Many people think that to live a lifestyle that will allow you freedom of movements and encourages your desire to travel, you need a lot of money to back you up. We don't believe that. As always, and like everything, money would make things easier, but they are not indispensable. And here we will tell you why.
When we talk about being sustainable, we are mainly thinking about guaranteeing the necessary economical support for an adventure of this kind, in the long term or, even, indefinitely. We think that anybody is able to become a successful nomad, but this success will depend on your level of organization, your communication skills, your confidence and, as always, your luck.
There are two ways, equally important, to maintain an acceptable economic level: earn money, and save money. As anywhere else, as you see. So we will try to explain ways to maximize the money you earn, and to minimize your spending, using our nomad condition as a pro instead of as a con.
Earn moneyIf you come from a stable situation, you have a house in property and a good paying job, you just have to administrate these goods in a wise way (selling, renting) and you will get some cash that can be stretched very long in a cheap country. However, we assume that you don't need this page to know that, and we will focus our advice to those, like us, who doesn't have a high amount of cash on the first place.
Work in a rich country
Some recommended countries to do it, and interesting to discover for themselves, are Japan, Norway or Switzerland, but most of the western countries will work as well, maybe also yours. So, if you want, you can check this step before going anywhere else.
This page will help you know the visa requirements of your nationality for any country that you choose. The foreign affairs office in your country will also be a good source. Remember that in the Europe without borders, you don't need any special permit to work in the EU if you hold an European passport. It will always be useful if you know the native language of the place that you are going if you intend to work in a foreign country, but is not strictly necessary. It would also be useful if you have or you can get trusting contacts in these places, so don't forget to build this list. Once you have decided the destination, and if you don't want to contact directly a particular place (a contact that you may have, an international relocation in your own company...), there are many websites that can help you find work. Here we list a couple but think that they are mainly orientated in finding a job globally, so maybe specific pages for your chosen country will give you better results. Remember that every country has different opportunities, so we encourage you for a deeper and patient search.
This last one, by the way, Transitions Abroad, contains much more information that can be relevant for the planning of your future experience.
Your knowledge about any topic can be also useful for many people, so search also where you can teach what you already know, from your language to any other skill you possess. Think also that you can exchange these skills for a service that you may need, for example accommodation. Not everything is about money!
At last, and related to that, the more you will know, the more you will be able to teach. So never stop learning!
Portable jobs: make websites
To be able to keep working with previous companies and contacts you have worked with, they will have to trust you enough to cover the discomfort of you being on the other side of the world instead of the next desk. For that, you will have had to make a good impression on them. So we encourage you to give the best of yourself everywhere you think they deserve it. Here we firmly believe in karma: as you sow, so shall you reap.
Beside the first hand contacts (that you must continually and consciously extend and keep), and assuming that you won't find work easily in the countries you are travelling, at least legally, there are several pages that put in contact developers and potential customers, in a freelance commercial relationship, and under a project bidding system. If you are living in a cheap country, you will be able to offer competitive prices. We haven't used them yet, so we can not say how good they are, but the opinions we have heard about them aren't negative.
Portable jobs: your idea, on the internetIf you are a developer and you have time, however, you can also consider using your abilities to build your own website and develop your own ideas. A lot of people think that a business in the internet, able to be administrated from everywhere, is the best way to live without the tie to a specific place. With your knowledge, you have the first step. Now you need to find a good idea.
For your page or blog to be a success, you will need visits. Remember, the rule is simple: the most visits you will get, more people will read your ideas and ads. The more people reading your ideas, the more network you will create, and the more people reading your ads, the more clicks to them. But the most important thing is: the more interesting your page or blog is, the more visits you will get.
You will attract visits in two ways: the first one, making other sites refer to you, and the second, being well positioned in search engines.
For the both of them you have to do more or less the same: create network, be relevant and offer quality information or services. You have to remember that the internet is a net, not yourself alone, and what you want is your site to be involved in the dynamics of the net, not to take the place of anyone else. Always, when there is relevant information for your contents already somewhere else, we encourage you to use it, and that you refer your readers to them. These sites will see that and will have you present, maybe also considering, if your page is relevant to them, they may consider to put a link back to you also. Remember that the more pages pointing at yours, not only more visits you will get from them, but also the search engines will position you higher.
