By Chris Biggs
When I was five, my grandparents gave me a blue-tinted Rand McNally globe for Christmas. I kept it in my room and, at night, I would spin it on its axis, stopping my finger at random on one of the globe’s pink, green, and yellow-colored countries.
Japan. Australia. El Salvador. The U.S.S.R. (hey, this was globe was made in the 1980s!).
My wanderlust began early. Trips as a child to faraway places like England and Lebanon (the latter being my mother’s birthplace) helped me realize at a young age that travel wasn’t scary and, in fact, taught me that the world is a vast, interesting place worthy of exploration.
That love of travel has never diminished. And while I’ve spent the last 10 years post-college on a traditional career path (most recently as a management consultant with Deloitte, and previously as a policy analyst at the U.S. Department of State), there’s been a voice in the pit of my stomach that has been saying, “Travel more, dummy,” for a long time. While I’ve sustained myself with short trips to Europe and one-off vacations to amazing places like India, Costa Rica, and Mexico, the voice has only gotten louder.
In February, Lori and I were on a long hike on an unseasonably warm Valentine’s Day weekend about an hour north of San Francisco, where we had moved a few months earlier from the East Coast. That voice inside of me was getting louder. I was having trouble seeing myself continuing to climb the corporate ladder for another thirty years, and while my career was going well to-date, I always found myself spending a big part of my daydreaming about how I could create the lifestyle I knew I wanted - one in which I would wake up to sunrise on a Southeast Asian beach rather than alone to the beep of my iPhone alarm in a lonely hotel room during one of my weekly business trips (as background: my job required me to travel at least four days per week to cities across the U.S., which may sound glamorous but is, in fact, usually more exhausting and monotonous than anything else).
I didn’t have a real plan. Not even close. But I blurted out all of my feelings, desires, and hopes to Lori on that trail - a long string of words that, while jumbled, painted the picture of a life without status meetings, expense reports, and the warm glow of a laptop computer. A more-entrepreneurial environment where we could travel, share notes from our experiences, and build a base of readers who, like us, were tired of 60-hour work weeks and wanted more out of life.
Despite my lack of specifics, Lori embraced the idea. And then we embraced (after all, it was Valentine’s Day). Lori was equally worn out from a job that required long hours and late nights, and where she typically came home to an empty San Francisco apartment given that I was traveling for work myself most weekdays.
We spent the next few weeks brainstorming how we could turn this idea into something long-term and sustainable, googling basics like “What is travel blogging?” and working our way up to topics like “How do I travel full-time?” Next, we floated our idea by trusted friends and family to make sure we weren’t crazy. Turns out we have an amazing network of supportive people, nearly all of whom shared their immense excitement about our future travels.
Since we’re both analytical people with corporate backgrounds (Lori has been a very successful marketing manager working in television and entertainment), we created a series of - you guessed it! - Microsoft Excel spreadsheets mapping out financial savings targets and projected budgets. Our goal is to travel full-time for at least the next one to two years, with the potential to make this a permanent lifestyle change if we’re able to start generating revenue down the road (from advertisements, sponsorships, tours, travel guides, etc.).
In future articles we’ll cover the details on how we have “travel hacked” our way to hundreds of thousands of airline miles (and free flights!) to our strategies for enjoying travel on a budget. You’ll get the inside scoop on our favorite destinations and experiences - all coupled together with honest narrative about what life is like on the road for a young couple. We will also be covering things that are near and dear to our hearts, including eating vegetarian - and staying healthy - while traveling abroad.
One unique element of our story will center around the “how” - as in how we’ve managed to quit our jobs and make our dream a reality. You've probably gathered from the fact that Lori and I both had corporate jobs that we were incredibly fortunate when it comes to earning (and saving) potential, and we give you that context to make the point that the decision to travel full-time is not something we took lightly. We also hope our life change inspires readers to believe that full-time travel isn’t simply something reserved for backpackers fresh out of college (Lori and I are 30 and 31, respectively, although she has twice my energy and is generally aging much better than me) - it’s an option at any point during your life and, as we’ll detail later, possible to save for regardless of your financial circumstances.
Lastly, let me just thank you in advance for reading. Our success is directly linked to whether you care about our travels and want to read more, so your participation and engagement are hugely appreciated. Please feel free to send ideas and feedback our way!