03 - How to Quit Your Job, Travel, and Do Whatever You Want

Freedom, But at What Cost?

Planning to travel as long as possible requires saving money and living as cheaply as possible before and during travel. (Assumption here: you have zero income while traveling.)

When it became clear What Must Be Done, saving money kicked into high gear. Extreme saving mode means: no going out to eat, minimal spend on groceries, minimal car trips, no frivolous Amazon purchases, and making sure any credit cards with balances reach zero by the end of the year.

This was August 2011. If all went well, I would have enough saved and everything else (except student loans) paid down by December 31, 2011.

How much should you save?

For me, it cost about $3,000 per month to live in an apartment alone. Around $1700 for rent and utilities, $500 for student loans, $250 for groceries, and $550 for other expenses (phone plan, insurance, last minute purchases, violating “no eating out” rules, etc).

At this time, travel plans and a travel budget weren’t being considered. My single goal was to have enough runway where I would have enough time to figure out what to do after I quit working.

Allowing for plenty of time to figure out concrete plans after I quit, I wanted to have $30,000 saved. That would give me a solid ten months of living time before needing income again.

Now, kinda obviously, I didn’t save $30,000 in four months. At the start, I already had a bit saved, which helped to push the quit-job-and-travel decision towards reality and away from whimsical fantasy daydreaming land. Your mileage may vary.

Four months later, December 15, 2011, I gave my two weeks notice. After December 31, 2011, everything changes.

Next: 04 Freedom, Almost