I left my home in Mumbai to fulfill my dream of taking challenges around the world. A little over a year later as I look back, I am grateful for having led this life. Despite the fair share of ups and downs(and many nights in Airbnb apartments), it has been no less than a dream.
I started with traveling non-stop on 25 trains in 25 days in India and then went to Thailand to learn rock climbing. From there to visit ex-war sites in Northern Sri Lanka and then to Brazil to explore a mystical religion called Candomble. And that's not all, I celebrated Christmas by attending and participating in a fighting festival high up in the mountains of Peru. It is certainly the weirdest cultural event I have ever been to.
When people listen to my stories, they think that I must have been filthy rich to do this. The fact is quite the contrary. There were a few innovative ways through which I made this happen. Hope these tips help you to live your dream too.
This website was pretty much my lifeline on this trip. A few months before I left, I started hosting travelers using this website. Slowly, our apartment started getting busy with travelers. My mother agreed to continue to host like-minded travelers and we continued to make a monthly income through Airbnb.
I managed the app and some technical details while my mother was the host. In the first five months of this year itself, we managed to earn more than 1,20,000 INR/ 1790 USD through our listing. On an average the listing helped us make around 25,000 INR / 373 USD per month, which in turn provided fuel for most of my travel.
Build A Network And Income:
Apart from the money, hosting travelers from different countries like China, USA, Colombia, Mexico and others helped me train myself for a long term trip. I also made friends all over the world who shared my passion for travel. These friends connected me to friends in other countries. I always knew someone before I arrived in a city as a stranger.
This is for anyone who has extra space available in their house (or even an extra home). If you are willing to meet travelers from across the globe, this is a great way to generate income while traveling. Hosting was the single biggest reason why my trip was made possible.
And becoming a host on Airbnb was really simple. All I had to do was visit the website to list my space. Living with locals was also a great way to travel at a reasonable cost and to get great experiences. You can create a profile here and Airbnb gives you credit for your first trip.
One of my deepest passions is to narrate unique stories. And probably that is why I travel to places and experience things that many others don't. So it just made sense to dabble in freelance travel writing. Well, becoming a freelance writer is easier said than done. Sourcing contacts, pitching ideas and getting articles commissioned are no easy tasks. But I still managed to make about 15,000 INR/ 225 USD on an average per month through writing.
Also payments can vary wildly per word, but it does give you some income and the opportunity to work on bigger collaborations. And after one year of being regularly published, the satisfaction trumps the hard work.
Even with Airbnb and writing, it would have been impossible to fund my travels if I wasn't leading a frugal lifestyle. My monthly budget of 40,000 INR(which included food, travel and expenses for learning and experiences) helped me keep my expenses in check. I only bought things which were absolutely necessary, cooked wherever possible and helped others in exchange for money and accommodation (like giving private English lessons in Brazil).
There are many young people who are working while traveling using workaway.info. Others are volunteering on farms using wwoofing. A few are also using their passions like cooking and art to make some money on the road. I used a crowdfunding campaign before I started the project and many wonderful people decide to support me. I was able to collect about 1,00,000 INR / 1490 USD, which helped kick started the journey.
Like they say, where there is a will, there is way. The question is whether you are going to find a way, or an excuse. I'd rather have you find a way, so we can meet somewhere on the road.