How do I Afford to Travel as a Jobless Nomad

The question came almost from all of my followers across social media and on my blog. It was interesting that some of my fellow bloggers were also surprised how could I travel so much and collaborate with International brands and tourism boards so quickly while they struggle to build-up their content. I was bombarded with a hell lot of questions after I chose to be a digital nomad for a few years of my life. However, I can more be termed as a freelancer working on the go.

 

How do I afford to travel fulltime?

How do I sustain my life without a job?

Do I Earn from Blogging?

Are my parents rich? Do my parents finance me?

Did I grow up with a silver spoon?

Have I found a secret potion recipe to mint money?

Am I using off all my savings?

digital nomad budget travel work volunteer

 

So I have taken some efforts to answer all your questions in this write-up. Hope this would also give an insight to many of you who wish to opt for a gap year or join the clan of digital nomads.

 

A Glimpse Into my Family Background

Leaving a well-paid job in Mumbai was one of the most critical decisions I made while coming from a middle-class family. Let me start from the beginning. My mother is a Government school teacher in Gujarat (a State Servant and not in Central  Govt.). She has been the sole backbone for me and my younger brother.  As children, we were taught how to survive without splurging on our temptations.  We were taught to give priority to the needs rather than a luxury.  We bought a house on loan and I even studied on loans. Despite maintaining a decent lifestyle, we never saved enough to spend on luxurious vacations.

 

A well Planned Career That Built My Travel Survival Basics

I completed my basic schooling from my hometown and then moved to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Mumbai for further studies. I had taken up a certificate course in computer basics and web designing as a part-time vocational course after 10th Grade.  Just like any normal human being, my career aims kept changing. From a history professor, a Psychologist, a dance teacher to an artist, I wanted to be everything. I tried my hands almost at everything and ended up being a teacher in a Secondary School in Mumbai (More holidays, vacations and time to travel more 😉 ) .

So, I am a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Education and am also a trained Kathak dancer. However, I always regret not being able to gain a BA degree in Kathak as I always kept changing the cities and had to start from the basics under a different Guru every time. But, I am glad to complete at least 5 years of my dance training and wish to continue further if I plan to settle.

And don’t assume that I wasn’t a good student as I opted for arts. Haha, I scored 89.29% in 10th Grade and 86% in 12th Grade. This performance helped me get a scholarship of 10,000 INR per annum from Gujarat Government.

“I believe in an Education that demands less investment and provides more earnings.”

 

My school fee was 8,000 per year till 10th and just 1000 per year till 12th. My college (St. Xavier’s College Ahmedabad, under Guj Uni. earlier) fee was just 1500 INR per Year. My expenditure involved my rent, food, and petrol.

Building a Base to Achieve the Ultimate Travel Goals

I started working when I turned 17. In the morning I attended college. After lunch, I worked as an English tutor.   I occasionally taught computer basics, Photoshop and Coreldraw in the industries involved in printing and designing technology.  (This even helped me to learn more)

Thus, I have never been a burden on my mom while studying but she occasionally supported me with some huge requirements.

I spent 36k INR on my teaching degree in Mumbai. And my first salary as a teacher was 30,000 INR. And the first thing I did was booking back to back treks with YHAI.

Yes, this was my first ever splurging on traveling. Till then, I had only traveled to a few places near Gujarat and Mumbai in a super tight budget like 800 for 2 days in Mt. Abu (Included everything to and  fro Vadodara) and Ali Baug ( can’t stop laughing at myself while I write this)

 

Leaving The Job and Experimenting with full-time Travel

For all those who don’t know yet, let me tell you that I resigned from my job as a teacher in February 2017. I have successfully completed a gap year without losing on all of my savings.

 

How Did I travel for so Less?

I had started traveling and learning the art of budget traveling while I was still on my job. I had bought all my travel gear while being on my job. So, When I left the job all I did was selling my old cameras and saving whatever small amount that I could. From the second year of my job, I had opened an RD of 10k per month. I saved all my RD savings as FDs when I left the job.

