You Can Travel Too….If You Want It Bad Enough

I recently got an email from a reader asking for advise.  She works full-time, her husband is unemployed due to the recession.  Money is hard to come by but she dreams of traveling with her family.

Here is my reply to her (slightly edited)

Dear M,

I am so glad you contacted me with your questions.  I am in no way a life coach but I can tell you about my experience and the experience of those I know.

First of all, I know its hard to live on one income.  My husband and I have lived on his income for the last four years.  I could work, but we made the conscious decision that I would be a stay at home mom.  Some times it is tough.  Some months we don’t have enough money especially since my husband is self employed.  When things are good they are good but some months he doesn’t work at all.

We had to make a lot of hard choices about where our money goes.  We try to live as frugally as we can. We shop second hand for almost everything and we weigh our purchases against the value they bring to our lives.  We are now a one car family as of last winter.  This was one of the hardest things for us to do as we live in rural Canada.  Public transportation is not a practical solution where we live.  So when Mike is at work, me and the boys are limited to places within walking or biking distance to our house.  We also try to eat at home and we never turn down a free meal (thank you mom!).  We eat very little meat because it is so expensive.  An added benefit to all of this is that it really aligns with my environmental values which really makes me feel good about our choices.

If you have read through my blog you will know that we have the great advantage of being able to build and sell our own houses.  I realize this method of making money is not practical for most people.  We are funding our travels by selling our house and using our equity.  We are also exploring more ideas of how we can make a small amount of money while we are traveling.

There are lots of families out there doing this though.  If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to check out my blog roll and get to know some other families who travel full time.  All of them are funding their dreams differently.  Talon from 1dad1kid  left with $900 in savings and is doing work as a medical transcriptionist while on the road.  He also is on his way to becoming a scuba diving instructor and plans to pick up work teaching scuba diving.  Lainie from Raising Miro left with enough to cover one year of travel and now her and her son are on their third year of travel.  She committed to making her website and podcast earn enough to pay for their lifestyle and supplements by doing freelance design work.  Colin from Our Travel Lifestyle  works as a web developer/entrepeneur .  A job that he can do from anywhere with WiFi.

Do you or your husband have a skill that you could make money with on the road?  If not, would you consider getting a skill in order to do this?  Can you save money now?  Could you set yourself a date for a few years away and save like mad until you reach your goal?

It really all depends on how bad you want it.  Because if you want it bad enough, and are willing to make sacrifices to make it happen then YOU WILL DO IT!  It may take a long time though.  Mike and I have been planning for six years.  We are also making a contingency plan right now, for if our house doesn’t end up selling.  And although we tried, we won’t be able to go this year unless it sells.  But if the house doesn’t sell by next winter we plan to be traveling anyways because that is our priority.

I also think that many people think that travel is sooo expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  I know many families who are doing it for $1000 per month.  If you travel slowly and rent places month by month instead of day by day, if you eat like a local, if you don’t drink your budget in beer, if you choose your activities carefully, and stick to inexpensive countries, its totally doable.  One of the things I am hoping to do with my site once we start to travel is to do a monthly tally of our expenses.  We are hoping to live on approximately $1500 per month (not including our flights or medical insurance)

I hope this helps you.  You can do it!

And you can too (if you want it bad enough!)

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  1. Clark Vandeventer says:

    This is a really great post! Your answer, in a nutshell, is “be resourceful.”

    I don’t even know what to tell people when they ask me “What do you do.”

    I do a little bit of everything and am just trying to figure out how to serve enough people to achieve the life that I want. I don’t measure my success by money. That is one measure of success but it is not the measure I use.

    I’m realizing more and more that we can almost certainly have whatever we want. You just have to want it bad enough. If what you REALLY want to do is travel the world with your family, you will do it.

    1. worldschooled says:

      Yes! Be resourceful, spend less, live more! It is all about setting your priorities and working to make the dream a reality!

  2. Nancy from Family on Bikes says:

    Great post! I so agree with you that you can do whatever is your top priority. If you want new floors in your house, you’ll get new floors. If you want travel, you’ll get that. It can be hard to make the decision to truly move it to the top of the priority list, but it’s oh, so worth it!

    1. worldschooled says:

      So worth it! I can’t wait until our hard work pays off!

    2. Clark Vandeventer says:

      Exactly right Nancy! We get whatever we want in life. If only we noticed the patterns!

  3. Emiel says:

    Wow Amy, powerful letter! What a great and honest message you are sending out here. If your dreams are that powerful no one or nothing can ever stop them.
    I fully agree with the fact that traveling can be our best teacher and that it can be priority no. 1. There is so much awesomeness in our world: people, places, cultures, events, cities, villages, etc. Discovery is around the corner.
    I guess even in your rural Canada area there are great things to discover. For many of us your walking-distance-from-your-house area is already an adventure. Travel doesn’t equal far-away places, but the willingness to discover further does.
    I love the way you posted the letter here, great job! I really, really hope you sell your house!

    1. worldschooled says:

      Emiel, thank you so much for you thoughtful comment. I often forget that the world directly in front of us is amazing and note worthy and I need to remind myself often just how beautiful and amazing our surroundings are. I love your comment “Travel doesn’t equal far-away places, but the willingness to discover further does.” So true and well put Emiel!

  4. Justin says:

    Perfect Amy! It’s is pure truth what you write – You can do it!

    Of course the situations are different for everyone. It may take some longer than others, but in the end the approach is the same. Know your goal, and take baby steps til you achieve it.

    I have always watched what you guys do at your home. You walk the walk and you have a plan – that is great!

    I do agree with Emiel. The world is in your own backyard, especially with your kids. Travel is everywhere as long as you have the time to do it.

    1. worldschooled says:

      Thanks Justin, and its not just the time to travel (even in your own backyard) but the drive and desire. I could spend my afternoons in front of the TV but I choose to explore and discover as much as I can 🙂

  5. Clark Vandeventer says:

    Another thought on this after discussing this post with my wife…

    There can hardly be a more opportune time to re-evaluate life than when you are unemployed or underemployed. If someone emailed me and said they wanted to travel more but they’ve been working the same job for 20 years and they are 10 years away from a full retirement….. what do I say?

    But when you’re unemployed you can re-think life. You can imagine what you want it to look like and then go about looking for work that will allow you to live the life of your dreams!

  6. Thomas | Jus Getaway says:

    You know I have found that we all can find a way to do the things if we really want to. I have so many friend that spend money on clothes shoes cars etc. but claim the never have money to do the things that they REALLY want to. Not saying this is everyones case but sometimes you have to really look at what you are using your money for.

    1. worldschooled says:

      You bet, if shoes and clothes are more important to you than that is a choice you are making!

  7. Tee says:

    It’s all a matter of priorities, what’s most important to you and whether those things are portable or can be left behind, and with that goes a mindset to forge ahead and find answers so that impediments are simply bumps in the road. a very good article!

    Cheers, Tee

  1. How to Make Travel with a Family on a Low Budget Possible says:

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