This is a question we get asked a lot. People think that we must be multi-millionaires in order to be able to quit our jobs and afford to travel the world for several years. We know people that easy spend $5,000 for a one week vacation. If you were to extend that vacation to 52 weeks, that’s $5,000 × 52 = $260,000 for one year of traveling! We plan to spend about one-tenth that amount each year. But that is still a substantial amount. We will explain how we are keeping our travel expenses low in a future blog post. For this post we’ll explain the principles that we followed in order to save enough dough to be able to experience this adventure.
Principle #1 – We Earned
We got married a little over eight years ago, and we both knew right from the beginning that we wanted to make travel a priority. But traveling requires money, so we started saving our money right from day one. Although teachers typically earn a 10-month salary, Ryan was able to work a 12-month contract by doing computer work at school throughout the summer. Emily was able to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner which also resulted in a salary bump.
Principle #2 – We Saved
We are both naturally frugal. Happily we lived in a small one-bedroom townhome. We drove vehicles that were nearly 20 years old. Emily even cut her own hair (and Ryan’s few hairs too). Of course, the fact that we did not have children was also friendly on the budget. But anyone, even those with kids, can live frugally. It just takes discipline.
Principle #3 – We Invested
Making money and living frugally isn’t enough. If you just let the money you save sit in a bank account you will lose some of that wealth due to inflation. We put most of our savings into low-fee index funds, and we were fortunate enough to invest during a decade when the stock market experienced some big gains. The stock market doesn’t always go up, and we know at some point it will drop. But even with the drops, in the long run it still beats stuffing it under the mattress.