How I Can Afford to Travel Long-Term

by Melissa on November 5, 2012 · 61 comments

A question that I keep on getting from readers or even just people I meet, is “how can you afford all this?”  I know people look at me and think I’m living the dream, that I’m lucky – and to that, I’d say that I’m doing one of the two, and luck has nothing to do with where I am.  Traveling long-term can be expensive, but for me it’s not a very difficult question to answer.  Here’s how I can afford to travel long-term.

how I can afford to travel long-term

My Money-Saving Story:

Let’s rewind to May 2008.  I just graduated university with a (useless) film studies degree.  I was one of the lucky few who left university without being $20 000 (or more) in debt.  With my degree in hand, I was determined to get my foot in the door of the Toronto film or television industry, but I knew that it wasn’t going to happen overnight and that I would require a ‘for now’ job.  I became a waitress because it was pretty easy and a good way to earn lots of money, fast.  At this point I would also like to mention that I was living at home with my parents.
how i can afford long term travel
To make a long story short – a few years passed and I never did get a paying job in TV or film.  However, due to the fact that waitressing in North America means earning tips, I was able to make lots of money fairly easily.  It was now the end of 2009 and I was fresh of the heels of a breakup, living with my parents, no prospective jobs in TV or film on the horizon, and falling into a rut.  I knew something had to change.  I knew that there was a part of me who was just dying to see the world around me as well as a part of me who just wanted to run away from it all and get a fresh start.  In my head I started toying with the idea of long-term travel as a way to get some reflection time and to sort out a plan B.

Did I mention that by this time I had managed to save nearly $30 000?   This had to do with the fact that I worked five to six nights per week at a pub in a fairly wealthy area.  I became spoiled.  I could easily make $1200 in tips per week.  Unlike my co-workers who were always up on the latest trends, purchasing designer purses and clothes – I put away nearly every penny of my tip money into a savings account I refused to touch.

I was also still living at home with my parents – this was a huge factor in me being able to save as much money as I did, since they let me live in their basement, rent-free.

I refused to buy things that I knew I didn’t need.  Also due to the fact that I was now working six nights per week, my social life whittled down to nothing.  On my only day off I was usually too tired to be bothered to go out and have a night on the town.

By the time I left for my working holiday in Australia in December 2010 I had just under $50 000 in my savings account.  To this day – that number is still shocking.

Major factors that helped me save money before I left:

  • Living with my parents, rent-free
  • Saving at least 75% of my weekly earnings and putting it into an account I refused to touch
  • Forgoing restaurant lunches and dinners or nights out, saving them for special occasions only.
  • Not buying every trendy little thing that came into style, just because I DID have the money.

how i can afford to travel long-term
How I can afford to travel long-term while on the road:

  • Working holidays – settling in a place for a few months (or more) and earning an income rather than spending every saved penny
  • Hostels, couchsurfing, staying with friends, friends-of-friends, etc.
  • Making my own meals rather than always eating out
  • Utilizing frequent flyer programs to get flights nearly free (still have to pay tax)
  • My blog – in recent months I have managed to snag a few advertisers and discounted travel opportunities, such as my experience with Nomad Adventure Tours in Africa  (NOTE: the amount that I make from my blog is very miniscule in comparison to the other factors, but I thought I would let it be known – I am by no means Ms. Money-Bags because of this site, however.)

These ways are just some of the factors of how I can afford to travel long-term.  No luck, just common sense and determination to work towards my big goal – long-term travel. If you have any tips or tricks, comment below and let me know how you can afford to travel long-term.

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne shearer November 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Yes… I can say you did work extremely hard waitressing to be able to make and save that kind of money.
I hope no one thinks that it came easy.

Anyone can do it if they are determined.

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Melissa November 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

I wholeheartedly agree that anyone can do it if they are determined. They just need to make the necessary compromises and have their end goal in the forefront of their mind. It definitely didn’t come easy, and you know better than most how much I was falling into a rut working there for so long – but now I know that a few months of being miserable has given me years of memories and enjoyment – and i have no plans of slowing down (which I know you hate to hear).

