Tom Allen set off from the UK on a bicycle in 2007 and has never looked back. He likes to explore off the beaten track, usually by non-motorised means. He currently sustains his travels by writing about his journeys and making adventure films. Tom’s award-winning short film of his journey in Iran is now available to watch for free at Karunfilm.com. Here’s a week-in-the-life of Tom, traveling through Iran and filming Karun.
6:00am: The alarm goes off. I never set alarms. But I know how long it’ll take to get through Tehran to the bus station, even at this early hour.
7:30am: The coach is late. So Leon and I sit in the wintry morning sun, watching old men shelling sunflower seeds with their teeth.
3:00pm: The coach drops us at the edge of Esfahan. I’m disoriented. Oh well – time to put those Farsi lessons into practice. We quickly establish which direction downtown is. Success!
4:00pm: We alight in Naqsh-e Jahan square. The million-square-foot UNESCO-listed square is one of the most touristic spots in the entire country. There are at least three other foreigners here.
4:01pm: A teenager accosts us. He’s here to get some free English practice. He tells us it snowed last week and shows us photos on his phone. We ask about the mountainous region we’re aiming for. He looks shocked and says it’s the coldest place in all Iran, and that we will die.
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I regularly get questions from readers about how – or if – I save for retirement while traveling full-time, especially with a varying freelance income. Here’s what I do, and how I do it:
First off: Yes.
Although the paradigm of full-time travel is often one of shedding conventional mechanisms – including saving for retirement, I have indeed continued to save and invest for that rainy day when I might not be willing or able to work.
However with a freelance income that varies month to month, I’ve not been able to save in the conventional (and recommended) way of making regular automatic contributions. Instead, I manage my monthly income and expenses and invest accordingly.
Retirement Fund vs Emergency Fund
When I mention a rainy day when I might not be willing or able to work, this is two-fold: in the immediate sense, this could be an incident like an accident (been there) or illness (been there too) that affects my income, or a family emergency that requires me to return to Canada in a pinch. For this, I have an emergency fund that is an easily-accessible (but not too accessible!) high-interest travel savings account.
Then there’s retirement: that eventual time in my life when I just can’t (or won’t) work any more. Because that is a few decades away yet, I invest my retirement fund in a long-term savings plan that is geared for growth.
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Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of the infamous dick tick, survivor of deadly motorbike crashes and crusader for cheap escapades. Avid hitch-hiker. Not above borrowing bread. Part-time farmer, full-time charmer. Frequently uses stolen napkins as toilet paper. Has an extensive vocabulary but mostly uses ‘dude’ and ‘awesome’ to convey all emotions. Inventor of the man-hug. Has been described as an incorrigible cad. Sexually aroused by raging rapids, perilous peaks and cheesecake. In constant need of a haircut. Smells of old leather. An expert at budget travel…please enjoy this week-in-the-life of Will Hatton – The Broke Backpacker, in Antigua!
3:00pm: Weary from a thirty hour journey I finally arrive in Antigua where I check into a pretty nice hotel where I have wangled free accommodation.
3:10pm: Instantly bored of the hotel I leave in search of a beer.
3:30pm: Drenched from a sudden downpour I stumble into the smallest bar I have ever seen, ‘The Snug’ where I proceed to acquaint myself with the local beer and a bunch of hells angels.
8:00pm: I join my newfound friends at an underground cash poker game.
9:10pm: I appear to have won all of their money, they buy back in.
9:11pm: They appear to have won all of my money, I buy back in.
10:40pm: Having lost a small fortune ($4), I hit the road and spend nearly an hour trying to find my hotel.
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