I am a freelance writer and travel blogger, originally from Canada. Everything I own I carry with me in my backpack and over the last five years my boyfriend and I have been travelling and working remotely.

PROOF (under the photo of me in Brazil with the toucan on the right hand side)

EDIT: Wow, thanks for all of the questions everyone! I'm working through them one by one and I will answer as many as I can (as long as it isn't "what laptop do you use?" for the 10th time!)

EDIT 2: Front Page! This is amazing! I didn't expect this much of a response. Thank you so much everyone! I will do my best to answer all of your questions!

EDIT 3: It's late here and I've gotta get some sleep. Keep sending in your questions and I will answer more tomorrow. Thanks again everyone!

EDIT 4: Good morning! I'm back and answering more questions now. :)

EDIT 5: Well... it's time for me to go because we need to go catch a 17 hour bus to Fortaleza, Brazil. Thanks so much everyone for your great questions! If you have any more questions or want to chat about travel, feel free to PM me or contact me through the website. Thanks again!

Comments: 1336 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

Jasdevi906 karma

have you ever dug a hole in your back yard, got into it, and pretended you were a carrot?

Nashty10133 karma

She obviously doesn't have a "backyard" dumbass.

global-goose141 karma

Yes. This is the answer.

LeftyDave529 karma

I'm a software developer and want to do this. Did your rates reflect your home country or the country you resided in at the time? Did you travel on tourist visas or explained that you require business visa to work remotely? I assume the later would be too complicated to explain.

global-goose762 karma

When I first started I wasn't making a good wage. It took about a year to build up my freelance reputation and gain clients until I was able to make a full time income from my writing. I had a full time job while building up this career, which allowed me to save a bit of a "buffer".

My rates reflect a decent (but not huge) wage in the Western World, which goes a lot further in many other countries.

We travel on tourist visas and just don't mention the fact that we work remotely. The visa regulations haven't really caught up with the new generation of online workers, so there isn't even a category for me - it's easier just to class myself as a tourist.

CanadianBadass134 karma

I can answer this one since this is exactly what I'm doing right now (Software Engineer). Also from Canada, I lived in NYC for 3 years, and now in Melbourne for almost 2. I'm starting to become a bit restless and eyeing Japan or Germany next.

You rates reflect your environment, period. Don't expect to be paid NYC rates in middle of nowhere, where the rent and food is cheap. Some countries (many commonwealth) allows you to work, almost unrestricted, for a year (like in Australia, it's called a working holiday visa). After that, you need to get sponsored. The USA is a lot stricter however and you need a proper visa before entering the country (if you're Canadian, a TN visa is fairly easy to get with sponsorship).

In her case however, it's very different since she owns her own business and doesn't have to work for someone at the location she's at, which I would imagine you'd be doing. If not, you simply need to create your business in your 'residential' country and travel where ever using a travel visa. Unless you conduct business in that particular country (working for your company while there doesn't count), you're all good.

global-goose118 karma

In her case however, it's very different since she owns her own business and doesn't have to work for someone at the location she's at, which I would imagine you'd be doing.

Yes, this is true. I am earning pounds and dollars, whether I am living in Thailand, Peru or Bulgaria. My location changes, the wage stays the same.

that_one_buddy234 karma

What was the final push that made you want to live such an awesome lifestyle? Was it something you always have wanted to do, or did it just kind of develop randomly?

Also do you ever see yourself settling in one spot for good?

global-goose268 karma

I had the idea while on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand. I started doing some freelance writing work on the side to fund my travels. I realised I could turn it into a full time income, then I would not have to be based in any particular location. I have always wanted to travel, so that made perfect sense.

I see us settling down somewhere at one point, but not necessarily "for good". I think we will always want to travel.

that_one_buddy92 karma

Well congrats on being so bold, and also one more question.

Making an assumption here, but... Where is the one place you two would want to have your wedding?

global-goose127 karma

That's a tricky question... he's from the UK and I am from Canada so the answer isn't easy. Maybe we should just elope on some tropical island.

But the question hasn't even been popped yet, so we'll figure that out later. :)

that_one_buddy59 karma

Just elope in an exotic area and have two receptions. One in Canada and one in the UK. But again, getting ahead of myself.

Can you post a couple pics of different places you've been?

global-goose90 karma

That's a good idea, are you a wedding planner? ;)

Here are some of our favourite photos from our travels

Chicaben104 karma

Did you have to call his mother to help with the broken wrists?

global-goose247 karma


canada_rv14 karma

What is a "Working Holiday Visa", and how hard is it to get one?

I also like travelling, but of course I can't legally work in another country. How do you get around laws like that? What do you tell Customs when they ask if you will be working in the country that you're entering?

Lifeunexpected18 karma

Usually lasts a year, sometimes two, depending on the country. They have some conditions that vary, such as only being allowed to work for an employer for 6 months, must do 3 months of rural work..etc. Being from Canada as well, I found it really easy to get WHVs for New Zealand and Australia because of the CommonWealth, but we also have arrangements with many other countries. Just google it, you can apply online, and mine only took a day to get approved.

global-goose40 karma

Yes you are right, Canadians really have it good when it comes to WHVs - Americans not so much.

