How to Make Long-Term Travel a Reality

Budget Travel, City Travel, Cultural Travel, Expats Abroad, Finances & Savings, Leaving & Coming Home, Quitting & Career Management, Staying Connected, Travel Philosophy, Volunteering & Giving Back, Working Abroad — By on November 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Today we’re departing from our normal book review to get tips from Barbara Singer, author of Living Without Reservations: A Journey By Land and Sea in Search of Happiness about how she made her dream of travel happen. At the tender age of 44 years old, Barbara Singer decided to reinvent her life. In one tense and anxiety filled year, her only child went off to school, she got divorced, and then fell in love with a new man, but then he suddenly died. She found herself looking down the barrel of twenty years in a corporate sweathouse until retirement, chasing money and running on the 7 AM to 10 PM treadmill of the American Dream. She knew she could not keep up this crazy pace and remain sane and successful. She was no longer interested building wealth. She wanted freedom, adventure, travel and romance.

So she jumped off the track. She gave up her career and travelled across country in an RV from Pennsylvania to Alaska and back.  She lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Living Without Reservations chronicles her odyssey around the world and describes the many challenges and decisions she made along the way.

“Right now,” she says, “it is readily feasible to live abroad and travel comfortably and safe, on less than $1,000 a month. I even know people who have brought their children and pets along with them on their trips”. Here are Barbara’s 10 steps to making it happen:

1.     Get Ready Mentally. Your attitude is far more important than the check book balance. Focus 100% on creating the lifestyle that you want.  Be acutely aware of how you are spending your time and money.  If it is not bringing you closer to your goal, it is taking you farther away.  There are NO neutral actions. You must believe in why and what you doing with all your heart.  You are no longer marching in step with everyone else.  You are choosing a different path and will be making daily decisions that others will question. Don’t listen to anyone who is negative.  Stop doing anything that doesn’t bring you joy.  Quit all organizations, commitments.  Create a totally different home environment -turn off the TV, turn on your favourite music, open the windows, eat your meals outside and de-clutter. Change up your daily routine and spend time walking or biking alone in nature. Plan your strategy.

2.     Liquidate your home. Rent it to someone else or sell it. The goal is to travel light. You will be renting a room from someone else somewhere in the world (perhaps even several times a year in different locations), so all your possessions need to fit into a bedroom..  Rent or sell your home furnished if you can.  It will save you a lot of hassle of moving and selling furniture and household goods which have very little resale value.  Sell antiques or valuables on Ebay.  Hold a garage sale. Consign designer clothing and expensive jewelry. Avoid storing anything except personal keepsakes.  You will pay to keep stuff that no one, including you, will want in 5 years from now. If you have debt, rent your extra bedrooms, attic, basement, garage to others who need it for storage until your Jump Date arrives.

3.     Get Rid of Your Car. Stop your car lease or car payments sell it then buy something under $5,000 and put the minimum insurance required by your state. You will cut 2 bills with this one move. Most of the time, your car will just sit, unused while you are out of the country.

4.     Stop all re-occurring monthly charges. If you don’t spend it, you won’t have to earn it.  Stop all services like cable TV, lawn care, pool care, cleaning service, car detailing, beauty treatments, all memberships, and classes.  You will have plenty of time to do these things yourself because you are not doing any of the old time wasters of the past. Eat all your meals from home. Use up all household products in your pantry, bathroom, wine cellar/bar and garage.  BUY NOTHING!!

5.     Forget about Security and Responsibilities. Security doesn’t exist.  It is a big lie. All kinds of unexpected events can change our lives in second- like a heart attack, car accident, getting fired, or divorced. Live today joyfully rather than spending time, energy and money on days that may never come.  You will handle what actually happens.  You are only responsible for yourself. You are not responsible for another.  Let each person stand on there own. By providing for another, you are actually weakening them by making them dependent. Let each person stand on their own.  Their life is a result of the choices they made.  If you just said, “I would love to do that but…,” everything after the but is your ego talking.  I can assure you, that if you died tomorrow, everything after the but…would some way or some how be taken care of.

6. Get Mobile. Get a laptop and learn to get all the information about your finances and other important things on line. Stop every piece of paper mail and learn how to get what you need from anywhere in the world.  Get a Post Office box at Mailboxes Ect. And have them forward you the mail every so often.

