I can't risk it. Change is the only constant we have, we can run in fear from it or embrace it when it comes or better still we can positively chase it. Drastic changes are the things that make us feel alive.
Words by Ed Templeton | 17th June ‘15
This second post in my mini-series looks at why and how we quit our jobs and travelled around the world on a shoestring budget.
Most of us are addicted to the financial security we’ve been taught to hold so dearly. The last few years should have taught alot of us that however hard we strive to be financially secure alot of that security is out of our hands. I think the ‘job for life’ security that the baby-boom generation were chasing doesn’t exist any more. Whether we like it or not we’re now pretty likely to have 2, 3 or more careers in our working lives, so why not be active in the choice of those careers instead of waiting for external circumstances to change it for you you.
One way or another I’ve grown up with a sub-conscious fear of poverty. So many of my decisions have been clouded by a back-of-the-mind worry that I might lose everything and it was once I realised this that I also realised that this un-defined money worry was one of the key barriers to me making the life-style and work-style change that had been nagging away at me.
“But I’m working all hours to pay the bills, to pay the mortgage, to live a good life, to buy that flat-white on the way to work, to get that cool Danish lampshade, to do the fun things I like to do (if I get the time when I’m not working). I don’t have time to even think about doing something new, I don’t have enough money saved up to do something new, to change my lifestyle, to set up a new business. Oh Gawd! What if it all goes wrong and I throw it all away? ” These were the kind of thoughts spinning around my head every time I allowed myself to think of changing direction in life, so I sub-consciously shut those thoughts out pretty quickly and didn’t allow them to grow and develop any further than a background rumble of discontent.
We’re taught from a young age to spend our lives building financial security, to get good jobs, or to build big businesses so that we will be financially secure but we’re never really told why. We spend a huge amount of our time and energy at jobs we don’t love in order to achieve this security. We’re also taught that making big life changes, leaving jobs, travelling, setting up new businesses and taking risks poses a threat to this safe life that we’ve built.
So, having got ourselves over the self-perpetuating hurdle that is the ‘fear of the unknown’ how did we overcome our addiction to financial security? For us it, and for so many others, it was through extended periods of travel. There were so many benefits to getting away from it all and learning to live very cheaply was just one. But the fact that we lived exciting, full & rich lives for about a year on under £10,000 between us – that’s just £5,000 each including our flights, accommodation, food, activities and plenty of treats – was a welcome reminder that whether you choose to, or need to, living can be good and cheap at the same time. You just have to get over yourself a bit, live simply, drink less, eat locally or make your own food & drinks, wear the same clothes more often, take local transport, rough it a little bit.
We could have lived much cheaper too if we had to, if we hadn’t saved up that £10k pot. I estimate we could have cut out some unnecessary treats stuck to the cheaper accommodation and cut another 30-40% off that budget. Life was costing us 6 or 7 times that back home. So, when we did get back home we took alot of those principals back with us and lived on a fraction of what we used to live on.
By learning to live on a shoe-string budget whilst travelling we overcame our financial security addiction and our fear of having no money so the ideas we had and the decisions we made whilst on that trip were not tainted or weighed down by fear.
Being away for an extended amount of time allows you to properly escape the self imposed barriers to change and realise the shackles of financial commitments are solveable and that doing new and risky stuff is not as scary as you once thought. Working 40-60hrs a week just to pay the bills does not allow you the time or energy to realise this.
The financial benefits we experienced:
The fringe benefits we experienced from our shoe-string travel:
Here are some online tools we used to help plan our trip.
For round the world flights this is a good start…. But please note, the quote of $5k for a ticket might just be from the U.S. Ours cost around £1100 each in 2009.
In the last of these posts, coming in a few days time, we’ll look at starting something else, something new, something out of your comfort zone. Be that a business, a life-style or just learning a new skill.
I was 36 when I 'jumped ship' and had run my own graphic design company for 14 years prior to that. To begin with I thought I couldn’t do anything else, that I didn’t have the skills or experience to start a-fresh and crucially I didn’t have the confidence or self-belief to give it a go.
So what changed? How did we get around to doing something crazy like setting up India’s first commercial Surf & Yoga retreat?