I spent the last 10 days in Norway with a friend, visiting both Drobak and Oslo. It was an incredible time. I left the camera at home for some of the trip, sometimes it is nice to just soak in the beauty first hand. Here are some of my favorite shots.
One of the most common questions I get whenever I am on the road for a while is “But how do you afford to do this?” My replies left most people’s curiosity unsatisfied - they wanted to know exactly how I manage to fund my lifestyle, but to be honest I’m not even entirely sure what I do! I think one of the biggest things to understand is traveling is a lot different than vacationing. Most of the time, when I am in different countries or states, I sleep on couches or in backpacking hostels. This doesn’t make it any less fun, but it is not always as relaxing as say an all-inclusive Mexican beach vacation! Here are a few tips I have gathered for being able to travel long term.
1. Get your finances straight.
Money is obviously a necessity for travel. However there is a common misconception that you have to be rich to experience the world. This is completely untrue; the key is being able to budget with the money that you do have. I knew that it was my dream to travel for years to come, so I began to manage my finances in a way that allows me to do so. Consolidate as much debt as possible before setting off on your travels; this will take a huge weight off your shoulders. I paid for my car in cash, paid off all my credit cards and currently only have my student loan debt left, which is being repaid over a longer period of time. My financial security is high up on my priority list, and I try to contribute to my retirement Roth IRA often enough. I would highly recommend checking out the book Money Honey – it really taught me a lot about how to save and invest in my future while still enjoying life.
(Here is an amazon associates link to the book, it’s about $11, you can help support me by buying this book through this link !)
So often when I am traveling I choose to stay with friends. This one may be a bit harder for introverts, but I can’t stress enough how valuable having contacts abroad can be. Try to count how many people you know that are living in different countries. Probably more than you thought! You’d be surprised at how willing people are to help you when you are traveling, even if they don’t know you well. Just making one Facebook post could draw out a distant cousin or friend who would be happy to have you as a guest.
3. Do your research.
The internet is a great tool to get answers to your queries and discover new places to travel to. I personally enjoy using Reddit to get a deeper look into potential destinations – it gives me an insight into other people’s experiences of places, which are often more authentic than the typical travel agency marketing. Budget travel has really taken off, and now there are loads of websites that exist to find the cheapest flight deals and activities.
4. Working odd jobs.
I am lucky enough to be able to work as a photographer, but there are multiple jobs you can work wherever you are traveling. Even a part-time or low-paid occupation will help ease some of your day-to-day expenses. A few of my favorite ways to make some extra cash or earn food and lodging include: working in hostels, volunteering on organic farms or helping out with a local family. There are many different resources out there for exploring these kinds of jobs. My personal favorite is Workaway. For extended travel, consider teaching English in a foreign country. ESL Cafe is a great online hub where you can find employment in this field.
5. Cook your own meals.
Another difference between traveling and vacationing is what you choose to eat. I enjoy cooking and find myself making simple and easy meals while abroad. You don’t have to be an experienced cook to prepare delicious, nutritious food on the go. The obvious upside to doing this is that fresh produce and ingredients are much cheaper on their own than eating at restaurants.
(We bought this breakfast for about $7 dollars each and had a lot leftover for different meals throughout the week.)
My aim in writing this article is to try and dispel the myth that travel has to be expensive. The world really is open to anyone with a bit of creativity and courage. Have you tried using any of these tips before?
I graduate college Saturday !!! After managing to cram four years into six, the end is finally here. I moved back home temporarily to finish and I will be continuing on this adventure called life. My plan as of right now is to travel up to the pacific northwest for the month of May, stopping in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Then cruising down to Tahoe for the month of June, flying to Atlanta June 15th for a fun weekend with the family, and then going to Denmark to hang with some friends and work at their new coffee shop !
Here is the start of the build process in my 2004 Saturn Vue, I am hoping to sleep in it sometimes when a campsite or friends couch isn’t available. We built the platform out of 8 ply birch wood and 2X4′s. The backseats are still in the car and by removing a few screws we can easily still fit passengers in the back, thanks to some genius engineering by Izaiah and myself. We also added a fold out tabletop for cooking and counter space. I final touch is the bottle opener attached under the table top !
First off thanks for anyone who has been reading these , I’m not necessarily sure what the end goal for these little blog posts is but I have enjoyed sharing my insights on travel non-the-less, this one is a little bit more on the complex side but I assure you it’s not that bad !!
So the first thing I decided when the idea came to me that I should go to Asia is that I was going to sell my camera body and upgrade to a new brand and model, this may not sound relevant now but it will make more sense as I progress.
I went ahead and opened an American Express Delta Sky Miles credit card , with a bonus of 30,000 sky miles after spending 1,000 U.S dollars , 30,000 miles will get me across the ol Pacific Ocean no problem . If any of you want I can send you a referral link for this offer and I will get a bonus 5,000 miles or something if you sign up! There are multiple other airlines who offer different deals just like delta.
I opened the account and sold my previous camera gear, then I purchased the new camera gear on my fancy new American Express card, and payed it off within 3 business days. Soon enough I had enough sky miles to book that one way flight to Korea , and I also had a credit card with a balance of $0.00 that won’t negatively affect my credit score.
