What have you done to fund your wanderlust?

I’m curious to find out how people have found ways to travel around and this is sort of an informal survey - maybe we can all learn from each other. I once met a European guy (IIRC, he was Dutch and a technician) in an airport who was spending the night there since his next flight was the following day - he works 6 months out of a year, earning enough to fund his next 6 months diving in different places around the world. I know a nurse who travels doing the same thing.

I’ve used the following methods:

Work - taught ESL in a college in China, flights and apartment paid for the first month

Work trips - either taking an extra day when on a work trip or tagging along with my husband on his work trips

Used airline miles

Road trip for a whole month and staying with relatives/friends or sleeping in my car

Has anyone here ever sold most of their stuff, pulled up sticks and just became a (semi-)nomad? If so, I envy you! Still trying to figure out the best way to sell stuff online. I’m not too fond of wasting time on a yard sale, which I’ve done a couple of times.


If I hadn’t been a musician, I would have probably never gotten out of the US. Where I grew up, traveling wasn’t something people thought they could do. But finding ambitious bands to play with got me to Brazil, Greece, and Germany (and various bits of the US). It’s only been in more recent years that I’ve had a stable enough job (personal assistant to rich folks) that my wife and I have been able to save up and go traveling as tourists.


I never did really catch on to the trick. Most of my friends who were globetrotters either secured a job in the country they wanted to visit or were teachers who could blow a year’s salary savings during the long summer vacation. It was easier when I was single and didn’t own property. I would save up as long as it took, quit the job and take off. Of course I’d always lose my place in the rat race and finding it again when I got back wasn’t easy then. With 25 acres (but no mule) these days it’s considerably harder. To paraphrase Howard in Treasure of the Sierra Madre: First you get ahold of a little property and then it gets ahold of you. I’m really eager to hear from those who’ve found the knack. Got people to be and places to see. LOL!


My first method of traveling was working as a reporter. I had never been anywhere before that. I won’t say it’s as simple as convincing someone to pay you to go somewhere you haven’t been to cover news (because you, hypothetical reporter, are the right person for this job, having not yet been to this place, right? :roll_eyes:), because it’s not. In fact, you may need to pay your way first, and then hope you get paid for your work after you’ve handed it over. The budget for this kind of activity is dubious at best, even if you have an agreement.

My second method was getting a real job :smiley: after not being paid in full for an aforementioned reporting gig that was successful aside from budget issues, but resulted in debt and depression for me. I convinced my new employer to let me work remotely intermittently while abroad, once I’d earned their trust. Depending on where and how you travel, this method can be more than affordable.

The third method for me is tagging along for my husband’s multiple yearly work trips.


Work a 2nd job! I found one in my field and the extra cash definitely helps fuel the travel bug.

Moving away from my hometown definitely helped as well – I’m in a completely different part of the US, allowing me to explore places I’d otherwise never been.

Presenting at and participating in conferences – work is usually willing to fund travel when I’m presenting at a conference and/or playing a significant role in conference planning. I’m the program chair for a large professional org in my field, meaning I’m guaranteed a couple trips a year. :slight_smile:


Join Planet Fitness and opt for The Black Card. That means you have access to every Planet Fitness shower I. The country for only 19.00 a month! I’ve been to many locations around the country and found great showers in every one. Bring your own towel
I also prefer to sleep in my rental cars.
I like to be outside and I never sleep too late.


These are pretty ingenious ideas…

I pay all of my bills with a credit card. It’s a bit ‘dangerous’; you have to have the discipline to pay it off in full every month, or the fees and interest kill you. But if you can do it, you rack up a ton of frequent flier miles.

Last year my husband did a round-the-world trip. Eight flights, stopping in six countries. One flight from Rio to San Francisco was Business Class. The flights cost him a total of $155, because of our miles. Between that and Air B&B, the whole two month trip was very affordable.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a great and rewarding way to travel! :smile:

It’s not an easy path to follow (as my psychological and physical wounds will tell you) and it’s a very insecure sphere. Plus, jobs are variable and you can end up working really bad gigs and constrained in contracts that actually make travel difficult.

Regardless, in spite of all the ups and downs I know that it’s the thing that enabled me to immerse myself in other cultures and authentic travel experiences that most people will never be able to have. I’ve met incredible people from all over the world and been adopted into other families and communities (while actually being useful to them). I’m very fortunate and am glad I started working in Italian summer camps and then - post-CELTA qualification - started taking more serious jobs in Italy, Algeria and my native UK.

