How I've managed to get enough money to travel has changed over the years. When I was in college I was the master of odd “jobs.”I gave blood as many times a week as I was allowed, which paid for my trips to New York. I sold vintage clothes that I would find in thrift shops to vintage stores to make yearly vigils to New Orleans. I mowed yards, drew portraits, sewed custom dresses, I even had a short stint doing phone sex because it was really easy get my homework done or clean my apartment at the same time.
The truth is I have never been someone who lives beyond my means. I never pay my bills late and never carry a due amount on my credit cards over to the next month. I have a good grasp of what I spend and I also don’t really need much. I cut my own hair, love thrift store clothes over designer, love to cook, drive a used car and furnish my home with things I fall in love with on my travels. My expenses are low. Even when I was a starving theater artist, making below the US definition of poverty level, I still could save money and, in my opinion, still lived well. In the way the New York Times once described as the “luxuried poor.”
However, when I did decide to backpack through Europe the first time, the $3,000 I had to go was all I had. I couldn’t afford to pay for my apartment and utilities back in Chicago while I was gone. So I gave up my apartment and put my stuff in storage. At that point in my life I didn’t really have that much so my storage space was a closet and I didn’t have a car. I had talked to several of my friends ,who all said I was welcome to live with them as long as I wanted when I got back while I looked for a new place to live. A BIG Thank You to all my friends who gave me that gift! Not knowing if I had a place to stay when I came back could have been one of the things that might have stopped me. Maybe…
Now I own a house and a car but still live pretty simply in comparison to many people’s standards. I prefer spending money more on experiences then I do “stuff”. “Stuff” just gives me more things to clean and put away. Taking more time out of my day to live it makes me happy. Now when I leave, I turn off all the utilities and I have a house to come back to. My formula for saving, though, is the same it’s been for 30 years. I simply take 10% of everything I make, even if it’s just a few dollars and I put it in a separate account as soon as I get it. I never count it as part of my living expenses, so I live according to what I have in my main account. I never even miss what I have put away. When I get enough to pay for whatever adventure I am wanting to go on then I start putting into action a plan to go. This has worked when I was lucky if I made $11,000 in a year to making $60,000.
If I can find a job that has travel involved with it, well, then it's Win-Win!
I'm actually at work in this photo.