Last year, I kicked off the year in Key West. (Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park)

 

“And then, there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your

life not doing what you want on the bet that you can buy yourself the

freedom to do it later.” ~ Randy Komisoar

 

My New Year’s resolution is always the same: Travel More!

I’m LITERALLY spending all of 2018 on the road. Life’s too short to NOT do the things that make you feel alive and nothing make me feel more alive than traveling!

This isn’t my first long-term trip, but this time I’m doing things differently.

In the past, I worked hard, saved money, quit my job and traveled for months on end. My money would run out, and I’d come home. Then, the cycle would repeat. Each trip lead to more work that helped build a career and jobs that paid me to travel.

In May, I quit everything that wasn’t moving me toward my career and travel goals, which I wrote about here. I officially went freelance full-time, which is something I haven’t done since 2008 when the economy tanked. (More on that experience here.) I’ve had enough work to do it but was just fearful. (2008 left me with a bit of PTSD.)

When I got back from my 8-month South America trip in the summer of 2015, my savings account was totally dry thanks to all of my electronics deciding to die on the trip.

This time things are different. Since then my savings account is higher than it’s ever been thanks to the endless stretch of 12-14 hour days I’ve worked for the last 2.5 years. (It’s currently at $49,450.37, which is easily enough money to live really, really well for two or three years in Asia. Keep in mind this is my savings AFTER throwing down a heavy chunk of change to go to Iceland, Kilimanjaro, Key West and countless road trips the past two years. Plus, I had to put new tires on my car, replace my timing belt and fix my transmission leak.) I’m good with money so saving has always been easy for me.

This time, I’m ending the cycle.

This time, I’m entering the digital nomad world, where travel is my full-time job. I’ve spent the last three years building up a diverse network of freelance clients to sustain me while I travel. Most of my freelance work is doing both writing and photography for publications. I also do corporate photography. In the summer, I manage photo trips for high school students and recently started teaching online for a university in Texas instead of on campus to allow myself to be location-independent. My goal is to make enough money to live on so I don’t have to touch my savings.

 

Traveling Gnome

Alfred the Gnome is all packed and ready for South America!

 

Now, let’s chat about my 2018 travel itinerary:

I kicked off the year visiting my family in South Carolina. I’m typing this from Austin now where I’m wrapping up some freelance projects.

On Friday, I board a one-way flight to Buenos Aries, a city I fell in love with in 2015. My main goal is to escape winter. There’s nothing that makes me grumpier than cold weather and being hungry. (My friends will vouch for both.) I belong in flip-flop weather.

I rented an apartment with one of my best friends for a month. My goal is to hunker down and start my first e-Book project to help answer the question “How do you afford to travel so much?” that outlines my financial philosophy and habits that allow me to save half my income, have no debt and travel nonstop.  (If you are interested in this project and want to help out, answer these four short questions to let me know what topics you’d like me to cover!)

After Argentina, I head to Chile to explore the parts I missed in 2015 including Easter Island. (Imagine the gnome photo possibilities!) Then, I fly to Colombia to do The Lost City Trek and meet up with a few friends in Cartagena. I’ll be traveling slowly and working as I go.

In May, I head back to the States for an EPIC hiking trip with friends. (Details to come later.) I’ll be riding camels across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia this summer. I head back to Texas again for a month for a freelance project in September. When the weather starts to cool down, I’ll make my way to Southeast Asia to spend the winter. I refuse to come back to the U.S. until at least March when it’s warm enough for flip-flops.

The blog structure will change a bit since I’m traveling full-time (finally!). I’ll be documenting my spending and keeping a journal of life on the road. I’ll still be posting travel guides and interviews with experts. Click here to tell me what you want to hear more about this year!

I hope my adventures inspire you to book some flights. Life is short. Do what you love.  Follow along on Instagram and Twitter!

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