Author’s Note: The most recent version of how I can afford a life of travel is already available! Click here to read and see how much my life has changed in three years!
Since you already know what I was doing before I started traveling the world, let’s now discuss how I am able to live a life like this — travelling non-stop. My article for Rappler Philippines was a big hit. However, I don’t think I included my way of travelling in the write up. People were thinking in different directions, like travel is equivalent to luxury or money.
Where I am from, people think this way. “She must be from a rich family” was one of the comments. I received e-mails from people borrowing money from me with all those victim stories that goes with it. I was like, what?! I don’t even know where to sleep tonight! They thought I am splurging like an heiress, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton style to be able to travel non-stop.
Sorry, what you think is wrong. I do my best actually. I sleep wherever, eat whatever is on the table, live with my means, etc. It’s not that I don’t have money to buy food. Of course, I have that! I just really started living with what I can afford and stopped longing for material things.
So here it goes. I am going to enumerate everything I do, all at the same time (more or less) just to keep myself from going home. I am telling you that it’s not easy but I am having the time of my life and I’m keeping up. Somehow, you’ll just get used to this life.
P.S. I didn’t save anything before starting this travel. I just met a lot of people who are doing the same thing and I tried to learn it. It all worked out.
#1 – I work online
I’ve been a digital nomad for over a year now and it’s the most convenient job I ever had as it is location independent. I’m a social media manager and assistant to a US-based company where I work 4 hours a day, without a specific time. My employer is fantastic because he understands that I move every three months and he knows what I am doing so there was never a problem between us. I’ve had the same job since I started travelling South America. They are actually offering me a new position (with a higher pay) but I didn’t accept it because it means working for more than 4 hours a day. I don’t want to do that. 😉
#2 – I teach English
I am a freelance English teacher here and I can decide a time-table when I am going to teach. I usually go to the student’s home and teach up to 2 hours per student. Here in Latin America, the salary range of an English teacher is from $12 – $30 per hour, depending in the city you are in.
#3 – To save on accommodations and/or food, I do the following:”
Couchsurfing is an online community which allows you to stay in people’s homes for free. I met most of my long-time friends through this platform and I am very thankful to the great mind who discovered this!
In exchange for free food and accommodation, I volunteer in hostels and bars. This method helped me a lot to improve my language skills. 4 bars and 3 hostels later, I am now fluent in Spanish. Plus, I get to work with fantastic people all over the globe who are also backpacking! I work hand in hand with Volunteer Latin America who places me with volunteering gigs.
If I am not volunteering, I am with local families where I get to learn about the culture and language of a certain country. This also enabled me to know how they live their daily life and do the same. I’ve been a part of many Latin families here in South America and I consider them my own.
It’s as simple as this: families go to a long vacation and they need/want someone to stay in their house. While they’re on vacation, you take care of the house.
Do whatever you want. Just don’t invite people over and do a house party. Basically, it’s like living in your own house.
An au pair helps with house work and taking care of children in exchange for food, a room, plus a daily allowance. Yes! Au pairs are paid and a lot of my friends in Europe are doing this!
#4 – I blog
I started blogging because of my love for writing but I didn’t know that I will be able to monetise this website and help me travel more. This blog enables me to:
- Stay in hotels for free in exchange for a review.
- Eat wherever I want (even the best one in town!) in exchange for a review.
- Take free tours/press trips in exchange for online exposure. Basically, I write about my experience about a certain tour/activity including the name of the company in the post.
Additionally, this blog also earns from advertising and affiliate marketing.
#5 – I do travel coaching
When you are out here, you really have to find ways to keep yourself on the road. I’ve been doing a one-on-one travel coaching sessions to people who want to leave their daily hell and start living a life of travel. I help them plan their trip, land volunteering jobs, set up their teaching abroad career, and so on. I answer everyone’s questions on a personal basis. Of course, I also write about how I do it but the consultation is personalised and you can talk to me on Skype! Find out about how travel coaching session works here.
#6 – I translate important files
I do not have a professional translator certificate but I have social media clients in South America, France and Italy where I proofread their social media and blog posts in English.
I also write articles in Spanish which actually pays good money! I encourage you to learn a foreign language if you are fluent in English writing. Translating pays very good money here.
#7 – I receive donations from readers
This is the part where I have to thank everyone who donated to my Coffee Fund. It helped me a lot to travel more! Most travel bloggers put donation buttons on their sidebar saying, “Help us travel to _____.” I was being artistic so instead of doing the same, I thought of creating The Coffee Fund.
Thank you so much to all who donated! This will keep me write more good stories of my travels!
So where do I spend the money I earn from working online, teaching English and travel coaching?”
Fares. Buses, plane tickets, taxi — that’s the majority of my spendings. Arrrghh, I even spend more on taxi rides than street food!
I haven’t ventured in tapping airlines or bus companies (is that even possible?!) to sponsor my fares in exchange of an online exposure.
I don’t even know if this kind of marketing exists! It’s kind of frustrating but I couldn’t ask for more from the Universe. I was already given everything.
If I am not working in a bar (yes, volunteers get free drinks!), I spend a few drinks every now and then with my friends.
Of course I can’t just to up to the bartender and say, “hey, I’m a travel blogger. I’m going to feature your beers…. blah blah blah.”
All my reviews are planned and I don’t always have one scheduled. It’s more or less twice every 2 months.
I also spend on travel insurance, personal needs like medicine, toiletries, clothes etc. I also treat myself every once in a while with massage, spa, mani-pedi, and so on.
How do I manage to do all these at the same time?!”
The regular thing I do is teaching English and working online. I dedicate 4 hours to each job so I won’t look like I am working as hard as before. I don’t know, it just happens.
Today, I am au pairing in Cordoba and I have no idea how I am able to manage this kind of schedule. I guess I just got used to it.
Growing up, my mother always told me not to explain myself to anyone because I don’t need to. What I do with my life is up to me as long as I am doing it right.
I’ve had mistakes in the past and travelling long-term allowed me to get to know myself better, share that knowledge and inspire other people to do it too.
It’s not easy but this is what makes me happy. I repeat: It’s not easy. But if I can live like this, for sure, you can, too.
Are you a full-time traveler? What are your different income streams? I would like to hear how you hustle! Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box below!
Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.