I put together a post compiling all of the countries around the world that offer Working Holiday Visas so you can see which ones you are eligible for.

bbbakaw226 karma

How long did it take for the blog to become popular and start to earn enough to contribute to your travels?

global-goose252 karma

It still doesn't earn us the majority of our income - that comes from my freelance writing.

The blog started off as just a way for us to share our travels with friends and family. As it grew we started getting contacted for advertising eventually. It took at least 2 years until it started to earn any worthwhile money.

With blogging you really do get what you put into it. When I get too busy with my freelance work and the blog gets ignored, it doesn't earn as much. When we focus our energy on it, it really grows.

deathbybears99 karma

Who pays you to write, how much, and where do you find work? I've tutored college level English for the last five years, and I often write for fun; however, I've never considered it possible to make an income off of it. Direct me, dear friend?

global-goose279 karma

Check out websites like Elance, PeopleperHour and Odesk. They are platforms designed to connect freelancers with the people who need work done. Create a profile with your CV and your writing samples and then you can bid on the jobs available.

I started out with a few small jobs here and there and now I make a decent wage. There's lots of work out there if you can write! Establishing yourself in a niche will help you to earn more, so think about what you can write about with knowledge and authority.

Good luck with it.

bacondev196 karma

Wow. This is actually a dream of mine. I'm a self-employed software developer and want to do this. I just need to save up money for the initial step. How did you meet your boyfriend?

global-goose389 karma

In prison in New Zealand... it's a strange story...

I__just__cant163 karma

Please please please go on.

global-goose509 karma

Well, it was a dark and stormy night in September 2009...

I was a 22 year old Canadian dork on a Working Holiday in New Zealand and I had managed to score a job as a tour guide working at Napier Prison, a historic prison from the 1860s perched high on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The job was a work-for-accommodation arrangement and the accommodations were in the creepy old prison cells.

I arrived on a Saturday night and stepped off the bus in quiet and deserted downtown Napier. After a few minutes, a big white van screeched to a halt and two blonde German dudes in prison jumpsuits and full zombie makeup jumped out.

"Are you Kelly?"

"uhhhh... yes..." I stammered.

"Come wiz us."


So I did what any sane person would do and jumped in the van. It drove up a dark and winding street to the prison, which looked dark and foreboding with thick brick walls and barbed wire. I could hear terrified screams coming from inside, but Jan and Hendrich, my new German Zombie friends, explained that these were coming from the tourists on the "Haunted Hill" scary night tours.

They snuck me into the staff room, where a six foot tall Northern Englishman also dressed as a dead prisoner was sitting on a table and drinking a beer. That was the first moment I saw him... I'm not sure love at first sight is the correct term...

Actually, they were doing scary tours all weekend so for the first few days I knew him he looked like a zombie. How incredibly romantic.

Over the next few weeks we got to know each other while living in the prison cells. I guess prison brings people closer?

furythree110 karma

Did you bonk in the romantic prison accommodation as well?

In full zombie makeup of course

global-goose235 karma

A lady zombie doesn't tell...

hannahuberly86 karma

Any advice on what to study in college for a person who wants to do what you're doing?

global-goose207 karma

I did go to University, but I don't even really count it because I got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts and it turned out to be a useless, pretentious, circlejerk degree. I wish I could get a refund.

I have no writing qualifications. My boyfriend is a freelance web designer and he didn't go to college or university at all. When I apply for work I don't often mention my degree because it's not even relevant. People hire me based on the quality of my writing portfolio.

That said, conventional jobs are usually more friendly to people with degrees. If you do want to get a degree, related fields like journalism, languages or tourism might come in handy if you want a career that will lend itself to a lot of travel. However, a degree is not strictly necessary for what I do. What's more important is passion, hustle and creative thinking.

Actual-Situation134 karma

You appear to be living that dream life that a lot of fine arts majors aspire to live. However, you have mentioned that your degree was useless in this endeavor. I would encourage you to write a blog post explaining your viewpoint - think about how much money you might be able to save for many counter-culture 18 year olds who are currently thinking they want to major in art, etc.

global-goose114 karma

That is a fantastic idea for a blog post, thank you!

yougotafrientinme22 karma

Please update! :) Id love to read that :)

global-goose28 karma

It's a great idea and I do plan on writing it. If you "Like" our Facebook page or subscribe to the blog you will be notified when I post it.

Cpt_Butter72 karma

What's the most beautiful country you have visited so far?

global-goose112 karma

It's hard to choose!

My home country of Canada has some pretty stunning landscapes. Right now we are in Brazil and just spent a couple weeks in the Amazon, which was gorgeous. I'm a huge fan of natural beauty, so Borneo was also a real treat.

Cpt_Butter23 karma

Thanks for the answer! Another question if I may: have you been in/are you planning on going to Japan?

If you've already been there, how awesome is it there on a 1-10 scale?

If you're planning on going, how much are you looking forward to it?

global-goose50 karma

Yes, I would love to go to Japan. It looks absolutely fascinating. 14/10 looking forward to it. :)

Animastryfe72 karma

How do you deal with different languages in the countries that you visit?

global-goose103 karma

Great question!

