Recently I’ve met quite a few people who’ve express their desire to travel more, some even full time! How amazing is that?! This lifestyle choice has been the best thing I’ve ever done, so I’m obviously partial! If it’s something you truly do want to do, here’s some advice I could have really used a few years ago.
And if you don’t want advice, skip this and go listen to our podcast where we talk about aliens and other weird shit. 🙃
- If you plan on working, get a job first. This is always the #1 piece of advice I give others who ask me about long term travel. It’s not impossible to get a remote job while on the road, but it is hard. While it eventually worked out really well for Jeremy and I, we had to jump the huge hurdle of explaining our unique living situation and just hoping XYZ Company would understand. When we first left Dallas, we both left solid office jobs and spent about 4 months in Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific on one giant vacation. While it was incredible, we could have used some of that time to set ourselves up for the long term. Some people plan to save money and use that while they’re gone for a year, eventually going back to work. But we wanted to travel and work at the same time indefinitely, which would eventually require some sort of work. Like I said, it all worked out very well for us, but it would have been less of a hassle if we’d left our jobs and starting working remotely before we started traveling!
- Take 1/4 the stuff you have in mind. Trust me on this one. You will NOT need all those little things you think you will. And unless you’re going somewhere very, very far out of the way, you can buy whatever it is later, if the need does come up. I wore nearly the same thing everyday, and mixed it up with accessories. My friend Bethany eventually had to say, “It’s time to retire that denim romper,” because it was my outfit in 98% of my summer photos. I did pick up things here and there, but I also donated quite a bit too. It’s so easy to go to a market or shop and pick up only the things you actually need, instead of carrying around a ton of “maybe” items. One thing I will say though, is that I’ve had my favorite pair of pajamas with us every single day of the past 2.5 years no matter where we were. It was super nice to have one item that stayed the same, even when everything else in my life changed.
- Make a huge effort to keep in touch. It’s really easy to grow apart from people these days. We’re all busy and have a million things asking for our attention. But is there anything more valuable than the relationships we have? Being away from friends and family was the absolute hardest thing for me. I missed weddings and birthdays and babies and general everyday connection with the people I love. I know it’s important for my mental health to be really diligent about staying in touch: text, call using wifi calling or Skype, send long emails, mail postcards from wherever you are, share funny memes, anything that makes the people I love feel like I’m thinking of them.
- There is no “normal.” Can you imagine if we all looked the same way and did the same things and lived our lives in the exact way everyone else does?! It would be SO BORING. I saw The Truman Show, no thanks. I had to learn to quit worrying about what others think of the life I lead or getting annoyed when we got asked when we were going back to “normal life.” I like doing what I do, it brings value to me, and it makes me unbelieveably happy, which is why I keep on doing it. Just because someone else doesn’t share my definition of success (plenty of people certainly don’t!), it doesn’t make either one of us wrong, it just makes us different. And there’s NOTHING wrong with that.
- Evaluate your motivations for doing this. Travel is really, really, really fun. But the full-time gig isn’t for everyone. It can be really difficult at times. Not having a home and living out of a suitcase isn’t always rainbows and puppies. Being surrounded by a language you don’t speak, a continent or two away from everyone you love isn’t for the faint of heart. One day over the summer, we took a train from Bulgaria to Romania. The train didn’t have AC, the windows wouldn’t open, and what was supposed to be a 7 hour trip turned into a 10 hour one. No announcements were made, so it was up to us to try and determine what was going on. The train was old and rickety (perfect for my motion sickness) and noisy and SO HOT. You had to bring your own food, so the car smelled like eggs and tuna. By the end of those 10 hours, Jer and I were both pouring sweating, we didn’t know if we’d missed our stop or not, I had a massive migraine, Lilly was panting and restless, we’d run out of food and water, and I just broke down sobbing because I was so desperate to get off this train. That day will still go down as one of the worst I’ve had on the road. BUT. The good days far outweight that train day. It is life changing, and I don’t say that lightly. I’m a different person than I was when I first packed up 2.5 years ago. Following my dream was non-negotiable, so if your’s is too, then you’re already on the right track.
And if you want more info, or just like to talk like I do, get in touch and we can chat!