Vagabonding pt5: Financing your travels: धन Dhan: Wealth
March 9, 2019
“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t decided…The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.”
TONY ROBBINS from TRAVEL FOR YOUR LIFE by Chantell Glenville
How do you get from this?↑
The answer is, I’m sorry to say, through this↓
“Work is not just an activity that generates funds and creates desire; it’s the vagabonding gestation period, wherein you earn your integrity, start making plans, and get your proverbial act together. Work is a time to dream about travel and write notes to yourself, but it’s also the time to tie up loose ends. Work is when you confront the problems you might otherwise be tempted to run away from. Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts-so that your travels are not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life.”
ROLF POTTS, VAGABONDING
I have given myself 18 months to prepare for my travels because I know I will fail if I do not have adequate funds. After experiencing a nasty virus that has seen me off work for five months, I am finally fighting fit and desperately looking for a job to finance my vagabonding adventures next year.
I think the important part of the above statement is: ‘looking for a job to finance my vagabonding’.
Since the wanderlust travel bug began to overtake my life, I have struggled to hold onto jobs. My mindset has been that this is not who I am, I don’t want to be sitting in front of this computer in this grey office, I want to be off exploring the world.
Now that I have made the huge decision to go vagabonding next year, everything I do has purpose, everything I do is paving the way towards my travelling the world.
The result of me making this decision is that the job I get next will be the job that is funding my vagabonding travels. I am looking forward to starting work this time because of what it represents. Every day I am there I can remind myself of this and if I’m feeling a bit dejected, I just need to tell myself that this job is paying for my travels.
At time of writing I have six interviews lined up for next week, so I’m nearly there.
Of course if you are really fed up with your current job, a good move might be to work at something that you could continue doing when on your travels. Something like bar work is always a good bet because many backpackers have found work doing this while abroad and its a great way to top up your travel funds while you are on the road.
“However you choose to fund your travel freedom, keep in mind that your work is an active part of your travel attitude. Even if your anti-sabbatical job isn’t your life’s calling, approach your work with a spirit of faith, mindfulness, and thrift.”
“Regardless of how long it takes to earn your freedom, remember that you are laboring for more than just a vacation. A vacation, after all, merely rewards work. Vagabonding justifies it.” ROLF POTTS, VAGABONDING
Another thing to think about is downsizing your life. If you have your own flat or you rent in a shared house, you probably have a lot of stuff and in normal circumstances would probably be unconsciously intending to add to it.
Perhaps you crave the latest flat screen TV, the latest mobile phone, a new fridge freezer, a computer game or another Blu Ray movie. But if you are serious about vagabonding and don’t want to put a time limit on when you are coming back, you will not want to keep those things that tie you to a place. Things like credit card debt and bills and hire purchase payments will almost certainly rule out significant long term travel.
The first thing I did was to deal with my debt. By December 2019 I will be debt free, so that takes away that ball and chain. Secondly, through boot sales, Facebook market place and E-Bay, I will be selling almost everything. I have 100’s of movie DVDs that I just don’t watch anymore. I cant carry my big screen TV with me on my back, so its all got to go.
Not only will this be a refreshing experience, a cleansing of material goods but it will also make you money for your travels.
You may consider renting your flat out while you are away but this can also put time limitations on your travels and its probably not an option if you rent from a landlord, housing association or the council. My plan is to give up my flat in Hampton once I’ve cleared my debts in December. Its always been too expensive and I have struggled, ‘unnecessarily’ for the four years I have been here. This sort of unnecessary materialism has no draw for me now. While I am still at my Hampton flat for the nine months up to the end of December, I can still save £200 a month, resulting in initial savings of £1800 by the time I move out in early January.
From January I am going to rent a room in a shared household. Most of these set ups have bills included and can range from £300 to £600 a month all in. This means I could then up my saving by £300 a month to £500, resulting in a further £4000 by the time I leave on my vagabonding travels.
