In this series, we’re exploring the various careers of world travelers, and how they make ends meet financially while living abroad. Yes, financially sustainable full-time travel is possible!
Dariece and Nick are the Canadian couple behind Goats on the Road, a website designed to show others how to turn their travels into a lifestyle. They are masters at making money abroad, and have been on the road since 2008, exploring some of the least visited places on earth. You can read up on a week-in-the-life of this traveling couple in Mozambique from a few years ago. Although they’ve earned their living and subsidized their travels in a few different ways, they are now full-time bloggers. Read on to learn more about their careers and lifestyles!
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
We didn’t start working abroad until 2012. Prior to 2012, we were travelling off of savings earned from our jobs in Canada.
Since 2012 we have travelled to many places around the world: China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, Grenada, SVG, Barbados, Cuba, Malta, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Germany and the USA.
Our “bases” (where we have stayed for a month or longer in one apartment / home) have been in China, Grenada, Barbados, Guatemala, Mexico and Malta.
2017 will bring us to South America, Europe, Africa and Asia, with a one-month stop in Buenos Aires!
Please describe what you do for income.
From July 2012 to July, 2013, we were teaching English in China. During that year, we were able to work on building up our travel blog, Goats On The Road. We had started Goats on the Road when we were moving around in 2011/2012, but really put some effort into it while living in China.
Since 2013 we have been full time travel bloggers and we haven’t taught English since. We earn money in a wide variety of ways:
1. Writing articles for other websites and newspapers / creating content for their site.
2. Earning affiliate commission when someone starts a travel blog, purchases travel insurance, buys something on Amazon, signs up for a TEFL Certificate course, or books a hotel.
3. Running social media accounts for other companies.
4. Direct advertising on our website through banner ads or paid articles.
5. Paid press trips to various destinations to promote the city/country.
6. Recruiting teachers for the school we worked for in China.
7. Sponsored giveaways through our website and social media channels.
8. Selling our eBook on Amazon.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
We work about 3 hours/day, 5 days a week. Sometimes less.
I’d say we average 15 hours a week.
How much money do you make?
Our income has pretty much doubled since we started taking Goats on the Road seriously in 2013. Today we earn $10-12k/month, and have for the past 10 months. Content creation and affiliate marketing are our two most lucrative income streams.
2016 has been our best year in terms of income, and if our business follows the trend of doubling every year, 2017 should be pretty great.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Yes, we do.
In 2013, half of the year was spent teaching English in China, while the other half was spent on the road as bloggers/travellers. We made enough money in China to pay for our travels through Mongolia, Russia and the ‘Stans.
After that, we had spent our savings from teaching English and had to rely solely on blogging income from Goats on the Road.
In 2014, we were able to afford to live abroad by housesitting for five months. The money we earned from the website was enough for food and entertainment, but we were pretty much breaking even for the year. By having free accommodation for a portion of the year, we were able to live in the Caribbean – somewhere we never could have afforded at the time.
Since 2015, we have been saving money. This year we are saving about half of what we earn each month. We still housesit because we enjoy it, but for the whole year of 2017 we have decided to take a break from house/petsitting and be free to travel where we want to.
We have a Tax Free Savings Account in Canada, but other than that, we have no investments, stocks or high-interest savings accounts.
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
We’re travellers at heart and love exploring different parts of our planet. So, for sure the best part about being ‘location independent’ is having the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.
We’ve had “offices” overlooking lakes, the jungle and the ocean. We’ve plugged away at our computers in cafes on the streets of Rome, from yurts in Kyrgyzstan and from beach bars in Mexico.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
The biggest issue we have is finding a solid wi-fi connection – although these days there are some really good data plans for cell phones and we’ve been tethering our computers to our phone at times.
Another problem is trying to find the perfect work / life balance. It can be difficult to go on the computer when we’re in a new country and would rather be exploring! Luckily, we’ve been outsourcing a lot of our work, and have hired some staff and writers to help us out. We want more time for travelling, as opposed to working.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
We see ourselves on the road for as long as possible. We’ve already changed the way in which we travel / work, but ultimately, we’ll always be abroad. We’ve started renting apartments in various countries for 1-2 months to get caught up on work, and to get a better feel for the city we’re in. It’s not feasible to move around every 3-5 days like we used to when we first started backpacking.
Every year our business and Goats on the Road evolves. We will continue to follow the opportunities, and have been focused on a passive income model for the past year. Hopefully soon we won’t have to do much (any) work at all and money will just “appear” in our bank account!
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
There are so many jobs for those who are looking to live and work abroad. We covered Teaching English, freelance writing, travel blogging, content creation and social media management above, but that’s just what we’ve done!
You could work in the hospitality industry, become a scuba diving instructor, a masseuse or an au-pair. Or, you can find jobs on yachts and cruise ships.
We met a woman who was a doula in Mexico and a man who was working for a major IT company in the States…but was doing so while on the beach in Mexico.
We’ve come across people who play in a band while moving around the world, and a woman who was offered an editing position at an English newspaper in Cambodia. We’ve met dog walkers / pet sitters in Grenada and know of a few people who have followed their passions and opened up lucrative businesses in China and in the Caribbean.
These are just some of the many jobs you can find overseas.
In order to save some cash and live like a local, housesitting is definitely a good idea.
If your budget is low, we don’t recommend choosing to live in Western Europe, North America, Australia or the Caribbean. Choose somewhere where the costs of living aren’t very high – Central America, Eastern Europe and SE Asia are good places to start.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thinking outside of the box is one of the best moves we ever made with our website. By hiring a team of writers and virtual assistants, we’re able to make money, without having to do all of the work. This year our goal was to focus more on writing about our travels on Goats on the Road, and doing some more travelling as well. And so far we’ve accomplished those goals.
We feel very fortunate to be able to live abroad, while working at a job that we love.
Want to know more about how to design your life so you can earn money while traveling the world? Check out Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom.