Don’t let empty pockets keep you from seeing the world

The most common excuse not to go travelling is lack of money. Sure, we all have different economic situation, but you know what? That’s just another lame excuse. The way I see it, it’s a question of prioritising. So before you buy another pair of shoes, that you tell yourself you can’t live without, or take a sip of that take away coffee you just spent 3 dollars on, think about what is most important to you? Buy that RTW ticket or spent your hard-earned money on more things to add to your already big pile of possessions?

The thing is, you can travel the world on a shoestring, and it can be so much more than hostel bunk beds, noodles and instant coffee! 

There are quite a few really great ways to keep travelling even when your running a bit low on money. I’ve previous written about Couchsurfing, another good thing to look into is Housesitting. Something the ladies behind  The Ultimate Housesitting Guide knows all about.

I first stumbled upon Help Exchange about 3 years ago, while doing research for my trip to New Zealand. So I signed up, paid the 20 euro for a 2 year premier membership, and so far it has been money very well spent.

Helpx is a fantastic online network linking together willing travellers with local hosts all over the world. It’s a cultural exchange where helpers typically are asked to work about 4 hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation. The hosts can be everything from organic and non-organic farms, homestays and backpackers hostels to sailing boats or families who just need a bit of extra help.

To spend a few days or a couple of weeks with a family is a great way to get a deeper insight to the country you’re visiting and gain some practical experience at the same time. An opportunity to learn something new, like how to milk a cow or the best way to put up an electric fence. There’re so many terrific people out there who want nothing more than to show off their country to people like you passing through. If you’re a sucker for company it can also be a great place to get in contact with fellow travellers.

Ohakune, New Zealand

Help Exchange in Lavenderhill

Help Exchange

So far I’ve done a dozen or so helpx stays, ranging from a few days up to 2 months. I’ve made coffee in a little café in Ireland, been selling homemade chutney on farmers markets, and worked as a horse trekking guide (despite not being on a horse for the past 9 years… ) I’ve also played farmer, picked plums, collected pine cones, chopped wood, and pulled more weed than I ever thought possible. I did not earn any money doing any of these jobs. But nor did I spend any either. I got free food, free accommodation, and countless of great experiences! Without helpx I’d probably have struggled to stay on the road for as long as I have without any sort of steady income.

A couple of days ago I got an email from a nudist community up in Queensland. I politely declined their invitation. Being nude in public just isn’t my thing…but the point I’m making is:  there’s something for everyone! So go online and discover all amazing opportunities out there!

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Melbourne Southbank

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What are you running away from?

If I got a dollar for every time I get asked that question I’d be able to buy myself a round the world ticket.

Thinking about it though I guess I do understand that it can seem crazy to some people…giving up my career, leaving friends and family and basically pack up my life in a backpack. Not wanting to have kids, buy a Volvo, live in a Falu red-painted house with IKEA furniture and a mortgage I’m never gonna be able to pay off. That is pretty much the norm of the society I grew up in. Sure, there is the 3 weeks vacation to Thailand in january to escape a bit of the darkness and the cold , but if you choose to travel more than that. Say you been on the road for over 2 years. Well surely that ain’t normal?  Surely you are running away from something back home?

Well let me tell you this, I don’t have a messed up family situation, I’m not on the run from the police or an ex stalker boyfriend. There was no life changing situation that occurred that all the sudden made me want to leave the country and fly far far away. No, I’m just an ordinary girl in my twenties wanting something different out of live than what I was experience. And I finally had the guts and the money to get me started and doing something I’d dreamt about since I can remember – Travel!  Meet interesting people, taste weird food, experience new cultures, try to communicate in languages I don’t understand, swim in the sea and drink the wild air.

And sure I as everyone else have a few skeletons in my closet, but I’m not running away from them. I chose to leave them behind. Move on. To something better, something different. What is so wrong with that?

Some people have this idea in their head how everything is gonna sort itself out when they hit the road. That all the problems they had before is magically gonna disappear. That’s an illusion and a lie. Sure island hopping around Greece for a month or learn to scuba dive on the Gili Islands can be a great break from reality. But for us long-term travellers…well for the most part travelling is not a dance on clouds, and not everything is pink and shiny. The grass is not greener on the other side. Just different. I’m not escaping reality, I’m facing reality. The reality I have chosen for myself. Freedom! 

”We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”