Many people are curious about how to afford full-time travel.
I packed up my life at the age of 28 to pursue full-time travel. And let me be clear, It was hard. But it was also easy.
It was easy, once I made the decision and pushed the button.
What i want people to see, understand and gain some travel inspiration from is this…. More people can afford it than they realise. We did not have enough money to do this sitting in a bank account. No ways.
If you too are willing to make some of the sacrifices we did, you may be able to afford it, too.
Let’s set the record straight….
No, I am not a trust fund baby. Daddy isn’t paying the credit card. I didn’t marry a rich man who pays all the bills. I didn’t get an inheritance or win the lottery.
Pardon my blunt nature, you’ll get used to it if you stick around.
The truth is that people have made these assumptions and I am not shy to tell you two things… First, we did this on our own, and second it is much cheaper than you think.
None of this was easy, and I am so proud of our life decisions. I am so proud that Henry and I have been able to stand on our own two feet and do this for ourselves.
How did we decide we had enough?
At the end of 2017, Henry finished his degree whilst working full-time. Those results changed things.
“Passed all criteria for Qualification“. Printed words that set off the plan that we had been speaking about since we first got together.
When we woke up to 2018, we knew it was now or never. This was our year. We had been waiting too long.
After working out how much cash we could make if we sold almost everything we owned. We were surprised by the number. So, we worked out how much it would cost us roughly for a month of travel. And that number didn’t scare us too much.
Then we knew we had enough. We were ready to dive in.
It’s been harder on the heart than the pocket
Giving up material things was much easier than saying goodbye to our people and our pets.
We made many sacrifices and emotional decisions. Left behind established lives and careers. Our family, pets and our friends. We had a comfortable life that we walked away from.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
I put off my dream of full-time travel for many years. I’ve wanted this since my late teens.
I could have gone a few times before, and I could tell you all about the 3 times I nearly went, or at least really wanted to go, but the truth is simple….
I had to wait until i had an absence of excuses, before i could push the button….
How I afforded to trade it in for a backpack
If you plan and save properly or if you have assets to sell, it can take you anywhere between a few months or a year or two to get yourself ready for this trip.
Or, you could be financially ready now, and you just need to push the button.
We sold a lot of stuff
When i say i traded it all in for a backpack, i mean it. We traded in our comfortable life for a travel lifestyle. We sold a home, two cars and all of our furniture, appliances and valuables.
All we have now is with us in our backpacks.
This cash injection gave us a big boost in terms of our savings and was where most of our travel savings came from.
Let me explain. I made sure to save most of my adult life. It wasn’t that I was necessarily stingy, I certainly paid my own way. I just didn’t want to blow my entire salary every month. I did not want to spend more money than i made, or to not be able to save each month. Debt scared me.
I didn’t live too glamorous of a life. I lived comfortably. Let me put it this way… I could have afforded to blow more money every month than I did. Flashing money or wasting it wasn’t me. I valued saving.
I was 20 years old when i set up my first stop order with my bank. Which leads me to my next point…
I paid myself first…
A stop order is a functionality banks offer that allow you to set up your own payments to a beneficiary account each month. Almost exactly like a debit order, but instead of instructing a third party to debit your account, you nominate a bank account as a beneficiary each month.
I opened a separate savings account with a great interest rate and made myself my own beneficiary. In short, I automatically paid myself as soon as my salary came in each month. I paid myself in travel savings.
By setting up this automatic payment and paying yourself first, it forces you to look at your budget and you also do not realize it is gone every month.
I wasn’t always able to do this. Some months, actually some years were hard. But when i could, I valued saving for travel as a high priority.
Before we left full-time, we had already been to 5 countries together. This was only possible because we saved for it through paying ourselves first.
Keep Focused on the End Goal
You have to not value stuff.
Many people were shocked that we sold almost everything we owned before we left. The only things we kept were sentimental items stored with our family, and what could fit in our backpacks.
For me keeping focused meant I needed to decide, and then constantly remind myself that travel is the goal. It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race. It is so easy to be attracted to the corner office. To nice cars and to wanting to fit in to what society tells you your life has to look like.
I say, break the mold. Do your own thing. Do what makes you happy and don’t apologise for it.
It was difficult and weird to get rid of all of our stuff. But you get through it because you remind yourself of the goal. If you want to know how to afford full-time travel and you own a car and lots of stuff, there’s your answer… Get rid of it.
We made a large chunk of our travel kitty from selling off all our assets.
Embrace a minimalist mindset
This requires a genuine effort and a lack of love for material things.
Except for a home which we rented out, everything we own is in our backpacks. This is not normal. But it is easy and possible, when you don’t care about stuff.
When you have to move around all the time, it’s also kind of necessary.
We gave up a few things
Two solid careers.
At a young age, we were both dominating in our careers. And, we were both willing to walk away from our careers, and permanently too, if it came to that.
We know that if we want that life back… we’ll be able to pick up again comfortably in our old fields.
Think about this…. Who doesn’t appreciate someone who navigated the globe for three years working for them?
What an awesome entry in your CV, and a great way to stand out for interview selection. Not to mention the amazing story you can tell your interviewer. Right? I mean, you know for sure that’s going to be the first question they ask you.
We rented out our slice of heaven
We lived in our dream home. We considered it more than we needed and a luxury. When we lived in Johannesburg, Henry and I were homebodies who loved nothing more than to either entertain at home, or spend quality time alone together at home. We rented it out.
But, we bought this home as a future, long-term investment. Just like the one we sold, it would help us fund our travels.
One day, one of two things could very possibly happen. We’ll either want to, or have to come “home”. If this happens, we’ll have it. We’ll come back to a comfortable home and an investment. We’ll have something to go home to. Or, we’ll sell it and have made another cash injection to continue traveling or to settle down somewhere else with it. We’d have made money whilst a tenant paid off a few years of the bond for us while we are away.
We said goodbye.
It was very hard to say goodbye to our bubble. Our comfort zone. To step into the unknown. All the while you have to walk away from people you love. We had to say goodbye to friends and family and pets. Not just say goodbye to familiar surroundings. But to people who have helped shape who you are today. This was hard.
We started with
- Cash from the sale of our two bedroom apartment
- Cash from the sale of our furniture, appliances, valuables
- Some savings/investment portfolios
- Cash from selling our two cars
- The security of having a tenant paying off our bond on our other home.
We’re a month in to our travels now as I post this and who knows how much of the above we’ll use? People have asked me how long we’ll travel for and the answer is always the same; Either until we don’t want to do it anymore, or until the money runs out.
Starting is the hard part
Really, the main vision behind Sassy Escape is to inspire others to travel. To get out of the mindset that they can’t do it. Get rid of the fear that is holding them back. We should ALL travel more. Learn and share tolerance.
My reason for sharing this post; hopefully you’ll see how possible it could be for you.
Even if it is not full-time travel. Go somewhere new every year. Even if it is in your own country. Go somewhere new and get lost.
Starting out will be hard. Hell, it took me so many years. But push through and we’ll see you somewhere in the world real soon