Dollars and Sense – Around the World
The sheer mention of a long-term voyage immediately puts
some people on the defensive. Here are some scenarios.
I can’t take off and travel the world. What a
ludicrous idea! I have too many responsibilities, loans, payments, a social
life. What if I don’t find a job when I
return? What if a boss looks at my
resume and says why does it have so many gaps? They’ll think I’m a flake and
not someone who is in it for the long haul.
- I wish I could go. Wow that is so
courageous. So daring! But I can’t. I
just bought a new car, and it’s my parent’s thirtieth anniversary this year,
you know how it is. Besides, I don’t have
that kind of money to just take off. I’m
- Are you out of your mind? Travel for how long? No way. I end up dumping over five grand on a
two-week vacation. Can you imagine
anything longer than a month? I’ll be
claiming bankruptcy before I even get started.
Forget about it, besides I’ve got to save up for a down payment on this
great studio apartment, it’s gonna hurt but that’s life buddy.
- I wish I could. It’s always been
my dream to take off for a while. But I
have too many responsibilities: mortgage payments, kids, a wife. I really envy
you. You have the guts and obviously the money.
How can we explain that one of the easiest aspects is to acquire the
capital necessary to travel. I’ve
traveled for well over two years, was robbed of $1,700 and still managed to only
spend $12,000 during the entire trip. I
did everything I wanted to do. Granted I
was staying in low-low budget hotels, dining on bread and butter (special
occasions, of course), and was a bit too eager when offered free night stays and
free grub. But the bottom line: Where
there is a will there is a way.
So where does the money
come from? A rich uncle, a trust fund,
the lottery? Don’t we wish!
How many people
would classify backpackers as creative types? Not many (including most backpackers). From afar we seem to simply possess a free
will and spirit, but on closer scrutiny, our simpleton-ness is the furthest
thing from the truth. To live this
lifestyle, as with any other, requires a lot of thought, maneuvering,
creativity and perseverance.
Since we weren’t
born rich and have yet to find the tree that grows money, how do we come up
with the resources to keep us moving for as long as possible?
Travelers come from
all walks of life, so do their money management skills and acquisitions. If you
talk to most backpackers, they will grimly admit that work is part of the gig as
much as the actual trip. There are many different
folks with different strokes for acquiring the funds necessary to move on. Place yourself in anyone of these categories
and get ready to join the others to never-never lands.
Also known as the
preparers – they look ahead and know the price to pay for what they want.
Tomorrow’s freedom can only be bought by today’s sacrifice: work, work, work;
sharing flats and dealing with an assortment of roommates (two or three to a
room); living with parents and obeying their rules at the age of twenty-five
and older; maintaining a minimal social life.
Their motto: A
dollar earned is a dollar saved.
There are moments when
the feelings of misery cave in and become overwhelming, numbing the senses
towards imprudent thoughts of packing it in and shipping out. Resulting in none other but travel suicide.
Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face! It’s not worth it.
How do they stay
afloat and see it through to the end?
Easy: escape the mundane. Surf the net, prepare the trip, get involved
with forums and bulletins, connect with others who feel your pain and are in
the process of planning for their trip. Do whatever
it takes to sustain yourself and refocus. View
every hour of work as a full day of travel, imaging the different
activities, beers, foods and other joys you will gladly spend this blood money
on. Renew your energy with a new attitude, as your trip nears, your bank
account swells and the taste of freedom becomes sweeter and sweeter by the
minute. Don’t give up! You’re almost there.
burrow themselves in debt, with a swift reply to justify the cause: “I’ll worry
about it when I get back!” or “I’ll eventually get a job, no problem, why throw
away my youth for money. That’s why there are loans.”
If you are daring
enough then max out your cards, scrounge off of banks and whoever will give
you lend-outs or hand-outs, and have a blast.
lucky ones, so to speak. They’ve paid their dues: they were married to the wrong
person and got a nice settlement out of the divorce, or won a law-suit for other
reasons and are now wisely spending their riches on a low budget trip
stretching out the jackpot as far as it will take them and then some.
product of suppressed needs and appeasement of others is the inevitable
breaking down and act of pure irrationality. Without forewarning they quit
their successful jobs, sell off their assets, cash in their savings, and take
off without looking back. They’ve been
grooming and cultivating their gardens for much too long until the tentacles of
their overgrown blossoms suffocated their sensibilities and caused them to go
over the edge. At least they reap in their rewards with plenty of bucks to
cover even their wildest dreams. They can be very
generous and certainly great friends on the road
sacrifice precious time at dreary desk jobs in a much too familiar location? Season it!
only are you working, having fun, you’re definitely enjoying life on the road.
Seasonal work is always bountiful. Of course it’s more fun to bum around and
enjoy free-time. But for a few hours a day a lot of people have realized the
fringe benefits attached to working at seasonal locales while traveling:
Resort work – ranging from tropical
paradises to winter wonderlands.