After traveling for a few weeks, I kept my eyes peeled for any deals back to the U.S , within a fairly flexible time zone. Using websites such as www.skyscanner.com and www.google.com/flights I eventually found a cheap flight for 532.23 USD all the way back to the States ! I booked it and the rest was history.
And thats all she wrote !
How I lived in Bali on 20 Dollars a day (somedays) ( and you can too )
A lot of people ask me how I can afford to travel so much, it’s a common misconception that traveling is extremely expensive, It CAN be expensive but if you do a bit of research and planning, it can be cheaper than living back at home! Nowadays thanks to advancements in internet communications it has become a lot easier. There are tons of young adults our age who travel for months at a time this way, and to be honest there are ways I could travel in foreign countries for even cheaper, but maybe I’ll write a different guide about that. So for everyone who has asked how I can support myself while traveling, here is a quick little guide
In Indonesia, most normal days I was averaging about $20.00 USD or 266,000 IDR. This is a breakdown of what that money goes to:
Hostel Room- 85k or $6.50 (Shoutout to the boys over at wave hunters http://www.wavehunterssurfcamp.com )
Scooter rental- 40k or $3.10 (My scooter Sheila got me everywhere I needed to go)
3 meals -60k or $4.60 (Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng)
Surfboard rental- 50k or $3.80 (Federico wave hunting)
Big Beer- 27k or $2.10 (Bintang)
Grand Total = $20.10 or 266,000 IDR
So obviously a few of these things can be switched around, on days I didn’t surf I could use that extra 50k on a different activity such as a 1 hour full body massage (65k or $5.00 USD) or buy more drinks or better food, there are plenty of cool free things to do on the island within driving distance the point is that if you don’t party like a rockstar you can easily have a good time without hemorrhaging your bank account .
Im sitting here in the coffee shop letting my phone and computer charge surrounded by some sort of meerkat looking animal and I figured I would do a lazy checklist of the things Ive found to love about South Korea.
1. How safe I am
Before my trip there had been a lot of things in the news about the terrors of North Korea. I had people question why I would go to South Korea, and I even had someone tell me I should cancel my trip. Its fascinating how much western media influences peoples opinions about a place. I don’t think I have ever felt more safe than I have felt here in South Korea. The police don’t even carry guns for pete sake. I tried to find some data on how many violent crimes have been committed in Seoul in the past year, but all I could find was one that happened in Gangnam about 6 months ago. When I ask the Koreans I have met if they are scared of North Korea, they tell me that there is nothing to worry about. The boarder of north and south Korea is called the DMZ and it is a tourist attraction, just like some of the palaces and everything else in Seoul.
2. The nightlife
Korean bars don’t really close, drinks are cheap, and you don’t tip. This combination of things makes for a fun night. Hungrypartier.com, a website literally about a guy who travels the world partying (what a job) says “Seriously guys, I’ve partied in over 70 countries and 150 cities, and nothing comes even close to the insanity levels of Seoul. I’ve been to almost every club in Las Vegas, and the insane clubs of Barcelona, Stockholm, Berlin, and Bangkok. They have nothing compared to Seoul. You must come here to experience it for yourself.” I haven’t partied as much as this guy, but I can agree that it is an insane experience. Start at the park in Hongdae with a bottle of Soju ( weak flavored vodka that costs 1.50 USD a bottle) and see where the night takes you.
The Jimmjilbang or Korean bath house is in a close relationship with the night life. These palaces are open 24 hours a day and are like huge spas. You pay an entrance fee of around 10-12 U.S dollars and this allows you access to multiple floors of different amenities. When you check in, they give you a set of pajamas that you can wear around everywhere besides the baths ( which are separated by gender) When heading to the baths, you strip down to your birthday suit. Its basically like a giant boys locker room with different hot tubs. Some of my favorite baths were the Mud bath and the Jade bath. Also in the basement are some unique saunas, such as the salt sauna. For about 15 USD you can receive a Korean skin scrub in which a worker will attack you with sandpaper for about 30 minutes and get all of the dead skin off of every inch of your body. I have never felt so clean in my life after receiving one of these skin scrubs. Once finished in the baths, you can throw on your pajamas and head upstairs to many different relaxing saunas, a restaurant, lounging area, and sleeping area. It doesn’t cost anymore to spend the night at the Jimmjilbang, so perfect end to a long night out.
4. Animal Cafes
Probably one of the stranger but equally great things about Seoul is their love of combining coffee shops with interesting animals. During my time here I went to a cat cafe, a raccoon cafe, and meerkat cafe. You pay an entrance fee into the cafe which includes a free drink of your choice, once in it is just like a normal coffee shop, but with furry little creatures running around! What could be more relaxing than this meerkat that’s sitting on my lap while I type ?
5. Family style eating
In Korea, its uncommon for people to eat alone. Most restaraunts meals come in platters that can be shared between 2-4 people. Its also very common to cook your own food here. Once you are seated, your server will turn on whatever style of grill you are using that is located in the middle of the table, after ordering they will bring out numerous side dishes and whatever choice of fish, meat, or vegetables you have ordered. Kimchi is always present on the table. This allows the meal to go at its own pace, and it makes a lot more sense.
Thats all I’ve got, headed to Malaysia tomorrow !