One year ago, on May 1st, 2017, we went through with the craziest decision of our lives: we left behind the comfort of our cozy apartment in Miami and our generous bi-weekly paychecks for a future full of uncertainty and adventure.
Fast forward through our first 365 days of travel and we’ve now visited 13 countries, 42 cities, and have slept in 55 different beds — and that’s not counting the airports, buses, and trains we’ve slept in.
In our first 365 days of travel, we have hitchhiked in Indonesia, experienced our first Ramadan in Singapore and Malaysia, snorkeled in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, dealt with injury in Thailand during the amazing Loi Krathong festival, visited one of the most important carnivals in the world in Spain, volunteered with a family in Indonesia, hiked up volcanoes and mountains through Asia, housesat a stranger’s home and beautiful dog for an entire month in a small town in England, eaten an inordinate amount of sweets (recognizable and unrecognizable) everywhere we went, spent the holidays at home in Spain with my family after not being able to properly do so for over 5 years, fallen in love with the hidden gem of a country that is Montenegro, and met so many wonderful and inspiring people that we lost count.
The Two Main Things That Have Changed
The more you travel, the more you discover about yourself and those around you. And so naturally, things change.
The first change was that Robert and I quickly went from being a “newlywed couple,” to a couple that is together 24/7 — whether in or out of work. Working with your partner requires serious commitment, the ability to separate your personal life from your professional life, and LOTS of patience.
We’ve learned more about each other and ourselves in this year than we probably ever would have in several years of living our “normal” lives back home. It’s been undoubtedly challenging, especially when Robert gets angry at me because I’m too bossy. But I like to think that if we passed the grueling 12-month test, we can overcome anything!
The second major change we’ve had has been our work, and consequently, our financial situation. One of the questions we get asked the most is “How are you able to afford traveling so much?” or “So are you taking a sabbatical year?"
In the past 12 months, behind the screens, we’ve worked as Spanish teachers, proofreaders, translators, travel planners (Planless Travels), photographers, social media managers, online marketers, and of course, travel bloggers since day one. So, besides looking for our weekly dose of fun and adventure, we’ve also been working on creating a nomadic lifestyle that will gradually generate sufficient income as a result of remote work.
Which means… we miss a lot.
We receive tons of recommendations from our readers, friends, and people we meet along the way on things we can’t miss when visiting a new country. And as much as we love each and every recommendation, we miss SO many of them because we either don’t have enough time or enough money.
Building a completely new lifestyle is the most exciting thing we’ve done in our lives, but if you’ve ever been there or you’re about to, just know that at some point you’ll struggle, you’ll be afraid, and you’ll (probably) want to quit. If you’re determined to accomplish your goal, though, and continue pushing towards it (which in our case is to maintain a nomadic lifestyle), you’ll give yourself the best chance of succeeding. So...
Have we figured it all out?
We’re still fighting and clawing to bring in as much income as we have expenses, but we’re ready to take on this second year with more energy than ever before, open to all opportunities that cross our paths.
So… Let’s Talk Numbers
I know that most of you want to know a bit more about the dollars we’ve spent. So, to give you all an idea:
During these 365 days of travel, the month we spent the least came out to a total of $1,200, while the month we spent the most in came out to $2,000 because we had a few unexpected expenses that month.
That brings the total to around $19,500 our first year — much of which we were able to pay using our credit card points! And if you were to calculate a median for the year, it would be $1,600 per month (and I had calculated $1,450 per month before the trip).
Could the total spent have been higher? Yes. Could it have been lower? Also yes.
Everything depends on the lifestyle you want to have, just like when you're home.
All in all, we now spend around one-third to one-fourth of what we used to spend when we lived in Miami.
It goes without saying, but when we left Southeast Asia to come to Europe, some of our habits had to change: we had to cook more of our meals instead of eating out at restaurants, visit places for less time, share apartments in certain (expensive) locations, and walk more than ever before to get around.
365 Days of Travel… and Counting
"When are you going to settle?"... "Are you going back to the US?"... "When are you going to get a real job?"... "What about starting a family?"
We receive these types of questions very often, and we'd like to respond to some of them here.
Our ultimate goal is to work remotely: whether that be through this blog, as entrepreneurs, or as part of a project. We're currently trying a combination of the three. We also have no date scheduled for "settling down," or ending our travels and going back to the US "for good."
As I mentioned earlier, after a month-and-a-half of hectic traveling that starts this May 8th, we'll start traveling more slowly, with 2- or 3-month home-bases in different countries.
In 2018, it'll be Spain, Serbia, and Morocco, with different getaways to Europe and possibly Northern Africa. This will allow us to focus a little more on our projects while traveling slowly (our favorite way to travel). Then in 2019, we'll be traveling to the US to get some paperwork done for a couple of month and then... we'll see! (Maybe I'll write an article about traveling abroad as a US Green Card holder...)
The reality is that on day one, we couldn't have imagined all of the things that would happen on this trip, from the people we've met to the opportunities we've come across. Being flexible, open-minded, and willing to try new things and learn new skills has brought us to where we are now. So, we're welcoming the next year in the same way — with arms open wide for whatever may come.
It’s funny how life changes you. Just a year ago, when we finally arrived at a great income that we fought years for, we decided to give it up for what we thought would be a more meaningful life.
We still have a long way to go, with plenty of mistakes and learning throughout... but we wouldn't have it any other way.