I get asked on a regular basis how I pay for my travels so much. I wrote about it in an Instagram post about a year ago, but figured a longer blog is in order since the question arises so often.
The first thing I want to add is travels can be on so many budgets. You can stay at 5-star resorts eat amazing dinners and go on tours, or you can figure out the local bus system and stay at hostels. I find myself gravitating towards the second one (with some fun things mixed in of course) which makes my travel very affordable. Make sure you check out my blog on tips on traveling on a budget.
I classify myself as a “digital nomad”. This term refers to anyone that can work remotely and only needs their computer. I find myself checking the WiFi connection of a city very regularly to ensure I’ll have good WiFi before going to it. Before I book a hostel, I will read the reviews simply to find how the WiFi connection was. So, having good WiFi is so critical for me.
Although I do a couple other things for clients here and there, I typically help businesses of all sizes with social media and blogging. I don’t have a specific niche as this allows my brain to jump from topic to topic so it’s never stale for me. I absolutely LOVE what I do and very fortunate to live a life that allows me to travel and work at the same time.
With that said, not everything is sunshine. I’m a contractor so I do not have any paid time off. Therefore, I never take time off. I also must pay for my own things like medical and be smart with my money, so I can one day retire. I’ve worked with Edward Jones in setting that up, but of course I don’t have an employer contributing to a 401K which most traditional jobs have.
I learned very quickly that flexibility is the number one thing I enjoy out a job. If I don’t sleep for a couple hours in the night, I end up working and getting to work less during the day. If there’s a great discounted tour on a Wednesday, I get ahead in my work on a Saturday and get to take the tour all day Wednesday. In this very moment I’m on a bus to southern Argentina and able to not skip a beat with my work because the bus has WiFi and I’ve been able to work the entire time.
It also takes a lot of discipline. If I meet a group and they are heading somewhere, and I really need to get work done, I either am up at 4 am to work so I can join a couple hours later, or I don’t get to join and will meet up with them for dinner later. I pack so much into my weekends though and take advantage of them to the fullest. So, if you are seeing me posting on a weekday and I’m abroad I simply worked extra at another time. If you don’t hear from me and I’m abroad for a couple days, I probably worked 10-hour days and was trying to get ahead for something epic I’m about to do.
So, what exactly do I do?
Like I said, I help businesses with social media and blogging. All my clients are on-going and located in North America. Most of them now are referrals which is always a wonderful way to get clients. I have formed great relationships with many people I work with. I seriously love my clients.
How did I get into it?
I went to University and got my undergraduate and master’s degree. Although it wasn’t exactly in the same field, it was still similar. I had taken a couple marketing classes. With that said, there’s so many great courses out there and even free information you can find if this topic interests you. Even when it comes to digital marketing, there are many different fields like website design that may be of interest to you.
But isn’t traveling still expensive?
Yes and No. Like I said before, you don’t need to travel expensive. Buses are very cheap, and they prevent you from having to take Uber to the airport. They normally are located right in the city and drop you in the city. Yes, I have a had a couple bad experiences, but my flights have been delayed or canceled WAY more than my experiences on a bus.
The main cost is getting to the country. I typically use Hopper to see when the flight will come out cheaper. I also use Chase which gives me more points when using it abroad and I normally can end up getting my larger flights half off.
The other part of travel is that you save a lot of time and money on things you normally do in your “regular life”. For example, I do not have to clean. That also means I do not do dishes. Which also means I do not cook. I do grab items from grocery stores and make sandwiches, however overall, I’m grabbing things quickly and heading into the mountains for a beautiful foreign hike. So, that trip to the store to grab toilet paper, your groceries, laundry detergent, etc I am not doing. Also, most hostels have a laundry service which is very affordable. So, I drop it off at night and in the morning, I picked it up and it’s clean and folded.
It also really depends what country you are in. They differ in prices SO much. I didn’t stay in western Europe as long as I may have liked because no matter what I was doing I was blowing my budget. In South East Asia, I was way under budget daily, and here in South America, I’ve found a happy medium. I do book some tours but only ones I’m really interested in. Sites like the lonely traveler always have great tips. When you Google a hike or a specific item you want to see, there always seems to be a blog on it with how to get there specifically.
How could you get into this field?
Everyone’s story seems to be different. I recommend realizing the cons first though. If that’s still something you are interested in because flexibility means a lot to you, I would highly recommend trying to learn more!
A few suggestions on where to start.
Join a couple Facebook groups on the topic you are interested in. This is a larger one, but it always gives great advice and shares news going on: Social Media Managers. I’m probably a part of 20 groups and am active in about 7 on a regular basis.
Jump on Craigslist if you are just starting out. I got a few wonderful clients on there when I first started. Remember, don’t meet with them at their house. Meet at a coffee shop.
You can look for agencies that are looking to contract out work. These can be found on their website or in one of the two recommendations I just gave.
I’m sure there are way more – this is where I started!
If you have any questions or want me to go into detail about any particular area of this blog, make sure you comment it below and I’ll be happy to.
Now, off the bus I go to explore Patagonia ❤