Travel Prep: The Beginning Stages

Originally written 1/22/16

Yesterday I drafted my letter of resignation for work, six months in advance. I realize it may seem like I’m getting ahead of myself, but I like to stay on top of things. The end date listed, which is subject to change of course, is September 9th (update: my last day will be September 7th). By doing this I feel like I’ve given myself even more of a “real” deadline to save money, sell my belongings, make arrangements, etc. Speaking of which, let me explain some of what I’ve been doing so far to prepare.

Savings

The first week of December 2015 I opened a separate savings account for this endeavor and named it “Adventure Fund.” Within one month I had a little over $2,000 saved up, and today I have exactly $2,500. Keep in mind, I opened the account with about $500 I had already saved up from a house sitting gig (thanks Jannah!), starting to sell miscellaneous items, and rolling coins I got from my mom for helping her with stuff around my parents’ house (thanks, mom!). But still, that’s approximately $2,000 saved in just over one month. So how have I done it?

Cutting Costs

My biggest money sucker was food & alcohol (but mostly food). I don’t even want to begin to think about how much money I was wasting before on eating out, convenient pre-packaged food, going out to bars, buying craft beer and bottles of wine just because I liked the label (and I would find some crafty thing to do with that wine bottle later!…newsflash, I never did).

I have DRASTICALLY cut down on these expenditures. Yes of course I still grab lunch to go and go out every once in awhile, but I am much more conscientious of these decisions now. When I’m thinking about spending money on these things, instead of just focusing on the convenience, I try to think about how I could put that money to use while traveling. I remind myself: that $10 could buy me a night in a hotel in Southeast Asia, tapas in Barcelona, or a visit to the Parthenon in Athens. Those “little” expenses add up  to more days that I could spend exploring the world.

Selling STUFF

Yes, I am selling ALL of my stuff, except what I’m bringing with me and a few sentimental items and family heirlooms. Yes, that includes all of the truly wonderful gifts some of you have given me throughout the years. Please don’t feel bad about this – it’s going to help me achieve my goal of traveling all over the world and having some truly awesome experiences.

As much as I love all the baking books & supplies, jewelry, knick knacks, etc .that I’ve been gifted over the years, when it comes down to true enrichment most of that stuff isn’t doing it for me. Most of it won’t be any good to me while traveling, and it definitely won’t be any good sitting in storage. I have some great stuff, all of which is replaceable (and mostly unnecessary, really), that should be used and enjoyed, not collecting dust while I’m off gallivanting around the world. More on selling off (almost) all of my worldly possessions later.

Research

Travel blogs, travel books, and Pinterest, oh my! There is a TON of information out there about backpacking & long-term travel. It’s amazing how many people there are who have done exactly what I’m trying to do. I’ve learned a lot and have been inspired from reading several travel blogs. It’s a daily reminder that people just like me have sold all their belongings and quit their jobs to travel the world, and that I can do it too. These are my favorites so far:

I have also taken advantage of the travel book section at my local library. The best book for budget travel is How To Travel The World on $50 A Day by Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt.

And of course there’s Pinterest. I found all of the blogs I read on Pinterest, except Thrifty Nomads. I found that one when I did a Google search for “sell all possessions & travel.”  I like using Pinterest to organize resources; lots of things on Pinterest have a picture and a description of what’s on the site, which is helpful to look back and re-read stuff.

I often find myself going down a rabbit hole; I see a few things that look interesting so I open those, then each of those sites usually have a few more interesting things, and so on. But I’m perfectly content deep in my Pinterest rabbit hole reading about wonderful adventures travelers before me have had, and that I hopefully will have someday too.

My travel preparations are just beginning. Stay tuned for more on this subject later!