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inka November 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Hi Melissa,
thanks to that very openly report. there are many long-term-travellers that do kind of a post like this (“How to afford…”), but none was so open yet to really describe with money amounts how he/she did it. It is very personal and I liked it very much, because it is also of getting to know your history a little better, and I really like to know the people at least a little bit when I am reading their blogs, like I really like to read yours.
Thanks and have the strength to go onwards with this,
inka
(omg my english sounds awful today – its monday, you know… sorry… 😉
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Melissa November 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Thanks Inka, I appreciate that you found my honesty something that appeals to you. I’ve seen other posts where people have said their strategies for saving money- but for me, when I read those posts I am always curious as to how much they actually saved up – hence I put actual numbers down so that people can get an idea of what I’ve been living on for the last two years.

Thanks again for following along with my adventures!

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debbie s. November 6, 2012 at 2:17 am

Hi Melissa, You work very hard, at all you do! I liked this post, because frankly tells an old girl like me how this all worked out for you. Your parents are wonderful people who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime. To find your passion in life, doesn’t happen to many people for sure. Keep travelling and sharing your adventures! xox

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Melissa November 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hi Debbie – I definitely have put lots of hard work to get to where I am – years. I know that I am lucky because my parents were able to give me my education and a roof over my head without expecting anything in return – and I do realize that not everyone is in the position to have that. From a purely financial point of view though – I have never once asked them for money to support my travels, nor do I ever expect them to pay for any of it. I take great pride in being able to do this myself – and while they do help out every now and then (generally against my will – by depositing money into my bank account) I’ve done this all largely on my own. I know that they don’t like me being far away and would rather I still live in their basement – but this is something that I not only want to do, but it’s become so ingrained into who I am, I need to feed the addiction.

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Kenin- The Constant Rambler November 6, 2012 at 3:12 am

Good stuff! Many people attribute things to luck that are really hard work and determination! Way to go 🙂
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Melissa November 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thanks Kenin! It’s actually one of my pet peeves when people tell me I’m lucky. I tend to respond by saying something along the lines of “luck had nothing to do with it. I worked my ass off for this lifestyle. I made sacrifices and compromises to be able to afford to do this. Luck doesn’t exist. I’m in charge of my destiny and this is what I chose to do while others spent their money on cars, houses, weddings and kids.”

Thanks again for your continued support 🙂

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Kashdoller May 3, 2013 at 9:57 am

I feel the same way when people tell me that! I have in the past taken my daughter on many road trips and people (mostly single mothers, I am a single father) go to me ” man you are so lucky I wishi could do that” and I usually reply “luck has absolutely nothing to do with this. It takes planning (something I am terrible at, so anyone can do it), initiative, and a little creativity. Money isn’t so much an issue I mean I live in California and you can go bottom barrel so many cool places for practically nothing.

Same thing when people view my photos and they go “man you are so talented”. Um yeah maybe I have a knack for it, but talent has very little to do with what you are looking at. It took years of work and projects and editing and self teaching to get to this level. Just some random innate “talent” isn’t really what is important here.

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Melissa May 14, 2013 at 11:06 pm

People are always attributing the outcome of hard work to luck… and that is what pisses me off. Good for you for taking your daughter out to see the world around her- it’s the best gift/education you can give her!

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Rob November 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

Right on.

I think a lot of people just want it to happen immediately and forget how long most saved to make it a reality.

Safe travels!
Rob
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Melissa November 6, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I hear ya. And to think that I put in nearly 3 years of working my ass off 70ish-hr work weeks to be able to get to the point where I was at the beginning of my travels. I’m not gonna say that it was always peaches and cream – cause for the most part I hated my life and was utterly miserable (especially in that last year of working before I left). But I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I pushed on through knowing that when I got out the other side it would have all been worth it. And I can say with confidence that it was worth it.

It takes time, and people definitely have to remember that. Unless you win the lottery or come into some sort of small fortune – it’s not going to happen overnight.

Now seems appropriate to use the quote “nobody said it was going to be easy, they just said it would be worth it.”

Thanks for reading!

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Carlo November 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Great post Melissa. Stumbled across your blog through another travel blogger. Glad to see your living the travel dream. 😉

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Melissa November 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thanks Carlo! It took a lot of hard work, but it’s been an incredible 2 years! 🙂

Hope you stick around and continue to read about some of my adventures 🙂

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George November 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Yes totally agree, thanks a lot for putting the figures that is what is always missing from these things. This is my favourite by far!!!

