"How Do you Afford This?"....Your Top Questions Answered!
We've been traveling full time for what feels like ages, but has only been 1.5 years...unless you consider 2016 when we lived in England and Romania for Derek's job.
Then it's 2.5 years.
It's been 2.5 years since we had our own home or a consistent local community (with the exception of our amazing 6 months and "friends like family" in Chapel Allerton, England).
We've learned a lot, and gotten a lot of questions.
The question people always ask privately, and we assume most people want to know is this:
"How do you afford this?"
Am I right? Wouldn't you like to know? I sure would if I were following a couple like us!
FYI, this is a little longer than our typical blogs. We get a lot of questions we want to answer fully, and share a story that could make a difference in your life right now.
If you don't have time, save it for later.
Or even better, click HERE to join our travel community. (Can you tell I'm impatient too? I always read the last part of a book first...bad habit, I know! But I want you to know the ending NOW.)
Otherwise please continue!
Here's the quick answer to "How do you afford this?":
Seeing the world was important to us, so we made it happen. (I'll get into this a bit later because we did have a SECRET INGREDIENT that many people don't have. We believe it's the reason we were able to take the leap into what most people only dream about)
But that doesn't answer your common questions of:
1. How much did a trip around the world cost?
A lot, but it doesn't have to. We had a maximum budget that if we went over would make us both very uncomfortable...and we got pretty close.
That didn't mean we would run out of money, but it meant we would have to get back to work sooner than we necessarily wanted. So sticking to our budget after the trip has been essential! Hence why Mexico became such an enticing/affordable option for us.
2. Do you have a huge amount of family money or investments you're living off of?
The answer is no, but we sure wish we did! We came from corporate jobs in the pharmaceutical and oil industries, and had done well. We also aren't really young! I'm 38 and Derek is 41, so we'd had some good money earning years before leaving our jobs.
We started budgeting less than a year before we moved to England in April of 2016...and in total we saved for 1.5 years before leaving our paychecks.
Our budgeting combined with the sale of our home in Houston, TX set us up nicely to have 2 years covered without working.
We planned for a trip around the world with a big budget in 2017....then a budget conscious year in 2018 living in Mexico and taking a camper trip around the US and Canada (July-October 2018) while starting an online business (this website), and investing in real estate (coming soon in Houston Fall 2018).
3. Do you work right now?
Yes and no. We have spent the past 3 months writing business plans, blogging, helping clients plan trips, selling Mexican bags, and mostly working on a travel app idea.
The trouble with our travel app idea is that neither of us are developers, and when we chatted with people from Silicon Valley...this was a hurdle we couldn't get past right now while maintaining our budget. And we value our lifestyle more than creating an app!
So we started breaking our idea down to be really simple, and now we see how we can give people the same value, but in a different way. More on that below...
4. Is Mexico safe?
Yes and sometimes no. I firmly believe that being smart is critical to staying safe anywhere you are. Derek thinks I'm crazy (most of the time) because I won't walk down a street at night if we're the only people on it....or I'll cross the road if I see a person ahead of me who doesn't look quite so stable....and I always make sure nothing is visible in my car when I park it.
I lived in Spanish Harlem next to the projects and worked in the rough part of the South Bronx for 10 years, and NEVER EVER NEVER had a problem. I think that has to do with being aware of my surroundings and less to do with the safety of a place.
I wasn't stupid.
So yes Mexico has been super safe for us. And please keep in mind we don't drive at night, we have 2 dogs who we let bark at anyone walking by the house and we don't run around with the drug cartels or do shady business.
We are also respectful of the fact that we are foreigners living in another country and APPRECIATE that we have been allowed to do so. We are learning the language, say hello to everyone we meet, and make an effort to be a part of the country always.
That will make you safe anywhere you go, and especially in Mexico. Some of the kindest and most generous people in the world we've met in Mexico.
5. How long did you save before you left your careers?
We hired a budgeting consultant in July 2015 (who is amazing, message me if you want his info), and put our house on the market March 2016....so 8 months.
(Quick story....the day we put our house on the market...Derek's job asked us to move to England and Romania and pay for our housing. That allowed us to save more aggressively, thereby extending our travel runway. We firmly believe that once you make a choice, the universe will conspire in your favor....and it certainly did in our case.)
6. Are you going to work again?
Yes! We have been consulting clients on their individual travel plans for the past few months, and selling Mexican crafts...but we've been working on something else all along. A PRIVATE TRAVEL COMMUNITY! We are doing the pre-launch this week, and will start as a paid membership site in early July 2018.
