How I Traveled for 1 Year: Common Questions Answered
Anyone that knows me from my blog, social media, or from meeting me in person might be aware of the fact that I spent all of 2017 living out of a backpack. The year was full of more ups than downs, making it overall an incredible, rewarding, and eye-opening experience. In case you haven't met me or follow my travels on Instagram, I'll give you a brief recap on why I wanted to take a year to travel, what it's taught me, and what I plan on doing now.
"Why did you decide to travel for a year?"
This is probably the number one question I get from people. Truthfully, I didn't really decide to travel for a year - it just sort of happened. I mean, of course, I made the choice to go travel, but I really didn't think it would be for an entire year. But that initial choice to just pick up and go was something that I had thought about doing a few years ago. The event that spurred this decision was getting let go from my job. I was super unhappy working in a corporate environment, barely had any friends at work, and was being micromanaged nearly every 30 minutes.
This environment really drove me into a bad headspace. With no one to talk to at work and vent my frustrations to, I started feeling really depressed and I would often cry when I woke up in the morning before heading to my office. If you've ever had a job that you don't like, maybe you can relate.
In short, I was unhappy and really not myself. Naturally, I am a pretty even-tempered individual, generally happy and patient, and get along with mostly everyone. But this environment turned me into someone I was not--I started getting frustrated with my closest friends, became extremely irritable and argumentative, and defensive for no apparent reason. If anyone knows and/or belives in vibrational frequencies, I was vibrating at a very low frequency.
When I was let go of my job, it was not a blessing in disguise, but a straight up in my face blessing. I told myself that I was going to take a Eurotrip--something I had always wanted to do but never had enough vacation days for. And so, that's exactly what I decided to do.
"How did you make money while traveling?"
My professional career title is "Copywriter," and it's something I've been doing since 2011. In addition to my full-time job, I had also been freelance copywriting remotely for another company in NYC. So before I left, I thought, well if this one company is allowing me to work remotely, then I should be able to find more jobs with a similar setup.
I ended up finding another part-time remote writing role and those two positions ended up supporting the cost of my travels for the entire year.* Granted, these were both part-time positions, and even combining those hours didn't add up to full-time job hours. But, this obviously allowed me more freedom and flexibility to travel and explore more.
*In addition to these part-time positions I also took on volunteer activities thanks to Workaway. I mentioned this in a previous post, but it is a platform that allows you to find volunteer experiences around the world. This is not only a great way to save money since accommodation is often free, but it is also a way to get to know places and cultures a little bit better.
"Wasn't it expensive to travel?"
In short, no. People think that traveling is too costly, so they just don't do it! But it really depends on what you're looking for, what you're willing to give up, and if you can figure out certain "hacks" along the way.
There are so many ways of saving money as you travel longterm, but my top tips are:
- Stay at hostels
- Cook for yourself
- Do volunteer experiences like Workaway
- Walk everywhere or as much as you can
- Take advantage of free things
- Only buy things you really need AKA not shot glasses or dream catchers or whatever
- Book your transportation and accommodation in advance
- Don't feel like you HAVE to do something every single day
"So you've hit the one-year mark of traveling. What have you learned?"
So much! But I think these are the main things:
- If you really want to do something, you can. Everything is about mindset!
- You don't always need to know the answers to everything or have a plan. That's boring.
- You don't owe anyone an explanation for what you do.
- Your true friends will support you and not make fun of or doubt you.
- Speaking of friends, new ones are everywhere and from different countries, cultures, statuses, and belief systems. So, always stay open-hearted when it comes to meeting other humans.
- Kindness goes a long way.
- It's okay to ask for help and also be helpful.
- You never know what someone has endured in their lifetime, so try not to judge people if you don't actually know them. Everyone deserves a chance, and sometimes people have bad days.
- There's no point in worrying about stuff. Life happens no matter what you do, so live in The Now--not in yesterday or tomorrow.
- Just flow. This is something one of my good friends told me to do when I told her I was feeling anxious. Go with whatever comes at you and deal with stuff day by day -- that's all you can ever do.
- Practice gratitude daily and take nothing for granted. (If you're reading this, for example, you have access to the Internet and probably a phone or a computer and that's a lot more than most people.)
What are you doing now?
I just moved to Berlin, Germany! I'm so excited about it but I am still in the process of it all. I plan on making a "Moving Abroad" video series which will explain why I chose Berlin, what I'm planning on doing here and more. But that's for future posts...
Hope you enjoyed this post and that I was able to kind of sort of answer your questions. If you want a video version of these answers, I recorded them in an IGTV video which you can find HERE.
Thanks for following along, reading, watching, commenting, etc. Till next time!
xx - Steph