7. Make a Trade. Focus on the gift of exchange.You may not have money, but you have something much more valuable, time and talent.   Practice thinking of ways to get what you need without using money.  Always give more than you receive in cash value. Do your best and think win/win.  I trade you this X and you give my Y. Everytime you spend, think how you could get this without paying with money. You can have everything you need to live your dream life without a huge pile of money. Start in small hops.  Take a leave of absence, unpaid for a month or two.  You will be surprised how many employers would love that.  You would take time off unpaid if you or your loved one was sick, why not when you are well. There are lots of ways to make money without a “real job” and all the deduction from a normal paycheck. Trade out for services you need.   Clean for the dentist or paint his fence. Let your natural talent shine and the money will come. Offer something you enjoy doing. Such as babysitting, tutoring, yard work, painting, caring for elderly or sick, music lessons, computers, fixing things, organizing closets, helping make a garage sale or running errands. You can even trade your room rent for these items.

8.   Work on the Road. You may simply want to move to someplace new and get set up for the first time. You can do that. If you have a particular country in mind, apply for a visa before you quit your job and travel. Every country is different so get online and do your homework. Don’t be afraid! It is easier to find work once you are already there. Not the other way around. You can’t even imagine the opportunities until you are there to see what is happening. Find work with housing included: working on a cruise ship, for Club Med type resorts, caretaker. Work for an American company abroad.Use the internet!  Tons of resources at your fingertips. Work for a resort company. Work for the National Park system (Campworkers.com), find unique opportunities at Caretakergazette.com or work on boat and be paid crew (Crewfinder.com or 7knots.com), or be a live in nanny or teacher and travel with an International family (nanny services).

9.  Take Baby Steps. You don’t have to plan out the rest of your life.  Break it down into little chunks.  Rent a room for a month at time or plan to stay in an area for a season. If you decide to go touring you can keep costs low by staying in hostels (no longer just for youths!).  There are also organizations that offer assistance to travelers, pensiones, and home stays like serva.org.  Americans can even travel and work in places like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and other places without any additional papers. Once you are on the road, fellow travelers are an excellent source of information. You do not need to have an agenda or great expectations. Stay light and be flexible.

10.  Lend a Hand. – Visit without mooching – If you are lucky and have friends and family in places you want to visit, go see them, and be useful.  Offer you talents. Offer your time. Work freely and wholeheartedly. While you are there, you can wait for the roofer or the air condition inspector to arrive, take the dog to the vet, clean the pool, mow the grass or take their car in for repairs, hang drapes, paint, do yard work – whatever you do to be helpful and appreciated. Make people happy you are there and make sure you leave a favorable impression.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Living Without Reservations is for all those who say “some day.” This book will inspire you to take that leap of faith and starting living your dreams.

Living Without Reservations

A Journey By Land and Sea in Search of Happiness

By Barbara Elaine Singer

List $18.95

Trade soft cover 436 pages

ISBN 978-0-9843254-0-5

Hear Me Roar Press

Available in bookstores nationwide and online.

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    20 Comments

  • Sometimes you’ve got to be a bitch to have things done

  • Randall says:

    Great advice! It is true that all those recurring monthly bills, house mortgage, car loans can slave you. You work to pay those bills and not work because you enjoy doing it. Freedom is something that not all of us can attain especially if we can’t and won;t let go of certain material things or comforts in life.

  • Nelly says:

    You’re right, there is no such thing as security. Some things will change in an instant. Getting rid of those monthly bills will free our minds and let us enjoy our travel. It’s a great advice to all who want to take a long vacation or even those who want to make changes in their lives.

  • Desiree says:

    I actually love the idea of Barbara.. That something to ponder with. I’m gonna do the same thing too.

  • Gabrielle says:

    I am 17. My whole life until now has been devoted to school but I have only just realized that it’s not for me. I don’t want to lead a conventional life with a career, I don’t want to settle down, get married and start a family. I want to travel. I just finished my junior year of high school and I want to finish high school and go to college but I’m so exhausted by school that I am seriously considering dropping out and leaving… I don’t even know where to start, honestly. I feel so alone. Would you possibly have any advice for me?

  • Zach says:

    Barbara: Hi, my name is Zach and I enjoyed reading the article about your book. I am a physician, I like to travel, eat sushi and listen to jazz music. I have spent some fun times in the island, Keys and Orlando. I love your scooter!! I am impressed that you have had the courage to leave many material items behind and instead focus on the adventures that life has to offer. I am jealous. Here is a toast of red wine to you. Zach

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