We love working, but we also love working on our own terms. We have been very careful with our finances so we didn't have to go back to work solely for money....and we knew we didn't want to start a business that required us to make money from people right away.
It's been critical to us that we like what we are creating, that it provide BIG value to people, and that it work for our lifestyle and doesn't end up running our lives. We both have a pet peeve of companies that don't walk the talk.
We wanted to make sure that ours allowed us to keep walking our talk...which is all about connecting, inspiring and supporting people through travel.
So to wrap it up....we had one thing that many people don't have....
A HUGE CHEERING SQUAD!
Let me explain with a quick story:
Back in October 2015...we had a pretty ideal life. New marriage, good careers, pretty home, our health, a sweet pup....all the stuff necessary to be happy.
Except we weren't. Derek was always stressed at work, I hadn't been anywhere in a while and really missed traveling, and we both felt like we wanted to get out there in the world.
Lucky for us, Derek's parents live part-time in Mexico!
We went to visit them in Cabo San Lucas, and ended up falling in love with a nearby town, Todos Santos (where we currently live). We looked at some real estate on this visit, and started dreaming about traveling the world and getting a home in Todos Santos that would generate some rental income.
It sounded like a perfect plan, especially since we'd been working with a budgeting consultant for a few months by now and were doing really well with our money!
THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Then we came home.
Do you know what happens when you have a dream like that and then you come home?
You tell people about it.
Then they look at you like you're kinda crazy....or start asking you a bunch of questions that you don't have the answers to and you get stressed out....or an unexpected bill arrives and you remember all of your responsibilities and you think....
"THERE IS NO WAY I CAN DO THAT."
And you don't. And the dream becomes just another dream you didn't pursue, and you tell yourself it's okay. Going on vacation a few times a year is enough, but secretly you start getting resigned and truth be told, a little bit of you dies with every dream that dies.
Well, that's not what happened with us.
You see...we were wrapping up a 10 month leadership program the week after that trip.
We stood up in front of 50 classmates who had seen us struggle and persevere through a life-changing program....and we said ON STAGE....to all of them:
"We're going to quit our jobs, travel the world, and then move to Mexico to open a hotel."
(We have since decided we don't want to open a hotel, but I must keep the story factual....Derek is always giving me a hard time about sticking to the facts....!)
Wanna know what happened then?
PEOPLE JUMPED UP AND STARTED CLAPPING! THEY HIGH-FIVED US! AND HUGGED US! AND TOLD US WE COULD DO IT! THAT THE COUDLN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT WE CREATED!
It was in that moment we knew we could do it. You see...we needed people to jump up and applaud us, cheer us on, and remind us that we could do anything we set our minds to.
Wanna know what happened after that?
Our classmates came up to us and offered tips to help us on our trip, or put us in touch with family and friends who lived all over the world so we wouldn't feel alone when we traveled.
They gave us the connections and support we needed to keep our dream alive and make it a reality.
AND THAT LEADS ME TO THIS.
We are starting a PRIVATE ONLINE TRAVEL COMMUNITY to be your virtual STANDING OVATION.
WE ARE YOUR HIGH-FIVES! WE ARE YOUR HUGS! WE ARE YOUR CONNECTIONS & TIPS!
We have 3 goals:
1. To Connect. Knowing someone who's done it before can make all the difference in you doing something scary. We are pulling together all the people we've met around the world to make sure they all know each other. This group is OUR FAMILY. YOU CAN BE TOO.
2. To Inspire. You know when you're sitting at work and bored? We're here to help you dream a little bit about new places, or places you haven't visited in a while. Hell, maybe it's even your hometown?! What if you visited it like a tourist this Saturday?! Traveling is not for those with a lot of cash....it's for anyone who is curious. Curiosity rules, and we're here to help you fuel it!
3. To Support. Traveling can feel daunting, we know. That's why we've created easy ONE PAGE tip sheets and a real-time private Facebook group to help support you in all of your travel pursuits. If we don't have something you need, let us know! Let's work on creating it together. (True story, an IG friend just asked me for how to travel the world with dogs....and I realized that should be tip sheet. Coming soon!)
OKAY, if you couldn't tell....we're pretty excited....and this is a long enough blog.
Thank you for reading, and without further ado....
WE MADE IT FREE AS PART OF OUR PRE-LAUNCH.
JUNE 2018....JOIN FOR FREE.
JULY 5TH, 2018 it's $59 USD to join.
So many high-fives, hugs and standing ovations....
We can't wait to reconnect with you, or meet you for the first time!
Anna, Derek, Duke & Barney (who still are not pulling their financial weight around here, but are awfully cute and fun...and looking for work please)