How We Decided to Travel Around the World



1 Like

This is one of the main reasons we host couchsurfers - we meet people like this quite a bit (usually not with kids, but it happens too). Some basically just have a backpack and are dirt poor, while one American couple we hosted were travelling around Europe and Asia in a Mercedes. Some manage to fund their own travels (we’ve had a busker, a photographer, a model, people doing online work…), while others have some interesting stories. While we are staying put - at least for the next few years - our kids don’t get the idea that it’s inevitable and they see a lot of perspectives and options other than our own and those living in our area.


Nice, looking forward to updates on your trip.


Travel is a luxury of the well to do, anymore.

It used to be the poor could float about, moving and working where ever the wind took them, but national borders have become highly impermeable in only a few generations. The masses are actively discouraged from relocation by harsh punitive laws restricting movement between nations or regions.

The net effect is a semi-revival of serfdom, where only those with enough resources can afford the time and costs imposed upon travel by governments. Technically one can get by on very little in many places in the world, depending on individual willpower and self-sufficiency, but in most cases there are laws which exist precisely to inhibit this sort of behavior - effectively making traveling below a certain level of affluence illegal. Even assuming you can get a visa and can afford the cost of travel itself, you still can’t work to make a living elsewhere in the world without special permission. A musician might make their living performing on city streets, if only it wasn’t illegal for them to do so.

Of course, many still take their chances on illegal travel - but the penalties are often harsh or brutal, meaning typically only the most desperate and needy will risk their hides to not be tied to a single place. And all the while, each and every day, the borders get better guarded and the world gets more hostile toward those traveling less than legally. More walls, more bars, more guards, more guns, more deaths, more fear.

Today’s serfs are ostensibly free, but unless they have enough money, they either stay put where they are, or live like a hunted rat somewhere else.


So where did the article-lede map come from and when was it made? It must be fairly modern because it covers the whole world including Australia, and yet even for well-mapped and charted regions such as Europe, it has some strange distortions and errors. I suppose it must be late 18th century, around Captain Cook, say?


Good for you.
There is more in this world than being a slave to the corporate world.
My wife and I DO have oft-insufferable jobs, but we also don’t have children. That freedom allows us to travel during our PTO and take a breather. It most certainly helps keep us sane.
If you can pull off a year traveling with the family for this kind of quality time, it will be amazing and it will teach your kids more than they would ever learn in that same year sitting in a classroom.


As a more positive counterpoint, in this age of technological wonders it is possible to “work from home” in another country. You can also, go through correct channels to become employed overseas and have a wonderful (or terrible) experience living the day to day realities of another culture. Are these options available to the rich only? Hell no, they are open to anyone with the motivation to make them happen.


You don’t have to give particulars, but just how are you financing this? It’s expensive enough just to fly from Baltimore to Tampa for a family of 3. You’re a family of four navigating the world. I ask not to pry into your finances, but to learn how others can do what you’ve done. I’ve also slowly started to realize there will be no retirement for my generation. So why wait until you’re old and infirm? Enjoy while you can!


It looks like this family will be earning money through sponsorship, advertising, donations and presumably some money from BB for telling their story. I’m sure they have some money saved up too, in addition to the rent from their house. There’s some information on their funding here.

1 Like

So is your argument that there was some time in the past when it was much cheaper than it is today to move around the globe (by steamship? raft?)? Or that there was some time in the past when immigrants were welcomed with open arms in most societies? Or that most societies were more peaceful in how they regarded their neighbors? Strangely enough I have come to the opposite conclusions from my knowledge of history. What am I missing?

1 Like

Bon Voyage! :smile:

1 Like

This may be true to some extent if you are from the Global South, although I have seen quite a few counter-examples. It’s probably true that it’s more difficult to turn up in a country and get a job locally for a short period that will fund your travels, but it can be done. Online work is a definite possibility, and I even knew one guy who ran a business in the US while he was travelling. If you’re willing to stay for six months to a year in one country, there are quite a few jobs that will give you free travel to the other side of the world, then you can use that country as a base and travel more widely. The other teachers I knew in China didn’t have high salaries, but they were able to save up enough over one year to have a really good multi-country trip and a few smaller ones within the country. Once I left, I travelled for over six months with my wife and two kids on my (sub-$30,000) online salary alone, which involved three intercontinental flights and other shorter ones. It took me less than 5 minutes to get a 6 month US visa as a UK citizen, and they didn’t have a problem with me working online for non-US companies while I was there.

Hitchhiking is definitely still possible and we’ve met people who have hitchhiked and couch-surfed all around Europe for extended periods of time, so you can save a lot of money on travel, accommodation and food that way. If you make realistic plans and have a skill that is mobile, there’s no reason why you can’t travel without being rich.

1 Like

It’s The New And Correct Mapp of the World according to Mr. Edward Wright Commonly called Mercator’s Projection by hydrogapher (that’s what the map says, anyway) Sam Thornton. It looks to be from 1707 or 1708. The NYPL Map Warper has a nice version of it.

1 Like

A great question, and it’s going to be tight, no doubt about it. We’ve tapped into savings which were earmarked for what the investors like to call the golden years and cashed in some miles that my wife has earned through business travel. Central and South America looks to be pretty pricey to get around, and our choice of going to Easter Island will cause us to go over our budget (which is otherwise pretty tight) for that. But once we get to New Zealand, we shoudl be able to tay on (or under) budget — at least until we get to some places Europe. And we’re selling the cars; so no car or insurance payments help there.


That’s exactly the thinking. Thanks!


As someone that’s older than you - but probably not by a huge amount - I ask that you do not think this way.
Don’t give up enjoying your life while you’re young for sure, but also don’t give up on the idea that you can save for later on in life and that SS will be there for you.


ah, the joys of living in the first world. I wish i had money. I’m 28, working at a work that pays more than well, but i still cannot afford to travel. Fuck that shit. I might get to visit a friend in scotland after spending what amounts to 4 months salary, give or take. maybe more.

1 Like

We came a little late to the sponsorship idea. We are going to be pretty frugal (many people think we’ll be staying at luxury hotels, which is far from the truth), explore every opportunity, and in general make it up as we go.


When I was 28, I was much in the same situation, and I traveled very little. Looking back, I realize I could have done more traveling and Nomadic Matt helped us make this decision a reality. His site is full of great ideas on how pretty much anyone can travel with a little planning and effort.


I haven’t given up on the idea SS will be there, but I’m also not depending on it. “IRA all the way and be pleasantly surprised” is the plan.

1 Like