In September of 2017, one year after we met, we were sitting at North Avenue Beach in Chicago and I told Gordon; hey, what do you think if we try to make money while living a life of full time traveling? That’s all it took.
A couple of weeks before that day at the beach, a friend introduced me to a family who was traveling the world full time with their kids and documenting their adventures on YouTube and Instagram (@thebucketlistfamily). I watched like 10 of their videos and that’s when the seed was planted. Fast forward to that day at the beach, I asked G if that was something he’d consider doing with his life. To my surprise, he said yes.
I honestly thought he didn’t mean it. He would have to quit his job as a consultant and start a new career as a videographer/photographer/content creator (while not liking cameras LOL). However, that evening we came home and started working on a spreadsheet with a list of all the places we wanted to visit and what we wanted to accomplish from our crazy adventure. Our lives changed after that day and it all felt so right.
We opened a bank account together in October 2017. We started saving money like crazy (read more about how we did it here). But, shortly after, we realized we needed more than money if we were going to -at least try- to turn our 2 years of traveling into our full time jobs.
We weren’t sure how to make this post useful for anyone out there getting ready to travel the world full time and try to make a living while at it. That’s why we decided it was better to divide everything we did into 4 categories: Skills, mental, finances and health.
Estimated reading time: 21 minutes
Ready to learn about what we did before full time traveling? Let’s do this!
Table of contents
- Let’s rewind.
- Skills // Things that will help you make money online while living a life of full time traveling
- The mental part // How on earth are we going to tell people about our life plans?
- Finances // How are we going to save all this money?
- Health // How are we going to stay healthy while traveling full time?
- Final thoughts // Are you thinking about traveling the world full time?
Skills // Things that will help you make money online while living a life of full time traveling
First we asked ourselves, how on earth are we going to make money with full time traveling? Is anyone out there successful at this?
We read a million posts. Some mentioned teaching English or working abroad as bartenders. Others mentioned online marketing, house sitting and a bunch of other things that didn’t feel like the right fit for us. That’s when we decided to look at our own strengths. We made a list of the things we were good at. Then, decided that we were going to try to make money with a YouTube channel, Instagram and this blog.
What exactly did we learn before our trip?
Ok, so we were like yes, this is so cool, we are going to be digital nomads. Cool. What does that even mean? Well, we had to learn some things from the very beginning. Having a strong foundation was our #1 goal.
Videography and YouTube
We started learning about videography. Making videos and editing them. Practicing with a camera, asking all of my videographer friends for tips and we watched A LOT of YouTube videos. We also got a membership with Skillshare and did many courses about videography and photography. Learned about story telling and how to edit videos in Final Cut Pro X. Some of my favorite YouTube channels for video tutorials are Mark Harrison, Daniel Schiffer and Thomas Alex Norman. I also had to learn about YouTube SEO and strategies, which I learned form this YouTube channel.
SEO (search engine optimization) & this website
Speaking of SEO…. Somehow despite having had a blog for almost 5 years I completely ignored this basic skill (I’m embarrassed to admit it). This time I was not going to make the same mistakes, so we dove in. And deep. We learned so much through the Goats on the Road website. We even did one of their paid courses! I also watched every video on Cathrin Manning’s YouTube channel (and her blog) and pretty much read every blog post on Keysearch’s blog. This is just to name a few. SEO was by far the skill we invested more time and money into.
This website was another thing that took a few months to put together. We started (and almost finished) a website with Squarespace at first. Then we learned -a few months later- that if you wanted to be serious about SEO, WordPress was the way to go. So, we had to make the decision about making the switch and start all over again. It was frustrating but we know it will be worth it.
All the structural work was done by us at the beginning. Then, we hired someone to add some final touches we couldn’t figure out on our own. We did it this way to save money and because building a website on our own would force us to learn about the basics. This is very valuable when you need to hire someone later on. It’s important that you know more or less what you are talking about, so you don’t get screwed like I did with my blog ‘Ways of Style‘ many many times.
We dove deep into the business of online marketing. Understanding algorithms became second nature and we familiarize ourselves with all the ways we could possibly make money online while traveling full time. I did a couple of courses on Instagram with the Professional Traveler that I cannot recommend enough! Even if you are a ‘established’ blogger or influencer. I had my Instagram as my main source of income and I didn’t know a lot of the things she teaches in her course. She’s brilliant!
We are not even close to being experts on any of these subjects. But we’ve been learning what we need in order to get started and we hope to get better over time. It was important for us to have a solid foundation on how exactly we were going to capitalize our 2-year world adventure and most importantly, make it a lifestyle. Sure it sounded fun to everyone, but we meant business. And we were serious about it.
The planning stage
What took most of our time while getting ready for this trip was planning it. If you don’t have an unlimited budget, you have to be smart about which destinations and activities to include. Plus, all the logistics involved in putting together such a long trip. We mostly did all the planning because we needed an estimate of how much this adventure would cost us, however, we don’t plan to stick to every little detail. We will try to stick to our budget instead.
Basically, all of our free time since October 2017 was invested towards something related to this trip. We had a lot of time to get ready, but some things we’ll have to figure out while on the road, which should be (mostly) fun.