$50,000 does sound like an impossible amount of money, go you!! I couldn’t imagine ever managing that though I suppose it just took years of hard work, persistance and strength.

I saved £6000 before going and everyone was shocked at that. I even had a job lined up just wanted a cushion to make sure I started out ok.

Well done girl, Thanks for the figures and the honesty!
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Melissa November 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Thanks George! I felt that if I was going to write this post- I wanted to be honest with people and state the figures. I realize that there are a number of factors that contributed to my end number being as large as it was – basically having no bills because of living at home, no debt from university, and working in a wealthy area -allowing me to make a huge amount in tips.

Hey! 6000GBP is a GREAT number. Thats incredible – and I of all people know how hard you must’ve worked for it, so kudos to you!

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YHA New Zealand November 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

Kudos for working hard and living your dream! Glad you’ve made it this far and that you’ve made New Zealand part of that dream. The Land of the Long White Cloud is fairly stunning, eh?
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Melissa November 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I am in love with NZ and my three trips here have helped solidify that thought. I’m so happy I’ve been able to spend the last year here, working and living as a part of the community – it’s amazing and not to mention gorgeous!

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Christine |GrrrlTraveler November 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Great post!

I agree with each and every tip you have. I think the biggest thing is just to save your earnings and not forgo buying meals or going to restaurants w/ friends, etc… In the Western countries, eating out can burn a hole in your pocket. For work, I almost always pack home lunch and if I travel in the U.S. I’ll grocery shop if I can.

Also, I wish I could waitress. I always hear how you can make lots of money with the right restaurants.
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Melissa November 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Thanks hun,

I’m not trying to profess that saving that amount of money was easy and it did take a lot of determination – but I was lucky that I didn’t have rent to pay for (or the bills that go along with living on your own), I had no debt from university and I worked in a wealthy area. But you’re completely right – buying meals and going out all the time burns a hole in your pocket. And if you are really determined to save money, those should be the first things that are cut out and saved for special occasions or “treats”.

Waitressing in North America can be very lucrative especially if you’re working in a good location at a busy spot, like where I was!

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Irina November 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

I just forwarded this to my hubby who strongly believes that the majority of long terms travelers are funded by inheritance money… I’m tired of arguing!
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Melissa November 9, 2012 at 9:29 am

Haha! Yes that’s a common misconception. It doesn’t help that my parents are what most would consider ‘well off’. So that usually results in people assuming that my parents have paid for my travels, when such is NOT the case. In fact I don’t remember the last time I asked them for money – I’m sure it was in my early teen years before I started working. Most of every bit of travel that I’ve done thus far, I’ve paid for by myself.

Unfortunately there’s also a big stigma in the travel community about people who do come from money – which is ridiculous.

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Erik November 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Ugh… I get that one a lot, too. I figure it’s usually jealousy that inspires those comments.
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

That’s what i think too… still very annoying though.

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Erik November 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I delivered pizza for many years with a college degree (to the distress of family and friends) but it allowed me to make awesome money and travel when I felt like it. I might not have ever given that up had I not met my wife and needed to get a better job, since I had us to think about, as well as my travel account. I’m lucky she lets me save as much as she does now 🙂 The upside to my job is it is good money and I was able to get it written in my contract that I could take up to a month of vacation each year (all at one time if I chose!). Since my ‘travel’ agreement with my wife is that I won’t go for more than a month, this works pretty well. (The downside of the job is that the high salary means high stress and 90% of the time I hover on the verge of a heart attack or nervous breakdown! It’s the thought of that month of travel that keeps me going most of the time…)
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Wow! You’re lucky that you have a wife that is so accommodating of your travel needs 🙂 And I totally understand what you mean about your family and friends disapproving of your ‘for now’ job because you have a college/uni degree. I get that all the time. I’ll even go so far as to mention a close family member has repeatedly told me I wasted (my parent’s money) on a useless degree. At least I have the piece of paper though – while I’m not using it directly, it taught me things such as discipline and helped me work on my writing for a number of years.

