Kach and Jonathan met while travelling back in 2013. They have done everything from teaching certified English, running Yoga donation classes, volunteering in Peru and now make an income from their blog. Come hear their story as they Show Us The Money.
How much money was in your pocket/wallet/bank account when you started on your travel adventure? And how did you decide that was enough to get started?
I (Kach) had only $3000 cash savings when I quit my job in the Middle East, while Jonathan had $4500 (3000 GBP) when he left the UK for good in March 2013. We’ve actually met while traveling and decided to become a couple in July 2013. A month later we decided to join and share our finances. My initial plan was to backpack for just 6 months and do some volunteering, so I knew that I had more than enough cash. I actually carried all of it with me, spread between my different bags! Of course, all my plans changed when I met Jonathan. Jonathan’s plan was always to teach TEFL in South East Asia, so he was just travelling until he found a place he wanted to stop and work for a while. He always just used ATMs as he has a Caxton FX travel Visa to save on bank charges.
What methods do you currently use to make money while you travel (in order of most value)?
We’ve invested in different certifications since we started our backpacking journey as a couple - we are both TEFL certified English teachers, Tantra Yoga Teachers (with Yoga Alliance) and Ayurveda Massage Therapists. We wrote an article here about our Sustainable Travel Lifestyle.
While in South East Asia, Jon and I taught English in Vietnam and were able to earn $19 to $25/hour teaching English. We worked 40 hours a week each and that’s how we funded our certifications and our trips to the UK and South America.
When we arrived in Peru, we were able to get a volunteering gig in a Lodge in a small town near Machu Picchu, so our accommodation and food were sorted. We then decided to offer Ayurveda Massage Therapy to all the Lodges and nearby hotels - we were moving our massage bed in a wheelbarrow around town and charging $40 to $50 per massage treatment. We also did some Donation-only Yoga classes!
Now, we’re also starting to earn money with our new blog website which we started last October 2014 and our aim is to start earning 10K/month from it - sponsors, advertisers, travel coaching clients, affiliate and even donation. We’re already half way there!
As you've travelled the world and met other travellers, what is the most unusual way you've heard of other people creating an income on the road?
I’m not sure if it’s unusual but we’ve met people selling jewellery, offering haircuts and even people juggling and performing at the traffic lights in Peru!
How much do you spend (on average) each month?
Flights/Transport: $0 to $800 (We rarely fly!)
Accommodation/Utilities: $200 to $450
Food: $200 to $300
Tours & Entertainment: $0 to $300
Miscellaneous: $100 to $200
Total Outgoing Expenses: It depends but our average monthly budget for expenses is $800. Flying is so rare that we can’t really include it in an average.
What have been the ways that you've saved the most amount of money?
We’ve done Couchsurfing, hitchhiking and volunteering in Asia and South America, which we just discovered from other travellers and friends. We’ve also just signed up with a housesitting website, so we’re really excited to give that a go here in Costa Rica.
What things have been the biggest waste of money for you?
Maybe when we bought a lot of stuff for our new expat life in Arequipa, Peru, but after a few months we both decided to leave and move to Costa Rica to continue our journey! So we had no choice but to sell our almost brand new stuff at around half price!
From now on, we’ve both decided not to buy a lot of stuff as it’s hard to keep it when we’re on the move!
What is the best money generation/management tip that you read/heard that impacted your life?
I always have this “envelope separation strategy” and I’ve forgotten which book I got it from! I’ve been doing this kind of money management thing ever since I started earning my own money. I usually have different envelopes for all the things we have to spend when we’re not traveling - we have a Food Budget, Leisure/Party Budget, Bills Envelope and Emergency Envelope. Jonathan eventually got used to sticking to the money inside the envelopes and recording where we spend the money. At the end of each month, I type and track it in my excel sheet!
It’s really good as we’re able to stick with our budget - I love tracking it too, the Excel is more of an addiction than a necessity!