In terms of a long term plan which determines how long we will be travelling for or where we will travel to, we don’t have one, and nor do we have an idea about how we will continue to fund our travels, but things recently have been ticking along quite nicely at BigLittlePlanet HQ. We’ve been fortunate enough (through hard work) to be able to grow our client lists which has seen us both becoming much busier with work projects (good for the bank balance) but this also means that we have to spend more time actually working too (bad for the sun worshipper in us).
Therefore when we travel (wherever this might be), we travel slowly, spending weeks or sometimes months in one place. Not only does this allow us to split our time between work and sightseeing, but it also allows us to delve deeper into the place that we are in, making new friends, learning new languages and customs too – something which we find deeply rewarding.
We also try to use our free-time more productively, we hardly ever watch TV and following our recent trip to Cuba (blog coming soon) where we were without wi-fi for two weeks, we’re trying to cut down on our online time too.
Although we carry backpacks (quite large ones too) we don’t consider ourselves to be backpackers. We hardly ever have to carry the bags very far and we’ll very rarely sleep in a hostel or a dorm, instead we prefer using smaller hotels, or we rent apartments for a few weeks or months at a time. If we find that we like a place, we’ll stay a while, and if we don’t, we’ll move on.
Initially, we did have the idea of teaching English as a second language as we travel, but following a brief few months in-front of eager (and some not so eager) Thai students we decided that this was probably not the best route for us. Teaching abroad is hard work and not very well paid (unless you’re in China, Korea or the Middle East) and also ties you to one place for a long period of time – not something we really want to do, although teaching in Chiang Mai during those first few months was (financially) necessary for us, and those few hours in the classroom gave us just enough funds to keep us afloat while we networked and built up new freelance clients and projects.
Chiang Mai is certainly a great place to start up as a digital nomad too, with lots of coffee shops with great wifi, a big expat community and lots of entrepreneurs working on a multitude of different projects, so we were able to make some great friends, contacts and learn a lot too.
Ideally though, if we were to do this again we’d certainly spend more time setting up our freelance businesses before we left the UK.
After spending those initial five months of hard work (teaching and freelancing), we were able to see the fruits of our labour and we both quit the classroom to concentrate on our ever growing freelancing businesses (Silke as an English to German Translator and Mike as a Graphic Designer).
Where we will travel to next, and for how long is still very much up for debate, (we’ve a long list of places we want to visit), but as long as we’re able to afford this lifestyle, experience new cultures and see new places, not knowing where we’re going next isn’t too much of a problem, in fact it keeps our journey fresh and exciting. After all – life’s an adventure!
– Updated May 2014, following 24 months of travel.