Had enough huh? The 9 to 5, the office politics, the back-stabbing corporate a-holes, the hamster wheel of consumerism.
You want to leave all that behind, permanently, and all the dreary, debt-ridden meaningless materialism that goes with it.
Delighted to hear it.
Have you got a trust fund? Perhaps an inheritance from a wealthy uncle? Maybe you discovered a lost Picasso in your garage or learned how to win the lottery. Ah, I know, you just sold your start-up to Google for millions. That’s it right?
So… wait, you don’t have lots of money, you’re just going to hit the road and just… what, hope for the best?
Ok, well before you do that, maybe I should clear up some common misconceptions. First off, let’s separate travelling as a vacation from travelling as a vocation. One is a short break from your life, the other becomes your way of life. And it’s not always an easy life, either, in fact, most the time…
It’s a Hustle
Several hustles, in fact.
Take this blog, for example. You’ll notice there are lots of different kinds of advertising, from banners to paid reviews. Having multiple sources of revenue means multiple eggs across a variety of baskets. Which is a good thing.
Going from a regular, stable 9 to 5 to juggling multiple hustles can be quite jarring. The fact is not everyone’s quite cut out to be a mobile entrepreneur. Being stranded in a foreign country struggling to make ends meet can quickly put a dampener on your sense of fun and adventure. So before you go packing your bags and telling your boss where to stick it you’ll need to make a plan.
So, back to hustling; there are two types of hustle — online and offline.
Online hustles allow you to earn money online, such as working as an online marketer, writer or freelancer. It can be a handy way to earn western currency on the go, though reliable internet connections aren’t always easy to come by.
(Also, if you’re also looking to start up your own travel blog you need to know that it’s a job onto itself and takes a lot of time and hard work before it starts earning you proper money.)
Next, there’s offline income; this can come from part-time work, bar work or teaching English. Sometimes this work will pay you a wage, other times it’ll be just cash-in-hand. Then there’s the kind of work that doesn’t pay you any money, like WWOOFing, where you work on a farm and get payment in the form of room and board.
In other words, whichever way you slice it…
There Will Be Sacrifices
To live on the lam successfully you’re going to need to budget carefully.
Sounds boring, and in reality, it is boring, but sometimes life, even a life less ordinary, is boring. But having that spectacular beach view during the day and 50-cent draft beer each night does heaps to cure the boredom.
There are lots of ways to save money while travelling which can apply both to the holidaymaker and the full-time traveller.
Simply put, you will need to learn to cut back on extravagances and make sacrifices. Living to a budget is a must. Plus, you’ll need to kiss many of your creature comforts goodbye and accept the fact that…
You Will Miss Home
Not all of the time, but some of the time. Which is perfectly natural.
You’re leaving the cosy and familiar for the foreign and unfamiliar and, no matter how seasoned a holiday traveller you may be, when you buy that one-way ticket, your perspective changes dramatically.
Missing home can come in many forms; friends and family are obvious choices, food, too. It’s great to try new things all the time but other times we just want a taste of home.
And taste is just one of many senses. You might hear a song on the radio you haven’t heard in years or see, smell or touch something that sets off ripples of nostalgia. You never can predict when it hits you, it just hits you. And then you suddenly realize just how far you are from home.
Then there are all those missing frames of reference. The further you travel the more acute it becomes. We’ve all become accustomed to globalization and therefore assume we all have a common cultural language, but that’s not actually the case. Learning the lingo becomes extraneous to a point because so much gets lost in translation.
In other words…
It Gets Lonely
Sure you’ll make friends along the way, both locals and fellow travellers, but the life of a traveller is often a lonely one. Friendships are forged in transient circumstances, relationships — romantic or otherwise — are based entirely on a specific time and place.
You move on, or they move on, or both. And you’ll start wondering whether or not it’s time to wind down your journey after all, but you’re not entirely sure how. The irony of it all, though, is that, for the most part…
Travelling Often Means Staying Put
It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but the truth is a large part of travelling is about staying put. Why? Various reasons, mostly practical.
For one, long term accommodation is almost always cheaper than short term accommodation. Second, any lucrative work opportunities that you find are worth sticking around for, but of course that means you won’t get as much time to go sight-seeing like you would if you were on holiday.
You want to be able to see and do the things you want to do, on your time off, while still saving up enough money to fuel the next leg of your journey, but this takes time.
Finding your bearings in a new city or country also takes time. And it takes even more time to make new friends and to develop a new network of connections.
Such connections are invaluable; getting to know the residents, knowing who to trust versus who to look out for, getting insider information from grizzled expats and other fellow travellers who’ve already walked this path before, getting advice on local services and tips on where to find work… the list goes on and on.
And, often times, the hardest part isn’t the friends you leave behind (because you become accustomed to this) but rather the fact that, when you finally pull do up stakes, it means your useful connections counter goes back to zero.
But That’s Not Going To Stop You Huh?
Hah! Of course not! Because you’re the kind to enjoy a rugged hike over a walk in the park every time! The air is fresher, the views all the more spectacular and the feeling of accomplishment, all the sweeter.
Yes, there are pitfalls, but luckily there are plenty of us who’ve walked the trail before, and we’re more than happy to guide you! Come join us, we guarantee you’ll never look back!
*All vintage black & white images courtesy of Shutterstock’s Everett Collection