A lot of people think I saved up a huge sum of money before I started travelling.
Truth? I didn’t.
It wasn’t even possible.
The idea of starting my travels in Australia came about at the very beginning of January 2010. I left England in June 2010; 6 months is not a lot of time to save money.
I know some people who have saved for years to go travelling. They’ve worked hard and I commend them for that. They’ve sold everything they don’t need, they’ve taken extra shifts at work if they can, they sacrificed luxuries, they’ve walked instead of taking a cab. You get the idea.
They’ve ended their saving mission with a big chunk of cash and started travelling the world.
I kind of had other ideas because, well, I’m a little bit impatient. Ok make that a lot impatient. Once I get an idea in my head I kind of just like to run with it. I struggled to wait 6 months, let alone years.
In truth, I did do what a lot of people do to earn and save money before they start travelling; I used ebay to sell everything I didn’t need anymore, I drove slower to save money on petrol, I bought cheap shampoo instead of the luxury brand, I went on nights out a bit less than normal, I lived with my parents for a year beforehand and I worked harder at work to earn bonuses.
All of this helped but, in 6 months, I still couldn’t save much more than 3,000GBP ($4,800USD) which wouldn’t really get me far if I really wanted travel indefinitely.
Work and Travel
If you haven’t got the time (or, let’s be honest, the inclination) to spend years saving money than one of the easiest ways you’re going to be able to see the world sooner rather than later is to work and travel at the same time.
Working holiday Visas
Getting a working holiday visa means you’ll be allowed to work in a country to supplement your travels which gives you a great opportunity to live abroad temporarily while saving for your next adventure
Teaching English as a foreign language
Completing an online TEFL course before you leave for (or even during) your travels allows you teach English as a foreign language in many countries around the world. Depending on the country you’re teaching in most TEFL jobs are relatively easy to come by and well paid.
To date I’ve travelled on working holiday visas in Australia and New Zealand and I’ll be teaching English in Thailand from October 2013.
The money I saved before I left England is long gone but because I’ve been able to work in Australia and New Zealand (two of the most expensive countries to travel around if you aren’t earning the local currency) I’ve been able to see a lot more, do a lot more, experience what it’s like to live in these countries and most importantly for me; travel slowly.
For someone as impatient as me that can sometimes be a bit frustrating but, as I’ve now spent over two and a half years travelling in this way, I’ve come to realise that there isn’t any rush. I’m not worried about how many countries I have or haven’t been to.
It’s really not a competition.
I love that I’ve lived in Sydney, in Melbourne, in Auckland. I’ve been able to make friends and get experience in jobs that I probably wouldn’t have considered at home. And by completing my TEFL course this year I’ll be able to teach english as a foreign language not just in Thailand where I’ll be trying out teaching for the first time, but also in China, Japan, Vietnam or South America.
So if you’re getting itchy feet and you qualify to travel on a working holiday visa scheme or teach English as a foreign language, I’d definitely recommend using either of these two strategies to start travelling as soon as you want to.