I’m simply confused as to how it’s possible that I have so far failed to properly explain how I’ve managed to travel/live/work abroad nonstop for 12 years straight (and counting).
The questions are still pouring in every single day: How do you do it? How is it possible to travel for so long? Where does the money come from?
And while I thoroughly enjoy communicating with readers (I’m being completely serious and encourage you all to continue sending your emails to me as often as you wish), the fact that these very questions are on the minds of so many of you out there has led me to believe that I need to do a better job at providing the answers.
While it’s true that I’ve already written plenty of posts on the matter, clearly all of these posts, even as one collective entity, still fall well short of proving that a life of travel is not some crazy fantasy but a perfectly reasonable and easily attainable lifestyle option instead.
How do I prove, once and for all, that you do not need $500,000 or even $50,000 in your bank account, that if you are able to scrounge together $500 bucks, there’s little stopping you from becoming a full-time nomad. I’m not joking here. After all, this is exactly what I’ve done myself. Okay, I first left home with $1500 to my name but that’s not exactly a fortune either.
I’m not going to give up trying, so here’s another attempt to show you how I’ve managed to live a life of constant travel.
The following is a brief summary of the past 12 years of my life. It is a timeline of sorts that details where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing and where my money has come from at all times. Ultimately, it shows just how one ordinary person has so far managed to fund 4,195 days straight of traveling and living abroad.
December 25, 1999:
Left home and flew to Bangkok with $1500 in my bank account
Planned to spend 3 months traveling around Southeast Asia
Decided to officially extend my trip despite having only $500 left to my name
Taught English in Chiang Mai, Thailand, earning approximately $150 USD per week (more than enough to live well in this city at the time)
Returned to the US with $300 in my account (after paying for the flight home)
Spent 2 months in Boston working as a high school substitute teacher
Saved $2500 during this time
Returned to Asia and spent 12 months traveling through Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia
While in India, volunteered as an English teacher for 3 months in exchange for room and board
Stayed with friends for 3 months in Thailand and taught English once again in Chiang Mai
Lived with friends for 2 months in Australia, which kept my expenses quite low
Returned to the US with no money at all
Through a contact, I applied to work on board cruise ships
Landed a job as a Tour Staff with Carnival Cruise Lines
Worked on board two different ships during one 8-month contract
Saved $8000 during this time and then decided not to return for another contract
Traveled to Australia for 4 months
With $4000 in the bank, I spent two months living with a friend in Los Angeles
Found a short-term job at an advertising company through a temp agency
Worked for two months and left LA with $5000 in the bank
Traveled to Thailand, Bangladesh and India
Landed a job as a Tour Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines
Worked two contracts on board ships located in Hawaii and the South Pacific
Traveled to Europe during my 6-week vacation between contracts
Saved $20,000 by the end of my second contract
Spent 7 months traveling to Europe, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan
With $10,000 still in my account, decided to work two more contracts as a Tour Manager for Norwegian Cruise Lines
Saved an additional $20,000 during these contracts
Traveled to Europe during my 2-month vacation in between contracts
Traveled for 8 months to South America, Europe and India
Was offered a job with Cunard Line (cruise line based out of the UK)
Worked as a Tour Manager on board the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liners
Spent 18 months with Cunard, saving over $3300 per month
Traveled through Europe, Caribbean, Mexico, the Middle East and SE Asia during my vacations in between contracts
Traveled back to India for 3 months
Worked one final two-month contract for Cunard Line, saving an additional $6000
Left Cunard (with more than enough money saved up by now) and moved to Australia
Spent five months in Melbourne working on creating online streams of income
Sold my first eBook online
Continued working on promoting my eBook while creating a second eBook to sell
Traveled through Central America and Mexico, finishing the trip by renting an apartment in Sayulita, Mexico
Continued working on my online projects
Income from my online projects reached $1000 per month for the first time
Moved to the Caribbean coast of Mexico and rented an apartment in Playa del Carmen, where I spent more time working on my online projects
Officially launched WanderingEarl.com
Spent 6 months traveling around the Middle East, Australia and Southeast Asia
Returned to Playa del Carmen (where I am currently living) in order to catch up on work
Reached $2500+ per month in online income through the sales of three eBooks I’ve authored and through my efforts with affiliate marketing
Planning some new adventures for later this year, including a most interesting 30 day train challenge for the month of September (more details to come in my next post)
Life as a permanent nomad continues
And that’s all there is to it. The truth of the matter is…
$2500 per month, and even $1000 or $1500 per month, is more than sufficient to achieve a lifestyle that involves extensive travel. It really doesn’t take much. Some teaching English here, some cruise ship work there, some internet marketing in your spare time and VOILA!
And this is only a tiny fraction of the opportunities to earn money while traveling that exist out there. Once you realize this, you’ll also realize that luck, miracles and having an overflowing bank account play no role whatsoever in allowing you to achieve your travel goals.
All you need is the courage to take the first step and a mind that is open to trying new experiences!