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How I afford to travel the world full-time

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When I worked as a customer advisor for an investment bank in Dublin, I was earning in the region of $650 per week. It was an average wage at the time but as most people will know, earning an average wage can still be a bit of a struggle. After all, my weekly rent/household expenses were more than $200 and after paying transport, food, phone and other mandatory bills, there was very little left. In fact, by the time I came home from a Saturday night out with mates, there was exactly nothing left.

How has this anything to do with what I do now?

Well, the most practical lesson which I took from starting an online business was that it wasn’t really a matter of knowing how to do it but more to do with how much I wanted it or to be even more specific, it was less to do with what I was earning and more to do with what was being spent.

As with any new venture, starting out as a writer was very stressful. I had exactly zero clients and despite living on a frugal budget in hostels, my bank balance was still being reduced by an average of $120 with every passing week. I was writing articles at this stage for free in hope that a website might give me a chance to do so on a regular basis and then later, I was still only writing for as little as $2 a piece, all the while consoling myself that it would cover breakfast or another pot noodle.

Now you may very well be thinking how miserable this all sounds but here’s the thing, I was extremely happy throughout this period and that very first day when I managed to break-even was the best of the entire year. Yes it was twenty measly dollars and I had stayed up until the early hours of the morning sweating over it, but it was my twenty dollars, it was earned as a result of something I created entirely by myself and it was concrete proof that there was money to be made. After two months this meager online income was creeping upward ever so slowly but being able to last so long without making a dime was key and it was all made possible for the fact that I made a solid effort to stop spending money on unnecessary things in the first place.

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Question still stands, how can you afford to travel the world full time?

I guess what I’m trying to explain here, while dodging the question, is that I made sacrifices to come this far and now that I’m here, I often think of the above question and wonder the complete opposite as in how did I afford to live back home? Yes I was earning $650 a week but unless I stopped paying all the mandatory bills (which I couldn’t) and stopped having any kind of a social life, it was near impossible to actually have any money. Ironically I was earning much more back then but I guess there is also a distinct absence of meaning for money when it changes nothing about the quality of life.

So hey, I have absolutely no problem with anyone asking how I can afford to travel the world full-time but let me just explain what I had to tell myself before quitting a job to follow this path; money is not what is stopping you, if you let that be the thing that stops you then you don’t want it enough and money should not be the reason you decide, if you let that be the deciding factor then what you want is not really as important as you think and then money is not really what you want either, if you could only stop worrying about how to do what you love and just started doing it instead – well, then you’d have exactly what you want.

Still wanna know?

I get paid to write.

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I'm an Outdoor Adventure Blogger from Dublin, Ireland. In late 2013 I began riding a bicycle across Africa and it was during this adventure when I discovered a passion for the great outdoors and the general uncertainty of life on the road. Next April, I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

4 Comments

  1. Johnny Lam

    December 1, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Hey Derek,

    I completely know the feeling. I recently did a financial analysis of the last 2.5 years of running a bicycle touring blog, I was only making $400 a month. Not bad but not exactly raking in the dough. I do believe that if we keep at it, it’ll be all worthwhile and the money will follow. We just have to put in the work and get it done!

    Your trip across Africa was inspirational. I’ve enjoyed your updates so FWIW you have a fan!

    Cheers,
    Johnny

    • Derek Cullen

      December 4, 2016 at 3:15 am

      Hey Johnny, thanks for the kind words and it’s great to hear from you! That’s really incredible that you make $400 just from the bicycle touring blog, is it adsense or sponsors?

      Cheers
      DC

  2. Silvia

    August 6, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Derek,
    very nice blog! You are one of my inspiration for Africa! Could you please suggest me some NGO or organization to volunteer in Kenya please? All organizations you can find on internet ask for a big amount of money.
    Thanks a lot

    • Derek Cullen

      August 7, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Hi Sylvia, Yes – I believe that you should not have to pay to volunteer with any organization. What are you most interested in? I know a really nice orphanage in the Nakuru area. It is run by a wonderful lady and while they do not usually have any foreign volunteers, I am sure they would be delighted if you wanted to work with them. The kids are wonderful in the orphanage too 🙂

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