Money Matters: How will we finance a nomadic life of endless travel?

When we tell people our plans to sell everything and travel the world endlessly as nomads, after all of the expressions of support and envy, many people are interested to know how exactly we plan to actually support ourselves financially for a prolonged period of time ‘on the road’.  They often ask: “What will you do for money?”

At this stage the long term plan is based on our intention to volunteer with various charities, NGO’s and eco-friendly resorts and tourist businesses for at least 6 months of each year, using portals such as Workaway and Help-X to find volunteering jobs. We hope that after several years of travelling we will  build up relationships with organizations where we can volunteer for a month or two each year. Eventually we plan to settle on maybe six places which we will regularly volunteer at in exchange for accommodation and food. So we will not be travelling around madly all the time – for six months of the year we will be fairly settled.

For another two or three months of the year we will use a combination of Couchsurfing and bartering of our skills as photographers/filmmakers/travel bloggers, etc. to find additional accommodation at no cost.We are quite happy to shoot some cool promotional photographs and video’s of a resort or community project for no cash payment if we are hosted for a week or two.

The other three months of each year will probably be paid for accommodation and food, and of course we will pay for all of our flights and accommodation. These funds will be generated by the low risk investment of the proceeds of the sale of our house after capital gains tax has been paid. We will draw on the interest of this money for all of our cash expenses for the first few years of travel while we find our feet and gain experience as nomadic travellers. If we handle this cash resource carefully we should be able to stretch it out for at least 20 years.

Our intention is to try and avoid commercializing our experience as far as possible, as we have no wish to becomes slaves to sponsors of our blog. We most certainly do not want to exchange a stress-filled business life in the city for a stress-filled life of travelling ๐Ÿ™‚  My long-term goal is to eventually write a book detailing our experience of exchanging city life for nomadic life, but initially we just want to share what we do with friends, family and like-minded travellers or would-be nomads. If we find opportunities to generate some income from our experiences we will of course use them, provided we don’t have to compromise on our ideals in the process.

We are both very aware that life is at best uncertain, which is why people tend to want to ‘settle down’ in a house and surround themselves with possessions which seem to add permanency to their life. This can work very well if people can avoid working in jobs that they hate and getting into debt. In developed and developing countries sadly most people seem to end up unhappy and in a financial stranglehold within ten years of entering their career. We are quite content to exit from city life and face the uncertainty of nomadic life if we can avoid the pitfalls we faced in the city. Of course, we know that we will face new challenges following this new lifestyle – but we see this as part of life’s adventure.

Time will tell if we will be able to sustain the lifestyle of travelling, volunteering, Couchsurfing and bartering over many, many years, but at this stage there is no reason to believe that we will not be able to lead a nomadic lifestyle for at least the next 10 years. During our travels we will of course always keep our eyes open for that perfect beach hut on a paradise island or that cool jungle village,  so that one day we can travel less and stay longer…

Based on this travel model, we will thus not really need as much money to lead a nomadic life as people seem to think. Our hope is that our friends and family – and eventually a wider audience – will follow our story as it unfolds.  Maybe in the distant future we will rename our blog “The Adventures of Akhona and Derek”  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Derek Antonio Serra is a photographer and filmmaker who has run several successful businesses in the film, tourism and advertising industries. He has recently embraced the nomadic lifestyle after selling his businesses and home. His passions are photography, travel and writing.