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Setting off with almost nothing to your name

DavidAM

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Lost in Place
 
Posts: 96
Joined: February 28th, 2010
Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: March 13th, 2011
I've just been wondering how many of you actually set off at one point or another on your big trips with almost nothing to your name? Like I hear about people working for 3 years and putting away 20-30k for their trips. But every so often I come across a blogger or post on a forum from someone who boasts about how they left with 2,000 dollars and they were gone for 2 years. Is that even possible? How did they survive? How often does it happen? What are the actual pros and cons of doing this? I mean, I really want to start traveling already and I've got about 3k in the bank from 4 months of work, but I'm looking to leave with 8k just to be safe. I'm only gonna be gone a few months, but if I can stretch that to get me to New Zealand, that would be nice too. Thoughts?

Btw... I find it really crazy that all the places I'm MOST interested in visiting have been completely shaken up by catastrophic natural disasters. Australia with the flooding, New Zealand with 2 earthquakes in Christchurch, Japan with the recent 8.9 and Hawaii with the recent eruption of Kilauea and the Tsunami from the Japanese quake. It's just crazy what's going on right now.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

busman7

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Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: March 13th, 2011
I did a 6 mo trip to CA & Cuba, followed a few months later by an 11 mo RTW during which earned a TEFL certificate in Bangkok.

Returned to Canada, bought a house in El Salvador where I am now living as an X-pat, starting a Bed & Breakfast.

Plan on leaving in May to travel to Cambodia to teach or 6 months, I have enough in the bank to keep me going for a couple months + plane fare home. So will need to find a position to support myself while there + hope to do some local travel & possibly find a position in Myanmar for a bit.

Not exactly the same position you are in however on my RTW I talked with a young person from Norway who had been traveling for 3+ yrs with no intention of returning home, in the foreseeable future, who worked in Australia to fund his next trip, then returned to work some more when the money got low.

So bottom line is yes it's possible to travel on very little providing you have the nerve + the ability to adapt & work.
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Felix the Hat

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Extra Pages in Passport
 
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Joined: June 17th, 2002
Location: itinerant

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  • Added on: March 14th, 2011
Flexibility, both in planning and ethics (particularly if you'll be traveling to poorer countries), is necessary for this. You'll need to be handy and personable, as you'll need to have the wits to find some way to work. The flexible ethics are necessary because it's very unlikely you'll have the legal right to work. I'm not saying that ethics and the law are the same thing. However, if you are from a wealthy country and working in a third world country, you will be taking work from a local who needs it more than you.

A willingness to sleep rough, to eat whatever is available to you, and the ability to get along with strangers will also be essential.

Bideshi

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Joined: November 9th, 2005
Location: In transit

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2011
Sure it's possible, as long as you're flexible. There's no way you're going to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Hawaii on a budget like that, though. With $2000 and a willingness to subject yourself to an unnecessary amount of discomfort, leaving from the States you could have a pretty long, bare bones trip through Mexico and Central America instead. Or a shorter one full of good food and fun. Airfare kills budgets. Air-con kills budgets. Comfortable bus seats, food you enjoy eating regularly, museums, beer, entertainment... all these things drain a budget faster than it could be done. Cutting them out also makes travel not so fun most times. I guess it comes down to what you want from your trip. Just don't be a bum. We've all seen THOSE sorts of travelers somewhere along the way too. If you need to sell me a bead bracelet you made with things you found in the street to eat, then you need to not be traveling.

I did my first trip on about $2800 - it was 3 months long, started in Istanbul, covered most of the Balkans and Eastern Europe, and then I flew to Mexico, where I traveled overland back to the USA. It was neither luxurious nor starved of creature comforts. My next trip cost about $11,000 and covered the globe and almost a full year.

Stick close to home (in a global perspective, I mean), choose to do only the really important activities, and you could turn your $3000 into a great, several month journey tomorrow. OR save longer and do a bigger trip later. But FWIW, I think even your $8000 might be stretching it thin for Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Hawaii.

Have a great trip!

vagabondette74

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2011
If you want to travel cheaply, you'd better revamp your to-visit lists because you just chose some of the most expensive countries to visit both for getting to/from and for being on the ground. To travel cheap you have to go where it's cheap - that generally means developing nations (central america, part of south america, parts of asia (NOT JAPAN!), africa, etc.) The more "western" a country, the more expensive.

As others said, to travel cheaply you have to get creative. Do bartering for food/lodging/tours, teach english (if you really can, not if you're going to do a bad job), learn to cook your own stuff and eat/live like a local.

I live very comfortably in Mexico for $600 a month. This includes food, lodging and entertainment. I could live less comfortably for about $400 a month but still not struggle.

One big thing is that booze is a huge money suck. If you like to party, plan on boosting your budget to accommodate that expense. I went out last night with some friends and dropped $20 on food and (mostly) beer. Now that's not a lot compared to the $200 i used to drop when I lived in DC but when your daily budget for all expenses is $20 it adds up! :)
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

DavidAM

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Lost in Place
 
Posts: 96
Joined: February 28th, 2010
Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
So it's been a few months since my original post and I've been doing a lot of thinking about my trip. I think maybe I was a little ambitious. Airfare is a huge money suck when you're flying to NZ and Oz, I realized. So I think I'm just gonna go back to the original focus of this trip which was living on Hawaii for a few months. Since my last post I've got a bit more saved. I'm at 5k and I'm feeling pretty impatient. All I really wanted to do was WWOOF in Hawaii, maybe bum it on the beaches for a little while and then instead of flying back to NYC, relocate to Portland where I'd get back into school, start a band, maybe write a book. I'm sure it doesn't sound as extravagant anymore, but it was always what I wanted. And seeing that I'm impatient, I may end up just doing that and saving the bigger trip for a later date. My father is getting married in December and he asked me to be his best man. I really don't know if I can wait to leave in another 6 months, so I'm planning on just leaving next month with what I have and making it work until I have to fly back for the wedding and then relocate to Portland.

What is the general view on this plan? I was actually looking through some posts on people who were impatient and people were saying to just go for it, that you live once. And right now it feels pretty right to leave for the next 6 months. Someone guide me!
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

busman7

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Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
If it feels right to you, do it.

Actually I think your last plan sounds pretty cool. :)
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

DavidAM

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Lost in Place
 
Posts: 96
Joined: February 28th, 2010
Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
I appreciate your input, busman7!

I just bought my ticket and gave my two weeks at work. It does feel right! Very right! I'm glad to finally be going back. Although this time I'll be alone as opposed to last time when I was with my ex. That part scares me a bit. But I know I'll just have to buck up and take every moment as a learning experience. Now all I have to do is sell the last remaining bits of stuff that I have, refine my packing list, and I'm ready to go.

The leave date is June 14th.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

lauracatherine

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 268
Joined: July 25th, 2008

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2011
Congrats!

It's been hard not to follow you and the ramblings of your mind the last few months. :) The hardest part is to buy the ticket, which I'm sure you already know...

Don't be scared about the solo traveling part of it! In my opinion, that's the best part! You'll grow so much and learn things about yourself you didn't know!

And I agree with Busman; your trip does sound pretty awesome.

Happy travels! :D
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio



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