Justin is a true nomad! He left his home country, USA, 3 years ago and has been traveling ever since. Justin writes about his journey at TrueNomads.com and shares tips on how to travel on the cheap! We talk to Justin about his epic adventure and ask him to share tips on full time travel.
How long did it take you to plan your epic adventure? What was the most challenging part of the planning?
The planning difficulty was really low, since I only planned on a 5 week trip. It was with the uni, so the planning was nothing. It was to Southern Africa. By the end of the trip I had decided to stay. I told my friends that I wasn’t going back home or to school, and they left me in Africa. Been on the road since, that was almost 3 years ago.
What advice can you share for those who want to travel full time but are scared to take the leap?
Just do it. I was scared, but did it anyways. Now I am so glad that I did, instead of staying home and continuing the same old routine. And now I’m use to this lifestyle, and nothing scares me anymore. It’s so worth it.
What is the best and worst thing about traveling solo?
There are way more benefits than not I’d say. Traveling is all about the freedom to go and do whatever you want, and if you are with someone else, you always have to compromise and do things you don’t want to do, and miss things you do want to do. I don’t like getting dragged out of bed at unholy hours to go to some dumb museum. I love being spontaneous and free. One time I traveled with one of my best friends for 2 months…I’ll just say that now we are hardly even friends. It’s really rare to find someone to travel with that wants to do the same exact things.
What the best savings tip you can give to anyone trying to save up for full time travel?
Priorities. That’s what it’s all about. If you want it bad enough, it becomes second nature and clear what you have to do. If we are talking about long term travel where you aren’t coming back for a long time, you need to get rid of ANY and all things that are costing you money- car payments, cellphones, etc. Get rid of everything that is holding you down to one patch of Earth, and the savings will grow rapidly.
What’s your advice for aspiring travelers?
You have to make it happen! I wrote an article called Why I Think You Should Quit Your Job And Travel The World, and I explain how many benefits there are. Your parents and society might tell you that you are wasting your life traipsing the world, but believe me, it’s far from a waste. Quite the opposite in fact.
How do you keep your expenses down while you travel?
That, my friend, is something I’ve mastered, out of necessity. I don’t have any backup plan or parents with money, yet I really want to travel the world. The only way I can think of to do this is to go on an extreme budget. It’s a complete mind set- you have to be willing to fore-go all the luxuries you’re use to and stay in the rattiest hostels, Couchsurf with strangers, sleep under the stars, never eat out at restaurants, cook your own food in hostel kitchens, take cheap buses or hitchhike. These are the dark and gritty side of travel, but it is definitely worth it. What memory do you think will be the one that stays with you forever- Standing on top of the majestic Table Mountain or the uncomfortable 31 hour train ride from Johannesburg that it took to get there? When you think of the end goal and what you’re ultimately doing, it ceases to bother you and becomes more of a fun adventure.
Did you have any obstacles to cross in order to travel full time?
Not really. It will be different for different people, for instance some people become home-sick and what-not, but I don’t get that anymore. People ask if I miss my friends back home, and I do, but now I have just as many friends OUTSIDE the States as I do in, so I am always within a relatively short distance from someone I know. People ask about money also, and I just tell them that when I run out of money, I work. Sounds like anyone, except that I have the ability to make my money last longer than normal, and only need less to get going on the road again. So I only really work four or five months a year, and even during those months I’m making short trips around whatever country I’ve landed in.
Fun Fast Five…
What was the first overseas trip you took?
Costa Rica! So it has a soft place in my heart.
If you could travel back in time, which era and place would you go to and why?
Hmm. Maybe I would go hang out with one of the great explorers, like Marco Polo, or Darwin. Maybe some pirate roaming the seas. Not sure though. Would have loved to be on board with Jacques Cousteau.
What city was best value for money?
Sarajevo. L’viv. Bangkok. Phnom Phen. Bali. Budapest. There’s so many.
If you could travel with one celebrity, who would it be and why?
I’d love to have been exploring on the Beagle with Darwin, or the Calypso with Cousteau, or Nautilus with Nemo.
What has been the weirdest thing you have eaten (on purpose!)?
Blood sausage in Estonia, Guinea pig in Peru. Rancid shark in Sweden. Pigeon eggs in Cambodia. Duck fetus in Vietnam, with snakes blood.
If you are a seasoned traveler and would like to take part in our interview series please express your interest via firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!