I got an email last week from “an aspiring traveller” and it’s a question I’ve been asked a few times so I thought I’d share it.
I am just curios as to how do you continue your travels and have ample budgets for your expeditions. I aspire to do just what you are doing now. I would like to know how do you earn your expenses along your journey.
and my response
If there’s a secret to my travels it’s being careful with my money and being prepared to be very uncomfortable. I take it you’ve seen both my American and Japanese walking sites. For those adventures I had almost no accommodation costs by sleeping in a tent, in temples in the occasional abandoned tunnel. The last 6 weeks of OneManWalking was traveling in a different style. Having a girlfriend along changes things because I wouldn’t want to put her in the position of sleeping in public toilets (a big fancy disabled one with my tent’s ground sheet below). So expenses went up dramatically. When I’m back home I try not to spend too much on things I can do free. I eat in as much as possible and rarely see movies at the cinema. I was really lucky to get cheap rent about 4km from my job so I walked that every day. It was good exercise and it saved me money.
In neither case did I deliberately earn expenses along the way. Once in America I was given a free room for helping spread wood chips at an inn-keeper’s prayer park and in Japan the locals were incredibly generous. Some people stopped and gave me fruit, some bought food from convenience stores and handed it straight to me and some even handed me cash. I never asked for it but they felt like doing a good thing for someone taking the time to see their country in a different way. There’s a similar phenomenon on the PCT called “trail magic”, people leaving chilli-bins (coolers) in the forest full of drinks and snacks, or doing other good deeds just because they like to. You should never get to a point where you rely on these things, be self sufficient, but be open to the idea that things usually work out pretty well.
If you do go traveling and write about it, let me know, I’ll be needing some good travelblogs for next year.
I’m settling back in pretty well. On the job/house hunting circuits. I haven’t yet dug back into my code, I haven’t even gotten the latest version of Google Earth. But I will, and I’ll post updates to both projects when I can.