At the end of this year, I will have visited 6 out of 7 continents and before long I’ll complete my mission of the seventh when I get on board a trip to Antarctica, hopefully in 2015.
But how do you do it? How do you take the trip of a lifetime?
– the most common question I am asked to this day.
At just 22 years of age I have visited somewhere between 40-50 countries (I get a different result each time I count), have flown on hundreds of flights around the world, and have now made it my job to travel the world full time.
I grew up in Australia – one of the world’s most remote countries in terms of travelling. Most people I meet react with the same gaze of equal admiration and jealousy when they meet an Australian, followed by an “I’d LOVE to go to Australia one day”. I left almost 6 months ago to take the trip of a lifetime.
Since leaving Australia almost 6 months ago for my year-long journey around the world stepping foot on all inhabited continents (you can argue Antarctica is inhabited if you like for arguments sake) – including Oceania, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Africa + The Middle East.
But prior to this whirlwind journey around the world I had already travelled overseas in my short 22 years of living – not once and indeed not twice, but 11 times. Before you jump to the assumption I will save you the trouble – my parents have not payed a cent of my travels. They were all self funded.
So the part you have been waiting for – how did I do it?
The Save and Splurge Lifestyle
The “Save and Splurge” philosophy I have been living by since I first travelled overseas over a decade ago is simple, easy to achieve, and rewarding all in one. While it is as simple as the title suggests, I’ll do you all a favour and spell it out for you so there are no excuses about ‘not being able to afford to travel’. I point blank refuse to accept that as a legitimate excuse as to why you would love to travel but cannot afford to do so.
I will however accept alternative excuses such as family commitments, work commitments, school commitments, and so on and so forth. If those are the choices you have made in your life, then you have chosen not to be able to travel. But if you claim you would love to see the world but can’t afford to do so? I simply cannot accept that as the truth in it’s purest form.
So here we go, the save and splurge lifestyle explained…
Travel costs money – so go on and get some
I’m not going to argue with you on this one – travelling the world costs money. The only way you are going to acquire money (unless you’ve sourced a money tree, in which case we should become friends immediately), then you’re going to have to work for it.
Sure, some of the lucky .00000000000001 of the world are lucky enough to have everything ‘handed to them’, but for the majority of us it’s a little harder. Besides, there’s no gain to be made from sitting back and pointing the green jealousy monster finger… Lucky them!
For the rest of us, we need to work. Lots.
The save and splurge lifestyle is incredibly rewarding – you get to spend your hard earned pennies on luxury experiences or goods that you are taught to believe are beyond your means. So of course you have to work your butt off to be able to afford them, but the reward is more than worth your while when you know you have earned this experience yourself. A luxury holiday costing thousands of dollars isn’t going to come easy, but if you want it badly enough, it’s yours.
Save like you know a GFC is coming
It’s one thing to earn money, and it’s another thing to actually save it. When I was studying at university full time I was working around 60 hours a week on a casual wage – meaning I was earning quite a substantial income for a university student studying my Bachelor’s Degree. But none of this would have actually meant anything if I had have lived the ‘typical’ uni lifestyle of partying on weekends, keeping up with trends by having all the ‘in things’, and so on and so forth. So I saved like I was preparing for the apocalypse and spent nearly $0 of everything I earned. Here are my top 5 ways to save money and have almost $0 expenditure costs:
1. Live with your parents – this is an obvious and sure-fire way to save a lot of money (as opposed to paying weekly or monthly rent). It also means you won’t have electricity bills, water bills, and if you’re lucky like me (my parents are angels) – no food expenses, laundry expenses, etc. etc.
2. Sell your car – not for the initial financial gain, but for the long-term savings on fuel, insurance, car servicing, and any unexpected costs. But how will you get everywhere? It’s not all doom and gloom! You’d be surprised how many friends/family will offer to give you a ride when you need one, and in the worst-case scenario public transport is your new best friend.
3. Re-think your social calendar – going out with friends on the weekend is great fun, but it is also likely to end up being incredibly expensive – especially for girls trying to play ‘keeping up with the Jones’ and keep on-trend. Re-think the way you socialise – invite your friends over instead of going out to lunch, cook for your friend for dinner, or meet up to take your pets for a stroll instead turning into a wild animal yourself on a Saturday night. Sure, it’s good to indulge once in a while – but not every weekend if you want to save your pennies.
4. Minimise your mandatory costs – mandatory costs that are required to live such as food, medical bills and transport can’t be completely negated – but they can be reduced. If you’re doing your own grocery shopping, rethink your diet in a way that will be financially beneficial. For me being a vegetarian reduces the cost of living exponentially, but that doesn’t suit everyone. Cutting back can include reducing sweet treats (also beneficial for the waistline), or switching to frozen veg instead of fresh (though not particularly suitable for all).
5. Eliminate unnecessary costs – unnecessary costs are just that — unnecessary. Stop going out for dinner and make a nice meal at home, stop going to the movies and watch an old classic at home, reconsider your gym membership and opt for outside fitness… the list is endless.
Keep your eye(s) on the prize
There’s only one thing separating you from your end prize – focus. While it is easy to sit back and be jealous of someone else’s life, don’t forget they have probably (most likely) worked for it. Nothing in this life comes easy to anyone – in one way or another we all face the usual challenges presented by life. Jumping to the conclusion that we ‘can’t’ have something we want, think about how you CAN.