As a teacher I also got my salary till May 2017 (Vacation of my working academic year) I only saved that in my account and moved off to Ladakh for my first long solo adventure in the mountains. And Now after a year, I am done traveling almost the whole of India and totally 10 Countries in Asia and Europe.

Being a full-time traveler I always had enough time to travel at my own pace.

 

My Ways of Traveling

I could spend months on Volunteering. Most of the places in India do not accept volunteers for free owing to many travelers’ not so serious attitude towards it. For the reference of my readers, I have also made an open-to-edit list of Volunteering Opportunities in India.

I hitchhike mostly to all the places in the mountains and sometimes even in the cities. If you want to know more about the money I spend on commuting and stays then my blog on “Hitchhiking from Manali to Leh” would give you an idea about it.

 

digital nomad budget travel work volunteer

 

Frankly speaking, it is not so difficult to travel for less in India.  I never mind paying 200-300 INR for a stay. Yes! If you move beyond Google, you really find such economic yet neat and clean places in India.

Hostelling has also helped me save way more during my travel. I even opted for hostels in Europe and the experience was more happening than in India. Especially the 5 Elements Hostel in Frankfurt and The Nomad Hostel in Seville were a few of my best experiences.

Bartering My skills

Barter system has been in practice since the evolution of the mankind. Many a time I barter my skill of writing and photography for an experience. However, I have kept some stringent criteria for taking up a project for an NGO or a sustainable business.

Most hostels have the barter system for long-term guests or travelers. From account management to cooking, most of them need volunteers. And I do opt for the same.

How do I get to know about it? Most of the time I mail the organization/hostels in case they need a volunteer.  A detailed info on what I can do for them or offer them helps me get a positive answer most of the time. Apart from that, there are websites like stayonskills.com or workaway.info to help you find a work on the go. There are a way too many other wbsites I came to know even for students. You can google AIESEC, Erasmus Project (on facebook) and Remoteyear.com

 

How much do I earn and How?

If you are my regular follower you would have seen many of my published work about which I keep announcing on my social media platforms. I freelance as a travel writer with many renowned magazines and newspapers in India.

I do earn a little from my blog in case I am assigned a sponsored post. Most of the time while I am busy traveling, I avoid taking up the assignments. If the subject of the brand relates to my kind of traveling then I definitely write an article on it. And sometimes, I also lead travel groups or help manage trips or properties.

I have earned around 80k doing such random freelancing works in a year. That is way lesser than my salary but lets me live my dream.

 

offbeat stay in Leh

Collaboration with the tourism boards helps with the information I need. (I don’t have to spend on buying literature). A few food vouchers and my entries turn a guest/press entry in most tourist attractions. During my Europe trip, I had an opportunity to collaborate with tourism boards in around 9 cities. However, I have hardly spent much even in the cities where I had no collaborative opportunities. I completed my Europe trip in 56k INR and met many fellow travelers on the way who were doing it even for lesser. And they weren’t even bloggers. So basically, nothing is impossible if you really wish to travel. Check my Budget Travel Tips for Europe

Thus, understand that when you find the ways to be on a budget and still not missing the fun, you can travel the world without a well-paying 9-5 job.

 

Howmuch total amount did I spend in a year?

My year-long travel to total 10 countries including the whole of India cost me around 1.6 lakhs. And still more than half of my savings are intact in my account.

This includes all my travels, flights, food, stay everything. The major expense includes the flight to and fro Europe that cost me 44k due to my hasty decision of flight booking.

 

What Next? future of an Urban Nomad

When I had quit my job, I had an intention of just opting for a gap year. Now, after a year, the drug named travel has ruined me completely. I don’t know if I fit into a civilization anymore. However, just like any normal girl, I would be getting married soon and don’t know what future holds for me. In any way, I would just be going with a flow.

A Message for You

The only suggestion or rather an experience I would like to share is, it’s not a cake walk. Traveling full-time isn’t as rosy as you see on Instagram. Full-time traveling is just like your normal life with all kinds of ups and downs. If you can face and bear anything for the love of traveling then you are ready to take a plunge.