If we were living in one country for a long period of time it would be worth learning the language and I would certainly make an effort to. However, since we are just travelling through I am only able to learn a few basic phrases.

After several months in South America I am now able to make myself understood in very basic toddler-like Spanish, such as when asking directions, booking hotel rooms, ordering food, etc. I'm a long way from conversational but I am slowly getting there!

Fortunately, English is a universal language and it is widely spoken in many of the places we have been. It makes us a bit lazy when it comes to language learning, but it does makes things easier.

Sometimes there are those moments when you can't find a common language with people, which is when your charades skills come in handy!

manusvelox69 karma

What's in your backpack?

global-goose112 karma

Everything I own!

  • clothes
  • laptop
  • probably more toiletries and beauty products than I need, but less than most other girls
  • first aid kid
  • towel
  • food (jar of nutella, soup packets, teabags, etc.)
  • Kindle
  • iPod
  • a plush lamb I had as a child (for good luck)

bk88612 karma

Do you have to carry extra food for the first aid kid, or are they self sustaining?

global-goose10 karma

Hahaha... I have just been giggling to myself about that typo now for quite some time.

mypatronusisaminion3 karma

how many clothes do you carry?

global-goose6 karma

You know those canvas shopping bags that you get at the supermarket? All of the clothes that I own can fit into one of those.

thehexpistols3 karma

any reason why you choose the Kindle over a multipurpose tablet like the iPad?

global-goose5 karma

The Kindle was a birthday present from my SO. I use it only for reading. I don't want to read on an iPad because I get glare in my eyes when I am lounging on my hammock in the sunshine. ;) #lifeissohard

xrm55064 karma

Number 1. Did you use the same laptop the whole 5 years?

Number 2. If you answered yes to number 1, which laptop was it? Model and make and upgrades?

Number 3. Are you asked these questions a lot?

global-goose23 karma

No, I didn't use the same laptop the whole time. I had a cheap Acer and I wore it out, now I have a cheap HP and I've already cracked the screen. My laptops have a tough life, they are banged around in transit a lot.

I'm not too bothered about fancy specs, as I need is Microsoft Word and Chrome.

dead_donny57 karma

Which platform do you use to find your freelance work?

global-goose125 karma

I use Elance, Odesk and PeoplePerHour. Also, I have quite a few ongoing clients established now that send me work on a regular basis. That's the key to creating a good work flow.

ReCat47 karma

How is it that you are making a living when just about every job on these websites is for less than half of minimum wage?

ReinstallWindows37 karma

I worked on elance for a while. At the start, you are kinda obligated to take low paying jobs because no one else would hire you with 0 reviews. Then you get reviews for your work and you are more likely to get better paying clients.

global-goose65 karma

Yes, this is absolutely true. When I started out I was taking on the crappiest little jobs that were not making me much more than minimum wage. They really weren't worth the time I was spending on them, but I worked hard and did a good job anyway. That got me good ratings and raised my profile on Odesk/Elance/PPH, etc. The more good ratings I got, the better jobs I was able to get.

asdrubalivan56 karma

What happens when you get sick? Do you have something like travel insurance?

global-goose80 karma

Yes, we have travel insurance. When my British boyfriend Lee broke both of his wrists in Canada we were very very very glad we had travel insurance otherwise it would have cost us a lot of money.

We have had food poisoning, skin infections and other minor ailments on the road. We usually treat ourselves and there has been the odd time that we have needed to go to a local doctor... which was totally fine. It wasn't fun when the Malaysian nurse scraped the pus out of the deeply infected mosquito bite on my leg - but she spoke English, the clinic was clean and the antibiotics she gave me were so cheap that I didn't even bother claiming them on the insurance.

Trudeau1949 karma

Do you still manage to save money? its pretty much my dream to make a living while travelling.

global-goose71 karma

Yes. In most of the cheaper countries we are able to save around half of our income and in the more expensive countries we still manage to save a little. We have a nice nest egg growing. :)

3morrow20 karma

What were the most affordable countries you've lived in?

global-goose54 karma

Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka... most of Southeast Asia actually.

In South America... Bolivia and Peru so far.

qatanah36 karma

Hope you can answer regarding budget. How much monthly income u need to sustain ur travel life and working as freelance?

_bdsm90 karma

I can give you my answer and even if OP answers you'll have two different perspectives. Because it's different for everyone depending on your lifestyle. I've been doing what OP is doing for almost 10 years now.

The short answer is for developing countries you'll need about $1,000 p/m and in Western countries everywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 depending on the country. That includes rent, food, insurance, Internet and transportation and a little bit of spending money. If you're a big spender then add more. You could also make it on half that, but then you just have the bare necessities and it's really hard to keep working when you're sharing a room with 6 others and living out of your backpack. You will also need to save extra for your traveling but what's common with a lot of these working travelers is not to plan ahead too much and let your traveling depend on how much you are able to save. I would recommend not planning ahead too much anyways because you never know when you arrive somewhere and make friends or start a relationship and decide you want to stay longer.

