Living The Dream: Embrace Any Opportunity That Presents Itself

Living The Dream

We met Jade in Melbourne twice the last few weeks and she has a beautiful family. We’ve been following her blog for awhile and I admire her tenacious attitude to getting the work done so she can go on Living The Dream.

Jade Johnston

What was the first country you visited? Who with and why did you choose it?

The first country I visited was the Dominican Republic. I was 17 years old and I had met an exchange student at University who invited me to come back with her to the Dominican Republic over the Christmas break. I came from a fairly modest background and we never had enough money to spend on family holidays. I had never even left my home province before this trip.

I didn't really choose this to be my first trip. The opportunity presented itself and I jumped at it. But I was a pretty clueless traveller. I just stayed at the village where her family lived and didn't go any exploration outside that area. I didn't even know what a travel guide book was!

When did you start a travel lifestyle? What inspired that change?

I have always been the type of person to embrace any opportunity that presents itself. I was always an exceptional student at my university, so after my first year of university I was offered my pick of international exchange programs. Options were fairly limited to me since I studied math, and most exchange programs are for the arts, but despite that I still found myself in Denmark a year later.

Prior to moving to Denmark, I shared a house with some exchange student who were studying in my home city of Winnipeg. One of them was a Latvian, and prior to flying to Denmark, I stopped over in Latvia to visit him. Latvia was the first country I bought a guide book for, the first country where I spent all day wandering the streets and visiting restaurants and museums, and the place where I definitely caught the travel bug.

Once I arrived in Denmark I probably spent more time hopping around Europe on cheap Ryan Air flights then I did actually looking at a math textbook. The travel bug was caught.

Do you have a base you travel from? Or is it continuous travel? And why do you choose that style?

I always have a base. The longest that I have ever done continuous travel is 3 - 5 months, and after that I just need to unpack and settle down for a little while. When I was in my early 20's I did a series of working holiday trips in various countries. I would move to a country, live and work there, and travel it in my spare time. I visited Denmark, the UK, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia in this way.

Now I am a permanent resident in Australia and this is my base. We still occasionally put all our stuff in storage and set off on a 3 - 5 month long trip, but shorter trips are more the norm for us now.

Although I have a blog of my own, which has continued to grow and become more and more successful over the years, I still like the security of working a full time job. For the last few years I will work a full time contract for 6 - 8 months, save up, and then pack up and go travel until the money starts to run out.

How do you fund your travel lifestyle? Is it something you do when travelling or are you a saver?

I work full time and am a pretty strict budgeter. I have a budget app on my phone and every pay check I receive is divided up immediately and anything left over is put into savings. I'm pretty ruthless. I prefer to do temping contracts where I work and save for 6 months, then go travel, and then repeat. At the moment I have accepted a permanent contract, but they know about my travel business and allow a very generous amount of time off for this purpose.

In addition to this I also make a small income from my travel writing, however making money is not the focus of my travel blog. I don't want to make my blog a full time business as I'm afraid it will take some of the fun out of blogging for me.

If you could tell yourself one tip before you started your travel lifestyle, what would it be?

I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out for me. I honestly would not do anything differently when it comes to my travel lifestyle.

What does "Living The Dream" mean to you?

For me "Living the Dream" means having the confidence and the financial security and take advantage of as many opportunities that come my way. I am very lucky that both my husband and young son love travel as much as I do, and that so far it has been very easy for me to come and go from various temporary jobs.

You can find Jade here -

Website: Our Oyster

Twitter:  @our_oyster

To visit 50 countries before I turn 30. Currently on 47 and one year left!

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