So, by working hard and downsizing, I could raise £5800 for my travels. £1500 of which can be placed in a bank account as a back up emergency fund in case of illness, accident or robbery.
Its impossible to say how much is the right amount and there is the possibility of working while on your travels to top up your funds but the key thing to think about is: if you run out of money, you are coming home.
Carrying your money safely
When I worked for a charity in the Gambia, Africa as a teacher for several months, I decided at the time that the best way to keep my money secure was to leave it in a bank and use my debit card to draw it out when I needed it. This, as it turned out was not a good idea as it meant I had put all my eggs in one basket.
The Gambia experienced constant power outages which meant the few cash machines there were did not work. I was left with a situation where I did not have any money for two weeks because I could not withdraw it. Thank god for the kindness of the locals in my village there.
I am not saying you should carry all of your money around with you but it is important to be aware that many places may not have cash machines or accept card payments in hostels, bars and restaurants.
My plan is to carry half of my money in a secure money belt for such occasions, keep half in the bank to withdraw with a card (you will find a working machine eventually) and to keep that all important £1500 emergency fund in another bank account for challenging situations.
It would be important when carry money like this to lock you cash away in the hostel/hotel safe (if it has one) and be careful when taking cash out of your money belt as thieves may spot where you are keeping your money; security is key.
Saving money on the road
Vagabonding is a particular type of long term backpacking. It requires sacrifice, slumming it, taking yourself firmly out of your comfort zone and into a more pure, minimal lifestyle.
“In a way, simplifying your life for vagabonding is easier than it sounds. This is because travel by its very nature demands simplicity.” ROLF POTTS, VAGABONDING
Although the odd treat is certainly required and necessary sometimes, 5 star hotels, restaurant meals every night, taking flights everywhere and paying for expensive tours are out of the question if you want to keep going for months and months.
On the other hand hostels, cheap hotels, camping, sleeping rough, street food, trains, buses, hitchhiking and walking are defiantly the way to go and you don’t need a tour to explore some exciting historic wonder, just jump on a bus and take yourself there. £1000’s can be saved in expenses this way.
Another helpful thing to do is put feelers out there before you go: backpacking sites, sofa-surfing sites and travel blogs are great places to investigate accommodation possibilities. Make contact and see if you can secure offers of accommodation for a night or two; its more possible than you think. Airbnb often has very cheap accommodation as well, including £8 a night beach huts in Goa. Locals can often offer up a bed for the night and a meal in their family home just for the chance of meeting and getting to know a foreigner.
Being savvy like this and looking after your finances will prolong your wonderful travelling experience and anyhow, getting down and dirty brings you closer to the locals.
शक्ति, Shakti: power, ability, strength:
After you return (Will I be homeless?)
This is the one issue I have had a bit of trepidation about, will I be homeless when I get back?
This is how I look at it: I have to do this thing as the option of not vagabonding would destroy my soul, so there really is no option.
When I get back I have family and friends who I hope will allow me to sleep on their sofa for a few nights until I secure a job and as soon as I have that job I can rent a room in a shared house or community housing co-op. Also, if I haven’t needed my £1500 emergency fund I then have a deposit for that room straight away; nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and I am very focused that way.
Another option, as I am learning to drive this year, is to buy a secondhand camper-van and live in that to start off with. My plan after vagabonding has always been to end up living on a canal boat, its been my dream for many years. Living cheaply in a shared house or camper-van when I get back will allow me to save for that next step. Which makes sacrificing my security for a while a positive thing. I’m not afraid and nor should you be.
If vagabonding is what you need to do, nothing should stop you, not even wondering where you will live when you get back.
“”You may think that’s easier said than done and there are a multitude of reasons why you can’t travel right now, but they aren’t reasons not to do it. They’re just the things that you have to start working to overcome from this moment on. The time to make the firm decision that you will travel and start getting your life in order so that you are able to go, is now.”
TRAVEL FOR YOUR LIFE, Chantell Glenville