The cheaper countries where I've been were in South America and Southeast Asia which are popular destinations for travelers who work online because it's relatively safe, the facilities are pretty decent and more importantly you have fast and reliable Internet which is a luxury in most countries but a necessity if you're doing this work. It's normal in some places for the Internet to be down for days during a hurricane or cyclone or during monsoon season.

Rent is about $800 to $1,500 in the West and $300 to $800 in other countries. That's for a furnished apartment or home which is where I tend to stay. Of course you can stay in a hostel for a lot less, but that also means paying for an Internet cafe or office space to work, eating out every day, paying for a laundromat, etc. When you have a furnished apartment you get an Internet connection and you're done. One advantage a hostel has is that you meet other people there, while having your own place means you are on your own. I still prefer that because it means I can work at home quietly and I have no problem going out to meet people.

Besides rent and food you also need insurance. Which one you get depends on how long you'll be traveling but for the first year you can get an annual backpackers insurance for about $100 p/m. That includes everything you need like theft, damage, medical, etc.

Wherever I go I stay in large cities because you have all the facilities you need there, it's easier to meet new people, and there is (mostly) good public transportation. I use public transportation and taxis because it would be a hassle to buy and sell a car each time I arrive and leave somewhere. For the few times I go on a road trip I'll rent a car for a day.

global-goose15 karma

Wow, I was going to write a reply and then I saw that you had written pretty much exactly what I was going to say! Great info, thank you!

hobbes_2336 karma

Hello! First off I am completely jealous of you and your other half's lifestyle! I'm trying to pick up the courage and research the means and ways of travelling myself! My question: I do you just look online for activities to do and things to see? Or do you prefer to get stuck in and see how the locals live? Also, when I go on holiday to new countries, I find their transport systems daunting! Especially when they speak a different language! How would you get about in most countries?

global-goose41 karma

do you just look online for activities to do and things to see? Or do you prefer to get stuck in and see how the locals live?

Yes, we sometimes use Wikitravel or Google "Things to do in ___" But we also tend to find out about things to do from the locals or the other travellers in our hostel. Staying in hostels is great for that, you tend to get invited along on fun adventures with your new friends from all over the world.

How would you get about in most countries?

I agree, transport systems can be daunting when you don't speak the language and have no idea what is going on. We use Google maps to help us find the right bus or subway line to take in places where it works. You can also ask the staff at your hotel or hostel as they will probably have a knowledge of the local system. If all else fails, sometimes you just have to dive in. If there are other people waiting for the bus, tell them your destination and they will confirm you are in the right place or point toward where you should be. People are generally helpful.

viveknarayan9634 karma

Where are the most beautiful ladies?

global-goose122 karma

I am a girl but I can appreciate beautiful ladies.

Serbia had quite a few, also the Philippines.

alinoumandev31 karma

How has traveling affected you as a person? Did you become more mature, intelligent and good decision taker? Any awesome stories about people that you experienced.

global-goose76 karma

Wow, that's a tough question that I could probably write an entire essay about!

One of the major differences is my confidence and ability to handle uncertainty. My first travel experience was a solo trip to Europe in 2008 and I was scared out of my mind when I arrived at the airport in Paris. My French friend didn't arrive to pick me up and I nearly had a panic attack and jumped on the first plane home read the story here. That solo trip taught me a lot and was incredibly empowering.

After travelling and placing myself in all sorts of strange and unfamiliar situations, I now feel like I can deal with anything.

I also have realised that the culture I grew up with isn't necessarily "right" or "the best", it's just what I am used to. Now, when I go back to Canada I experience reverse culture shock.

As for awesome stories, there are so many. I'll just choose one - Raj the wonderfully generous Indian guy and his family in Taiping, Malaysia. We met them randomly in the supermarket and they insisted we come to their house for dinner. They fed us homemade curry until we nearly burst because we didn't realise that we were supposed to leave some food on our plates to signify that we were finished. I'd always thought the polite thing was to clean your plate...

yen22330 karma

As a Malaysian, I think Raj was pulling your leg :p

global-goose27 karma

It would certainly fit his character. :)

SpongebobStrapon29 karma

Do you always take Powerade with you when you go hiking?

global-goose29 karma

We each carry our own stuff now... it's easier that way.

Lee says hi. :)

IAmCacao27 karma

Awesome! I was also born in Canada and my parents owned an online company, so they could work anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection. Most of my early childhood was just constant travel. I had visited almost 50 countries by the time I was 6!

What do you think the pros and cons are to having this sort of experience as an adult vs as a child?

global-goose28 karma

Hmm... interesting question. They are definitely different experiences. As an adult the lifestyle is more in your control and you will have a better grasp of what is happening. You will also probably appreciate it more.

That said, seeing many different cultures as a young person is certainly nothing but a positive for your development.

Xboxben23 karma

How do you afford it ? And is there any scary/dangerous situations you have gotten involved in?

global-goose43 karma

I earn a living as a freelance writer and my boyfriend does some web design work. We also have a travel blog that generates a portion of our income as well.

