Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d still be travelling after 12 months. Sure, we hoped that we’d be able to grab hold of the same “nomadic-life” dream that we’d spent the past year reading about on travel blogs; but deep down we never thought we could make it.
Three years later and we’re still on the road. We’re still travelling, albeit slowly (as we very much prefer).
We left with around $30,000 to do an around-the-world trip, thinking that it might be just enough for us to circumnavigate the globe and catch a small peek of how wonderful the world is.
It might sound like a lot of money, but you’d be surprised how fast that total starts to dip when you start buying a flight here, accommodation there, and fund the few experiences you want along the way.
How we’ve managed to make that money last for three years is mind-blowing to us both.
"Is it really possible?", we asked ourselves when we reviewed our accounts this year. Well, I suppose this blog is a record of just how real a possibility it is.
The turning point for us that allowed us to budget so well and really spread out of savings has been a combination of the kindness of strangers in foreign lands, friends in countries we’ve visited before, and the magnificence that is house sitting.
The Realities of Full-Time Travel
It’s never been easy. Travel in general is never easy, regardless of how perfect some travel outlets or blogs may have you believe. It’s not all beaches, barbecues, and bottles of champagne. The reality is that it really takes its toll on you both physically and mentally. One day you’re in one location, another day you’re flying on a jet plane somewhere else. Sure, it’s the life we chose, but it doesn’t make it any easier, just as waking up and going to work tomorrow isn’t going to be any easier or inviting for you than it was this morning.
The benefits of our nomadic lifestyle certainly outweigh how tough it can be on us – without a shadow of a doubt – especially when we consider what travel has given us over the years.
We’ve made eternal friends in Asia and Europe. Friends who made us smile or educated us about the world. Friends who continue to inspire us to be better versions of ourselves and to translate that into inspiration for others we meet on our journey.
Through travel we learned of the hardship others go through just to survive.
We learned that we’ve all the same, although the way we live life may be different.
Our compassion for all things has exceeded all we knew and understood before hand. We want to help and heal, and put others before ourselves.
Above all else we went vegan because of travel, possibly the most important lesson either of us have learned in our lives.
The After-Effects of Nomadic Travel
As we sit here house sitting in Berlin we realise that we’re both physically and mentally drained. We’re tired. Not of travel, but the toll it can take on us and everyone who wishes to live independently of one sole location.
Ultimately the reason that we’re now coming to the conclusion that our current life of full-time travel is coming to an end is financial. We simply can’t afford to keep living this lifestyle choice that we made just a few years ago. We wish that we had both the financial and physical strength to continue as we are, but the facts are laid upon the table for us both to see that something must change.
So we will make a change.
We’re going to return to the UK – but not full-time.
Where Is Home?
Even before we started to travel people would ask us if we’d return home either to the UK, or to Italy.
At the time all we could think was that we’d not even started our travels yet, and already we were being asked to think about the end. In our minds we’ve always said that if we found somewhere that felt right then we’d make the choice to stay there, regardless of the difficulties that may come with it; and last year we thought we’d found that place with Berlin.
The city literally has everything you could possible want or need, and we’ve written extensively on how easy Berlin is to live in – but there’s something calling us elsewhere.
Right now our accounts are as bare as can be. There’s really very little left inside of them, and we’re too aware that to "start again" somewhere costs money.
Essentially we need to fall onto our feet almost immediately and the easiest place for us both to do that is the UK. I’m a British resident and Franca has experience of working in the country which should aid our ability to pick up work and start saving again – and saving is the crucial point.
We’re not done with travel.
The idea of completely cutting ourselves off from our addiction to travel simply isn’t something either of us are willing to contend with. Travel is in our blood. Being stationary for too long isn’t going to be something we can do. We know we’ll miss the road too much.
The only option open for us is to be semi-nomadic.
As ever, we’re not planning too much, but we do have a general idea of how we’re going to (hopefully) shape our future.
Our intention is to return, work, and save until we can travel again. We have several friends who’ve done the same and they continue to inspire us to replicate the way they travel.
Either we’re going to work for two months and then travel every third, or work for six months and spend the next 6 months travelling. At this stage, it’s all up in the air. We might even find ourselves in jobs where we can take time off more frequently so that we can travel every 4-6 weeks or so; but again, we’re not looking ahead too far. One step at a time.
What Will Change?
For this blog, very little. We’ve spoken time-and-time-again about the blog and how nothing is really going to change. We’ll still be travelling frequently, even if just for a weekend – so this will always be the travel blog it has always been, and we’ll keep writing the resourceful content we’ve always tried to share so that you can enjoy you travels as we have.
We’ll continue to write our new Slow Travel Guides, and we’re going to start writing even more content on how to be the best pet and house sitter you can be, plus there’ll be even more vegan travel content coming in the next few weeks.
Essentially our output will remain the same as always. By taking staycations in the UK we might even become better experts on how to travel in the UK, so we can create more posts like our recent London on a Budget article.
Will We Still Slow Travel?
Without a shadow of a doubt, yes.
We’re still going to be taking our time to travel where we can.
We’ll still be house sitting for days and weeks throughout the year because it’s the smartest, cheapest, and most local way to travel.
In true slow travel style, in just under ten days time we’ll be heading back out into Europe in partnership with Interrail/Eurail and will hopefully spend a month using one of their passes to see countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia slowly.
Goodbye Europe, Hello Who Knows Where?
Where in the UK we’re going to find our home-base to travel from, we really don’t know.
Once our Interrail trip is over we’re going to head to the UK and travel to a couple of cities that we’ve already heard great things about.
We’ve been reading great things about Bristol and Manchester as hot stops for vegans and alternative culture, so we’re going to spend a few days in each, plus a handful of other suggested cities to see which we’d like to start the next part of our journey in.
Ideally we’d prefer to move to somewhere like London or Brighton, but we’re fully aware that we probably don’t have the funds to live there, especially without the income a job would provide.
It’s really hard sometimes to convey with text how we truly feel, so we both hope that how we feel comes out in joined thoughts and words here.
We’re both incredible excited to go semi-nomadic and to hopefully bring some stability to our lives again.
Neither of us are foolish enough to think that we’ll land on our feet straight away, but the nervousness that we both feel about finding jobs that work for us within our financial time-frame doesn’t have to be a curse. Instead it can be the fuel to keep us hunting for the ideal job for our plans.
Hopefully soon we’ll be able to share exactly where we’ll stay and what jobs we’ll be doing with you all, our friends.
Love, Dale & Franca
Is there a city you think we should consider?