I’m a strong believer that budgeting and tracking are among the most important skills you can develop. Simply because to be in charge of your destiny you have to know what’s going on and what the plan is. Having access to good numbers is often the hardest part (running a business, fitness, health), but fortunately tracking personal expenses couldn’t be easier.
Since childhood I’ve been a a bit OCD about tracking money. I still remember the investing pamphlet my dad gave me around age 12 about saving money and compound interest. You know the one: clean little graphs illustrating how $1 saved a day will miraculously become $1,000,000 by age 50.
Skill in tracking and saving is what ultimately allowed me to save $15,000 for travel during my first job out of college.
Being a business owner takes the budgeting OCD up a notch. It’s a much bigger deal when the numbers don’t add up when you’re talking employees and cashflow. Continue reading >>
I remember trying to write a blog post in Buenos Aires in 2008. Wifi as we know it was not widely available, but internet cafes were everywhere, and they worked pretty well if you could get around the non-US keyboards and the impossibility of finding the ‘@’ symbol.
The ease of modern travel with a local SIM card powered smart-phone with broadband internet access is borderline ridiculous. Nothing is impossible when you can get on the internet, and wandering around looking for accommodation has been replaced by some quick tactical research. Continue reading >>
More specifically–after nearly 5 years on the road–what time-tested equipment am I still willing to lug around in a backpack?
In late 2013 I left the US for a second trip around the world. That trip never really ended, and my original SE Asia Pack List had to survive a number countries, seasons, and activities that I’d never anticipated.Continue reading >>
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by my good friend Scott Mueller who quit his job to travel the world back in late 2013. The post’s title is not hyperbole. What follows is an extremely detailed breakdown of how to fly around the world for a fraction of the listed cost. If you’re overwhelmed, check out the short FAQ on credit cards and airline miles or see my previous post on how I flew around the world for $220.
Whether you want to leave your cubicle for a short escape, attend a friend’s far-away wedding, or embark on a multi-country, globe hopping year of exploration – having a solid airline mileage strategy can enable your travel plans. Add to that a set of easy to follow tactics for accruing and redeeming miles and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get started!
I get a lot of emails from people who are gearing up for a big adventure, and the most common question is: how do you prepare for this?
While this isn’t the full checklist (I’ll post that at some point), here are a few big things I wish I’d done before I left in 2011.
If you’re only making a short trip this may not be worth the effort, but if you’re in this for the long-haul these 5 things are worth considering.
[Ahem. Ok, maybe not everything]
I did this in 2011: a massive Craigslist sale, re-gifting to friends, taking a few trips to Goodwill. But every time I visit the US I’m appalled by how much is still left. Thousands of dollars in vehicles, equipment, clothes–mostly useless, replaceable, and only losing more value or becoming completely worthless over time.Continue reading >>
UPDATE: There is a newer pack list! Check out A Digital Nomad Pack List After 5 Years on the Road. It might also be interesting to compare how things have changed since 2013..
Last week I hopped on a 19-hour flight back to Indonesia with little more than a daypack, my laptop bag, and some surfing gear. It may not seem like much, but it’s everything I need to live, work, and travel for an indefinite period of time.
I already wish I’d brought less.
Continue reading >>
“Don’t wait around. Don’t get old and make excuses. Save a couple thousand dollars… get a world atlas. Start looking at every page and tell yourself that you can go there…Are there sacrifices to be made? Of course? Is it worth it? Absolutely. The only way you’ll find out is to get on the plane and go.”
-Jason Gaspero in Vagabonding
One of the biggest mistakes would-be travelers make is assuming that long-term travel requires a great deal of money, and that you’ll never be able to save enough to afford it. This is the ‘deferred life-plan’ concept in a nutshell: I won’t have enough money to travel until later in life when I retire, or maybe when I win the lottery, or sell a company for $10 million.
This is a bogus framework. You don’t need a lot of money to travel, and as a result you can save enough very quickly.
It’s just a matter of priorities.Continue reading >>
The average price of rent here in San Francisco is $1200+ per month for a shared apartment, but I found a place to stay indefinitely, last minute, for $25 a night ($750 a month).
This basic process can be used to find a place to crash just about anywhere, but in general this much effort is only required in big cities. Outside the city I’ve never failed to find something by asking people on the street.Continue reading >>
Back in the day, airline tickets were really expensive and inflexible. Not anymore.
Welcome to the world of low-cost, flexible world travel.
While visiting family in February I decided not to get on my flight home. I wanted to spend some additional quality time there so I just didn’t show up for my flight.
Mom was flabbergasted: “You can do that?!”
Yep. You’d be amazed by what airlines let me get away with last year.
This conversation led me to the realization that in the last 19 months, every single flight I pre-booked more than a few weeks in advance I either didn’t get on or had to change for a lot of $$$.
If I no longer have pre-defined location constraints, and if pre-booking flights is both “a major turnoff” and expensive, why would I still do it?Continue reading >>
Over one year ago I quit my job and decided to travel around the world. This was both a dream 10 years in the making and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made [photo: night train from Belgrade to Sofia].
In the last 12 months I learned a lot about long-term travel, what I need to be happy, and how to survive outside of the US. Many of these things can’t be learned at home or in a book, and while reading about them on the internet can only get you so far, a lot of people have asked me to explain how I’ve done it.
Well, here’s part of the answer.
“There’s no substitute for just going there.”
My trip hasn’t been about sightseeing (although I’ve done that) as much as just being somewhere. The simple challenges of daily routine can be overwhelming: trying to eat, drink, and sleep in a place where nothing makes sense, you don’t speak the language, and where none of the basic comforts of home are available. It’s not easy, but if you want a fast-track to personal development, get on a plane.Continue reading >>