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First of all. I need to say that I’m so happy to finally be able to publish the first article in English! ? The occasion is special, as we are completing 100 days on the road traveling through South East Asia and living our dream. We will also soon celebrate our blog’s 1st birthday and since we created it, I’ve always wanted to be able to publish articles in English, which I feel more comfortable in than Spanish, but most of all to be able to reach to a wider audience (including my friends and family that don’t speak Spanish) and help more travelers.
We’ve just completed 100 days traveling, still without a return ticket. As we cross hectares of green rice fields and chaotic cities of northern Vietnam on our way to Hanoi, we’re talking about and summarizing our trip. The adventure of our lives, our dream for a long time and a goal to which we have dedicated the last years of our lives. Many people ask us why and how do we do it? Is a good plan all it takes? Is it enough to have some savings and lots of motivation? Is it all so nice to travel non-stop only with your partner?
In this post we’ll explain it all, just as it is.
We were quite surprised that so many people asked us how it is possible to finance a trip like ours just with our own resources. Some assumed that we need to have super rich parents or that we’re just being sponsored because it’s impossible for young people to have money to travel for so many months.
And we’d even say more, we believe that everyone with an average salary, if they just make it their goal, they can achieve it with no problem. It must be said that it takes a lot of courage to quit your job and leave everything behind. There are certain sacrifices that have to be made. But if it’s your dream, you can do it! We believe that the main reason for most of the people not to make such decision is not money, it is the fear of taking this step or the uncertainty of what awaits them later on.
We were saving 5 years to realize this dream. We were working in Poland and note that the salaries are usually much lower than those of Western European countries. Even so, having a clear objective, we were able to save enough to finance the trip. Our friends of the same age are buying flats or cars, paying for big weddings – which also seems great, because it is their dream! – but our dream was different.
We were trying, especially during the last months in Poland, to save ourselves another meal in this cool new restaurant or another dress that does not fit in the closet. Additionally, as he had visited Southeast Asia before, we knew how to plan the budget (and David is the best organizer in the world!). Having left some money in the ‘safebox’ , to be able start over after coming back to Europe or for some unforeseen events, we knew that we have enough for at least 5 months.
It was clear that it was not going to be 5 months of luxury hotels, good restaurants, expensive activities, and traveling by planes. We would not have enough money for a month living this way, and frankly, we have never dreamed of this idea (though from time to time it feels great to allow yourself a little treat). From the beginning, we already had it clear that we were going to choose modest hotels or hostels (the accommodation is very cheap in Southeast Asia and it is easy not to exceed the average of 5/7 EUR per night), we were going to eat mainly street food, which is super tasty and is the cheapest (depending on the place it’s 1-3 EUR per plate) and going to transport mostly by land and with night buses to save hotel nights. Finally, many times we were going to quit entering a palace, doing a tour or a typical excursion because it was too expensive. Instead, we always try to organize everything on our own, rent motorcycles and discover the alternatives to expensive places by reading guides, other blogs, or by asking local people and other travelers we meet on the way. Also, we’re counting every dollar, where possible we negotiate and we avoid unnecessary expenses.
Also, there’s one thing that we had not expected at all in the beginning. We’ve been able to collaborate with some companies or hotels, thanks to which we could afford the luxury of sleeping in some impressive places or doing some activities. This was however never taken into consideration in our initial budget. It was simply some extra perk that we’ve earned by hours of effort (nothing comes free in this life!), knowing how to find collaborators and doing some extra work for them.
At this moment, a 100 days into the adventure of our lives, we’re fulfilling our objectives and sticking by the budget as we’d planned. There will always be some unexpected expenses (my accident with the motorcycle in Thailand due to which we lost the flight or money theft in Laos) but on other days we have tightened a bit more and the budget remains as planned, so we are more than happy. We also prepared an Excel file where we write down everything we buy and which calculates the average of our expenses per day, per month and tells us the total estimated budget for 5 months. This helps us a lot (and we’re pretty proud of this file! ?
