Within the last 6 years, I have had the chance to travel to 53 countries and visit every continent except Antarctica. As a result, I am constantly asked, “how can you afford to travel so much, and for so long?” On social media, I am frequently sharing content from new destinations around the world and I can’t blame people for wanting to know how I am able to travel so much.
So how did I make this happen? A lot of people have assumed I come from a wealthy family or I’ve won the lottery. I have even been accused of lying about my solo travels as some have assumed I must have a wealthy travel partner. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If I was to summarize in one sentence it would be this: I have made a lot of sacrifices, I work remotely from my laptop everywhere I go, and I travel on a budget. I am so grateful for the freedom I have created in my life, but it’s not magic or luck. It has taken a lot of hard work, sacrifices, planning, and dedication in order to fulfill my dreams of traveling the world.
In this post, I’ll be very transparent about exactly how I have been able to travel so much within only a few years. Although I believe most people will never want to embrace a fully nomadic lifestyle as I have, I do want to share my best tips and hacks in order to help others travel more. I’m about to get very personal here. I won’t leave you with any vague, bullshit.
Sacrifice & Determination
It seems to be every week that someone is asking me how I’m able to afford to travel so much, and most of the time people are asking with the assumption that I must have a lot of money. It is true that travel does require money, but it doesn’t always have to require a lot. Since I am not wealthy I have focused on making sacrifices in my life in order to be able to afford to travel so much.
Embracing a minimalistic lifestyle
I’ve never been a materialistic person but it wasn’t until I became an extreme minimalist that I was able to afford to travel more.
So what does it mean to be a minimalist? Minimalism is just simply owning fewer possessions. A minimalist intentionally lives with only the things that a person needs.
Six years ago I slowly started embracing this lifestyle when I stopped buying an excessive amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories. I decided to purchase flights instead of jewelry. I spent my money on experiences rather than the latest tech gadgets.
I eventually became such an extreme minimalist that I decided to take the plunge and embrace a fully nomadic lifestyle. I officially became homeless at the end of May 2017.
In early 2017 I decided to not renew my lease where I was living in Orlando, Florida. I began to sell and donate most of my possessions. I sold and donated most of my clothes, I sold my furniture, I gave my brother all of my kitchenware, and I packed only a few important items to store in boxes at my parent’s house.
Without having to pay rent or utility bills I was able to afford to travel a lot more. I suddenly had more money to book flights, hotels, Airbnbs, hostels, tours, bus trips, and more. At the end of May 2017, I booked a one-way flight to Southeast Asia and I’ve been traveling full-time since then (well, until the COVID-19 pandemic halted all travel).
For 3 years from 2017-2020, I traveled the world without having a place to call home. I traveled to a new country every week or month living in Airbnbs, hotels, and hostels. Everything I currently own fits into a small backpack (my laptop, DSLR camera, GoPro, wallet, and passport) and a larger backpack (all of my Liverpool shirts, the rest of my clothes, shoes, and cosmetics).
Most people will never want to or will be willing to go out of their comfort zone and embrace a fully nomadic lifestyle. I don’t expect most people to want to do this because it does require a huge amount of personal sacrifice as well as dedication. As incredible as it was to have the freedom to be able to travel so much, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to sustain this lifestyle for 3 years.
Traveling solo and remaining single
While most people seem to spend years in long-term relationships or jump from relationship to relationship I’ve spent much of my adult life being single. I’ve always been very independent but when I embraced a fully-nomadic lifestyle I also became dedicated to remaining single.
Of course, if someone would like to become a full-time traveler that person does not have to travel alone. During most of my travels, I have noticed that most people are traveling with someone else. Most people are not traveling alone as I have.
I travel alone because I simply do not have a romantic partner and I don’t want the fact that I am single to hold me back from achieving my dreams of traveling the world.
Back in 2014 when I initially started traveling quite a bit I was mostly traveling alone because I had a flexible lifestyle by working remotely from my laptop (I’ll share more details about this later in this post). I didn’t want to have to wait for someone else to be able to have the funds or to take time off in order to travel with me. I just decided I wanted to travel more so I embraced the solo travel lifestyle.
