Right after highschool I took a 25-hour train ride to Crimea in Ukraine and fell in love with backpacking. I left a piece of my heart there and promised myself that I would get it back only if I saw the biggest wonders of the world. Who sponsored my trips to 30 countries? My parents never paid for my travels. I paid for them myself. How did I manage to do it?
Work and rent
I worked hard. I had a 9-5 job in an office, did some marketing and social media work, I was a street guitar player and singer, I played gigs here and there, and back when I was a waitress I would be super nice and get great tips. I would ask my boss for a raise and if he was reluctant I would threaten to leave the company. It worked! ;). Instead of renting an apartment on my own I shared it with other people. I spent hours on the internet trying to find the cheapest flat or room. Sometimes I paid as little as 100$ a month for a bed in a room of 3. Right in the centre of town!
I signed up for a Miles&More card which was the best idea ever! It’s connected to my credit card so I can collect miles by buying things online, doing grocery shopping, paying for a meal in a restaurant and more. I have almost 30000 miles and I need 10000 more to get a ticket from Australia to South America (going there at the end of March, yay). I also rate my hotel stays at HolidayCheck and earn 100 miles per rating. I can even collect 1000 miles per month which is awesome! When my family or friends buy expensive things such as laptops or tv sets I ask them to use my card (I receive 1 mile for 1 dollar spent).
I sold everything I didn’t need. Books, clothes, bags, jewellery, shoes. I stopped meeting friends for dinner and invited them over for a meal. I cooked my lunch, ate vegan, and saved lots of money thanks to my plant-based diet. Another great thing about becoming vegan was that I finally learned how to cook! I rode my bike instead of driving a car or getting a bus. I didn’t have to buy fuel, pay for insurance and car servicing. I would take shorter showers and I was crazy about turning the lights off when leaving a room. I gave up my gym membership and instead did home workouts I found on youtube. I didn’t go to the movies, didn’t watch tv, and my entertainment came from this blog and meetings with my friends.
I became an expert in finding cheap flights (playing with dates, changing languages and currencies, browsing in private with incognito mode, subscribing to airlines newsletters). I used blablacar a lot, travelled with people I met on gumtree, and before my business trips I asked my boss to let my fly to for example Newcastle a day before a meeting so I could explore the city on my own.
On the last day of 2015 I shared with you a quote on FB which goes:
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one”.
You really liked it, as many of you shared the post. Actually this sentence says it all. It’s up to you what 2016 will bring. Only you can grab a pen and write the most beautiful book of your life. Reach your goals, save money, and travel.
January is the best time for making changes. Don’t stop and good luck!