OK so by now you know that we gave up our very nice lives in England to explore the world but in this blog post we will tell you exactly how we became road ready and what things you need to be thinking about if you plan to do the same.
Sorry, but in our experience there is no easy way to do this. The reality is that it takes time to shut down a fully functioning life and the whole process took us only a few weeks shy of a year.
Firstly, don’t worry! It may have taken time but it was highly therapeutic and it gave us the time we needed to mentally prepare for what was ahead and more importantly, to financially prepare. Whilst achieving all the things on our to-do list we simultaneously built up our web hosting business and began to explore other ways of making an income online. We highly recommend that you too begin doing this before you start your travels. Even if you make no money in your first year (you probably won’t) you’ll know what to do in year 2 to change that.
So here is the sacred list:
Mi Casa es who’s casa?
Undoubtedly the very first thing to think about is your living situation. Property owners need to consider whether they are going to keep their property to rent out or if it is to be sold to help cover the cost of travelling. Renters should consider how much notice they need to give to their landlords and whether now is a good time to move into cheaper accommodation to help with saving.
Whilst we initially considered retaining our properties as rentals, ultimately it made more financial sense for ours to be sold (make sure you do the maths) and so we immediately arranged for a few cheap upgrades to be carried out and then put both of our properties up for sale. Guys, even in a seller’s market like we had, this process takes AGES. Leave plenty of time for the sale to go through and then when you’ve got a date in mind, add an extra month or two. Solicitors (at least in the UK) certainly don’t rush the process through and you need to be prepared for this.
If you’re selling, or even keeping as a rental in some cases, you will also need to consider the following:
- Furniture – Sell it, store it or give it away. Simples.
- Pets – This is a tough one. Nobody wants to leave their beloved pet but you can’t bring them with you and you can’t put off travelling for them, as cute as they are. Early on you need to consider how you are going to find them a suitable new home with a loving family. And then cry. Lots.
- Keepsakes – Even if you decide to get rid of everything you own there will be some things you either can’t part with or shouldn’t part with. For us it was wedding paraphernalia that we couldn’t part with and important documents that we shouldn’t part with. Our lovely family kept a box of things for us but if you don’t have this option then look into long-term storage as an alternative.
Telling people about your travel plans
Err, I don’t know how to tell you this but…
When the time is right, and only you can decide when that is, you need to start telling people about your plans. If your friends and family are anything like ours, you’re going to encounter a lot of confusion, frustration, concern and misunderstanding. The truth is, this life is not for everyone (or even many people, really) and so you need to prepare yourself for some difficult conversations and not let yourself be swayed by other peoples negativity. A good friend of ours once told us to be careful who we share our dreams with and so choose wisely but recognise that you can’t drop this bomb on everyone only weeks away from leaving. Your mother will kill you.
Money, Money, Money
Even though you are trying to escape the rat race, there’s no denying that money makes the world go round. Your travelling dream has been a dream for so long that you may have forgotten to consider the realities of life on the road and so please accept this cold hard slap to the face – you need to get your finances in order now. Before you travel. We’re big fans of the “don’t delay, figure it out on the way” mentality that encourages people to take the plunge, BUT unless you want to be back home living with your parents next year, you really should take the time to save a good amount of money for both day to day living and emergencies. We sold everything we owned to generate our savings pot and as already mentioned we had already been working online to build up our profile.
To pack or not to pack
We might not know you but we do know one thing – the first time you travel you will pack way too much. Honestly the hardest part of transitioning into the nomadic life is learning to get rid of “stuff”. You’ll be surprised by how much you won’t want or need whilst you’re away and this realisation is a big part of your new life. Enjoy the liberation of letting go of the material and embracing the simple life. Only you will know what needs to go in your backpack.
Research is a traveller’s best friend AKA The seven P’s of travel
Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance
Never underestimate the importance of properly researching the places you intend to travel to. We talk a lot on this blog about separating the dream from the reality, and research is a key part of this process. Let’s face it – you’re reading this sitting at your desk at work. You’re miserable. You just want to give it all up, go live in Thailand and spend your days nursing a cocktail on the beach and maybe blogging occasionally.
Bottom line, this is a fantasy.
Whilst that daydream will form a part of your reality, there is a lot more to consider. Like where are you going to stay? How can you ensure your personal safety? What is the cheapest way to travel? What currency do you need? What useful phrases should you learn?
When you don’t research you can’t be prepared and you all know the saying about how proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.
Government websites provide useful information but a lot of it makes for scary reading and so don’t be put off by what you find. Search travel blogs and information from locals to get a true picture of where you are going and what precautions you should take.
Doctor, Doctor – give me the news
You will have access to medical treatment abroad but there’s no place like home (and the NHS) for receiving medical care. With this in mind we took the opportunity before we left to have a full check up with our GP, Dentist and Optician. This is also a good time to talk about what jabs you might need and when and if you don’t already know it, find out what your blood type is. Was this step a bit fastidious? Yes, BUT the prepared traveller is the successful traveller and you don’t want to find out you need a root canal only weeks after leaving the country whilst backpacking through the Amazon.
If you ignore all other advice, listen to this: BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Capital letters and sexy boldness do not express how important this message is. Seriously, buy insurance. If you need medical treatment, evacuation, experience theft or just need some advice, this will save your butt. It might seem like a large expense (you’re looking at around £1,000 per annum) but the alternative could mean you being stuck in a grotty hospital in the middle of nowhere receiving inadequate care, or no care at all, and putting your life at risk. Transfer the problem to the Insurers and travel with piece of mind.
Fly me to the Moon
You might not actually be going to the moon, but sometimes it feels like you would be getting better value for your money if you were. A key part of nomadic travel is getting to grips with airline prices and grabbing the best deals. Largely this means booking early, travelling at unpopular times of the day / year, using air miles and shopping around. We use a combination of these to fly economically and suggest using SkyScanner.
So have a look and get your journey under way.
Just do it
By now you have taken care of the necessities and the last thing to overcome is your fear. That huge part of you telling you not to do it is just scared… but rightfully so. This is huge. You have sold everything you own and are travelling to places that you can’t even pronounce let alone understand. You have no idea what to expect, you have more worries in your head than pounds in your bank but just do it. If you’ve followed the steps above then you are prepared. So you might not be living your safe conventional life any more but you will be learning more about yourself than you could ever dream of right now and you’re going to meet some amazing people on the way. Take the plunge and don’t look back, just do it.
Do you have an extra tips to share? Think we should add more to this guide? Let us know in the comments!