Where do we stand with our trip today
We were set to leave on January 2021, but because of COVID-19, green card and passport issues, we are still waiting on things to align so we can start living our dream of traveling the world full time. One thing we know, we are ready to leave. We already sold all of our stuff and are living a nomad life because we are both able to work from wherever there’s a good internet connection.
COVID-19 of course, is going to have an impact on the way we travel. We need to get the vaccine as soon as possible and instead of hopping from country to country, we are planning on staying at least 2-3 months in each place.
July 2021 update: we both got vaccinated, G already quit his job and we are getting ready to leave in September. Stay tuned for more!
The mental part // How on earth are we going to tell people about our life plans?
I don’t know how old you are, but as a socially acceptable responsible adult, you cannot say to other adults you are going to spend your savings traveling (not at 33 & 35). The thing is we NEVER intended to spend our life savings traveling, but to most people this whole making-money-online thing sounds like a scam. And I get it. I didn’t know much about it until I saw other people being transparent on how they were doing it.
The mental part was intense. It still is.
Getting mentally prepared to have no income, no home, basically no material things, living out of a suitcase, jumping from plane to plane every month, all while trying to build a meaningful and successful business together, has been slow to sink in.
According to most social standards, we are not in an age where we ‘should’ be traveling. Instead we ‘should’ be buying a house and thinking about having a family, or saving for retirement. Don’t think for a second it hasn’t been hard for us to deal with all of this. All of our friends are super stable and seem to have it all figured out, while we are just here thinking of investing all of our money on this crazy trip. It was not an easy decision to make, but we hope everything will be alright in the end.
Telling our friends and family
Telling our friends and family about our new travel lifestyle wasn’t easy at all either. I think we can safely say that while everyone we love, does support us and think this trip is a cool idea, they also deep down think we are crazy and that we might be risking too much.
At times, it may seem like we don’t value the advice of all the smart people we have around us. The thing is though, we happen to believe in what we are doing so much and our vision for our life is so clear, that we still decided to move forward and at least try to build something together that is ours. We owe it to ourselves to at least give it a try.
We are getting older and of course we are terrified, but we’re also brave. It’s inevitable to think about the million things that can go wrong and panic. That’s why instead, we recently started to think about all the things that can go right.
We are actually able to execute our vision?
We are able to live exactly the life we dream of living?
We can actually make the world a better place?
The answers to those questions act as our compass and motivation to move forward.
Naive? Maybe. Not trying? Never.
Finances // How are we going to save all this money?
Saving money was not easy. In fact, it was the reason why we had to wait over 3 years to leave and then some more because of COVID-19 and my green card.
We didn’t really have any money saved when we opened our savings account together. It was frustrating and felt impossible at times, but if we learned anything over these past years is that patience and consistency always pay off. For whatever it is that you are trying to save money for, remember that it all starts with $1.
We watched a lot of YouTube videos and read a million blogs to see how much money exactly we were going to need. Initially, before doing any research I guessed we would need like $100k per year LOL, but turns out you’ll be just fine with $35-40k/year. That’s the minimum for us, based on our traveling styles. You can do it for a lot less though. Trust us, we’ve learned about people who have traveled with just $10k and somehow survive one year. Again, it all depends on how you travel, where you go and what you’re willing to sacrifice.
Be sure to read this blog post to learn how exactly we saved money for our trip around the world.
Health // How are we going to stay healthy while traveling full time?
Our health has always been very important to us, but it became even more important when we decided to leave.
Our health is not something we think about lightly or as a short-term thing motivated only by physical results (that’s only like 30% LOL). We started getting physically ready by going to the gym regularly and eating very healthy at home, which also helped us save some money. We love hiking, being in nature and being active. That’s why it was our top priority to be in good shape to do all the things we want to do and not have physical restrictions.
Do you guys usually take advice from older people? Well, I read somewhere that you should take advantage of your youth. That’s when you are strong and healthy to do all the crazy hikes, diving, trips, overnight buses, etc. Because when you are older, your travel style will definitely change. I’m honestly fine with that, but I do want to make sure to do all the crazy things while I still can.
Being healthy became part of our lifestyle. We do not intent to forget about that while we are on the road. We plan to work out and eat healthy most of the time while we travel too. It will be very hard because we both love food and cocktails, but hopefully we’ll find a good balance over time. It’ll be important for us to remember that we are not on vacation. We are permanently traveling and we want to grow old together and stay healthy.
Final thoughts // Are you thinking about traveling the world full time?
We hope this post gives you an idea of all the work it took to get ready for this. We didn’t think about it lightly. Just like a lot of people, we are risking everything in order to make our dream happen. All we can hope, is for it to be worth it.
By sharing all this info, we don’t mean to discourage you if you are thinking of doing the same. On the contrary, we are testimony that if you work hard towards your goals and stay focused, your dreams can become a reality.
“It is precisely the possibility of realizing a dream that makes life interesting.”
There’s nothing special about us. If we can do it, so can you. It will take determination and discipline, but if you want it badly, you’ll do whatever it takes.
We have no idea what will happen after 2 years. We might come back home and start from zero, get a 9 to 5 job and start working like crazy to recover from spending all of our savings traveling. Or we might be able to build a business out of Ways of the World and continue to travel for years to come, who knows? One thing we know for sure, we are being bold for facing our fears and for trying something new we believe in our hearts is right. That’s something we’ll never regret.
Thanks for stopping by,
Aimara & Gordon