During one of my solo travel adventures in Liverpool, I met a guy who became my boyfriend for two years. From 2015-2017 we dated and I traveled back and forth between Florida and England to visit him. I would spend weeks at a time in Liverpool and London which is how I was able to afford to travel to the U.K. so much and attend so many Liverpool games.
In between those trips to England, I would frequently travel solo to different countries. There were a handful of times that I had friends join me (my photo below in Greece is from a trip I took with a friend), and my boyfriend did join me on two trips for but the most part, I have continued to travel alone.
The reason I am emphasizing so much on my solo travels is that it is has been a huge sacrifice to remain single for so long. It has not been easy to spend so much time alone. A lot of people won’t visit a local restaurant alone nevermind fly across the world and travel for weeks and months alone in a foreign country. I have traveled so much in the last 3 years that it has been impossible to be in a relationship and as a result, I’ve remained dedicated to my travels rather than finding a partner.
The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
A lot of people who end up traveling the world long-term do so by quitting their jobs and living off of their savings. During my travels, I came across a lot of backpackers who were traveling on a shoe-string budget while taking buses or trains from one country to the next and staying in a dorm room in a hostel. I decided this was not how I wanted to travel the world.
Working full-time from my laptop
At the end of 2013 I landed a job that allowed me to work from home. My new job required some domestic and international travel which is why I initially started taking trips out of the country. Once I had a taste for international travel I wanted more, and in between business trips I started to take personal trips and I brought my laptop with me.
For 6 years I’ve been traveling while working remotely from my laptop. During the last 6 years, I have worked directly for a company in the education technology industry or I have also worked for myself as a freelancer in this same industry.
When people see my travel photos they often accuse me of being on a forever vacation. I’ve also been told I’m just “lucky.” There hasn’t been much luck involved in building my career. The career I have today allows me to choose to work directly for a company or to work for myself. I’ve done both while working remotely for over 6 years now and this career I now have is one that took years of hard work and dedication to build.
Many people want to know exactly what I do working from my laptop. Let me explain.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and for a few years after college I was a teacher in my hometown in Florida. It ended up that I truly despised teaching and I gave up on this career and took a massive pay cut in order to start at the bottom of the ladder in the corporate world.
Over the years I finally worked my way up the corporate ladder working in sales, marketing, and K-12 educational content development. I have worked for assessment companies and educational technology services companies. For years I worked to build up my career while working for different companies from an office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Northern Virginia, and in South Florida.
Approximately 6 years ago I started working remotely from my laptop and the company I was working for at the time sent me on international business trips to India, Germany, and the U.K. This is how I started to get a taste for international travel.
Since then I started traveling while working remotely from my laptop. I’ve gone back and forth between working directly for this company and working as a freelancer for various companies.
Most people just assume I have won the lottery or gotten lucky in life but it couldn’t be further from the truth. When I was 25 years old I was making 25k per year with a 10k per year pay cut from my salary as a teacher just so that I could get the experience I needed in the corporate world.. I worked hard to build my career up to this point in which I am able to work remotely from my laptop. Up until 6 years ago I almost never took off of work for vacation and I almost never took any personal trips.
Not only have I worked remotely in the educational technology industry but I have also spent a lot of time to build this blog. Managing this blog has become a part-time job and over the years I have juggled full-time travel with a full-time job working directly for a company or a full-time job working as a freelancer in the educational technology industry as well as working part-time as a travel blogger. I’ve basically worked my ass off to get to where I need to be.
My work as a travel blogger hasn’t necessarily been lucrative but this blog has helped me save a lot of money off of travel expenses. I have created blog posts and various content in exchange for discounted and/or completely sponsored flights, tours, hotels, etc. I am very picky about the companies I will collaborate with as I would never promote a company I don’t believe in. However, all of the work I have poured into these collaborations has taken up a lot of my time.
I almost never feel as if I can just be on vacation. Most of my travel experiences have revolved around a lot of hard work and determination. Another reason why I have traveled solo so much is that I am almost always working while traveling and it’s just easier to be alone rather than to disappoint a travel companion who wants to travel on a proper vacation.