How we manage to travel full-time and stay on the road longer

Last Updated April, 2020

You know you’ll never be one hundred percent ready for any major event in your life. Either it’s buying a house, changing career, having a baby or starting to travel full time. 

We were not ready to leave America, but we did it anyway.

travel full time
Bye bye Los Angeles, bye bye California! We couldn’t wait to leave this busy city to travel full time.

Before making our mind to leave we read many blog posts and talked to many people. They tested the waters before us and have done what we wanted to.

All of them had one thing in common. Prior to leaving they sold all their possessions and worked hard to save money for the upcoming trip.

How interesting.. it was never a case for us.

To be honest, we didn’t have what to sell and there was nothing valuable or important to trade in. We haven’t even owned anything except clothes, a mattress, some utensils, sheets, and towels.

Our cars were financed through the bank which owned them. Instead of making a few extra dollars we lost a lot when getting rid of our automobiles. My car depreciated so much that we had to pay a lot of money to the bank after selling it away.

The rented apartment was our home. We were not able to buy our own one in Los Angeles or some other big cities across the U.S. where great job opportunities existed for us.

It was so paradoxical. We couldn’t afford to live in a smaller American city due to the lack of good paying jobs in our field. But at the same time, we were not able to afford more than a “rat race” in a large city with great, as it seemed, jobs and salaries. Everything we could afford was to take a loan and oblige ourselves for monthly payments during the years and years of our life.

The idea to travel full time was born just a few months before we actually left. This is why there was not much given time for us to save.

Somehow we still managed to put aside a few thousands of dollars cutting on all our expenses. We stopped buying anything except groceries or some small things we needed for daily life. We stopped eating out or having coffee meet-ups with friends. Mark and I were really strict and demanding to ourselves. 

RELATED POST: How to Travel the World For $10K a Year As a Couple While Not Being Cheap

travel full time
Our last rented place before we left California and the U.S. for good. Everything we had access to was not ours, so there was nothing really to store or sell.

From the beginning, we knew that the saved money was not enough. We had either to get a job to sustain our travels or try other alternatives to make our savings last as long as possible.

It was never an option to buy a one-way ticket to another continent without having a clear plan of what to do next. We knew that we wanted to relocate and work along the way.

We began looking for online jobs picking up a few projects here and there. The amount of earned income was not enough and our projects were usually short-term ones.

Learning how to travel on a budget was something we had to invest our time into. We were looking to find opportunities to travel cheaply. At the same time, we strove to stay in nice accommodation, live in comfort and still get to immerse in the local culture. 

Backpacking traveling style did not appeal to us. Sleeping in hostels, hammocks, tents, on yoga mats or concrete floor just to be able to travel full time and see the world was never our thing. If we don’t get to sleep on a good mattress with clean sheets and bathroom then travel is not an adventure. If a place where we stay is not quiet and peaceful then it starts to be a struggle.

We are not a fussy royal family who is going to turn black and blue all over their bodies just because they sleep on a pea. No, there is no problem spending a night or two somewhere where it’s not that comfortable. If no other options are available then uncomfortable sleep for a few nights will be fine.

But we are not going to deliberately choose this lifestyle for our daily life on the road.

Our goal always was and always will be to travel in comfort. We don’t imply we have to stay only in five-star hotels or rent villas with a beautiful view. Not at all, but staying in a tidy, cozy and pleasant place is a must. 

travel full time
We found our perfect way to travel. Volunteering around the world allows us to feel at home anywhere we go. This picture is from North Washington state where we have been volunteering for 3 weeks.

For us, not being able to spend a lot on accommodation but wanting to receive comfort and still get to experience the place in full, embarking on volunteering, Couchsurfing and staying with locals in guest houses or homestays is a perfect thing to do.

Surprisingly to us, volunteering, housesitting and Couchsurfing are our favorite ways to travel slowly. This type of travel is cheap but qualitative. Volunteer tourism, by the way, with each year becomes more and more popular. If you are looking for ways how to save when traveling, it is an opportunity to look into.

Since the moment we left and to this day we have met many wonderful people. They taught us new skills, introduced us to new topics and helped us become wiser.

In spring 2017 during a three-week period, we volunteered in Krishna Temple in Utah, the USA taking care of llamas and planting the garden.

Two weeks in June were spent in Portland, Oregon participating in a restoration of the nineteenth century Victorian home. There we learned how to chop wood, stain, nail, make kitchen cabinets, install the shower base and recycle two hundred years old wood.

travel full time
200 years old wood restoration, yay, so excited to learn something new!

In July of the same year, another three weeks were spent in a small town in the north of Washington state. We were volunteering right on the border with Canada.

Our duties included assisting an elderly couple with gardening and house chores. Here is this post on our volunteering holidays and adventures. 

There were a few other times when we volunteered in Slovenia and Ukraine helping with city projects and meeting the locals.  

RELATED POST: What is the Cost to Travel the World For a Year As a Couple?

travel full time
This is our project in Slovenia where we spent a week helping to stack this pile of firewood in a shed for the winter season. We did it all by ourselves!                     

Besides free stays through Couchsurfing, housesitting, and volunteering, we spend a lot of time with our families in America and Europe.

Any other time when we don’t Couchsurf, volunteer or give a visit to people we know, we rent a room with locals. Some other times, like now, we rent an apartment where we have our privacy and time to slow down.   

This is our way of traveling full time and exploring more of the world around us. As you can see there is not much science behind it. We certainly won’t be traveling like this forever. Nonetheless, for now, it’s a great way to stay on the road longer. We are able to work on our personal development and make a transition into a new to us career.

Since we are looking for a potential place where we’ll want to settle down at, staying in one place longer makes us a little bit locals. Also, it helps us realize if we should consider this place for a move.

Additionally, traveling in this way helps us not only build connections and make friends all over the world. It opens a door towards many new opportunities.

With a lot of uncertainty and fear we were leaving America not knowing what the future may hold for us. Trusting the process made its magic and helped us get new ideas and create new experiences.  

Would you love to learn how to stay for free around the world? Read this post below:

travel full time

Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel slowly and live in different countries around the world. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar-places and discover the world through life and work abroad.

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