Do You Need to be Rich to Travel?

train station, Stockholm, Sweden

“You travel a lot… You’re always popping up on my news-feed tagged in a new location… You must be rich!”

I often hear these words upon mentioning the places in which I have been blessed enough to travel.

Do you need to be rich to travel? Hearing the assumptions of some of these people, you’d think I was blessed with Mark Zuckerberg abilities, sold off a giant startup (I’m working on it!) or won the State Lottery, and am now swimming in an infinite pool of cash.

The secret is… I’m not. Not even close. And I especially don’t have any special “Zuckerberg” abilities.

As hard as it may seem to believe, travel does not take much money. Sure, money helps. But cash can only take you so far. Unless you have the multi-millions necessary to outsource your entire empire and sit back all day long with no more desire to be producing value, cash is not the ultimate goal; freeing your time and being able to earn an income regardless of your location is.

You will need funds to enjoy your travels, but they will be limited if you do not have the freedom & time to venture off as you please. I am not a millionaire. I do not know how it would feel. I don’t know how I would get to that financial state at the pace in which I am currently going. And I do not particularly want to have the responsibility of what I believe being a millionaire entails. When I think about it, I am always reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books by Timothy Ferriss in The 4-Hour Workweek, “People don’t want to be millionaires – they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy… The fantasy is the life-style of complete freedom it supposedly allows.”

Take in the idea that the same amount of money you are earning in your Western World job could have multiple-times the earning power in different locations around the world. More money is not the ultimate goal. Chances are you probably already have the amount of money necessary to allow yourself the experiences of full-time travel. Your current location status, however, may need some fine-tuning and modification.

So what first – Location Independence? Or Travel long-term?

For me, it was the desire to travel long-term and the passion that ensued. As you may have already known or read, I grew tired of the mundane lifestyle back in the States. Now, don’t get me wrong – Chicago is a frickin’ amazing city! But I had been living there for over 9 years, and was longing for something more. Travel, I learned, was my escape. As soon as I started venturing off to new places, I was bit by the travel bug. I became obsessed with the idea, the topic, and the life.

Baltic Sea, Sweden

Upon returning back to “reality” in my city apartment, I would feel an immediate longing to get back out on the road, in a plane, on a train, even a chicken-bus, and talk to people in a foreign language. I would constantly think about the new adventures and places in which I could plan for in the weeks or months ahead. My thoughts would wander. Whether I was in a social setting, a work setting, or lying down in bed, I could not help but think of what was coming ahead. My mind would ponder the options while doing some light research of new places – “I could go here next… Oh, I should totally go there… I could do that, too… What the hell is that?? Oh, I’m totally doing that.”

Along with putting in the work necessary to achieve location independence, I have passion. I love to travel. It is a part of my identity. I don’t want to imagine what my life would be like without travel. So I have made it a priority to figure out a way to continue on traveling. Just in the same way some people go to the gym for hours a day, or go to every one of their team’s basketball games; they find a way to make it work.

For some people, this means cutting back on eating out, going to the movies, or taking on a 2nd and/or 3rd job. For me, it was cutting back on going out with friends, buying & researching mounds of books on liberating myself from being chained to the office desk, and spending hours every day studying the methods of other successful people before me. Whatever the case, if there is something more valuable to you that makes you willing to give up some items of lesser value, just do it. It will pay huge dividends in the long run. Don’t make excuses, as this is usually just a scapegoat for fear. And fear will hold you hostage as long as you let it.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to live a life of travel. You don’t even necessarily need to earn more than you are earning now. You will, however, still need to maintain an income, but on your own terms in a location independent setting. Only you can make it happen for yourself. My hope is that this blog will help give you the motivation and tools to help you out in your new endeavor. It will take lots of time and patience, but it is possible for anyone wanting to live the lifestyle free from borders.

Above all, live your life with passion.

  1. WOW! Wonderfully-written article that really blew me away! I can relate to the things you mentioned a lot, especially what you said about many people thinking that full-time travel requires millions stashed in the bank. I love travelling, but don’t do it often, and after the few times that I do travel I find that a good chunk of my paycheck’s been used up. These tips you mentioned are great, and I’ll be putting them to good use soon. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • It’s easy to get consumed with over-spending on activities and accommodations in a foreign place. I found that when I reallly wanted to travel, I would find ways that wouldn’t make me go broke. Passion and determination take hold, and you find a way make your dollar go the distance.