I think this is my favorite post yet! I have had a few people ask me questions like, how much money do you need? Are you working? But you don’t speak Spanish? How did you get to this point? So forth. So figured I should break it down! And it is so fun for me to talk about this. If I could inspire one person to do this, if it is their dream, than I have succeeded.
So let’s start from day one (I’ll try to not bore with too many details, but this is literally the most exciting story I have to tell!) I went to the beach in Texas, Surfside Beach, with my friend Josh (Sketch) who wanted to go surf. ***Yes, we do have a beach in Texas. Pretty sure there is a big body of water below us or something?!*** Any who, Josh and I were just acquaintances through mutual friends so it was pretty random that we were hanging this Sunday. We were driving out and I mentioned about doing something in a few months and Josh said that he wouldn’t be in the states and he was moving to Nicaragua. Fast forward a few hours, I was sitting in the water with a cold beer, Coors light I’m pretty sure, listening to country music in the background watching the sunset go down. I knew in my heart I was going to quit my job and travel the world that very minute. I have never been in love but when I hear people say “I just knew when I saw her/him” I imagine that being the same feeling. I never once looked back. My dad had encouraged me to travel when I was making the most money and hitting huge “success” with work and I just thought he was getting older and crazy. (Sorry dad (: ) That day moving forward I had one of the biggest secrets that I had to keep and it tore me up. But let me say this, for the people I have met that want to do this too, for me this was NOT an irrational decision made over night. I waited almost a year to keep working hard at work and make sure that I was in a good place and not looking for a geographical fix. I’ve already touched on this but it would have been so much easier for me to deuce that next day. Work was to shit at the time. I was in a bad place after losing 3 of my friends to a sudden death. It would have been so much easier but if I was going to really do this I was going to do it the right way.
So that was step one. Do I really want to do this? Am I trying to run away from my problems? Am I prepared to make this change? Those were some serious questions I needed to know.
So onto some of the questions I got!
If someone wanted to do what you are doing, what advice would you give to plan for it? I would say the biggest thing is make sure you are doing it for the right reason. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure people decide to leave everything for the wrong reasons and it still works out. I see it all the time. But the satisfaction that I have when I wake up knowing I did this for me and because it is MY dream is extremely gratifying.
How much money do I need to save? So thanks to my parents I am a bit of a penny pincher (not always haha) This is the basic rule of thumb I suggest. Leave yourself no less than 6 months you could live on in the states. Or your home country. You never can be too safe and never know what expenses could pop up. From there I would start another savings account and that is your PLAY money to use for travel!
Do you need an itinerary or reasearch be set in place before taking off to backpack new lands? I would highly suggest having a strong idea of a plan you want to do. But the word “itinerary” totally turns me off! I always say my plan has an astric* next to it. I am traveling alone and if I meet a group of awesome people and they are all headed to Europe I want to be able to join if that’s what I want. My favorite word as of late, “I want”. As the travel blogger, Tiff, says, follow the feel good. But research, YES. You need to be informed of any foreign country you are about to travel in. Rather it is visa, shots, etc. I erred on the more cautious side and got most of the recommended shots for central and South America and SE Asia. You want to be familiar on currency and some laws. Don’t want to think marijuana is legal and find yourself in a really shitty situation. *NO mom, I’m not speaking of experience haha.
What is your budget/ daily savings? My budget is about $50 a day. That is supposed to include everything from travel, hostel, food, drinks, etc. I am shooting to spend about $1500 a month. Some days I go way over and other days, like today, I spent $1.70 for dinner and ate groceries for breakfast and lunch. I made sure I left more than 6 months behind for my return in my savings, left a chunk in my checking for the next year or so to travel and I took a chunk in a low risk investment. I think this is a very bullet proof safe way to go about it. Also, I paid all my bills off till January 2018. If this is an option I highly suggest it. I sold about everything so I paid my phone, storage unit, etc off, so I have NOTHING to worry about!
What international phone plan are you using? Never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but thankfully I use Sprint. So for $50 that I paid back in the states gives me coverage in ALL central and South America plus 1GB of data. If you are anything like me that makes no sense. So to break it down – I am supposed to (it’s very spotty) get unlimited SMS text and calls in every country plus about an average of 12 hours of streaming (iMessage, Snapchat, Insatagram, Spotify, etc) Some places have wifi so you will use that a lot. I usually keep my data off and connect when someone has wifi.
How did you establish your itinerary? Most people want to do Europe and I cannot blame them! However, Central and South America and Asia as cheap AF! Also my parents live in Panama so that was a no brainer for me. And who doesn’t love the Caribbean, tans, coconuts and palm trees?!
How did you get the balls to do something like this? This was something that mentioned earlier just felt right. Every one that knows me was NOT surprised by this. (Well after the shock factor of telling them) I love to travel. I am different than other people. Everyone wants different things. Right now my priority is me and living my life to the fullest. I want to know that if I am to leave this earth tomorrow that I can happily have a smile on my face about it. And that, my friends, is how I grew the huevos to do this. It pumps me up when I know that I am independently living a dream of mine.
How do you feel about your safety traveling alone? UGH this question. Man I do not mean to be graphic here at all but I am just going to be HONEST. If I had a dollar for how many people used me and the “R” word (rape) in one sentence my trip would be paid for. To be perfectly blunt of course I am, was and still will be scared. But majority of people that referred to me being in the absolute most horrific position had never even been to the countries I am going to. If you read my other posts you hear about how safe I have felt. There are plenty of times where I wake up scared at night. (No more than in Houston hearing gun fights outside my window, let me mind you). I wish my Spanish was better. But here is the bottom line. There is crime EVERYWHERE. Just like the states it is very important to be aware or your surroundings and be smart. I can’t get drunk and let my guard down like I could in Texas. I can’t travel at night. I can’t run around showing that I am afraid even if I feel it. But I am telling y’all, I feel okay about it. I have tried to mentally prepare myself for what is likely to happen which is pety crime. It happens and sometimes they have weapons but most of the time all they want is your things. Fortunately, I have NOT been in this situation and plan on not being in it. But on this note to end on, and let me be heard loud and clear, NO MATTER whatever happens I know that my life is in God’s hands. I do my best to not test the waters but I am living out my wildest dream and nothing can scare me away from that!
PLEASE message or comment if you have any other questions! I think y’all sent the most asked ones and thank you so much for sending me these!!!!! I am here for anyone who has questions. Remember I am NO ONE more special than you. I did not win the lottery. I had a dream and grabbed it by the horns. YOU CAN DO IT TOO !!!
Much love!! Xoxoxo BTW that main picture is on my birthday in August when my mom bought me my backpack. Actual tears were strolling down I was so excited!