We didn’t win the lottery or some other prize.
Neither of us has a trust fund.
We didn’t inherit money from a parent or rich uncle.
We didn’t empty our retirement nest egg or take out a loan to travel.
We didn’t cash out a startup.
These are some of the ideas that others have conjectured about how we can afford to quit work and travel for year.
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Here’s the reality of our situation.
We saved money.
We saved money every month for about seven years, knowing that we one day we wanted to travel full-time.
We set up an online brokerage account with automatic debits from our checking account.
At the start, we invested a few hundred dollars in mutual funds. We increased our monthly savings contribution as our income increased, and a couple years in we were saving more than our monthly house payment in the adventure travel fund.
We avoided consumer debt.
Consumer and student loan debt can absolutely derail dreams of full-time adventure travel, and I go in depth about managing debt in the 15 steps to live a life of adventure.
Aside from our home and investment houses, we don’t have other debt.
We don’t have credit cards, only debit cards tied to the money we have in the bank.
We don’t have car payments. When we left, I drove a 1996 suburban. Ugly for my coworkers to look at in the parking lot, but it got me to work each day.
We avoided MBA school student loan debt a few years ago. Katie and I both worked during the day, and I went to school at night so we could cash flow the tuition bills.
We continue to earn.
We quit our full-time jobs and gave up our incomes, but we still make some money to slow and hopefully cover the burn rate.
We also earn money from the books I’ve written, but I give that money away so other people can attempt their own adventures.
The main income that we live on comes from Mark’s advisory role with the company where he worked when we left. He works from the road part-time, attending meetings and working on projects.
Where to start financing your adventure
If you want to quit work and embark on your own adventure, you don’t have to start buying lottery tickets or searching your family tree for a rich uncle you can cozy up to.
Instead, you should start saving immediately, manage and cut debt, and determine the ways in which you can make money while you travel.
For more ideas on how you can start making your adventure possible, read our 15 steps to live a life of adventure.