Also, remember that all those who are traveling without a job aren’t really jobless. You have only two options, either work hard and find ways to fulfill your dream or just be a poor (Read ‘Bechara‘) person who is depending on people’s kindness to fulfill their dreams.

Remember that there is a difference between getting a sponsorship from organizations/companies and asking people to pay for your travel dreams.

Have more questions or suggestions for me? Comment below and I would love to answer you or connect with you.

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30 thoughts on “How do I Afford to Travel as a Jobless Nomad

  • July 1, 2018 at 10:12 pm
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    First of all heartiest congratulations.
    Excellent Job purvi. Leyiu have great courage . People always have reason because of money they can’t afford to go places which they want to go.
    You did it and prove that lot of money nor required if you have willingness to do something.

    Please don’t be considered this suggestions because I am not experienced in travel like you. Now just thinking can you start travel firm those can give more travel in very less money.
    There are lot of people like me would like to travel in less money.
    It would be good for those people who like to travel in less money which you did in Europe trip.
    And more than luxurious i would like to travel like this.
    I would like cycle through European countries if people like you guide or start some travel agencies which provide travel in very less money then it would be ” dreams come into true ” people like me.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and all the best for future journey.

    Reply
    • July 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm
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      Hello Bharat, thank you for such thoughtful comment. I don’t wish to start any firm by myself, Coz when people pay even a penny, they demand a little too much. + I am a natural untamed human, the unknown people cannot understand me or my nature usually. I am happy with what I do as of now. There are hundreds who have traveled following my blog. And their message of gratitude is only enough for me :).

      As for you, keep checking International youth hostel’s activities. 🙂

      Reply
  • July 2, 2018 at 8:49 am
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    Very well written post 👍 Purvi.
    Thanks for sharing your travel journey, experiences and tips ☺

    Reply
  • July 2, 2018 at 9:19 am
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    Bravo! Not only does your post highlight your journey to be a travel blogger but gives hope to many who take the cost involved to be a hindrance to follow their dreams of travel writing.

    Reply
    • July 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm
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      Hello Dipali, Yes, that is the aim of this post. Let the people know what it takes to be a fulltime traveler while freelancing.

      Reply
  • July 5, 2018 at 7:27 pm
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    your are right travelling is not easy as it looks on instagram or on facebook.we all have to suffer all the mood swings as we feel when travelling alone “”kya bawlo ki taraf aakele aakele hande ja rahe kya kar rahe kyu kar rahe “””as i feel maan hamesha chanchal hota hai jaha pahunch nahi sakta waha pahunchna chahta hai.Their is always a big big difference in belif and reality so Jaha raho bus khush raho mast raho .

    Reply
  • July 8, 2018 at 12:24 am
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    Congrats! It is my fantasy to travel as I please and be a digital nomad and I ray I shall be able to achieve this very soon. I’m in awe of your determination and bravery hitch-hiking especially. Safe journeys!

    Reply
  • July 8, 2018 at 9:00 am
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    Omg this is insane and makes me so nervous haha. I’ve been constantly thinking about quoting and travelling but always so worried about the expenses and shouldn’t I be making money on way trips rather than just spend. This is awesome and you gave me ideas to out down in my plan! Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
  • July 8, 2018 at 9:28 am
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    Thanks for such a detailed post! I would actually be quite nervous to hitch hike. How did you become comfortable with it?

    Reply
  • July 8, 2018 at 3:35 pm
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    The life you have chosen is similar to mine although I am earning through my writing and it gives me freedom to work remotely. I will love to try hosteling and backpacking in Europe sometime, I hope your tips help me in going ahead with my plans.

    It is a great thing that you are helping others with your services unlike many travellers who are just trying to travel for free and giving nothing in return. For this, I appreciate your contribution towards travel and tourism.