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Wrabbit007 November 11, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Loved this post! Very inspiring! I had always wanted to do a RTW trip, and maybe someday I will, but I am one of those girls that wants to dip my hands into everything, so I got married, bought a house, found a career I loved, AND I still travel when I can. I admire you for working hard and sticking to your goal – now you can reap the benefits. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the need to sell my house and give up my job, but I WILL be following your blog for travel ideas and inspiration! 😉
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks hun! Hey good on ya for getting married, buying a house and having a career PLUS still traveling when you can – that’s no easy feat in and of itself. Good luck on one day getting to do a RTW trip 🙂

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Bethaney - Flashpacker Family November 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

How much of your savings do you have left and how long do you think it’ll last?

I’ve gone on similar savings binges to allow long term travel. It always annoyed me that people would then say “oh you’re so lucky to do all this travel” seeming to not realize just how much hard work it took.
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I still have about $18 000 and will be heading home at Christmastime to spend half a year at home saving up again so that I can take off for another undetermined amount of time. I do realize that I am fortunate that I only have myself to look after in terms of spending my money- so it tends to go a bit further. That being said, I spent more in 4 months in Australia last year than I have in the last 15months. The fact that I have utilized working holidays in Australia and New Zealand in the last 15months have, of course, helped my financial situation

I’m glad I’m not alone in getting annoyed with people telling me how lucky I am.

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inka November 12, 2012 at 2:03 am

You know, the best advice in this enlightening post is the emphasis on good old-fashioned saving. Put the pennies away instead of spending them on must-haves which are old news 5 minutes later will get you where you want to be. You are the best example.
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

aw thanks! It is true though – I worked with some girls who literally bought entire new wardrobes (of expensive clothes) each season – spring, summer, fall and winter. And rather than selling the barely worn items from the previous season, they’d throw them in the ‘charity’ bag! Not to say charities don’t deserve nice clothes – but if you can sell them, why not try to make back some of the money you spent!?

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Suzy November 12, 2012 at 4:29 am

I get this question a lot too. I think if you are driven and want to travel, you really can make it happen. You just have to be content with making a few sacrifices here and there.
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Melissa November 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Definitely – the sacrifices are key. I would have LOVED to have my own condo or house to live in, rather than living with my parents. I would have loved to be able to go out every weekend and have fun all the time rather than work every night of the week except Tuesdays! But hey – look where I am now, right? I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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Jennifer Seuferer November 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I really liked what you had to say in your post. It’s very impressive that you could save as much as you did. For the last couple of years I have saved as much as I can for 6 months, then taken a vacation. My savings requires the same kind of sacrifices that you talked about but the pay off is so worth it in my opinion. The memories I have from my travels are priceless. I do think though that your situation has quite a bit of luck in it. The fact that your parents let you live with them and that you have a family that is supportive in that way is lucky. The fact you were able to go to college without loans, and thus no loan payment, is very lucky. I still think you deserve a lot of credit and you are inspiring to me but not everyone has those opportunities.

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Melissa November 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

I agree not everyone has those same opportunities – but many people do (at least on the living with your parents thing) and choose to waste it all away by spending needlessly. That was the point of this post – to tell people that they can save money too, but they have to be willing to make some concessions and sacrifices.

Good on ya for being able to take vacations with your saved money. You clearly understand the need to make some concessions in regards to saving to be able to afford your trips.

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Tracey - Life Changing Year November 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Wow Melissa – you had your head screwed on early! That’s not something most students manage! My two daughters are like chalk and cheese – one spends every cent and never has anything to show for it, the other has her own stash (at 15) and never needs to ask for money for anything. I know which one will be heading off on their travel dream first!! And don’t worry about your parents putting a little cash surprise in your bank account every now and then – if you were home they’d be spending the odd bit of money on you, even if it was just to shout you dinner or a movie! Happy travels!
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Melissa November 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

Ha sounds like my sister and I! I’ve always been good at saving money – since the day I started working. My sister on the other hand, spends the money before it’s even touched the inside of her wallet.

And I agree with your theory of my parents not having to spend money on me since I’m away- if I were living with them, they’d likely be paying for groceries (which makes up nearly 1/4 of my expenses each week). It is a nice surprise, but I never ask for it.

