August 29, 2012 in Inspiration
One of the most interesting aspects of traveling is meeting the fascinating array of people who manage to make their travel dreams a reality.
We’ve met young people and retirees, couples, single parents and families of every sort you can imagine. One of the things that always strikes us is the resourcefulness of this community and the many ways that people find to create income and finance their dreams.
The world economy is changing. The financial “security” that our parents generation enjoyed is not nearly as secure. The way people make money and work jobs is changing as fast as the technology that is pushing us forward. Whether you’re saving to take off on your dream trip or realizing that you want to make it last forever, these five strategies can help you fund it!
Less is More
Any good financial manager will tell you that the first thing you can do to find more funding is to cut fat.
Doing without your daily Starbucks coffee at $3.00 a pop saves $1000 a year; it doesn’t take a genius to do the math on that. A thousand dollars will buy a plane ticket, but it won’t keep you traveling for long. If you’re looking to build your nest egg faster, consider the following:
- Downsize your house
- Get rid of your TV
- Get rid of your vehicle and ride a bike instead
- Sell your junk on ebay
- Eat in, not out
- Give up your gym membership and exercise outside instead
If your dream is to travel, learning to live with less and do things “the hard way” to save money will do two things: fund your travel and prepare you for the lifestyle that awaits!
Simplify, live like you’re on the road before you hit the road, and bank the difference!
Stretch your 1st World Money
The digital nomad’s ideal is to be able to make first world money and live outside of the first world.
While you’re barely scraping by in the USA on $35,000 a year, that same amount anywhere in Central America would let you live like a king. For some people travel is actually cheaper than staying home and living abroad allows them to get out of debt faster, save for a house or long term goals faster and at the same time they are living their dreams!
Guess what? Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too!
Most of the people we know who are lifestyle travelers do not have one source of income, they have several.
For us, this means my husband’s day job (freelance in the tech industry) and my online and print freelance writing work. We have friends who have ebay businesses, others with multiple websites, some who consult, others who teach, some who own rental homes for income, many who have simply converted their “old careers” into more location independent versions.
The key is, not to put all of your eggs in one basket!
If you’ve got one goose laying all the golden eggs (whether you live a static life or one on the road) then you’re in a precarious position. What happens when that job, that contract, or that income stream dries up?
Develop new income streams, now, before you go, and as you travel as well!
There is more than one form of currency, and I’m not talking dollars versus euros!
Money is one way to get things done and the more you have the easier it is, to be sure, but it isn’t the only way! You can significantly reduce your reliance on green backs by entering into barter relationships that allow both parties to benefit and save you both a bucket of money.
- Trade web development or promotion for lodging
- Teach a new skill in trade for the website overhaul you need
- Take photos for promotional purposes in trade for goods or services
- Write product reviews in trade for the gear you need
- Play a music gig in trade for your dinner
Make an inventory of what you know how to do, the services you could provide and match that against what you need to keep moving forward. Don’t be afraid to accept, or offer a barter!
The absolute truth is that if it were not for the advances of technology, we could not be doing what we are doing.
It’s the internet and the ubiquitous accessibility of it that allows us to live and work anywhere for years on end, pursuing our passions.
You can leverage that technology too:
- Convert your career to something location independent
- Do freelance work on a contract basis online
- Teach art or music via Skype
- Do consulting on the web
- Teach a language class online
- Become a freelance writer in your niche market
- Create websites
Some of the most creative uses of technology for career transformation that we’ve seen include a psychologist we met in Antigua who does his counseling sessions online, Latin, Burmese and English lessons via Skype, Ebay empires that fund big families on the move, and the lady who teaches our kids art by Skype on Wednesday mornings.
Think outside the box. Even things that don’t seem related to technology can be reinvented using it.
What can you do today to fund your dream?
Jenny Willis is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with personal finance advice. She writes for Purechecks.com, a leading check printing company of designer personal and business checks