So you’ve been enviously scrolling through your Instagram feed and watching videos on YouTube of all the people who have given up the rat race for a much more fulfilling and freeing nomadic lifestyle. You‘ve finally decided it’s time for you and your family to load up and join the gang. But not so fast! There are a few things to consider before you take the leap, and we’ll explore those things further below:
Your Job & Finances
Most likely, you have a job to report to everyday, and you have a house payment or rent due each month. Most people never get past this, and that’s why their dream of a nomadic lifestyle never becomes a reality. This does not have to be you! Your job or career may be very fulfilling, but if it doesn’t offer you the opportunity to work remotely, it’s time to move on. If you couldn’t ever imagine leaving your current employer, read no further, life on the road probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you’re reading this thinking to yourself “Yes! I want to leave my job to travel, but how will I fund my life and my travels?!” You came to the right place, keep reading.
No matter how bad you want to live freely on the road, it is never easy to leave behind everything you know for something new; especially your financial stability. For this reason, I am not suggesting you quit your job immediately without a plan, but do start spending your time off work thinking about ways to make money remotely on the road. It is doable and likely easier than you may think. Maybe you’re a photographer, a writer or a computer programmer. All these skills will lead to avenues for making money on the road. Maybe you have a product in mind that you could sell, or you may need to brush up on your skills or learn something entirely new to pursue. It’s never too late! For some inspiration, I previously wrote about the top 10 companies hiring remote workers in 2020, and you will also find the most popular work-from-home job titles, as well as the fastest growing remote career categories. Once you secure a remote position, or begin generating income remotely through another avenue, it’s time to put in your notice and say goodbye to that 9-5. I know it seems overwhelming, and you may be doubtful of your ability to actually make money remotely, but the opportunity is out there and if you really want it, it’s yours to grab.
“Remote working is no easy feat, but the positive experiences far outweigh any possible negatives.”Zach Zorn
Your Home & Stuff
Now that you have secured a remote job, or a way to generate steady income on the road, you’re one step closer to freedom. The next thing to consider is your home and all your stuff. With pursuing a life on the road, the last thing you’ll want is to be tied down financially to anything back home. It may seem daunting at first, but if you’re a homeowner, you no longer need your home. You could lease your home, but I would highly suggest selling. It’s a sellers market, and if you make a profit, you can save that money, invest It, or even use it to help supplement your remote income if needed. With selling, you also eliminate the possible stress of being a landlord, should any problems arise while you are far from “home.”
If you’re leasing your current home or apartment, the idea of leaving it is probably less overwhelming for you. The biggest hurdle you may face is breaking your contract. Make sure to review your signed contract closely and talk with your landlord about your options. It’s possible you’ll be able to terminate the contract early for a fee, or you could look into subleasing your home for the remainder of the lease as well. Your worst case scenario would be to either wait until your lease is up to leave, which would give you extra preparation time, or continue paying your lease from the road.
As you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to also consider selling your furniture and personal belongings. Your furniture will no longer be of use to you, and you will make some extra money selling everything, rather than spending extra time and money to haul everything to a storage unit and pay for it to sit there each month unused. I highly recommend making it an option to sell your home furnished for an additional cost. If someone takes advantage of this offer, it will save you from moving everything out and selling it individually. This won’t work in all cases, and if you’re unable to sell your home and furniture together, I would suggest an estate sale, and anything that doesn’t sell can then be posted on Facebook Marketplace or even EBay.
Living remotely requires a drastic amount of minimization. You’re not going to have room for all of your clothes and your things. I would make a list of all necessities you will need on the road and group them together, and fit all the clothes you plan on taking with you in a storage container. Everything else needs to go. I would suggest taking any clothing that is in good shape to your local Plato’s closet, or listing it on Poshmark. All other things I would post on Facebook Marketplace and anything that doesn’t sell should be donated to Goodwill or a local thrift shop. Remember to ask for a receipt, if you itemize deductions on your taxes, you can claim a tax deduction for clothing and household items donated.
“It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.”Bertrand Russell, 1872
Your Friends & Family
Many people will never follow their dream of traveling full-time because they’re scared of leaving their family and friends behind. One great thing about the world we’re living in today is that it has become a lot smaller due to technology. If leaving loved ones behind is holding you back from your travels, remember how easy it is to stay in touch via FaceTime, Skype, text messaging, phone calls, and emails. Your mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, or best friend is only a FaceTime call away and it’ll feel like they’re right there with you as you chat face-to-face.
You may feel like you’ll miss out on events back home. I understand it is a challenge to leave your comfort zone for the unknown, but remember you won’t be gone forever. You can plan a surprise trip back home, and even if you’re on the other side of the world, you can fly back home for any major life event being celebrated. You can also make your loved ones feel included in your travels by inviting them to visit you throughout your journey. You will create lasting memories together in a new place.
You’re scared you’ll grow apart from family and friends. Remember family will alway be there no matter what you do with your life or where you go. Friends come and go, but your lifelong friends will remain, just like your family. You can’t let these relationships hold you back from living your dreams. Your family, especially your parents, may hate to see you go because they’ll miss you or they might be worried for you, but you have to remember to live for yourself. Your parents ultimately want to see you live a happy and fulfilled life and that’s exactly what you will be doing.
If missing your friends and missing out on events going on in your social circle is a factor keeping you from pursuing full-time travel, remember how easy it is to keep in touch while you’re away, and your true friends will always be there when you return. Also, your friends lives are changing too. If you hang back because of them, you’ll realize they’re getting married, starting families, and moving for jobs and other reasons. Everyone’s lives become hectic. You may see them less and less and then be left in the dust. Like I said before, the very most important thing to remember is that you have to live your life for you.
Also, think about all the opportunities you will have to make new friends along your journey. You will meet so many people from more different places than you could ever dream of. Imagine how much bigger your network could be after even one year of full-time traveling. You will have all your friends back home as well as friends from all across the country or even globally!
Some of you may feel disheartened because of a disapproving parent or friend. You need to understand where they’re coming from. Many people can’t understand what they don’t know, and if they’ve never traveled full-time, they can’t understand. They may be worried about how you’ll make a living, or that you’ll miss out on opportunities back home. All that matters is that you have it all figured out, and all you can do is assure them that you do. You may also get negative comments from people close to you. Understand that a lot of people do not want to see you do something they’ve always wanted to do but wasn’t able to or didn’t have the courage to. It makes them question themselves and their lives, and in response, they will take it out negatively on you. Keep these things in mind when dealing with people throughout your journey; smile, and keep your head held high, because you’re living the best life for you, not for anybody else. Your happiness is up to you, not them.
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere we go.”Tim McGraw