Before I share my secrets, let’s go through a quick checklist with me.
Have you ever travelled on a budget and feel that you’re not getting your money’s worth?
Have you ever got stuck on an itinerary and feel that ‘IF only I got some couch surf friend to show me around?’ Or at least read a worthy TripAdvisor review that points out the best ways around?
Or lastly, have you always dreamt of
quitting your joband travel the world but things are just holding you back? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions on the checklist, congratulations! Do continue on reading!
Now all of you know that travelling is somewhat a muse we all choose over most hobbies. And I do know of stories whereby individuals settle on travelling over tying the knot with their partners. Additionally, I know of people who quit their jobs just to travel or at least pride on a profession that provides free travelling. I’m here to share with you that you too can live out the life of a nomad or travel blogger with just a few dollars!
The reason why I’m writing this is because I was stuck. And I still am. I’ve been travelling for the past 3 years, with Hanoi-Vietnam being the epitome of a travel blogging purpose I’d wish it would be. But, with my subsequent travel journeys, a DSLR (EOS 7D), an iPad and a little investment on a simple yet inconvenient bluetooth keyboard, I continued to write and aspire to inspire others to travel.
However, it was tough! After each visit on an attraction, you’ll become worn out and all you want to do is to get a goodnight’s rest so that you can abide by your planned itinerary and explore other attractions the next day. I really didn’t have that slightest stint in the world to just sit down and type away. Now you must be wondering, why not a diary? My Midori traveler’s notebook has been my writing companion ever since my watercoloring days. I love this particular notebook as it allows me to customise the papers and writing pads I need for my travels, as you can see in the pictures on my instagram.
I can affix various grades of papers for writing, watercoloring, etc to meet the demands of my travels. A notebook is a great log and sketch tool to clock in information on your travels and hidden gems amidst your explorations however (which I would gladly share in posts to come), it is only as good as the frequency in having the notebook by your side to do the note-taking and of course, time. Time is always the factor because, if you intend to type or write away, you would definitely miss soaking in the experience at hand, be it wherever you are. Furthermore, if the notebook is lugged around in a bag where things are just difficult to remove, the frequency of taking out the notebook to write will be much less than the cost of shawarma at the diners in Montreuil, Paris.
Thus, I have to emphasize – timing is everything. To travel, you need to invest your time. It’s a well worth investment in exchange for experience along with the appreciation of the array of cultures and landscapes be it nature or urban which brings me to my first point:
Yes, give it up. I call this the equivalent exchange. In order for something to be obtained or created, something of equal value must be lost or destroyed. If you want to be “live” in the broadcasting/journalling of your travels, (because as soon as you write things down, you don’t forget) you got to be willing to finance ample time, at least enough to blot a sketchy yet detailed turn of events along the way. Let’s be honest, you can’t have everything. [Unless of course you’re a billionaire that owns a yatch and can hire a bunch of film-makers and photographers to scribe and journal every single step of your luxurious and pomp continental-hops. In addition to that, hire a programmer and designer to design a travel blog and “shift” some algorithms to generate traffic to your site. Again, pay a few advertisers and sponsors to facilitate in broadcasting your travels and produce more audiences and followers to your site.]
So how do you travel for free based on point number 1? Give it up. Give up your current job and seize a job that provides travelling while working. I have friends who do just that. Their professions enable them to travel and meet new people alongside the sight-seeing of cities and landscapes alike. [Just a piece of advice – Do not quit your job without having any forms of backup or contingencies.] But if you’re still spunned in cogitation and kind of tied down with the intricacies of the material world and corporate ladder-rat-race nonsense, give up on your dreams to travel. You will only be a season traveller. However, you can still be a travel blogger and this brings me to point number 2.
Money talks. Seriously. Just read the [anecdote] above and you’ll understand that money would enable you to do the things you most desire (which includes becoming the travel blogger that you want). I don’t have to go into details on this one (but if you need me to shed some light, I’d be happy to). Personally, I don’t see money as the root of all evil because the only evil ARE your intentions, love and greed towards the money. And as you may know, with money comes discipline. There are various ways to go about utilizing the money (next to discipline) you have to travel for free however, I will cover that in posts to come. For now, I shall bring you to 2 aspects with regards to money. The rich dad and poor dad. No, not the book by Kiyosaki. I’m referring to someone who is rich and one who is not.
The rich daddy who goes on travelling with his employed paparazzi (the designers and photographers), does exciting activities and travels 24/7 to the point where sponsors and organisations approach with freebies in exchange to tapping on his garnered influx of traffic to his site.
The poor dad on the other hand quits his current job and decides to work on a cruise ship.
You can be the seasonal traveller (accumulate some generous amount of dough) that most people are and slowly work hard, smart and with a little glint of luck, you will live the life of the rich daddy. But like I’ve said, it takes a lot of discipline and to some point, it becomes a strict money-making routine which in turn may jeopardise your attraction-soaking experience.
For my last point:
Yes. You need to build an audience. There are various ways to go about in building an audience (which I will talk about in posts to come). But for now, to help you on that journey to travel for free, what you need to focus on is building the audience. One particular person that comes to mind is Matt Harding.
He build an audience based on an idea of travelling to various countries doing a simple yet viral dance. Also, as a form of interaction (the slow transition to reveal the countries), he gets the audience to guess the countries and exhibited the multitude of activities he underwent (for instance, swimming with the beige jellyfishes in Palau). With the generated views he gathered from his 2006 video, people started to participate in discourse whether the video was green-screened or that Matt really did travelled. With the positive boost in popularity, eventually sponsors rushed to provide free travels for subsequent travel videos and of course the famous VISA dance also came to fruition.
Consequently, with the intention of solely trying to build on ‘audience relationship’ or viewership, AND with a little bit of luck (because luck or blessings from God Himself plays a HUGE role), you can travel for free. I’m sure Matt had to first give up some of his time to spend his money by making the very first video, which eventually builds his audience.
I end my post here with a simple idea. Why does a bird with wings that enable it to fly anywhere in the world, flies back to the same tree everyday?
As paradoxical as it may sound, in order to travel for free, you got to work for it. I hope you do keep that innate traveller’s spirit alive and see you in my next post!