My most asked and least favorite question, “How do you pay for travel?” As much as I would like to have an easy answer for you- I don’t. There is no sercret key to being able to afford to travel the world (unless I haven’t gotten the memo). What I have learned is that no two journeys are the same just as no two destinations are. I can’t answer the how questions because I don’t know what I’m doing or even where I’m going most of the time. You don’t need to know exactly how someone else has done, whatever it is they are doing. There is no blueprint to success because success is a personal journey. You just have to pick a direction and get creative. After all, they say if you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, chances are thats not your path. You forge your own path with every step you take. Thats why its yours.
Since I know this isn’t the answer some of you are looking for, here’s the comprehensive, straight up answer to how I personally make enough money to travel:
Over the years I’ve had many hustles, currently I work 3 very different jobs. I’ve been money hungry since I was 12 years old. I started as a construction rat on my dad’s job sites, mostly painting houses. I eventually turned to landscaping: Weed eating, mowing lawns; classic preteen grunt work. My friend and I even ran a (wildly successful) lemonade stand until we were way too old for that to be appropriate.
Once my attention span grew, I started to learn my mom’s business, Adventure Travel Inc.. Beyond being a 24 hr/day airport chauffeur, I’ve worked as a travel consultant for the past 4 1/2 years. This is where my niche lies; my golden ticket to the world. Frequent flyer miles, IATA travel agent rates, site inspections and all the other wonderful perks of working in the travel industry that fell into my lap because I was raised by workaholic entrepreneurs.
It doesn’t hurt that I live at home (rent free) and my family was well off enough to buy me a reliable vehicle when I turned 16. This created the perfect environment to save almost every dollar I’ve made since I was 12. That was an absolutely essential in order to support my travel addiction. Back then I saved for my dream of taking a work-free gap year; now that gap year turned into 2 or 3 years with intermittent work and a world record. Contrary to somewhat nosy popular belief, I pay my own billz. When I travel I rely on blogging, freelance photography and selling prints to keep my bank account from drying up. I also spend an ungodly amount of time researching the best deals and thoroughly learning how to travel to exotic places on a budget. I hope at this point you’re seeing that it isn’t as easy and simple as it looks on social media. I’ve carefully crafted my income in a way that I’m either working for people sympathetic to my lifestyle or I’m my own boss. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t stress about money. Every single day I’m hustling with the sole purpose of figuring out how I am going to pay for the next country because that’s all I care about at this point in my life. When you’re so passionate and dedicated to something that you’re willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it, money will follow.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m far from cracking the secret to lifelong success. I used to be convinced that ‘if it can happen to me, it can happen to you.” As time goes on, I’m realizing just how fortunate and privileged I am. I am a healthy, 20 year old, from America with a loving family supporting me. If I was from another country, I probably couldn’t be doing this. If I had a baby this would be much, much harder if not entirely impossible. If I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and went to back to college I would be dragged down by student loans right now.
I get reached out by people worldwide, who want to ‘do what I do’ and I never know what to say. It actually keeps me up at night… I don’t want to people suffering from hardships to create self limiting beliefs that they’ll never have the chance to travel because of the cards they were dealt. I feel guilty and I wish I could offer illustrious financial solutions to the situations that are completely out of our control. However, a fine line exists between that type of situation and the abundance of people who know they’re capable of doing more but they let laziness and lack of ambition hold them back.
The best way to achieve the lifestyle you want is to find a place to begin putting in the work. I’ve come to realize in my own life that there is no such thing as being ready. There is no perfect time. If I wait until I’m ready to do something, I will likely never do it. Every day I have to force myself not to let perfect be the enemy of good. Understand that nothing happens over night, and rarely does anyone feel ready before they take a leap of faith. Now is as good a time as any to start living the life you want because its the only time we have any control over.
Seeking wisdom from others is a necessary requirement to personal growth. If I can offer any advice, it would be to stop asking people how they afford their lifestyle with the intention of doing it the exact same way. Instead ask with the honest intention of learning from their experiences, not their paychecks. Chances are that person became successful because they discovered a way of doing things differently and that worked uniquely for them. Find what makes you special and develop ideas that you’re proud of. After you’ve found your idea, the look at it from a business standpoint. Find a way to monetize your passion. Be aware of what others are creating, but don’t copy, and remember that comparison will be the death of your creativity.
Make a goal.
Write that shit down.
Work on it every single day.
Today is the start of a brand new week.
Don’t waste it on things that aren’t important (to you).