I’ve received dozens of emails lately from people asking, “How were you able to travel for so long?” “Where did you get the gusto to quit your jobs?” and “How can I do that?” Ladies and gents, as many travelers will tell you, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for making it happen, but I can share what’s worked for us. I like to get a little carried away sometimes, so what started as an idea for a simple guide, turned into a full blown infographic (aka The Super Awesome Guide to Long Term Travel) you’ll find below. We are but humble wanderers, a wife and husband (why is it always the other way around?), trying to navigate this thing called life and find our happy place along the way. But before I give away the goods, a quick recap of how we got to be where we are today…
I’m a jumper. Whenever Michael says, “Do something interesting,” well… it’s my move.
Michael and I currently reside in Boston. We love it here! It’s a great city with tons to see, do, and experience. Did I mention the food? What I love most about it, though, is that it provides the perfect base for us to do what makes our hearts soar. We’re wandering beings and have an insatiable lust for travel and experiencing the world beyond our tiny bubble. If you’re wondering why we aren’t full time travelers, well, that’s a story for another day, so stay with me. Before moving here, we had our biggest, longest, most epic trip yet. A six month trek through China, SE Asia, and Europe (17 countries, 89 cities, 32k+ miles); the dawn of Camera & Carry On, a new chapter, and realizing our dreams. If you just joined us, you might want to check out this video. Michael did an amazing job and we’re pretty proud of it. 🙂 We LOVE to travel, and have made it an integral part of our 9+ years as “we.” I like to say the beginning of our infinite adventures began just 2 weeks into dating. In mid February, we went from FTL > ORD, froze our asses off, and savored every minute.
The “first trip” to Chicago, 9 years ago! Who are those babies? And so skinny, too! True what they say about time…
Over the years we’ve moved cross country (x5), taken breaks, left jobs, started jobs, explored entrepreneurship at least a handful of times. The two constants? Love [enter the awwws] and travel. We lived comfortably, but simply. We continue to hold the finer things lower on the totem pole because while they are so, so nice, they don’t satisfy our souls like travel does. My point here is about priorities and making choices. Some people can have it all, but for anyone that needs to budget, or even make decisions about the type of life they want to lead, like us, it’s dear to consider what’s important to you, not the peanut gallery.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the SUPER AWESOME GUIDE TO LONG TERM TRAVEL! I won’t spew claims that this is the most comprehensive guide, and perhaps none of this is news to you (congrats!). For me, it helps to state the obvious because sometimes I lose sight of what’s right in front of me. Anyone relate? Like that time I was searching for my phone, only to realize I was talking on it [hand to forehead]. Old age will not treat me well, you guys. But getting back to it… I put together this infographic as an easy to follow tool to get your head right and focus on the the big picture. Soak up the details in the pretty graphic, then jump below for a quick breakdown of some key points.
Want to print this out? Download the high resolution file here >>> The Super Awesome Guide to Long Term Travel
Before You Leave
Of course, money will be a factor. Some people only need $10k to travel for a year. For us? $30k over six months worked out just right. If you’re interested in the financial breakdown, Michael’s All About the Benjamins post goes into detail about what we spent on transportation, lodging, fun stuff, etc. Looking beyond the financial aspect of long term travel, consider how your life will change. Specifically, what’s going to happen to all your
junk belongings? Do you want to sell it, store it, or donate? Then there are the pesky student loans. Auto pay? Deferment? Or run? Think about what you’re responsible for at home, and how to manage from afar.
Planning the Trip
Our biggest tip comes into the planning process at the early stage. Many times I’ve spoken with a traveler about their plans and gotten, “I’m going to _____, but not sure what to do yet once I arrive!” We’ve done that, too, but it’s not the only way. Instead of deciding where you want to go, why not find what you want to do, then go some place that suits it. For instance, we really wanted to swim with whale sharks. There are only a handful of places in the world that’s even possible, so when it came down to deciding between Vietnam and the Philippines on this last trip, our choice was simple, and we had an amazing time because we got to do an activity that was high on our wants list.
Making It Count
We’re big supporters of getting friendly with locals. Integrating with the community wherever we go has opened our eyes to what lies beyond the tourist trail. It doesn’t have to be forced, either, just try ‘living’ wherever you are for a bit. Don’t feel like you need to squeeze everything in. And know that even the most precisely planned itineraries have hiccups. Try to take everything in stride, don’t be so up tight, and do what makes you smile.
I hope this has given you a little food for thought and maybe sparked a few questions. To reiterate my point above, everyone is different and that translates to endless possibilities of how/why/and where to travel. Care to share? Tell us your suggestions and tips for making your dream of long term travel a reality in the comments below!
Many hours went into the making of this infographic, so please contact us for usage. Thank you!
Also, many thanks to the designers at thenounproject.com for some of the icons! box, Matthew Hall • light bulb, Shane David Kenna • worker, DonBLC 123 • camera, Jake Dunham • temple of debod, José Manuel Rodríguez • house, Maurizio Fusillo • tickets, Egorova Valentina • scooter, Luis Prado • rain, Lubos Volkov • sun, Nina Sandgaard Rasmussen • rain, Claire Jones • travel, Elliot Verhaeren • beef noodle soup, Brad Ashburn • luggage, iconsmind.com • compass hunotika • map, NAS • cable car, Rohan Gupta • credit card, Agarunov Oktay-Abraham • coins, Remy Medard • piggy bank, Diego Naive • footprint, Melissa Gaviria