    Reply
  • July 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm
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    Very well written article and quite a eye opening post. Most people do not realize the hard work that goes behind running a travel blog.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 12:37 am
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    Love how you save to travel to so many places though I dont know if even I would hitch hike. Guess it is always considered a dangerous thing here in the States versus the rest of the world.
    With that said, Darcee & I LOVE hostelling…as long as there is a bed, a toilet, and my gear is secure, why spend tons of money on a place to stay? While in Colombia, I talked to many hostel travelers who barter their stay…that is genius!
    Hope you keep up the great adventure

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 8:42 am
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    It’s always so interesting to read how other people make long-term travel work. I work freelance to be able to travel, but only spend about a quarter of the year on the road.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 11:02 am
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    Hey Purvi…first of all I would like to congratulate you on your achievements. I loved everything you mentioned in this post. Truely, dreams are meant to be fulfilled by your own and one has to struggle for that. People always see the bright side of person ‘s life only few can understand the hard work done in the background. You Go Girl👍
    Try to find your partner like yourself only. So that this journey never ends. Keep going. I read your Hitchhiking post from Manali to Leh and loved that too. I have shared this post on FB. Best wishes and more love to you🤗

    Reply
    • July 9, 2018 at 2:52 pm
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      Thank you for your sweet comment. Yeah, my would be partner is also a travel lover. Let’s hope for the best.

      Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm
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    Really good idea for a blog post and I enjoyed reading it. Finding out how we afford to travel is always interesting. I essentially did most of my travelling via teaching and have spent the last 20 plus years teaching in different countries around the world – am currently in Nairobi… but we are heading back to Sweden in 2 weeks!

    Reply
    • July 9, 2018 at 2:51 pm
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      That is quite interesting. Was just thinking to let people write about their experiences to guide other. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 2:36 pm
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    oh nice! I am dreaming to become a full-time traveler, instead, I am a half-time traveler. Still, have a job, but can do it mostly remotely.
    Thanks for the tips though.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm
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    What a detailed post! You’ve done so many brave things and put a lot of work into making your dreams a reality.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 7:48 pm
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    Inspiring post! My goal is to travel the world and NOT go broke lol. I would love to try my hand at freelance writing soon!

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm
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    wow, great post, good for you to live your dream in the best way possible! I too travel a lot and try to fill the gaps with freelance work because travel makes life fun and exciting!

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 10:24 pm
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    Such a fascinating explanation of your way of traveling. I am happy to hear that you found your way to live your dream!

    Reply
  • July 10, 2018 at 6:38 am
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    Such an informative post. The life of a digital nomad always looks so exciting and easy, so it’s nice to see the realities of being a digital nomad put into perspective. Also, hats off to you for hitchhiking, don’t think I’d be able to do that! Lol

    Reply
  • July 10, 2018 at 10:33 am
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    Great write-up, Purvi 😊 Remarkably candid! I’m sure you are motivation to many who just wish but don’t work to fulfill their dreams. I’m glad to know a strong and independent girl like you. Keep exploring. Keep inspiring. Best wishes!

    Reply
  • July 11, 2018 at 2:37 am
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    Really informative and frank post. A lot of people are surprised to hear that sometimes a year of travelling can cost less than a year of not travelling. Though I guess it all depends on where you live and where you travel to. Also the style of travel. I do a lot of international volunteering, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see the world but doesn’t have full pockets.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2018 at 5:52 am
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    Wow! I’m truly inspired by your story. You’ve worked really hard and I’m glad you are living your dream life. Travelling and working on the go is a lifestyle I always dream of. Thanks for these great suggestions for being a digital nomad. Heartiest congratulations and all the very best for your upcoming life. I wish you keep inspiring us with your amazing travel stories! 🙂

    Reply
  • July 11, 2018 at 1:04 pm
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    An inspiring story that I can really relate to. I also left my job in 2017 for long-term travel and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. Like you I originally only planned on a year of travel but the experience has completely changed my perspective and travel is now my livelihood.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm
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    Hey Purvi. I have been binge reading your blogs and can’t over it. You are an amazing soul and your story is so inspiring. At the age of 17, I never even thought of working, forget about earning money. I appreciate the honesty that you have put in letting us know more of you as a person. Keep up the great work and keep inspiring us. I hope someday I gather enough guts to quite my full time teaching job. Much love and power to you.

    Reply

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