Good on your daughter (the saver) being able to prioritize! You should be proud!

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Shivya November 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

Came here from Suzy’s blog. My goal next year is to embrace long term and slow travel; thanks for all these tips. Bookmarking it 🙂
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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Hi Shivya – So sorry for taking so long to reply! Good luck in trying to make your travel plans a reality! I hope that my tips can help in some little way 🙂
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Julika November 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I love the idea that you can reach everything if you work very hard and have a clear goal! So far, I’ve been living from hand to mouth pretty much… I will graduate with (similar useless) degree in art history next year and I’m not sure if I will ever make money with a job like that, but I still want to see the world – so your story was really inspirational! Thanks for sharing!
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Melissa January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Thank you so much for your comment – I apologize for not responding to it sooner, it must’ve fallen under my radar.

I wish you all the best of luck with trying to attain your travel goals. Remember it may mean a few years of hard work and compromise, but I truly believe that everyone can do it, if they’re motivated enough. Thanks for following along 🙂
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Steph | DiscoveringIce.com November 24, 2012 at 3:36 am

Wow I really admire you for saving so much money! It’s takes a lot of dedication and persistence! Well done!

I do have to disagree about the luck part though. You are absolutely lucky…you are lucky to have been born in North America, to have the opportunity to make such good money in a waitress job (very low wages for waitressing in most of the world), you’re lucky to be born to your parents, you’re lucky that your passport allows you to travel almost anywhere without question, suspicion or much restriction. The majority of the world lives in poorer countries where even if they did the exact same thing as you, they would never be able to save so much money, in all their life. Even if they somehow managed it, they are refused visas to visit some countries just because they were born in a certain place. I have been reading the book ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell and this is the kind of things he talks about. It’s very interesting stuff. Success is not solely dependent on you, hard work or dedication…sometimes luck plays a huge part.

At the same time, I fully appreciate your efforts and drive. Obviously without that you wouldn’t have been able to save and travel and I really admire you for that, as I said. I just believe that people who come from North America, Western Europe (myself included), Australia etc think luck has nothing to do with it and I hear them say it all the time. Really we really should be more humble to say, ‘yes, luck has a lot to do with it. If I wasn’t born where I was, this would not be possible’. We are some of the luckiest people in the world.

Anyway I’ll stop ranting! Great job and I wish you many more years of travel and living your dreams! 🙂

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Melissa November 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hi Steph,

Sorry for taking a few days to get back to you. While I understand what you are saying, and the point you are trying to make… what I feel I need to say is that it is always people who come from very similar situations as myself that are saying “oh you’re lucky”. They have been born into the western world, they have access to passports and jobs and all the same luxuries that I AM fortunate to yet the decisions they make have led them down a different path and then they look at me like I’ve come into the lottery and that I’m living some unattainable lifestyle – when in actual fact, those people who come from the same or similar luxuries as myself, would be able to ‘live the dream’ if they only made sacrifices or compromises to their current living situation.

I’ve been to Africa and to many poor areas of the Caribbean and Mexico… I am well aware of the fact that not everyone has been born with the same freedoms. And for that, yes I will say that I am lucky. But that isn’t what this post was about. I wasn’t trying to flaunt my wealth or the fact that I come from a first world nation, I was trying to give advice and tell my story to hopefully inspire others who also live in first world nations who see the life I live as completely unattainable – letting them know that they can do the same, but it takes hard work and commitment to a goal.

I think a lot of people who are fortunate and come from the western world, etc. too often attribute luck to what really is a combination of hard work, compromise, and determination. It’s an easy out for those who don’t have the same drive or who are too scared to live outside the norm.

Thanks for the support, however, and thanks for making me consider what you had to say.

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Steph | DiscoveringIce.com November 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for the response! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree with you and the points you make. I think you do need to show and inspire people from similar backgrounds that it can be done. I think you are amazing for what you have achieved and I still can’t believe you saved that much! I wish I had went down the savings and hard work route instead of the unorganized, spontaneous route…but I’m paying for it now, quite literally…by having to stop traveling for the time being to concentrate on making money. :/

Sorry if you thought I was suggesting you were flaunting your wealth…thats not what I meant at all. I know you worked for every penny you have. As you said, I just want people to consider the luck factor and that it plays a huge part in everyones success, no matter how big or small.

