Ever dream of ditching everything — your job, your house (including the mortgage), the ins and outs of day-to-day life — to wander the world in perfect freedom?
Well, as more and more work moves from the physical office to the digital one, full time travel is becoming a more popular, if still fairly fringe, lifestyle option. Whether they call themselves digital nomads, frequent flyers, or just plain old adventurers, lots of people are giving up their luxuries and possessions in favor of a more minimalistic, footloose life of constant journeying, which requires little more than a passport, a backpack, and a comfortable pair of shoes. (And, okay, if you’re doing it in an RV, a road atlas and Passport America membership card might both come in handy.)
But that just begs the question: what, and how, exactly, would you go about this crazy project? There’s a whole lot of earth out there to explore, after all. Just figuring out where to go first could be totally overwhelming, let alone deciding which form of travel you’ll take. RVing is our favorite option, obviously, but it’s hard to drive to Thailand no matter how nice your rig is!
You also have some logistics to consider, like finding ways to earn money from the road and deciding what to do with all those possessions we were talking about. You may also have a family to think about, not to mention a day job and other commitments.
So we put together this post as a way to both get your imagination — and wanderlust — flowing, and to point out some of the most common considerations that may stand between you and this dream lifestyle. Because that way, you can see how surprisingly easy it actually is to overcome them… and live this too-good-to-be-true-sounding, full-time travel adventure!
Before we dig into some of the best full-time travel options and ways to go about doing so, we want to get one thing out of the way right up front: Yes, this footloose lifestyle is possible, and lots of folks are doing it.
Don’t believe us? Check out Angeliquea DiNino and her lovely family over at Raising the Free, where she blogs about the enviable adventures she enjoys with her husband and three kids. They took the leap and sold all they owned, leaving their hometown of San Diego to hit the road permanently. They’re living, breathing proof that it’s possible to do this, even if it’s not conventional (or always easy)!
Need even more inspiration? There are plenty of other full-time travelers out there chronicling their experiences on websites, blogs and social media, too. Here are a few full-time RVing YouTube channels we can’t get enough of.
Best Ways to Travel Around the World
Whether you’re hoping to check off your bucket list travel spots — all 7 wonders of the world, perhaps? — or experience living in a radically different culture than your own for a while, there are lots of different ways to go about this whole full-time travel thing.
For instance, you might take your regular old family car and simply drive from place to place, staying in vacation rentals, extended stay hostels, or sublet apartments.
This mode of travel combines the flexibility of the open road with the freedom of being able to drive your small vehicle for everyday chores, like the grocery store or gym, without having to worry about dragging a toad vehicle behind your RV. However, it can get expensive quick, and it also requires more planning and commitment!
Other travelers ditch the car and simply fly from place to place, staying in similar temporary accommodations to the ones we mentioned above and relying on public transit. This is, perhaps, the most totally-free way to do it, since you literally don’t have anything to worry about except yourself and whatever’s in your backpack. Plus, flying can take you anywhere in the world, so this is ideal if you’ve got your heart set on international travel. Of course, it also means that… well, you’re basically living out of a backpack for the foreseeable future. And depending on your personality, that may or may not be a very serious challenge.
Which brings us to our favorite way to travel full time. (Yes, we’re predictable… and no, we’re not sorry.)
Full-time RVing combines the best of all possible travel worlds while still affording you the things that are scarcest on the road: comfort, privacy, and convenience. You know exactly where you’ll lay your head each night, whether the bed in question is in a Walmart parking lot or on a gorgeous stretch of BLM-owned land somewhere.
Plus, some of the very best places to travel are right here on American soil. Our national parks system is world-renowned for its beauty and outdoor sporting opportunities… and besides, you’ve got to do a lot of camping to fill out that National Parks passport of yours!
Now that you’re champing at the bit to get on the road, we do have one more item to address — and it’s a fairly important one.
What does it cost to relentlessly travel the world like this? What kind of careers do these travelers have that allow them so much freedom?
Well, for one thing, not everybody works from the road. Some people save up enough money to take a specified amount of time away from their work lives, deciding to travel the world for a year or so before returning to their normal day-to-day.
A very lucky few actually get paid to travel, perhaps by working for travel companies as a guide or being shipped off to exotic locations for business meetings. Others take advantage of volunteer travel opportunities, through organizations like the Peace Corps and others. Of course, when you’re working jobs that involve travel or enjoying paid travel abroad, you don’t have quite as much freedom as you would if you were calling the shots yourself. Your destination is usually chosen for you.
But the cheapest way to travel the world is to find a way to work while you’re doing it, thereby funding your adventure as you go. Here’s a post we wrote about lots of RV-friendly remote work opportunities, and even more jobs are becoming nomad-friendly all the time.
So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got the inspiration… now you’ve just got to get up and go. The world is out there waiting for you!
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