The number one question I get asked is “how could you afford to travel and not work?” It’s a loaded question and goes deeper than you could imagine. I didn’t run into a lump sum of money, my parents didn’t fund my Grand Tour after Graduate School and I didn’t work a single day while I was gone, unless you count writing blogs as a job.
Some people do, and some bloggers make big bucks selling products on their sites, offering advertisement sections for sale and the big one is the whole “digital nomad” craze that everyone is so grossly misled to believe is “the new American Dream.” Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that it isn’t all waterfalls and glitter.
If you haven’t noticed, I do not have advertisements, I am not a brand ambassador for things you don’t really need and I don’t sell anything from my site. This goes against my morals and ethics. I don’t believe that you need to buy anything to be happier or to do the things you love. I am a minimalist and I don’t believe more is better.
So how did I do it? Easy, I worked hard and got lucky. Since I was 17, I had always had a job, if not two or three. I built my credit and saved up some money, and with a little loan from a smart-with-money family member, I was able to afford a down payment on a house in Denver when I was just 23 years old.
This is where I got lucky, but I also like to think I kind of saw it coming. Denver boomed. For obvious reasons, the legalization of marijuana, mixed with the Millennial crowd of outdoorsy kids looking to move far from their hometowns drew a large population of younger people to the city.
When the market rose, and the population of real estate started to dwindle, I called my agent and asked what she thought I could get for my house. My jaw dropped and I decided it was my time to leave the city. With the proceeds of my house, and a partially built tiny home, I was able to pay off my car and most of my student loan debt. I chose to keep some for myself; I deserved a break.
The decision to be selfish and use the money for 5 months of “me time” was simple. I have been sick for years, I am undiagnosed and I have honestly had moments of wondering if this is it for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of lying in a hospital bed regretting the fact that I had never left the country, or seen the East Coast or camped next to the Ocean, fearing the tide might wash me away in the middle of the night.
So I did the things I wanted before it was too late. Who knows, I could live to be 100, and at the rate I am improving my lifestyle to fit my life, I very well could, but I didn’t want to take that chance and risk it.
I told you the number one question I’ve been asked, but here is the number one response when I tell people I have been traveling for the past 5 months.
“Wow, I wish I could do that, I’m so jealous.”
“Then do it.”