Instruction – dive masters, ski bunnies,
lifeguards, rafting specialists, and a million more job opportunities. Find the ones that best fit your travel
English As A Second Language: teach the world your native tongue while earning money. Enjoy the fringe benefits of getting to know
a new part of the world and immersing yourself within it, meanwhile saving a bundle
and spending it all on travel time afterwards – guilt-free!
is the fun part. Let’s get those mental wheels a spinnin’ and creative juices a
flowin’. There are a thousand and a half
ways to make money on the road. Become an international businessperson raising
the supply and demand curve to work for your gain. With
real talent, unique designs and original works, people will be flocking to your
stalls in all parts of the world. Everyone wants something others don’t have – at
a great bargain, of course.
is jewelry. How about: dream catchers, shot glasses, ashtrays, jewelry boxes,
pens, journals, lighters, hair pieces, hats, scarves, shawls or funky odd-shaped
bags made of seeds, coconuts, trees… Sarongs: a must
have for every traveler. An easy sale,
without the heavy investment of money, time or energy.
Ideas are limitless beckoning
you to invent and create something distinctive and definitely sellable.
travel to the most inspiring places in the world. I can say from personal experience (I can’t
draw to save my live), but there have been moments when I’ve been moved to whip
out a pencil or a brush and try to capture my surroundings – with no luck! If you are one step ahead of me and are
blessed with this rare talent, use it wisely.
The most unique artworks aren’t done on the typical, expensive 6×6
canvas, but on materials found that make a minimal dent in your wallet. Let your imagination run free and push your
art to the limit, with an edge.
The Jewel Keepers
Yes they are a dime a dozen, creating with seeds,
beads, gems, hemp, metals, leathers, stones and other tools of the trade to
produce the perfect piece. For the right price.
But a sad reality is that this is not the fairy tale life of the
traveling salesman, as you’ve imagined.
It is a difficult life, with few moments of reward – surrounded by
hundreds of other stalls and vendors, waiting hours upon hours for
customers to browse around and appreciate what you have worked so hard on.
Praying that a big sale will come along so that you can have enough money to
eat, sleep and hopefully, party with.
For every gray cloud there is a
silver lining. No traveler, tourist, vacationer or native leaves for home
without an exotic piece of jewelry as a token of their trip.
clairvoyant, prophetically inclined? No.
Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter.
No one will know the difference anyway.
Since the majority of the traveler population and overall populace are always
concerned with what their future holds: Will they be rich? Will they meet their
soul-mate? Etc… You can make a pretty penny reading the cards and bringing
hopeful news to your fellow man. Just
don’t play God with their naïveté!
and Hair Weaves
Dexterity, patience and a loud yet inviting voice
to announce your trade and expertise.
a tough job! But if you have the stamina
and strength for it, it can be extremely rewarding: monetarily and environmentally. The majority of these sites are located in
remote and out-of-the-way lands – giving you the great opportunity to travel to
a place, most likely not on your list of to-dos or to-sees. The upside: it is
good money and they are always in search of dependable help.
hard, bone wrenching work but in constant need. It’s quite simple to
understand – what you give is what you get.
Once you’ve picked your lot, saving becomes the easy part. With no place to spend it, your trip can be
extended for long periods of time during and after the picking.
free-nighters and feeders – dishwashing, cooking, cleaning rooms, washing
toilets, changing sheets, taking out the garbage – can allow you those extra days
of paradise without the concerns of payment.
Festival Carnival Followers
on truckin’ and a boppin’ while keepin’ the cash a flowin’. There are constantly art fairs, musical
shows, theatrical festivals to gather up the communities and pump some juice
into our economic system:
The Powwow Circuit – Taking place during the summer throughout the United States and the Canadian Provinces.
Powwows have been making their rounds for years, sustaining hundreds of vendors
of all varieties, who in turn are always in search of temporary help. Besides free admission, accommodations are also included. This is a great avenue to
meet others with the same interests while participating in a unique and
Theatrical Productions – All productions no matter the rank are in need of
back stage help, management, artistic designers, electricians, carpenters, set
design, etc… They might not offer pay, but will cover most expanses, travel
costs, room and board.
Renaissance Festivals and other Medieval Reenactments – Come join the fun,
sell the tickets, eat the food and intermingle with the rare crowds and
participants. Mainly a United
Concerts – All of us
has some intention of getting to a musical venue during our trip. Right?
So, why not work it? Besides free admission, you’ll have extra pocket
money and other freebies. And you won’t
be part of the rowdy crowd, but rather, with the real crowd backstage. Who knows, it might even open new doors for
other opportunities with more promise of travel and other fun encounters.
Rainbow Festivals –
matter what part of the world you are in, you’ll stumble onto a Rainbow Gathering. Either for a full moon party, Fourth of July
celebration or an international reunion. There aren’t any jobs, but the food is
free and so are the sleeping arrangements.
Great place to meet others with the same thirst for adventure and
and Fairs – Have always been a source of quick spurt employment.
Not particularly the most inviting or glamorous, but still an option not to be
So open your mind to the possibilities
and don’t get caught up in the excuse of money problems and life’s drudgery. There is a way out and it can certainly be