Editor’s Note: Many thanks to all those who encouraged me to get back to writing. 2015 was a bit of a grind, but the good news is I’ve got plenty to share from the experience.
Fear not, trusty readers, SpartanTraveler is alive and well.
But getting somewhere in life is about making hard choices, and the reality in 2015 was simple: focus or die.
‘Like the sculptor, who does not add clay, but strips away the inessentials until the truth is revealed.’
– Bruce Lee character from Dragon
I’ve always thrived at the breaking point of manageable activity. That place where positive stress forces focus and serious action. Where the goals and the necessity for completing them are immediately clear.
As a result, I always assumed as life went I’d continue to be doing more. More traveling, more and different types of adventures, and more varieties of work. Continue reading >>
There are a million great reasons to quit your job to travel the world, but here are five things that matter right now. There’s never been a better time to get out and experience the world.
While traveling in Europe is the quintessential trip–and much cheaper than most Americans tend to think–the catch has always been the 25-30% ‘tax’ on travelers coming from the US in the form of the Euro-Dollar exchange rate.
But things have changed in the last 6 months, and dollar is now as close to the Euro as I’ve ever seen it. As I write this a dollar is worth about 0.94 Euro.
That means your USD are going a lot further, not just in Europe but everywhere.Continue reading >>
“Freedom is like a new sport.”
-Tim Ferris in the 4-hour Workweek
Back in mid-2007 a co-worker told me to read Tim Ferriss‘ book.
“You will love it” she said.
A week later I requested all remaining vacation hours and took a 3-week surf trip to Costa Rica.
I returned home sunburnt and happy, and the next day I promptly quit my job, started work as a professional blogger, and left on an indefinite sojourn to S. America that started with an expedition over the Chilean Andes.
Over 7 years later I find myself waking up in Budapest, Hungary, pursuing wilder goals than I could have imagined at the time.
If you’ve read the 4-hour Workweek (4HWW) you might expect me to say all this was easy–all I had to do was start a website, hire a virtual assistant, and get on a plane to Europe–where I would occasionally check to make sure money kept flowing into my bank account.
For those of you who haven’t read Tim’s palm-tree studded Bible of lifestyle-design, or for those who didn’t really get it, here’s the punchline: it’s not really about working 4 hours a week.Continue reading >>
[Photo: Most of the kit in Da Lat, Vietnam]
I figured after 2 years I had the technology part wired (more on that below), but my biggest question for this trip was clothing. Would it be possible, I wondered, to wear the same clothes for a year?
After more than 12 months outside the USA I have some answers: my wardrobe looks nearly identical to when I left. The surprising thing is how little I had to supplement the original travel kit I left with on September 7, 2013.
In a particularly frenzied bout of travel in July of 2012 I jumped on and off 6 flights in 6 weeks, crisscrossing the entire continent several times (Barcelona to Berlin, Paris to Budapest, etc).
Total Cost for 6 flights: Less than $200
In rare form I didn’t keep track of these expenses because it was too cheap to worry about (my flights averaged $18 US total). I even bought flights I didn’t use just in case I was in a particular city a few weeks down the road.
My wildest dreams couldn’t have predicted the outcome of 2012. The original plan (launched in August 2011) was 15-18 months of travel, circling the globe while mixing in a bunch of adventure sports.
What actually happened was a frantic potpourri of world travel, randomly divergent adventures, and moderately successful online business shenanigans.
The adventure starts when everything goes wrong. -Yvon Chouinard
While the plan itself was fluid, the framework certainly wasn’t: back in 2011 I deliberately opened up my time (and bank account) to make these adventures possible. It turned out that everything was easier and less expensive than I thought it would be, and I’ve repeatedly tried to convince my friends that they too–if they choose–can do something like this.
Last Update (2/6/15):
Also check out my FAQ on the best frequent flyer credit card. It’s a quick read and will give the main points + show you where you can get one of these cards today.
Can you do the same thing? Absolutely, read on:
Budapest, Hungary—It’s a question I got more than once: “So, are you rich?” And, more specifically: “How can you afford to travel so much?”
These questions are upsetting because they highlight the dominant perception that travel is a luxury restricted to the wealthy. And I don’t like people thinking I can only afford to do this because I’m rich (far from it).
In fact, for the last 15 months I’ve been living on a stipend that most people would associate with the poverty line in the United States, or about $1200 a month (see 20 things I Learned While Traveling around the World).
But international flights are expensive, no matter how cheaply you decide to live once you get to your destination. I thought trans-oceanic flights would be the death of my RTW travel budget.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
And here’s the punchline: the only reason these flights cost me anything at all is that I opted to pay for the really cheap ones. That’s correct, I decided to pay actual money for them. You’ll understand why below.Continue reading >>
Disclaimer: This post is not about me. I present it here solely for informational purposes, but the details shouldn’t be taken seriously. Narrative provided by my friend, who we’ll just call ‘Jason’.
Ahhhh Europe. Yes, the quintessential summer trip. Ever since high-school I’d wanted to do a 4-6 month dirt-bag trip through the continent. Unfortunately, it turns out that in most of Europe you’re now restricted to 3 month stints. Yep, good luck covering Europe in 3 months.
The Schengan visa-free zone, while probably great for the economic unity of the European Union, is not ideal for long-term backpackers. It certainly makes border-crossings easier, but you can throw a few of those old 6-month backpack-around-Europe itineraries right out the window (you also won’t get any cool stamps in your passport).Continue reading >>
Photo from my shared apartment in Budapest.