By: Crystal Morrison-Graham
Tips By: Amirah Cook
“If there has been a desire in your heart for longer than you can remember, you didn’t put it there; it is your calling.” – Amirah J. Cook
How many times have you fantasied about putting in your two weeks notice to leave the country and spend a year or two touring cities in Europe or backpacking throughout Peru?
I know there are many others who, like me, have to fight between the daily struggles of working full time and browsing the pages of travel insta-grammers, wishing it could be your life. Not all of us can take off and travel the world for years, but the idea of having 10-15 vacation days a year until you retire at the age of 65 doesn’t seem quite right either.
Perhaps we can all figure out a way to take a sabbatical for a few months to relax, unwind, experience the joys of travel, and fully immerse ourselves in another culture (for more than 10 vacation days).
One of the main reasons my husband objects to my weekly text messages about leaving our New York City apartment for a life of travel and adventure is the fear of not having stability, or the ability to support ourselves, which I’m sure is the question some of you have as well.
So we reached out to enlist the help and advice from Amirah Cook, of Cool Young History, and author of the popular ebook, “101 Ways to Travel The World for Less Than $10 a day”. Amirah was happy to help us on our pursuit of extended travel, or an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey, as some would call it.
Amirah and her husband left their comfortable 3-bedroom apartment in Columbus, Ohio, and well paying 9 to 5 corporate jobs to live life by their own rules as they honeymoon indefinitely across the world.
So before you put in your notice to set off on your sabbatical for two, we have comprised a set of tips pulled from Amirah’s e-book to show you how you can prepare for your journey, make money while you travel, as well as how to score free (or close to it) accommodation throughout your trip.
- Travel for Growth, not Stamps
Traveling is about more than cool pictures for Instagram and stamps in your passport. It’s important to focus on immersing yourself in the cultures you visit, rather than checking off boxes on your bucket list. Try to learn a little of the language, taste the foods and explore more than the tourist hotspots when you’re visiting new places.
- Sell the things you don’t need
You may be surprised how many of your material possessions can be resold. From your shoes to electronics, there are different ways to turn your things into cash, which may be a great travel fund.
- Start planning your location.
Do the research and pick a place where the US dollar is strong. There are great destinations scattered across the globe with low costs of living, great weather, rich history and even beautiful beaches.
Mix up your trip with short and long stays, depending on how far your dollar can stretch. Maybe a short stay in Paris, followed by a longer stay in the French countryside where accommodation, transportation, and food costs are less expensive.
There are also hotspots in Europe, South America, Asia, North America, and Africa. Learn more about these destinations and typical costs of travel in my ebook.
- Identify Your Skills
Having a job is not the only way to make money. Empower yourself by identifying how you can help people and cut out the middleman. Find people with a problem you can solve and you’ll always be able to make money, whether at home or on the road.
Can you build websites? You can do this from anywhere in the world! I’ve built websites for clients in many of the countries we’ve visited. I’ve also worked as a freelancer, writing and editing for clients around the world. Jarrell is an incredible visual artist and has painted murals in several countries, as well as creating illustrations for clients around the world.
If you have yet to build a portfolio or lack a proven track record, exchange your services to cover your expenses. Paint a mural at a hostel in exchange for free accommodation. Translate a menu for free meals. The opportunities are endless!
- Find a place to stay: House Sitting, Hostels, and Helpx
House sitting is an service that allows you free accommodation in exchange for house and/or pet sitting. We’ve house sit several times throughout Europe. Join a house sitting community here.
Hostels are great for solo travel because they allow you to connect with other travelers while also offering the lowest accommodation rates.
Helpx is a service dedicated to connecting travelers with hosts around the world in a work exchange opportunity. The work can vary from manual labor to hospitality and even babysitting.
Now let’s Travel!
Traveling doesn’t have to be something you only dream about. It also doesn’t have to be a constant vacation. Instead, you can use travel as a tool to leverage your skillset and dollar, while figuring out your career path. Whether you’re working remotely, or for yourself, there are ways to make money on the go, so you don’t necessarily need a trust fund to make it abroad.
If traveling is something you want to do, it’s as simple as committing and creating a plan. Whether you’re moving across town or internationally, change can be uncomfortable. Be sure to move at your own pace and understand that traveling is not a cure all, but can be a journey of self-discovery.
Find more ways to earn money while you travel, how to book free or super affordable accommodations, and tips to help you take time off of work to travel in Amirah’s e-book, “101 Ways to Travel The World for Less Than $10 a day”, which is now FREE!
Tell us how you have successfully taken a sabbatical or how you are planning to take time off soon in the comment section below.