As for scary situations, we did have to save a drunken Danish girl from drowning in a river in Vang Vieng, Laos.

mtplsnt18 karma

When starting out did you focus on boosting your blog or picking up freelance work?

Also, what is your situation for being paid? I imagine that you have earnings focused on one bank, but I would like to know if this was a trial and error process.

I am currently living in Taiwan, after a year in Melbourne, and this idea keeps me up at night. Thanks for showing up.

global-goose21 karma

You're welcome!

We have always prioritised the freelance work, as it is what makes the most money. The blog has been a side project all along that earns us a small portion of our income. We mostly do it for fun, it's a hobby that makes a little money.

I get paid via Paypal mostly, which I then transfer into my bank account. Some clients also pay me with a direct bank transfer, depending on what works best for them.

Veryduck17 karma

On average, How long do you stay in a country ?

global-goose39 karma

We tend to travel quite slowly, often spending a week or two in each city/town. It really depends on the size of the country... for example we have been in Brazil for three months because it is such a huge country. We also spent 10 months travelling in Canada, it's enormous!

Small countries such as Uruguay or Slovakia might only get a week or two. To keep costs down we don't stay in very expensive places, such as Singapore or New York, for more than a few days.

FutureWorldProblems16 karma

If you had to settle in one country at pension age, what country would you choose if you had extremely little money?

global-goose35 karma

I haven't found that place yet! I imagine that older me would like a warm climate and a low cost of living, maybe somewhere like Malaysia. I love Malaysian food too. :)

iatowks16 karma

Brazilian here. How could possibly afford living in Brazil with a freelancer wage?

Also :do you ever feel lonely?

global-goose36 karma

Brazil is one of the more expensive countries that we have travelled in. We have been staying in budget hostels and cooking our own food to make it more affordable. I make a decent wage so we can still cover our expenses and save.

I don't feel lonely because I travel with my boyfriend, who is also my best friend and business partner. Also, it's hard to feel lonely when you stay in hostels most of the time and meet cool and interesting people from all over the world.

letsgofightdragons9 karma

I really want to go 'vagabonding' and haven't yet a SO. Can you imagine doing this alone?

global-goose72 karma

If you want to go vagabonding, do it.

Just get out there and do it now. And yes, absolutely go by yourself.

You know why? Because if you want to meet that special someone who shares your passion for the road you might not meet them in your home town. If they yearn to travel like you do, they are probably already out there. You will meet them in a hostel, or on a plane, or at some crazy live music festival in a small fishing village in Brazil or on a walking tour of historic architecture in Prague.

I started out alone and I met my SO on the road. We connected because of our mutual love for exploring this amazing world and we worked together to build this life. Your travel partner is out there, so book a flight and have fun finding them!

I wish you many great adventures.

thedon9716 karma

What country has the best sandwhiches?

global-goose72 karma

Not a country... but a city.

New Orleans. Those po-boys and muffalettas...

locococo361615 karma

Is it fun seeing all the places around the world? Does it ever get boring?

global-goose45 karma

Sometimes it can be boring when you are going to the 20th temple that you have seen that month... but not if you seek out a diverse range of things to do. Every destination offers something different.

Think of it like watching movies... would you ever get bored of watching movies? No, because each one offers a totally different experience.

svensgaard15 karma

Does your boyfriend have any suggestions for finding remote-friendly software or web development work, freelance or otherwise?

global-goose76 karma

He says,

"Don't let them come to you. If you look at a company's website and it is not as good as it should be, get in contact with them and offer your services. Show examples of your work and don't price yourself too high. Under-promise and over-deliver and you have earned a client."

hockeyrugby4 karma

your boyfriend has one great attitude! What a f-ing stud

global-goose5 karma

Yeah, he is pretty cool. ;) His business sense has helped me enormously with my writing career.

LearningLifeAsIGo13 karma

What do your frequent flyer and hotel rewards accounts look like?

global-goose32 karma

Believe or not, we don't fly that often. In 2014 we have only been on one flight. We travel slowly by land, often on buses, trains and boats.

We also stay mostly in cheap hostels or locally owned guesthouses that don't have rewards programs.

wordwrap12 karma

Very interesting blog, I've subscribed because it's something I'm hugely interested in. But I'm wondering if you think your lifestyle would be viable without those extra sources of income? It seems that every "digital nomad" that I read about is keeping a travel blog and writing ebooks and guides*. It's my thinking that this lifestyle is only made possible by selling the dream of the lifestyle to other people. Almost like some mild-mannered cousin to the pyramid scheme. Do you think this is true? Would you be able to carry on if you weren't blogging about your travels or writing ebooks about it?

*This could very well be confirmation bias at work I realise.

global-goose4 karma

For us, the majority of our income comes from my freelance writing work. The blog is just a side income. In our situation, we would be able to carry on our lifestyle without our travel blog or without writing about this lifestyle at all.

While there are some people who make a full time living from their blog, I think this only a small amount of bloggers. You are right, there are a lot of people who make money selling their ebooks about how to live this lifestyle. You may notice that on our blog we don't really write about blogging. We write about working online, but we figure that our readers are more likely to be interested in travel and working abroad.

