Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you Afford NOT to Travel?

I have been called a jet setter, globe trotter, professional tourist, international playboy and other not so nice terms. Most people who don't travel as much as me ask if I have won the lottery, which shows how some people think it costs lots of money to travel. Wrong! 

I always get asked: How can you travel so much?

Photo: Francis Shenstone
I actually spend less money by travelling, let me explain. I lived and worked in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, on the flipside one of the cities where you can earn the highest salary compared to other places in the world. To use this to my advantage I worked in London for 3 years in a variety of office jobs, and earned a decent salary.

The most important thing is not how much you earn -- it’s what you save that matters.
You can earn £300k a year, but if you spend £500k you will be £200k in debt. However if you avoid debt, or pay it off, and save some money each month, you can soon accumulate savings and be far richer than the idiot Director earning £300k.

I could have had a one bedroom apartment in London, but chose to rent a room in a shared house, as I enjoyed the company, and preferred to save my money for other things - like travelling.

Now living in London is expensive, I would spend about £1,200 a month on rent, food and fun. However travelling the world I spend less than £1,000 a month, depending on where I go, so I save money by travelling rather than staying at home without a job and paying rent and bills. Now of course you need money to live off, so I used my savings.

This has enabled me to travel the world for nine months. My type of travelling involves getting the best deals, like buying 20 Ryanair flights most for £3 each. Staying with friends, Couchsurfing or staying in cheap hostels.

What does it take to do all of this? Time.

Do I have more time than you? No, we all have 24 hours in a day.

Can you move out of your abode, sell some of your possessions, lend others to friends and put the rest in storage if you have that much stuff? If you can leave your job as well or get fired, some people need the push off the edge - like me, then you can be free to travel.

No I didn’t win the lottery, no my parents don’t give me money. I don’t buy what I can’t afford, far from it, I buy and spend far less than I could, but still more than I need. Money or possessions don’t bring you happiness and a little more money won’t solve all your problems. Free yourself from the rat race and realise that the less you consume the less you have to earn to pay for your lifestyle.Don't sink underneath all your stuff.

You can have a great lifestyle and oodles of fun without heaps of money or possessions.

The less I can live on for a month means the longer I can go on enjoying life without having to get a job. Now I am not a frugal annoying person, I don’t even have a budget! Yes that’s right, I don’t have a budget, I just know how much money is in my bank account and watch it go down each day.

I decide do I want to spend that money, or would I rather spend my money on something better in the future. I am all about once in a lifetime experiences, but I won’t pay £4 for an ice cream when I can get one around the corner for £2. However, I will pay £10 to ride a jet ski for half an hour in Thailand, with an amazing view of the beach! 

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