One of the #1 questions a (young) world traveler is often asked happens to be: “How can you afford it?” I can tell you a good majority of us don’t have daddy paying for all our adventures. Personally (sorry if I’m about to step on a few toes) I think funding yourself while traveling is a more rewarding and learning experience anyway.
So how exactly did we manage to start traveling right out of college?
How would you (the reader) go about doing it? It’s difficult to answer this question, because honestly, there are so many ways to take the plunge!
To give you a little bit of a background, my husband and I both graduated with our Bachelor’s Degrees in May of 2010. We fully funded our wedding (held in Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon) in August 2010, and then relocated ourselves from Missouri (where we went to school) to Portland, Oregon in September of 2010. As you can imagine, our after-college savings from the million various jobs we both had, was literally flying out the door.
I wouldn’t say we were really the kind of people you’d expect to find galavanting across the globe. To be honest, I think so many people believe that world travel is such an unachievable thing, when really it can be done cheaply (and smartly).
1. Research, Research, Research – There’s a crap ton of work involved with traveling. You start discovering ‘the ropes’ early on, learning that paying attention to all the details, no matter how big or small, will get you farther than you thought. You’ll learn where to book the cheapest places to stay, how to get around on a dime (if not free), how to live minimalistically (ps just discovered that’s not a word, but I think it very well should be). Most importantly you’ll learn how to travel: getting from point A to point B. Best way to do this? Hit the books, blogs, and web reviews!
2. Employment – Believe it or not, you can travel while being employed! There are multiple countries that would be more than happy to hire foreigners. Think nannying, teaching, and customer service (multiple other options too…just throwing those on the table). Google ‘working abroad’ and check out all the different options available to you! Teaching ESL has been wonderful for Derik and I. It’s been a great way to save money as well as take advantage of cheap inter-Asia travel!
I’m sure this goes without mention, but self-employment is also a good option for those who what to get out and see the world! Aubrey from That Backpacker is one of my favorite travel bloggers. She supports herself (while traveling all over the place) by writing online and developing her blog. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming self-employed myself! The internet is a limitless place to make money and develop businesses, you just have to have the dedication, drive, and guts to give it a go!
3. Support – Selling all your stuff just to go experience the world is no walk in the park. It’s hard. Half the time you’ll ask yourself, “Holy crap, what am I doing?” Seek out people that have gone through, or are currently in your situation. They’ll be your best cheerleaders! They may also have priceless advice to help you plan your trip (s).
4. Be Open and Flexible – If you’re expecting things to go a certain way, and can’t function if a wrench gets thrown in your plans, then maybe world travel isn’t for you. You’ll have to learn to be flexible. Travel and work visas will be an unbearable pain at times, jobs will end as fast as they came to you, and flights most likely will get cancelled at some point. Being flexible means being ok with curveballs that may come your way, and finding how to overcome them. If you can figure this life-skill out? You’re golden.
The biggest obstacle of traveling right out of college is learning what it means to live: to really live on your own, independently, in a land completely different than what you’re used to.
Be careful though, it’s addicting.