Guest Post: How to afford full time travel with Direction of Our Hearts
Hey everybody!! We are Direction of Our Hearts, a family of four (Sean, Lorena, Mireya, & Gabriela) who love traveling and work hard to make it a priority in our lives. At first this meant one family trip and one husband and wife trip each year. No matter what, we always tried to keep this tradition even if it meant taking a trip in our own backyard. We are from Norman, Oklahoma and love it dearly, but we wanted to travel full time. We made a plan, stuck to it, worked our butts off, and crossed our fingers. So, the search is on, where is home? Is home in one location, or is it just a place where we are together? We decided we would travel the world with our girls, have amazing adventures, learn through experience, and let our hearts lead the way! For a more detailed version of our story check out our blog post here https://directionofourhearts.com/2018/09/02/our_story/
Today we would like to answer the number one questions we get about this travel life
How did you make it happen and How do you afford it?
We wrote a blog post all about the things we did in order to make it happen and what our financially situation was when we started this journey. To read that post head over to our page for the full breakdown, we think you will be a surprised at how little we had when we started our adventure. You can read that post here
We are now 9 months in and quite a bit has changed since we started. We have learned lots of things both good and bad and had even at one-point thought that we might have to pack our bags and head back to the United States. However, we took a breath, reanalyzed our plan, made some adjustments, and found new ways to both save and bring in a steady income while traveling. We are happy to share some of those with you all today.
Going, going, gone
First (and this was covered in our blog in detail with numbers)-We sold all of our stuff-House, Cars, Furniture, seriously we sold it all. We kept a few boxes of sentimental things that are stored in a small corner of our parents’ garage but other then that the only things we now posses are the things that fit in our packs. We each had one checked bag, one carry on bag, and a backpack. This has since actually been significantly reduced as we have learned that we don’t need as much as we thought. We are hoping to be down to one checked bag for the three of us and a backpack each. Fingers crossed.
Originally, we had planned on just continuing to work like we did when we were in Oklahoma. Sean and I own our own architecture firm (MC2 architecture) and had hoped to continue to work with the people we had been working with back in the states while traveling. However, we soon learned that that would be a lot more difficult to do then we expected. People became nervous about the distance and lots of people just didn’t have the work they thought they were going to have. From our experience in the architecture world things tend to slow down a bit right around Christmas. We knew this but failed to think about or make it a part of our plan. BIG MISTAKE!!! We left in September, so it only gave us a few months of work before things slowed down significantly. We had the money from selling our things, but we didn’t want to touch that. We wanted that for emergencies but since we had kind of hit a wall and we were not ready to pack up and go back to the states we decided to take the risk and spend some of it in the hopes that we could find work and put the money back. We got serious about looking for newprojects and new clients. We landed a project and we were able to not only make a decent profit but also to put back the money we spend. So, we learned a big lesson here- Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
We started looking at ways we could save money, make more money, and generate some passive income.
Our first source of passive income and a big accomplishment for the man of our family:
Sean became a published author and illustrator!!! The book follows the story of Mireya and Gaby, the greatest space hunters the galaxy has ever known! When Mireya, a brave little monkey, finds an old book with riddles and maps, the team embark on an incredible journey to find the lost treasure Azmatsa. Mireya and Gaby must use all their strength and skills to overcome the challenges they face looking for Azmatsa. It’s a great childrens book and has received a 5star rating on amazon. It was also on the best sellers list and is available in both paperback and digital download at the link below
We are working on a few other books and are hoping to continue to write and publish books so be on the lookout.
Passive income is something that we highly recommend that everyone have (not just travel families). It is such a nice way to generate money by doing something once and not having to touch it again.
Making our careers work for us:
Sean and I own our own architecture firm-MC2 Architecture, llc. We are a husband and wife team who began working together in 2009 and co-founded our architectural practice in 2017. We are working on breaking the mold of what people consider traditional architectural practices. With a passion for visual learning and travel we are spreading our wings and exploring the globe while running our firm. The world is our office and we are taking advantage of today’s innovative technology to not only work in our hometown but across the globe. We hope that our travels will make us more accessible to those who are looking to create projects in other parts of the world as well as open our eyes to different architectural and cultural practices around the globe. If this sounds like you please get in touch we would love to meet you. You can get in touch with us regarding architecture here https://www.mc2architecture.com/
Teaching English online:
Because architecture can be a bit up and down (especially when you are the owner of the business) we started looking for other ways we could make money. More of a steady income and we found online teaching. After doing lots of research on alternative ways to make money while traveling we stumbled upon online teaching. We found a program called VIP Kids and after reading about the program we decided to give it a go. The only requirement was that you have a college degree. Then you had to pass some background checks and two interviews. Sean and I both have Master of Architecture degrees so we both got certified. It is steady income and we could do it when and where we wanted. This turned out to be a life saver for us and is something that we still do even when we have architecture jobs. It has helped us continue to travel and to build up our savings in case any other unforeseen circumstances come up. If this sounds up your alley get a hold of us, we would be happy to help you with the process and answer any questions you might have.
Other Ways to Save
Discounts for longer Stays:
When we started our journey, we knew we wanted to stay in places for extended amounts of time because we are looking for where we want to call home and you can’t really get a feel for what living in a place might be like in just a week. We decided to stay in places for one month at a time and have decided that this or 3 weeks at the least really gives you an idea of what life in that area might be like. We soon also found out that by doing this we were able to save ourselves tons of money on accommodations. Most Airbnb’s will offer you a discount if you stay longer then a week and if you are able to stay a month sometimes the discount is up to 50%!! Also don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. If you find a place that doesn’t offer one just ask. Most host are willing to work with you. Especially if you have great reviews from all the places you have previously stayed at. So just be sure to follow the rules, leave your space clean, and be respectful as the reviews really do matter.
No unexpected bills and eating at home:
We also always make sure that wherever we stay we have Wi-Fi, a washer, and a kitchen. This saves us from unexpected bills. We use a lot of data teaching, so this is a big one for us. It isn’t a deal breaker but is something we always check because we need to calculate the cost if we have to get our own Wi-Fi. We try and only eat out twice a week so having a kitchen is something we are not flexible about. This is something that for us adds up quickly when paying for a family of four. However, be prepared that groceries might be more expensive then you are used to. We found lots of things were up to 10x as expensive as they were in the states. However here in New Zealand it boils down to what is in season. You can get things when they aren’t in season just know you will have to pay top dollar. For us the big thing was zucchini and jalapenos. It’ssomething we were used to having in our kitchen at all times and we quickly decided we were ok with replacing our zucchini with broccoli or asparagus but we couldn’t do without our spicy food so we would take the hit on peppers anytime we could get them which wasn’t often.
We hope this information was helpful to you and hope to see you all over on our site and our social media pages. Thanks so much to The 7 Wayfinders for having us.
Want to see more of The Direction of Our Hearts Family?? Check them out here!