Anyway keep inspiring people! Gods knows I need to motivation and proof that saving on that scale can be done! 😛

Steph
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Cara Goodwin February 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Living at home was how I managed to save money, too. 🙂 Plus working in Yellowknife meant a higher income. I’ll have to wait a few years after Uni before I can travel again, (and here’s hoping my loans don’t become too ridiculous in the meantime).

Honestly, not buying new clothes + alcohol is the absolute best way to live on the cheap! There are much better ways to live.
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Melissa February 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

Amen sister. I mean, even now… I’ve moved back home -into my parents basement, but I know its the sacrifice I need to make if I want to head out again and do more traveling. The not buying alcohol thing is fairly easy for me now, since most of my friends live downtown Toronto and it’s a bit too far of a hike for me to get down there all the time. But the going out for meals is currently killing me. Everyone seems to want a piece of me 😉 haha

I hope our travels reunite us again!

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Kate May 19, 2013 at 4:19 am

I love these types of posts where people fill in a bit of the backstory about the process of how they got where they are now. As others have said, I do find it annoying when people don’t understand how much work goes into planning and saving for budget travel.
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Melissa December 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thanks Kate!

I wanted people to a) learn a bit more about the story behind how I got to where I am today and b) to give my own tips on areas that they can work on to save money themselves.

It definitely takes a lot of hard work and sacrifices to be able to save the amount that I did, but it’s not impossible. And thats exactly what I wanted to show my readers.

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Little Miss Chaos Town May 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm

This is an AWESOME post!

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Jacqueline June 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Love your streamlined focus to create what you want, Melissa! And SO excited about your upcoming adventures! You are FANTASTIC! 🙂
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Melissa December 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Thanks Jackie! It was a lot of hard work, compromise and sacrifice, but it was all worth it when I finally got to Australia on my working holiday and saw the New Years fireworks light up Sydney Harbour. Knowing I did it all on my own really makes it that much more special.

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A August 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

Great job on the money saving. I am pretty determined myself as well to save my money and its what affords me the ability to travel. Also I still do have a fulltime job (somehow) and I still manage to travel quite a lot for an American. I always get asked by people especially at work, like how do you have this much vacation, or how can you afford to do this, or why can you do this and I can’t. And it’s like we have the same exact job, at the same company, it’s just a matter of priority. So I agree with your saving strategy if it’s something you really want you will find a way to make it happen 🙂
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Melissa December 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Hey! I’m so happy that you’ve been able to find a balance that works for you – being able to both keep a full time job AND travel! Utilize those vacation days! Why work so much and not have something to work towards? Being able to take off and see the world is one of the best things you can do… keep at it, my friend!

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Liv November 28, 2013 at 9:30 am

The self-control to save and not spend is the key I reckon!
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Melissa December 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Definitely! Although that is definitely easier for some people rather than others. My sister for example – I don’t know that she would be able to save the same way I did. And that’s fine. Some people like their stuff… others like their life experiences. I’m of the latter variety – as are most travellers.

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jon scott December 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

Hi Melissa,
1) Another great way to reduce costs (if you cannot live with parents) is to rent a large house and then sublet the other rooms and suites. Your rent can go close to zero this way.
2) Even better (from a longer term perspective) is to buy a multi-suite house (maybe with co-sign from parents) and do the same as #1. The benefit of this method is that after a few years of rent increases, you are not only living free, but earning money from the house.

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Melissa December 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Great tips Jon. I realize that not everyone has the option to live with their parents, thankfully I did. But definitely renting and subletting is one way to cut costs and a way to enable you to start saving more money, while still having a home base to call your own.

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javadude February 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm

@.@ too bad being a waiter can’t be an option in my location

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The Travel Sisters March 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm

This is a great overview of how to finance long term travel! While we have full time jobs and do not travel on a long-term basis we do collect air miles and hotel points to travel free whenever we can.
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Wilson April 2, 2017 at 10:38 am

Melissa, this story really speaks to me. I love how you talk about hard work and sacrifice, which many people overlook. It’s nice to hear about where you came from.

I’m slowly making my way through your blog… loving it so far!

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