There isn’t a person out there who hasn’t daydreamed about saying farewell to their boss and hitting the open road.
Of course, as soon this fantasy comes to mind, it’s usually squashed within seconds—afterall, the day-to-day responsibilities don’t just disappear because we’ve made travel plans.
Or do they?
Well, unbeknownst to most, there is a way you can travel the world without having to succumb to vagabond status.
Leaving the daily grind behind and setting off on a spectacular journey is becoming more and more appealing in today’s fast-paced society.
Market Watch recently reported on one couple who, “just took the plunge and, in a matter of days, will be embarking on an adventure of a lifetime: A one-year journey across 40 countries.”
How amazing is that!
And on Reddit’s financial independence thread, user “ThatStuffAddsUp” shares his journey from being a fulltime employee to a fulltime adventure seeker:
“It’s been a tough past 15-20 years where I’ve been going 100 mph to try and be successful, create wealth and simply enjoy life. Problem is, I’ve been so focused on being successful that I’ve rarely allocated time to enjoy life… to truly live with child-like wonder without worrying about a constant income.”
But how were they able to set themselves up financially to pursue such an opportunity?
Well, they did it through the “FIRE” philosophy, which stands for financial independence, retire early.
FIRE is a method of saving that every serious traveler needs to know about – and it begins with the toughest step: Eliminating all debt.
While this may seem insurmountable, it’s not as impossible as you may think if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Market Watch shares how one traveler was able to pay off all his debt:
“He explained that achieving the first four steps meant sacrificing some of the normal things in his life. The couple downsized their apartment, sold one of their vehicles, got a Costco membership, ate at home more often, cut the cord, etc. — all basic tenets of FIRE.”
There are also professionals who will help you consolidate your debt and arrange a realistic time frame on paying it off, which is a great option if your debt seems overwhelming.
The next step is simple—only spend the money that you have.
Don’t put yourself back into debt purchasing airfare, hotel accommodations, or a new travel wardrobe!
If you don’t already have a credit card that accumulates air miles or hotel points, then you may want purchase one to help pay for trip expenses, which in turn will earn you points.
But, only use your card to pay for trip expenses that you already have the money for. You want to travel within your means and not accrue debt.
Pro-tip: To save on hotel expenses, consider staying in a hostel instead—they aren’t as scary (or gross) as you think. In fact, Proud American Traveler has previously shared with our readers how opting for a hostel can save alot of dough so you can do the real fun stuff—like a boat ride down the Amazon River.
You will need to create a tentative itinerary of total costs for each destination, including transportation (i.e. airfare, train trips, car rentals), accommodations, food, and activities.
Have the total amount saved up before embarking on your journey. You do not want leave it up to chance how you’ll return from India with no money in sight!
Market Watch reported that the couple planning their worldwide journey had to save up quite a large sum of money:
“All in, the couple has budgeted $70,000 for the trip, including all transport, housing, meals, visas, activities, insurance. Everything. He says his goal is to ultimately come home well under budget.”
Coming home with money leftover may seem like a bridge too far, but it’s better to have the money and not need it, than not have the money and need it!
Do not purchase any big items like a houseboat, new car, or lavish bedroom set before you leave.
Plan on purchasing such expenses after you return home. It’s not worth spending the extra money on something that could be put towards your trip.
It may be crappy to go without these added comforts for a few years, but it will be well worth the sacrifice to make your dreams a reality.
Try not to get injured before or during your trip. Health insurance for traveling is not cheap, especially if you’re not employed.
So if you have the option to go on a safari in Africa or hang glide off the cliffs in New Zealand, you should probably choose the safari.
Of course, you want to have fun on your trip. If experiencing the ultimate adrenaline rush is your cup of tea, that’s okay, just be smart about it.
For couples without kids yet, you may want to do your world traveling now. While kids love adventures, it’s a whole new ballgame traveling with little children.
This is not at all to say that you can’t travel with kids in tow, you’ll just need a bit more time to plan and save.
And the same rules of FIRE apply should you want to make it a family affair.
As Reddit user “ThatStuffAddsUp” says, he knows he’s taking a huge leap by quitting his job and traveling the world, but he also knows it will be worth it.
“I understand that tomorrow is not guaranteed. We may not live to be 60. And, if we do, we may not have the health to travel the way we want to at that age. So, we decided now is the best time for us to take a sabbatical.”
Of course, many people will offer their opinions—both good and bad—about how you should live your life.
But in the end, we lie in the bed we make.
And these daring traveler seems pretty happy about their ‘spread. We should let them inspire the adventurer in all of us.