My Friends Are Buying Cars, While I’m Buying Plane Tickets

*This is intended to be a motivational blog post.  I created this title to peak your interest.*

To begin straightforwardly, my main point is this: If you really want to travel, then it’s entirely possible by taking advantage of your opportunities and spending your money wisely. 

The #1 question I get from people is: “How do you afford to travel so much?”

My answer is always: I don’t spend money on useless shit.

If you really want to travel, then you can do it by cutting back on buying things that you never use.  How important is that extra pair of shoes, those shiny new tires for your car or that $60 steak dinner? What about that new watch that you want?  Ask yourself: are these necessities for your life?

If you answer yes to these questions, then that’s great because you can absolutely choose the way that you want to live your life.  But if so, then don’t send me emails and complain everyday that you can’t afford to travel (or do the things in life that you want to pursue).

I’m not rich.

I’m just a wise money spender and I take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

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Which opportunities?

In college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague, so I took it.  And it was amazing. During that semester , I visited 20+ countries in Europe which included a 4-week backpacking trip after my program ended.  I stayed in cheap hostels, lived off street food and learned how to budget myself.  

Immediately after I graduated college, I took advantage of another opportunity which was teaching English in South Korea, where I’m still living today. The only requirements for this job were holding a passport from an English speaking country, having an bachelors degree from a 4-year University, and obtaining my TEFL Certificate to be eligible to teach.  I did all of those things, and came to Korea with an open mind and a positive attitude.  As I write this, I’ve been here for almost a year-and-a-half, and my lifestyle has been amazing.  My job is very easy and I make a good salary with even better benefits.

Exactly how good is my salary & benefits?  

Well, over the last year, I’ve been able to travel to 14 new Asian counties, party my ass off in Seoul every weekend, and eat out at Korean BBQ restaurants 3 nights a week.  I don’t pay a penny for my rent, and I have minimal other living expenses (my gas bill is $7/month).  Oh, and also save a bit of money as well 😉 Contact me if you want more info about teaching English in Korea.

But don’t worry or be discouraged if you don’t have the same opportunities as I did.  In fact, you probably won’t.  And I definitely won’t have the same opportunities that you have (or will have).  Everyone’s life follows a different path.  Not everyone’s native language is English, not everyone was able to study abroad at University, and surely not everyone has the opportunity to teach English in Asia.   Everyone has their own story to tell.  

However, I am 100% certain that many opportunities will come your way, so will you take advantage of them?  Sometimes you have to dig up those opportunities, because not everything will come knocking on your door.   Sometimes it requires you to step out of your comfort zone, be big and bold, and network with as many people as you can to find openings.  

So, if your heart desires to travel the world (like mine does), but don’t know where to start, then I’ll be happy to help you start and give you as many resources as I have.

For some quick inspiration, check out Turner Barr’s blog called Around the World in 80 Jobs, where you can get some good ideas to find jobs abroad while funding your travels. 

But the big question still remains, are you willing to take the risk? Are you willing to leave everything behind and book a one-way flight overseas?  

The #1 thing that holds people back is FEAR. 

– “I work 100 hours a week, I have no time to travel”
– “I have $50,000 college debt to pay off”
– “I just broke my left arm and I am wearing a cast”

The excuses are endless. And frankly, if you’re reading this post right now, then I can already assume a few things about yourself:

– you own a computer or a smartphone (probably both)
– you have access to the internet, which 2/3rds of the world doesn’t have
– you are obsessed with traveling (or have a strong desire to travel) like myself
– you probably have an education of a higher degree
– you own a passport
– you are making something out of your life

Do you realize how privileged we are?  There should really be no excuses to do what you want when looking at the big picture. 

I live a very simple life.  I don’t own a car.  Hence, I don’t have to pay for gas.  I never go shopping because I have all the clothes I need.  I rarely spend more than $10USD on any meal.  

Basically, ALL of my life expenses fall under these 3 categories.
food (daily meals)
party (beer, liquor, taxis to clubs, cover charges, etc.)
travel (plane tickets, train tickets, hostels, tourist attractions, etc.)

Ok, so maybe I occasionally need to buy medicine, or a new badminton racquet (yes, I frequently play badminton in Korea)… But you get the picture. I am able to travel freely because I don’t waste my money on useless shit.