A little tip... your mother tongue is maybe a minority one, and you are thinking about why bother about creating contents in this language if in English you have a much bigger audience. Well. In the first place, internet is full of resources in English, but not as much in other languages. At the same time, your are reducing your market a lot, but also your competitors; is much easier that somebody finds your site looking for "viatge al voltant del món" in Catalan, for example, than "trip around the world" in English. Even though there are much more people looking for the English one, it will also be many more results, and your relevance will be lower, so the possibility of your page appearing high in a search is much bigger in Catalan than in English.
Ideally, of course, your page should be in the maximum of languages possible. That you can do it is a question of time, knowledge, and will. (saying that while translating this whole huge page!)
There are a lot of pages in the internet full of good advice about how to write and blog successfully, how to get visits, how to be high in the search engines and how to get a revenue from your site, so we will send you there to learn a little bit more. Be patient. Before achieving any considerable impact, you will have to know what you are doing, and you will need time to read, learn and do.
Portable jobs: travel literature and photographyThe dream of many travellers is to use their travels as a way to earn their salaries. That's why being a travel writer or photographer sounds like a paradise on earth. However, according to my experience and many others, it is not easy to jump into the business. And once in, the salaries and the work conditions are far away from paradise. But there is not all bad news. I am sure no publication will put down a good report, specially if it contains good pictures. Our advice is that you write the articles yourself and concentrate on the pictures. Once done, send a sample of those pictures to magazines or sites you want to be published, and be very patient. It's not easy to be selected straight away, because they are getting lots of offers, and many of them are from people with more experience and that are already trusted by them (remember that?). But if your work is good, they will keep you on hold until they have a space for you. Read travel literature to learn how to do it better. Practice in your own travel blog. Here you have some examples to know how to get started with the profession.
http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/travel_writing/index.shtml (Transitions Abroad again, excellent and very complete)
Portable jobs: write a bookIf you like to write, and you have imagination, even better than to write in a magazine would be to write a book about your experiences on the road. Or a book about whatever you like. To write, actually, is the perfect portable job. You don't even need connection to the internet, just you and something to write on. But to see your book published is even more difficult than to see your articles published. Probably, if you are an unknown author, it will be much easier to publish the book yourself, and let the quality of the book build your reputation. It is not fast, but can be cheap and efficient. Honestly, however, we don't know enough about the topic, so we will refer you to these pages, that look much smarter than us.
http://www.librosenred.com (in spanish)
Other portable jobsThere are a lot of jobs these days that you can do from home. From translation, data typing, telemarketing,... as an idea, any job that you can do from your home, you will be able to do it also from wherever you are travelling, as long as you have internet connection. And the expenses you will have while travelling to a cheap country will be much less than you would have back home, so you could be able to cover the cost of the internet connection, and it will compensate working much less hours that you would in your normal previous life. To find listings of works that require work from home, we will refer you to these pages:
Work wherever you go
Get a sponsorSometimes, the most obvious solution is the easiest. What better than be paid just to do what you want? For somebody to sponsor you, you have to be an interesting personality, and your trip must be unique and original. Its difficult that anybody want to sponsor your weekend escape to Mallorca, but maybe somebody might be interested in tying their name to your round-the-world kayak trip. Obviously, these are extreme situations, but they give an idea to what I mean.
The sponsorship may range from a flight ticket, material, or even all costs covered, and what you get may depend on your imagination. We won't provide any link for that, but we encourage you to be imaginative and open. You must think that there are lots of companies in the world with lots of money to spend and willing to do it. They just need a good reason. Never think small: many people will say no to your ideas, it is not necessary that you do it yourself.
Alternative revenuesIts important to think that the money you will get will last longer at your destination that at home. For this reason, we won't aspire to earn as much money as we would like to earn at home, and sometimes, a small revenue may be important. There is some ways to get money that would look a bit absurd in other circumstances, but in our new situation they might be useful. I am talking about all those programs that pay you to receive e-mails, to read ads, to write opinions or answer surveys. The money that you earn is not only for your own activities, but for the activities of those you refer, and those your referred refer. So you will have to do a bit of network to get any real benefit. But please, avoid spam. If you want to get benefits from the internet, as we also want, don't pollute it. You will find many, of these programs. And we just show you a little sample, with ourselves as referrals. We are a bit sceptical about these things, but we would be happy to change our minds!
