for money? Don’t I get lonely? I answer these and other frequently asked questions below. If there’s something I haven’t covered, feel free to ask in the comments at the bottom of the page.
How can you afford to travel the world indefinitely?
Simple: I work online, meaning I can work from anywhere with Internet access. I make most of my money from web design, but a few other income streams include affiliate marketing, donations, and an online course I created to help people overcome fear.
I don’t need a lot of money to maintain my travel lifestyle, much less in fact than I ever needed to maintain my 9-to-5 lifestyle in the USA and Ireland. Nowadays, €1000 per month allows me to do pretty much everything I want. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t buy souvenirs, and I tend to avoid spending a lot of time in expensive countries.
To keep myself accountable, and to give others a better idea of how I afford this lifestyle, I reveal exactly how I earn and spend my money in monthly finance reports here at Disrupting the Rabblement. New and archived reports are available only to my email subscribers. If you’ve haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here…
[UPDATE: I've killed this mailing list. New lists are linked from the sidebar under Free Email Updates.]
Why do you choose to travel without flying?
Mostly just for the hell of it. I figure the challenge of circumnavigating the globe without stepping foot on an airplane makes for a bigger adventure and a better story. Rather than flying over huge chunks of land and sea, I’ll be forced to take my time and savor the journey, explore towns I’ve never heard of, and meet more random people.
There are also environmental reasons, though those are more of a bonus than anything. I can’t pretend to be some kind of eco-warrior here.
What modes of transport do you use then?
Mostly trains, buses and boats. I’ve hitchhiked before but found that the uncertainty of it can be a little much when you’re trying to run a business and communicate with clients from the road.
But if you’re interested in traveling by thumb, my buddy Benjamin shares some great tips that he learned from hitching 14,000 miles across the USA.
How do you decide where to go?
Right now my plan is to keep heading East. There are a few specific countries I want to spend several months in as I travel around the world, but I’m comfortable changing plans on the fly if an interesting opportunity comes along. For example, I was going to spend December of 2011 in Greece, but a friend invited me to stay at his apartment in Budapest for a few weeks so I headed there instead.
A few places high on my list to visit: India, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil (hopefully in time for the 2014 World Cup), Canada, Iceland.
Where have you been already?
I spent three years (2007-2010) working as a web designer at a university in New Orleans, USA. After leaving that great city behind, I moved back to Ireland for four months, then spent the summer of 2011 living in Burgos, Spain. After a six-week stint back home in Ireland, I then took off on my round the world trip without flying. You can follow the progress of that here.
Do you travel alone? Don’t you get lonely?
Mostly I do travel alone, though I do often stay with friends and readers along the way. I prefer to travel for people rather than places, so it’s not unusual for me to skip the big cities and tourist spots to go visit with someone cool in the backarse of nowhere.
I’m also very social (having overcome crippling shyness as a young adult), and usually make friends pretty easily wherever I go. Talking to strangers has become one of my favorite things to do
All that said, I do end up spending a significant amount of time alone as I travel. I rarely feel lonely though. I quite enjoy my own company and try take advantage of alone time to get some solid work done.
Don’t you miss your family and friends back home?
Nope, I can’t say that I do.
Now before you go away thinking that I’m some kind of heartless bastard, have a read of this.
Do you think you’ll eventually settle down in one place?
Maybe, maybe not. I find that I’m constantly growing and changing as a person, so it’s hard for to say what a future version of myself will want to do. All I know is that for right now, I enjoy traveling regularly, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures. There’s a lot of world out there to see, and I hope to see a lot of it.
How much stuff do you travel with?
Don’t you miss owning other things?
As the saying goes: You can have everything that you want, but you can’t have it all at the same time.
My priorities are freedom and mobility, and owing lots of things would go against that. Sure, I’ve had to make some sacrifices and get rid of some items that I liked. But I see such sacrifices as making more room for what I really value, and allowing me to get what I most want out of life.
Any questions I haven’t answered?
Let me know via the comments below and I’ll do my best to address them here.