Another thing that we wanted to comment on is the notion of time. At the beginning of the trip, we thought that we would have time for everything: that we could travel and explore during the day and work on the blog and social networks in the evening. We thought it would be possible to write one article a week and make all the plans that we have always been leaving for ‘when we have some spare time’.
Also, many people think that since we’re ‘on holidays’ we have plenty of time for everything. And we suppose it could be like that, but it all depends on how you plan the trip. If you want just to relax or you aim to see and experience everything. We have a lot of respect for digital nomads who manage to do everything while traveling. For us it’s much more complicated.
The main reason is that we’re two restless spirits and it’s very difficult for us to stop and dedicate one day to rest or write. We’re in the active mode from the first hours of the morning to see and experience everything and we return to the hostel so tired that we no longer have the strength for any kind of work.
It seems that when we were working in Poland we were able to dedicate much more time to the blog. Or maybe we simply did not mind losing a bit of a usual daily routine. On the other hand, here we’re living life to the fullest, we change the destination every two or three days and we don’t want to waste any time being locked up in the room. We’re writing when we feel like it and we don’t treat it as an obligation. It’s always been, and still is, a hobby, a passion, and we want to share our experiences here to help or inspire other travelers. But this requires a lot of time (much more than we thought initially!), so we are going to publish little by little the routes through different countries that we’re visiting, without haste and with calm. Everything at our own pace ?
Finally, something that’s possibly the most important – love! And not only the love for travel, but for our family, friends and all the people that support us every day, but above all – for the companion of this adventure! When you start such a long trip you may not realize how difficult it can be to be with the same person every hour of the 24 of the day, and every day of the 100 that we’ve been here (and those that are yet to come!). We’ve traveled together a lot before, but there were always relatively short trips, 3 weeks tops. After that you’d always return to your daily life, you’ve got your own space again, your circle of friends, the things that you can do alone and those that you share with your partner.
For us it’s always been important to leave some space to each other and while you’re traveling it can be somewhat a challenge. Also, we both have quite strong characters and we’re very impulsive. Each day that passes requires more and more patience and effort to try and understand the point of view of the other. We have to overcome some problems that appear on the way; the fatigue caused by the trip, feeling down due to the changing wheater or different food and constantly looking for a compromise between what I want to do and what David likes. Traveling for so long with your partner could be a difficult test for a relationship, but at the same time it’s greatly rewarding. It makes the relationship even stronger, you gain more respect and understanding of each other and some appreciation of the person that’s always there to share these precious moments that the journey brings and help you through in the difficult ones. It makes you understand that if we can travel half of Asia together and have such a great time, this has to be the beginning of the journey of the rest of our lives together ??
It is for sure the experience of our lives. We get to see different cities with so much charm, meet travelers with the same desire to explore as we do or local people who open their hearts to us with a big smile. We’re amazed at the people who have almost nothing and still offer you that little bit they have. We experience unforgettable moments in places that leave you breathless, with a WOW on your mouth. Feeling the freedom of traveling on the back of a motorbike or on a local bus admiring landscapes that we’ve not seen in our lives is something incredible. Walking a few kilometers with a huge backpack and reaching this paradise beach as a reward to your effort. Contemplate thousands of years of history in corners of the world that we could never imagine. We could be naming these precious moments all day long but we need to leave to live some new ones! ? That’s the magic of traveling!
Finally, being away from home for so long, from your comfort zone, from your friends and family, it really makes you appreciate what you have and all the love that you receive from them. The first couple months we felt so blessed and didn’t really feel anything is missing. Now, 100 days into our travel, we start to miss some laughs with our friends, hugs from the family or just a meal that doesn’t consist of rice or noodles ? It becomes harder and harder to change the place every second day, having to organize the backpack for the 55th time, never beeing able to sleep in your comfortable bed… In these moments, when we get a bit melancholic (especially me, because David is handling it a lot better and might even be able to keep wandering forever) we love reading the messages and lovely comments we receive from our followers. It’s something we never expected to happen, but you send us so much support and so many warm and inspiring words that every day we smile from ear to ear and we have more and more desire to write, record, and share our story. And we will continue doing it for a long time, so we hope you stay with us!