My mother is lovely, she really is, but geez she asks some random questions. It is hardly her fault. She is over 80 after all. And please don’t be rude, I am not THAT bloody old, she just had me ridiculously late. It is challenging having a mother who is older than the grandparents of most people my age. Such is life though.
So I was having a quick conversation with her yesterday as hubby and I are taking her on a road trip later this week. He is bursting with excitement at the idea of 9 hours in the car with his mother in law. However, it is a good chance to catch up with her before we take off on our one way Asian adventure in a few weeks. I gently suggested to her that she might take some travel sickness tablets before we go. Being in the back seat of our V8 as it flies around hairpin bends up a massive mountain and back down again generally isn’t her idea of fun. She seemed to think she would be fine, but I have seen the wicked combination of her and winding mountains. Better to be safe than sorry.
Then the random question comes soaring over the phone line. This is in her words not mine: ‘How can you travel when you haven’t been working properly?’
I couldn’t explain the answer to her, but I will explain it here: I am a tight arse. A woman on a mission.
If you have ever wondered how average, everyday people who speak of long term travel do it, being frugal is almost always the answer. In Ramit Sethi’s words, “You can have anything you want in the world, but you can’t have everything”. What I wanted more than anything in the world was time to spend working on my business whilst travelling with my husband.
In practical terms, this is what has been done to achieve up to 12 months worth of freedom:
- I changed from part time work to full time temp work at a higher rate of pay
- Hubby is on a full time wage too
- No regular dinners out. We have had about three dinners out in six months
- Takeaway food is off limits. We cook at home every single day. We also eat Paleo which is more expensive, but that is a personal choice and one we have been willing to pay for.
- Long weekend drives were off the cards. Our only driving is to work and back. That is it. Outside of work, we stay in our small town and purchase what we need here.
- Our savings plan is on autopilot. I worked out the maximum we can save and we pay that first.
- If we don’t have the money to buy something, we don’t get it.
- We consciously work on reducing our bills
- Our savings level is about 2/3 of our income with 1/3 going to living expenses.
- Every bit of overtime that has been made available has been taken up. All extra income goes into the travel kitty
- We have also saved enough to cover our mortgage repayments for the next 6 months plus all expenses to ensure that our belongings are all well insured. Our mortgage is fairly low through years of shaving money off the balance.
- We sold a heap of useless crap online and with a yard/garage sale.
Six months of saving this hard gives us up to 12 months of living expenses for travel through Asia. Yes we will still be on a budget, but we are able to travel. So the answer to my mother’s question is a little convoluted and perhaps even impossible. Maybe that is why many people believe it cannot be done, and why so few people do it.