Now, I will dedicate the rest of this post to how inexpensive travel can be and give you some opportunities to travel and work abroad (some of these I already mentioned above):

1. Teach English overseas

You don’t have to be from an English speaking country to teach English.  Only if you are looking to sign a contract, then you need to be.  If you are fluent (or nearly fluent) in English, then you can find freelance gigs all over the world.  I know for a fact that you can find jobs here in Korea, and I know of some non-native English speakers teaching in South East Asian countries as well.

If you want more info about teaching English (specifically in Korea), then contact me and I will answer your questions! 

2. Look for alternative jobs overseas

If you don’t want to teach English, then here are some more popular jobs that you can do overseas:

– Build skills to do freelance work online
– Start a blog and learn how to monetize it to many $$
– Work on a cruise ship
– Work at a hostel
– Become a tour guide or instructor for your passion (rock climbing, scuba diving, etc.)
– Learn how to bartend, and work at a bar or restaurant

3. Volunteer at WWOOF

WWOOF is an organization that connects people who want to live and learn on organic farms with people who are looking for volunteer help.  You can volunteer at WWOOF in most countries around the world.  WWOOF offers you food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.  All you must pay for is your flight, and then you can live and enjoy life for free! 

4. Save $ by not buying useless stuff

I talked about this for the entire first half of this blog post.  Seriously, if you want to travel, then don’t buy useless shit.  Save that money for plane tickets. Period. 

5. See if your company has branches overseas

If you are already working a corporate job, then check if they have branches overseas!  You never know, if you pitch yourself the right way to your boss, then you may be able to live in a foreign country and work the same job.

For more inspiration, take a look at the stories and blogs of Robert Schrader and Jodi Ettenberg, who both left the corporate worlds and became full-time travelers.

Thanks for reading!  If you have something else to add, then please comment below 😀

10 thoughts on “My Friends Are Buying Cars, While I’m Buying Plane Tickets

  1. I love your blunt take on saving money ~ and it is so true! Leading up to our RTW, we saw our biggest savings by simply staying out of Target and Costco. Separating Needs from Wants puts money in the bank 😉

  2. Couldn’t agree more, and totally understand if people don’t want to travel, but what is frustrating sometimes is when people say they “can’t”. Because you’re right, if we all cut back on buying useless, superficial, material things ,there would be a lot of money left over for travelling – aka, making memories and having worldly experiences.

    We too taught English abroad, in China, and it was a great way to save some money, while living well and learning about a new culture.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy Korea!

    Cheers from Grenada 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Goats for your lovely comment! Hope you are having a blast in Grenada, and let me know the next time you’re headed to Asia. I might be here for some years in the future 😉 Cheers!

  3. Great suggestions, and I absolutely agree with you! So many people have the same opportunities and situation but don’t see it that way. If you want to make travel possible you can! I think many people are afraid and won’t go out on their own. Even when I lived in Europe and offered my place, people still wouldn’t come. Part of me has just accepted that some people will never travel, and no matter how sad that is, it is just impossible to get them out! But for the people who are looking to be inspired to actually buy the ticket, travelers like us might just push them over the edge. I tell everyone, if I can do it you can do it. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much Katie! Yes, I def agree… Some people will just never travel, and therefore never have the benefit of learning about new cultures, new experiences and finding out who they really are. Your comment made me smile 😀

  4. I am in the next stage from you in life, in that my friends are getting married and having babies and I am buying plane tickets and exploring the world! Everyone is different, do what makes you happy is my motto. You covered lots of ways to save and make money. I would say set a goal and stick to it if traveling is your passion. Before I backpacked Central America I moved out of my apartment and house sat for 4 months while tutoring and babysitting and dog walking. All of that money came in Cash and went straight to my travel $$ box.

    ALSO..this doesn’t work for everyone, but I took a box and duct taped it shut, then cut a hole in the top. So all of the cash I put in there could not come out until it was time! Thats one of the things I need to do to make sure I save!

    1. Katie- I really appreciate your comment! You’re right about setting your own goals, because everyone has different goals and motives. But great suggestions! Keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

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