Fast-forwarding 30 years from the conversation I talked about in How Much Does It Cost To Travel The World, I am having that same conversation today about being a world traveler and living an international life.
Only this time the conversation is with an old college buddy, recent friends, and strangers on social media. But not all at once.
Some Things Change, Most Things Don’t
These conversations are a little more realistic, touching on practical issues such as how to make money while traveling. I didn’t think too much about that in my university days.
Recalling the grand declarations my college self and friends made about our future, the conversation today hasn’t changed that much. However, I’ve changed.
- I have a few grey hairs and extra pounds.
- I use more Advil than I realized I would.
- I’m actually doing what I dreamt about in those halcyon university days.
But the conversation – pretty much the same. Only, instead of declaring what our future selves would do, this current conversation is about what everyone wishes they could do now.
It usually begins along the lines of “You’re so lucky“ and ends with “I wish I had the money to travel”. Well, you do have the money to travel.
My previous blog affirmed that, yes, you can travel. This blog is about how we make the money to travel and how you can do it too.
When this travel conversation takes place with people I’ve just met or with the new and puzzling social media ‘friends’ I’ve never met, they inevitably think we are rich. We are not.
Once that’s cleared up, and it can take some time to convince people we are just ‘regular people’, which leads to the next question, “How do you travel if you aren’t rich?”
That’s what this blog is about – traveling AND making money.
How We Make Money Traveling – How You Can Make Money Traveling
This blog is less about us and how we make money traveling and more about you. About how you, or really anyone, can make money traveling.
Let me start out by showing you there is nothing particularly exceptional about us, although our mothers think we’re pretty special.
Our Pre-international Life
Long before we became nomads, Kim toiled away in a Fortune 500 company. She was a cog in the great machine, wedged in middle management. A life many Americans live:
- Not wonderful, not terrible
- Not where she wanted to be, not abhorrent enough to leave
- Above survival, below thriving
I taught high school science
- Low paid
- On the edge of surviving.
We owned a cookie-cutter house. We owned 2 mid-priced cars. We had 2 exceptional children. Our lawn was beautiful.
We were on Conformity Highway headed to Obedience Town in Apathy County in the state Languor nestled quietly in the of nation Passivity. We were living on autopilot, doing as we were told to do and expected to do. Two faces among the millions. We fit the U.S. Census bell curve perfectly. We would bring up our boys to do the same.
This was not the life we wanted. We began dreaming of a life full of travel over 20 years ago. But in order to make it a reality, we had to make some changes.
How You Can Make Money Traveling
And this is where the blog becomes about you because these are the steps we took to make money traveling and they are the steps you can take too.
Here is what we did, we:
- Reevaluated our lives identifying what was really important to us and what we wanted out of life. International travel was the answer.
- Made a plan to get us where we wanted to be. It was a multi-year plan.
- Put the plan in action. The plan changed many times as circumstances changed, things did not go as we expected, and our goals adjusted.
Kim researched (she very good with researching) ways to make a living remotely. She focused on jobs that she:
- Wanted to do
- Was qualified to do or could learn to do.
This order is important. Your wants and desires have to come first when it comes to your work.
Then Kim went through the application process until she was hired. But we did not hit the road immediately. She made sure the new job was what she really wanted to do and laid down a track record of quality and consistency.
I did the same.
A New Reality – Making Money While Traveling
Kim became a writer in the online gambling industry. She is paid a salary, receives benefits, gets paid holidays, and vacation time. Just like a real job, except she can receive and submit assignments from anywhere in the world.
This arrangement makes Kim look particularly efficient. When we are in Kuala Lumpur, or anywhere in Asia, she may finish an article at 4:00 PM, that’s 5:00 AM at the office. She looks like the most dedicated employee ever!
I earned an MBA in International Business and became a university professor. I accepted positions in different countries. This was our introduction to the international life we thought we wanted.
But it turns out we are true nomads. A year or longer in one country to complete a teaching contract was too long. We needed to move about more often.
Making My Own Job To Make Money Traveling
I love languages. Although I teach International Business, I found myself helping a lot of students sharpen their English skills. Especially in China and Thailand. I also pick up languages quite easily. I’m a natural.
Actually, I found out I’m not a ‘natural’. I’m just like everyone else when it comes to language learning, just like you.
What I found out is I had a system to make language learning easier. I was just using this system out of habit not realizing it was really a system.
So, I made it a system. Codified it. Created a way for everyone to use it. Made it a business. That’s how I make money now. I can do this from anywhere in the world.
We are nomads.
We also like making videos of our travels. So we thought, why not make that a business? So we did.
We created a YouTube channel, KIMANDWAY, which quickly started generating ad money. Not much, like $25 a month, but it’s a start.
What we really like about it, is other people like it. Thousands of people watch our videos now, and funny enough none of them are our family members. It’s fun. Eventually, the ad revenue will be thousands of dollars a month.
If you like a particular YouTube channel, make sure to subscribe, hit the bell, and comment. This is what keeps YouTube channels going. It’s a painless, no-cost way to support the content you like or your friends who have a YouTube channel.
Let me give you a moment to subscribe to KIMANDWAY . . .
We also do affiliate sales. Some of the products and services we use are excellent. So we prompt them and receive a small amount every time someone makes a purchase.
These include travel health insurance, airport lounge passes, a travel coffee maker. A full list with links is here at Our Favorite Travel Resources, Websites And Gear.
Some products and services we use are not excellent, we don’t prompt those.
Here’s a tip for every business owner:
Create a reputation for quality and dependability, even if you don’t make as much money right now, you will make much more money later.
We write a blog. You are reading it now. We write it mostly because it’s fun. It is also part of the cross-linking process that drives traffic and revenue online. Internet marketing is an elaborate game.
All of this comes together on our web site, www.kimandway.com
It’s that ‘easy’
So that’s it. We make money traveling by
- Kim’s writing job.
- My language courses.
- YouTube advertisers who pay to be on our channel.
- Promoting quality products and services on commission.
When we started the plan we had no idea how to do this nor what would really happen.
Kim started writing out of her love for poker. She only turned it into a full-time gig prior to us giving up our apartment. I had never taught in higher education. We knew nothing about YouTube, affiliate sales, blogging, or vlogging.
It took about five years of planning and learning, including going back to school for that MBA.
We did not start this in our 20’s. We started in our late 40’s. We are now in our 50’s. We are excited about being in our 60’s.
- “I’m too old”.
- “I should have started this earlier”.
- “I don’t know anything about ___________”
And every other similar excuse is just that, an excuse.
We live our dream. We have fun – every day. And so can you, whether that dream is one of full-time travel, traveling more or something else entirely.