_mattias12 karma

I'm an 18 year old swedish student who would love to have a livestyle such as yours. Could you comment on the eventual tought situations as a freelance journalist that one will face and how to deal with them? What are the "negative" aspects of what you do and how do you minimize their impact? I hope I don't come off as overly negative when asking this! Also, do you have any books to recommend that will help somebody who would like to start to freelance?

global-goose12 karma

To be honest, I'm not really a freelance journalist and I won't be in the situations that foreign correspondents would be in when working for the media. This doesn't mean that I don't see negative situations, but I am an observer rather than being involved in them.

frescani11 karma

What sort of logistics were involved getting started with this?

How do you ensure Internet access anywhere you're going?

global-goose23 karma

In order to build up the freelancing career I needed to establish myself as a writer, build up a portfolio and create a base of clients. This took about a year, from first writing gig to full time income. I did this while working full time, writing in the evenings and weekends until I was able to go part time at my "day job" and eventually quit.

We identified a basic amount that I needed to make from writing every month to sustain ourselves. We also saved a decent chunk of money so that if it all went wrong, we would be able to afford a flight back home.

Then, we needed to get rid of our stuff. This wasn't too hard as we had met while backpacking, so had already reduced our possessions a little. We sold or gave away anything that didn't fit in our backpacks. We gave up the place we were renting and went for it.

We started by renting an apartment in the South of Portugal for three weeks just to get used to the idea and the lifestyle... sort of like a practice run. It was very successful, so we decided next to backpack across Canada (that was in 2011). The USA followed, then Southeast Asia, Europe and now South America.

As for internet access we do our best to choose hostels, guesthouses and hotels with Wifi connections. It's easier in some countries than others. If we show up someone without a connection, we will leave and stay somewhere else. We also use an iPhone with a shared hotspot as a backup in case the wifi where we are staying goes down.

frescani5 karma

Do you have a recommendation on what it might cost somebody to afford this lifestyle? If that's too close to talking about your own financials, please disregard the question.

This is really cool, thanks for taking the time to do the AMA and giving such thorough answers!

global-goose13 karma

When we first started we worked out that we would need to make at least $2500 USD per month to fund our travels in a sustainable way.

These days I make more than that. We probably spend a bit more now than when we started because we can, but we still manage to save.

sarcasticshirt10 karma

I have been doing something like this as a teacher for 8 years. I'm dreaming of ways to work remotely without teaching. What skills would be the most useful to become location independent? What did you learn that you wished you knew before you started?

global-goose17 karma

It depends... what type of job do you want to do as a location independent career? There are many things that you can do remotely, including web design, translation, writing, blogging, marketing, etc. What are you interested in?

What did you learn that you wished you knew before you started?

Don't eat the fish curry from the dodgy looking restaurant in low season in Koh Lanta.

gutgelacht8 karma

How did you came to this idea before you started out?

global-goose25 karma

I read the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts while I was on a Working Holiday in New Zealand in 2009. That was one of the major inspirations for me. It got me thinking about how I could create an unconventional life of long term travel.

Psychic_Gridlock8 karma

How did you get good at writing?

global-goose19 karma

I was always a geeky kid and I read a lot. I have been into writing since I was very young and I used to write journals, poems, short stories, newletters, etc. for fun when I was bored all throughout my life.

I don't have any official writing qualifications, I just started freelancing and built up a reputation on the quality of my work.

fuckingc00nt7 karma

The both of you seem really fit. So my question is, with all that travel, does it get easier to remain fit?

global-goose11 karma

No, it's difficult to stay in shape! There is too much delicious food and I want to try it all. :)

We do a lot of walking though, and carrying our backpacks is workout in itself. And I try to go running on a regular basis, which helps to cancel out the beers and yummy food.

Gargamelintights7 karma

Sounds like an awesome life! I have been pondering about this myself, but what really keeps me from doing something like this is leaving all my friends (and family, but family will always be family, no matter how long you're gone) behind... Do you still have friends at home? Have you lost (good) friendships because of this lifestyle, do you regret this and why (not)?

Thanks and have fun on your future adventures!

global-goose13 karma

I just booked a flight today to visit my family back home at Christmas - it will be my first Christmas with them for 5 years!

I am still in touch with my best friends from back home. The thing about true good friends is that even if you don't see them for a couple of years, the moment you see them in person again you go right back to being as close as ever - like no time has passed at all.

Also, in the era of Facebook, Skype, etc. it's easy to stay in touch with friends and family. It's not the same as in-person interaction, but it's the next best thing when you are on the other side of the world.

Also, I have made so many amazing friends while travelling that I would never have met otherwise. Some of the most wonderful friends I know were random strangers whom I shared a hostel room with and formed a bond. Those bonds have lasted for years and have spawned other meetings and visits too!

robtheAMBULANCE6 karma

Where did you spend your time traveling in Canada, being your home base and all, and where was the most beautiful part, and the nicest people?

global-goose7 karma

We did a trip across Canada from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, stopping in every province.

Most beautiful? Perhaps I am biased as an Albertan - but the Rocky Mountains in my home province are mind-blowingly gorgeous.