Money to read emails, that they send to your e-mail address:
http://www.navemail.com (in spanish)
http://www.consupermiso.com (in spanish)
http://www.mepagan.com (in spanish)
Money to write opinions and take part on surveys:
http://www.ciao.com (several languages, and a useful site, this one)
Money to click on campaigns:
http://adbux.org (in english)
There are a lot of places where they require a previous payment, and they promise to give it to you back increased. We have never paid anything. And we wouldn't recommend you to do it. However, internet is full of opportunities that surely can generate something. So search, compare, and tell us!
Once again, if you know any other program that you think may be interesting to recommend, send it to us with your reference and we will happily add it here.
Keep yourself connectedYou will think that almost everything that we are saying requires internet connection, and maybe you are asking yourself how you will do it... to pay the connection, or the internet cafés, or even how you will connect in some places. Here you have a couple of pages that may help you. Places where you can connect for free to a wireless network, already in many places, and growing, or affordable 3G plans. Take a look at local sites from the countries you visit to get more and better information.
Save moneyAt least as important, if not more, as guaranteeing an income, is to think about not spending much. If you have chosen a nomadic life, we will assume that you are also renouncing many of the luxuries that the western world offers you. Think that, to live, you don't really need that much, and to keep these needs level low is the first premise to achieve a satisfactory nomadic life.
Travel to cheap countries
Tim Leffel is a reputed low cost travel writer, and his comments in that way can be very valuable. In this link, from a page with a domain very similar to ours, you will be able to read an extract of his contents, that may be a good start to plan your destinations.
Minimize your transport expensesNormally, to travel in the cheapest way, you need flexibility and time. To reach your final destination, sometimes is more economical to follow routes and stopovers that may look weird in the first place. With the eruption of literally hundreds of low cost air carriers, the combination of several flights can be more profitable than the classic intercontinental flight.
This site is a good place to find cheap flights between almost every place in the planet:
However, if you use long haul trips its a good idea to benefit from one of the multiple frequent flyer plans that every company offers. Most of them, specially those in traditional air carriers, are combined under flight alliances. There are sites with absolute experts on the topic, that will help you choose which programs are more convenient for you, and the ways to optimize the use of your miles:
Once you are at your destination, you will be able to move locally, regionally or nationally (and, in most cases, also internationally) using the public transport of each country. Obviously, don't expect western standards in many places, but the services will bring you almost wherever you want at very reduced prices. If you want to take a look at valuable information about public transport around the world, I refer you to this exceptional site of a transport guru:
Minimize your accomodation expensesThe best way to minimize your accommodation expenses is to stay somewhere for free. And the easier way to stay somewhere for free is in a friends house. But... I don't have friends where I am going! Well then... make them! Doing a bit of network you can create contacts anywhere, and there are networks specially dedicated to free accommodation exchange. There are people around, that loves to receive other people at their home and to act as hosts of their cities. You only have to ask them. Some of these networks are.
We have also listed them in other sections of the page, and I think they deserve it for their prevalence and relevance in the topic.
Since in the internet we haven't found a place with centralized information about these opportunities, we have decided to do it ourselves. We’ll be working on the idea for the next few months, and it will appear on these pages as soon as it is started. Its address: http://www.homeforservice.com
At last, maybe you don't want to work and you don't want to stay in other people's homes. You still have more options... there are religious communities that offer free short term accommodation, like the Christian Salvation Army or Sikh gurudwaras.
If even then what you still want to pay, but not much, then be aware that in cheap countries both hotel rooms and apartment rentals are very affordable. You can contact hostelling associations or directly the hotels to enquire for short and long-term quotes, and classifieds in your destinations will be full of rental offers.
Remember that, if you spend enough time looking and selecting, you have many possibilities to find something that will satisfy you in all ways.
Get a sponsorWe have already talked about sponsors when we were thinking how to earn money, but they are again relevant helping us not to spend them. A sponsor is whoever offers you something in exchange of linking their name to yours. Sometimes, will be somebody that will consider you interesting enough to want you to give them contents, maybe writing, or photos, or videos, or drawings, or just simple publicity. The list is as long as circumstances we can imagine. Any company will consider to sponsor you if what you offer is interesting and relevant for them, so you just have to offer something interesting.
Just as an example, we refer you to the fascinating story of Daniel Price:
Offer your servicesThe best tip when you have decided to live this lifestyle is that you should not close doors, and in the same way that you trust the world will bring you placidly to the right path, trust that, if you need it, opportunities will come to you. Don't get tired of asking, and don't forget to offer. Once again, there will be a lot of people who will say no to your demands, it is not necessary to do it yourself.
In exchange of your services you can get almost anything. You just have to ask in the right place.