Even if I’m taking a bit of a break from teaching at the moment, I know it’s something that I can come back to and get paid while also having travel experiences. Otherwise, I’ll draw inspiration from some of the ideas here!


I taught ESL at a few places here in Texas but never managed to land one across the river. It’s a good fall back position but not the most secure. They can fold like a cheap lawn chair without warning and without your last paycheck. But it beats cutting cordwood for extra cash (marginally) to feed your habit. And yes, the people you meet are probably the greatest reward of that line of work. Great to hear you made it work for you.


It definitely worked out in a lot of ways! You’re right though - it isn’t secure and things can easily turn very sour. Some of my worst experiences include: being bullied by rich teenagers; having to handle pressure from callous bosses/institutions; a never-ending and impossible workload; poor wages (from people who probably aren’t running an above-board business); having to live in appalling accommodation and terrible living situations. Sometimes, chopping firewood seems far easier and more appealing!

But, hey, I’ve got a long list of positives and the experiences I’ve had abroad and in the UK have all been worth it. (Even the negative ones I can learn and grow from.) With regard to travel and funding/satisfying the wanderlust, it can depend on the location and nature of the gig. For example, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Italy in great depth but when I went to Algeria I didn’t get to explore at all really. Last year I chose to work at summer school in Salisbury so I’d get to see parts of England I’d never seen before. In total, you can make it work on a variety of fronts with careful manoeuvring !


Does agreeing to sit through a high pressure 2 hour timeshare sales pitch count?
I have regrets…


Hahaha! I once bid on and won a stay at Albemarle Plantation in North Carolina from a silent auction and I made sure that since I bid on it, I wouldn’t be subjected to any sales pitch AT ALL. They left us alone and we had a lovely time.

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Mine became a somewhat complete break, although I could go back if it means living in the UK for a while. :grin:. I’ve taught English, French, ESL and Special Education in all levels from nursery to college, except for middle school, which I fortunately escaped.


I haven’t been brave enough to step outside my comfort zone with work, but I want to try freelancing on Upwork and see if I can travel and work at the same time. I just gotta take that step…


Oh, that takes dedication! I did it once. It was 4 hours and he never got to the subject matter, just 4 hours of reminising about his Granny. I still dont understand timesharing. But I got 100.00.

This is part of my plan to live in a campervan in the US and Canada! Stay fit and clean and not need a shower in the van! :slight_smile:


My wife and I travel full time - sold nearly everything in 2015 and have been on the road ever since. She stopped working but started to study everything. She’s taken classes on weaving in Scotland, Thai massage in Thailand and TESOL and coding (online). I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
Making money online is easy if you can do work that is…online. I’m a digital marketer and do paid search and paid social media as well as SEO.
I did this work before leaving Minnesota, so had built up a reputation and network that still sends work my way. That and we house sit a lot.

In fact, we were voted house sitters of the year in 2018! We also sometimes get sponsorships to write for travel companies in exchange for their services, but this is kinda rare.

Have you tried looking at UpWork or other sites that post work that can be done remotely?


Mine may end up becoming a complete break as well though I think, realistically, I’ll have to keep my hand in for: 1. Financial reasons; 2. The boost that comes with a fun short-term gig teaching young people and the potential opportunities that come with it.

Unlike you I’ve only taught English. (Although one job involved me teaching a geography and science curriculum in English to Italian elementary school kids, which was a challenge!) A pretty much covered all the ages, social groups and ability levels so I’ve had a nice mix which keeps it interesting. As I say, it can be so rewarding if you don’t end up in a dead-end grind or awful situation. (And as long as you’ve got the chance to escape!)


Teaching English tends to give you a pretty broad range of basic knowledge to tackle other subjects. I even managed to incorporate geography and Latin American history lessons into my lesson plans when I taught a high school English class. In taking on substitute teacher assignments at various times I never had any qualms about filling in for history or geography teachers; math and chemistry, not so much. The only major glitches I encountered in teaching ESL in community adult education programs were with Asian language speakers. Vietnamese and Korean students I rank among my greatest failures since I knew no cognates to even begin bridging the language barrier. People who also speak French have an added advantage with students from former French colonies.

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