Nicest people? There were nice people in every province, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Newfies. We spent 4 months in Newfoundland and met some wonderful, funny, down to earth, welcoming people. I can't help but grin when I think back to our adventures hitchhiking around the small fishing villages.

centrallyscrutinized6 karma

What does your significant other do to help out with the finances? Does he have an income that he can generate on the road like you do? Does he help you with your writing? Or is he living my dream....?

global-goose25 karma

He also freelances as a web designer, although he is only really part time. He maintains our travel blog and he is also responsible for a lot of the practical aspects of travel planning and getting us from point A to point B.

Plus, he also does all the cooking. I bring home the bacon, he cooks it. :D

He does joke that he has the sweeter end of the deal. :)

thechubbmeister6 karma

Just want to say how much I love the sound of your lifestyle and I hope to do tbe same one day, as I'm a web designer too with a passion for travelling!

Just want to ask, do you need to pay tax on what you earn? How exactly does it all work earning money while abroad?

global-goose14 karma

As a Canadian citizen, being abroad doesn't exempt me from tax. I have an accountant in Canada who figures it all out for me, it's kind of complicated.

Lee is British and doesn't have to pay tax, as he is outside of the country for most of the year.


is it a giant back pack?

global-goose6 karma

There is a picture of me carrying it on this page. That was a couple of years ago, it has a lot more flags on it now!

awesomeflyinghamster5 karma

What kind of Internet speeds do you typically find? I'm a soon-to-be traveling programmer, and this is a major concern.

global-goose7 karma

In the cities the speeds are fine, depending on the hotel or hostel. You can usually find good speeds and if not, there are always coffee shops.

In some places the internet speeds are incredibly slow, so we treat those places as time off and don't spend too long there. We were just in the Amazon rainforest last week and understandably internet was just not happening.

boggleogle3 karma

how do you get clients?

global-goose6 karma

I mostly use freelancing websites like Elance, Odesk and PeopleperHour. Also, I get some clients through the website and some via word of mouth from other satisfied clients.

boggleogle4 karma

mind if i ask your hourly rate? or do you bill by project?

global-goose11 karma

I quote a rate depending on the individual project. My rate is typically $25USD for 500 words, but it can be more than that depending on the amount of research or the type of project. I have a decent writing speed so I can make a nice hourly wage.

NorbitGorbit3 karma

travel power adapter advice?

global-goose6 karma

Oh man, don't even get me started. Half of Lee's backpack is full of travel power adaptors.

But seriously, invest in a good universal adaptor and a power bar. Plug your power bar in, then plug everything else into it.

lschis943 karma

What exactly do you do for a living?

global-goose5 karma

I am a freelance writer. I take on numerous writing projects for a variety of clients.

It's always something different with every client, but to give you an example some of my recent work has included writing a guide to spotting wildlife in Banff National Park, several blogs about islands in Thailand, an Ebook about train travel across Canada, and a budget backpacker guide to visiting Iguazu Falls on the cheap.

sprouu3 karma

I would want to ask- How much would someone need to have to live a lifestyle like you all?

Does 50k for the year cover your expenses?

global-goose6 karma

Yes, 50k certainly would. We don't fly very much and we stay in hostels and reasonably priced guest houses so our expenses are quite low. In fact, in some cheaper countries we spend less while travelling than we would if we were living in somewhere like Canada or the USA.

sprouu4 karma

Awesome. You guys really give me inspiration. Enjoy what you are doing!

global-goose3 karma

Thank you very much!

sprouu3 karma

So I do know that you said your other half does logistics.

How do you find the hostels and guesthouses? Internet or just walking around?

Have you tried AirBnB?

global-goose7 karma

He usually does a bit of research before we arrive somewhere and he sometimes has a place booked or at least a name of a hostel in mind. However, there have been many times when we have showed up on a night bus at 4am with no hotel booked and we have just wandered around until we found something.

If we do book ahead we only book one night, just in case the hotel or hostel is terrible or has bad wifi - we can stay one night and then find somewhere else.

Yes, we have used AirBnb. We rented a lovely apartment in La Paz, Bolivia for two weeks on AirBnb, it was great!

Helenarubinstien3 karma

Do you have internet on your phone when travelling? If so how do you do this and not get charged a ridiculous amount in roaming fees etc

global-goose5 karma

Yes we do, we buy a local SIM card for the country we are in.

sup_mane3 karma

First off, thank you for sharing your experiences. It's very inspiring to hear about people like you who are doing what many of us dream of doing someday.

My question is, have you met any other travelers who are living similar lifestyles but aren't freelance writers or web designers? My skills and work experience are related to finance and data analysis, but I would love to be able to travel and work remotely like you guys. Thanks for all the advice you've already given!

global-goose6 karma

Yes, I have met people who are "digital nomads" like us and are doing lots of other things. I even met a guy who was making a living from online poker.

Basically, if you can do it on your laptop from home - you can do it on your laptop from a hotel or a hostel anywhere in the world.

Mistermixology19843 karma

Thanks for doing this. How is being homosexual perceived world wide? Is there mostly acceptance, or for the most part are the LGBTQ community shunned?

global-goose14 karma

I can't speak from our experiences, as I am a woman with a male partner.

