How To Plan & Start Long-Term Travelling
It’s been a long road for us to be able to sit here and write a post about going long-term travelling. Having just quit our 9 to 5 jobs and preparing to leave for a year on the road, we finally feel in the position of being able to share some very candid and personal thoughts on how we got here.
Both JP and I have been working for the last ten years in corporate jobs, within a 9 to 5 daily set up. JP is a designer/art director and I am a marketer. We both enjoyed our jobs at times and at times hated them, but generally always felt like something was missing, an eternal sense of restlessness.
The reason why I’m sharing our background is to set the ground as to how difficult it actually was to take the leap, giving our very stable, society approved lifestyles and to show you that it is a possible route for anyone. For us, it was probably extra difficult also due to our age, I am 31 and JP 29, an age when you are expected to take other types of commitment in life. Life, however, is what you make of it.
How did we make the final decision
Travelling long-term had been our life long dream before we met and during the last five years it has been a constant common point and shared ambition for us as a couple. We didn’t plan for five years though, we only concretely started planning when we took the final call six months ago, but during these years we kept this goal as our guiding star. We made life decisions based on it (where to go live and which jobs offers to accept) we managed our savings and spending considering the possibility of leaving in the near future.
I would love to give you an exact formula to make the final call, but unfortunately I don’t think there is one. Sometimes the stars just align and you feel ready to make that decision you had been storing in your mind for ages.
We decided it was time when I was not happy in my last job and since I was going to quit anyway it seems like now or never. I believe the lesson here is to keep on mentally working on it and listen to your inner voice, when you are ready it will push you and guide you in making the move and it will feel right.
Finally a place where I can give you more concrete advice! We have been planning to stay on the road for one year (as a minimum) and travel through South America (Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Galapagos, Colombia) and Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia - this plan is still very much tbc). We chose the continents based lower living costs and because we traveled them less extensively.
In terms of budget we are planning to spend a maximum of 40€ a day each, which is you multiply for 365 means 14,600€ in a year. Our daily budget will cover everything, from sleeping to eating to adventures. This means that we need to balance our days, so when we know we have a big excursion like Machu Picchu were the cost will be higher, we will have to spend less on previous days.
Saving is the key that unlocks the plan. Our dream felt unreachable until we started cranking down seriously on the saving and boy it's hard! A couple of mind trick that worked for us:
Start comparing any new item of clothing you would like to buy with a possible excursion, flight ticket, night in airbnb (instead of this 50€ pair of pants I could pay a speed boat between Galapagos islands)
Give yourself a limit of only buying clothes or objects that you will be able to take in your travel backpack (this is also great to start a less consumerist lifestyle)
Plan only weekend getaways reminding yourself that you can or will cover that destination during your travels
We hope you’ll find these points useful and hopefully they will give you that extra confidence to give it a try.
Asja & JP