While working my normal job, I found my life was in somewhat of a downward spiral. I thought I had everything I wanted with a great apartment and an exciting new job, but really I just had everything society told me I should want. I was working a straining 6 to 7 days a week, clocking in around 80 hours, just to keep up a normal lifestyle in Boston. I was constantly feeling drained, exhausted, and irritable. I wasn’t who I wanted to be and was constantly dreaming of taking off and traveling the world. I knew there had to be some way to make my travel dreams a reality.
I started spending my lunch breaks and commutes researching a “nomadic” lifestyle on the internet. I realized I had done the first big step: realization that something needed to change. From there, I was on my way to the next step of what would become my ultimate game plan!
I first analyzed and understood my monthly income. I tracked all my expenses to see where my money was going and I quickly realized the bulk of my income was going towards rent. Before altering my spending, I then came up with a comprehensive budget for a year abroad in Asia. Luckily, living and food is very cheap in most Asian countries but I still wanted to have a large safety net beyond my expected immediate expenses. I ultimately gave myself a goal of $25,000 to save for my trip.
I made an action plan:
1.) Move back home for 7 months and save money on rent (+$7,000 in savings)
– Moving back home was a difficult decision but it ended up making arguably the biggest impact on my ability to reach my savings goal.
2.) Become a minimalist and sell things worth money in my house that I can get rid of (+$3,000 in savings)
– Downsizing was challenging but once I realized I didn’t need these things I was keeping it was like I magically had a large burden taken off my shoulders.
3.) Get rid of my car and walk/bike/take public transport
(+$1,000 [likely more] in savings).
– Getting rid of my first car was honestly a difficult process for me, but once I did I became so much healthier by choosing to walk and bike instead, on top of the financial benefits. If I really needed to, I was still able to get around with Uber so I never really felt stuck.
4.) Save as much of my income as possible by reducing expenses that are unnecessary, making lunches in advance, not going out as much on the weekends (and when I did, limiting my alcohol consumption) (+$14,000)
– Most of our money gets spent in the little things that we don’t realize add up quickly, such as going out, eating out, coffees, random shopping trips, etc. I couldn’t believe how much of my income I was able to save in less than a year from not spending on these unnecessary excursions.
Don’t forget that at the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing! What is truly important to you and how do you make it possible? This life style change was my #1 priority for almost a year and I found a way to make it happen. I have been on the road now for almost 8 months and I am currently my own boss, giving myself my own hours doing freelance work ranging from 2 – 30 hours a week living in the most beautiful places in the world. I may not make as much income as I used to but my expenses are drastically lower as well and I am enjoying more of my life than I ever have. Isn’t that what this life is all about anyway?