However, I have met a few gay travelling couples and sometimes they pretend to be siblings in order to avoid judgement. They are open around other travellers whom they know will accept them, but they are careful about which destinations they visit and how they are perceived.

Unfortunately, in some countries homosexuality is frowned upon and in other countries it is actually illegal. :(

trigunned3 karma

are you strictly a travel writer? And which publications do you write for?

global-goose5 karma

I write mostly travel related content, but I will work on other projects too if I find them interesting. I have also written theatre and art reviews and sales copy for websites.

An example of someone I write for is Flight Network.

thehexpistols2 karma

3 questions! What is your typical work day like? How many hours do you work a week? How do you stay focused? :)

global-goose3 karma

  1. It's hard to describe a typical work day. On a day when we have settled into one place for a while I will typically work from 9-5 and take the evenings and weekends off. However, sometimes we have to take buses or trains and I will be working in transit. Sometimes we decide to do something in the day and I will work in the morning and take the afternoon off, or work a split day. That's the blessing of freelance work, I'm able to adjust my work to whatever is happening that day.

  2. I think I work around 30-35 hours per week - sometimes less, sometimes more.

  3. Staying focused is one of my biggest challenges. Some of the strategies that have worked for me are:

  • Setting small goals throughout the day and rewarding myself after. "I'll finish this article and then I can go for a swim in the pool." I also set larger targets, such as how much I need to earn that month.
  • Big headphones. Sometimes I have music playing, sometimes I don't - but they discourage people from talking to me when I am working in hostels or cafes. I'm a ridiculously social person and I can spend hours in conversation, so I have to avoid starting to chat with people when I am supposed to be getting stuff done.
  • I use the StayFocused Chrome browser extension to block Facebook and Reddit while I am working.

jwillis502 karma

How did you get your blog popular enough to fund your travels?

global-goose2 karma

The blog doesn't supply the majority of the income - that comes from my freelance writing work. It could make a lot more if I focused on it, but I am very busy with other freelance work too.

Phato47832 karma

How did you get started? Any regrets?

global-goose4 karma

I had the idea while on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand. I started doing some freelance writing work on the side to fund my travels. I realised I could turn it into a full time income, then I would not have to be based in any particular location. I have always wanted to travel, so that made perfect sense.

I don't really have any regrets. There are a few countries that I have been to that I would like to have seen more of (New Zealand, the Philippines)... but that just means that I have to go back!

Solkre2 karma

What laptop(s) have you been using over the 5 years?

global-goose5 karma

I had a cheap Acer that lasted a couple of years and now I have a cheap HP. Being my laptop is a tough job... it gets banged around a lot in transit and is subjected to a lot of different climates. When I was in Thailand in April it was so hot that my laptop was like "nope!" and kept shutting itself down. All I need is Microsoft Word and Chrome, so I don't need anything fancy.

tajmer1 karma

you know this FB like me pop up on your site is annoying. you cant remove it without likeing. at least for me on mobile safari.

and for question is what makes you different from tons of others sites like this? all i saw on your site is copy paste clickbait articles. Pretty much same articles on all travel blogs.

I dont see some personal stories about life there, adventures or something like that. Just "7 reasons why should you this" "10 places for this" "6 best beaches" bla bla

global-goose1 karma

Are you sure you are on the right website? We don't have any of those posts?

Our site is about our travels but we also offer travel tips and topics of interest for travellers. What makes two newspapers different than each other? They will all cover the same basic topics, but with their own twist.

Philobus1 karma

Where exactly do you stay? Do you hop around hostels, stay in a rental place for a few months? What determines the length of time in any given location?

I love traveling but, other than a hostel, my limiting factor is sleeping accommodations.

global-goose3 karma

We stay mostly in hostels, but it depends on which part of the world we are in. For example, in Southeast Asia it was locally run guesthouses that offered the best value. In Europe things are expensive, so we stayed in hostel dorms to keep costs down. In Canada it was also expensive, but there are fewer hostels so we Couchsurfed.

In some places we have rented an apartment by the week when we want to stay for a while and have a home base where we can cook, do laundry etc.

keeshro1 karma

How do you select which writing jobs you take on? You mentioned you have some steady clients- do you just accept everything they ask or do you pick and choose? Do you pick jobs based on the required travel?

global-goose2 karma

I accept most work, because as a freelancer it's good practice. However, if the rate isn't worth my time or if the project doesn't fit me well, I will turn it down.

My jobs are often based on my knowledge of travel destinations. I don't have to be in that destination at the time to write about it, but that certainly helps. I am often writing about where I have visited previously, not necessarily where I am now.

axpmaluga1 karma

How do you plan where to go next? Was it mapped out from the beginning or you just figure it out as you go along?

global-goose4 karma

We just figure it out as we go along.

For example, one morning in Budapest we woke up with the intention of going to Vienna, but the hostel we were looking at was full. Lee turned to me and said, "Fancy Bratislava instead?" I was like, "why the hell not?"

Sometimes we have a rough idea of where we are going, but it's pretty flexible.