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Vagabonding finances

I get asked at least 3 times a day either in person or via email… “How do you afford to do what you do?”

I am far from rich…I promise that I have not hit the lottery, stock market, found a magic income generator on Ebay, or any other Holy Grail of economics. People still think that money is a huge barrier to them being able to see the world. I disagree, and will run the numbers for my trip last year.


Ko Lanta, and island on the west side of thailand, Andaman sea
Ko Lanta, an island on the west side of Thailand in the Andaman sea

In Southeast Asia, I lived in relative backpacker “luxury”. Sure, I still gave up AC and had insects inside my bungalow that would frighten an entomologist, but i chose the middle ground between comfort and savings. I averaged about $20 a day….or $600 a month to live. That was not just sitting around the bungalow, that was exploring the country, falling into newbie scams, entertainment – pretty much everything but my scuba diving.

Average costs while on my trip:
———————————————————————-
Night of accommodation = $5 – $10 a night. ($10 only in the islands and very touristy areas.)
I stayed in bungalows and guest houses, very few hotels.

Average meal = $.50 – $2 (yes…thats a decimal point before the 50!)
The funny thing is that I splurged to try new things…it could have been cheaper!

Travel insurance = ~$30 a month.
This eliminates the need for health insurance…..a HUGE expense for me at home.

Transportation = ~$30 a month.
This eliminates auto insurance, car maintenance, and buying gas. I walked, used local buses, tuk-tuks, hitchhiked, etc.

Entertainment = ~$100 a month
Obviously this could have been MUCH cheaper, but my personal conviction is that it is OK to cut costs on everything but new experiences.

A Thai bucket with Redbull at a beach party was about $5. If you find me a pub in America where you can have that much fun for $5, I will move there! :)

So that puts us at about $600 a month to live a healthy and exciting life…with new stories to tell gathered daily. Not at bad deal when you consider what you will be paying at home:

- rent or mortgage
- utilities
- health insurance
- car insurance
- car payment or at least maintenance/repairs
- entertainment, movies, expensive dinners, nights at the club/pub
- purchases made out of boredom or because “I deserve it”.

Once past the barrier of entry (a plane ticket) it is MUCH cheaper for me to stay on the road!



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One Response to “Vagabonding finances”

  1. ana says:

    Your style is simply amazing, man. i can’t believe what you say but i guess that’s how you do it.

    Try coming over to the other Asian countries like the Philippines and you’ll find out that you can even spend much cheaper $ going to exotic places and watersheds.

    OHHh, and thanks for the tip.

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