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!
Candice Walsh of FreeCandie.com is a freelance writer and blogger who is currently based in Berlin, Germany. She has been on the road in one form or another since 2010, and has figured out how to make a living no matter where she is. Learn more about her career and plans below.
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
I’ve been traveling for at least half the year since 2010, when I was laid off from my job. Up until August 2015 I used to live in St. John’s, Newfoundland as my base. Now I’m in Germany for the year. I’ve visited 30 countries total, and when I love a place I tend to stick around for awhile! I spend a good deal of time in Europe. I just can’t seem to get enough.
Please describe what you do for income.
I’m a writer, blogger, and social media manager. Most of my income comes from freelance writing for other outlets, as well as copywriting. Sometimes I sell guest posts on my blog, but not a whole lot. Copywriting is definitely my most successful income stream, and I charge $60/hour for my work.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
It really varies, but probably 40-50 hours.
How much money do you make?
This also varies, but for the past couple of years I’ve been making between 30-35k a year (Canadian). I suspect I could be making more, but I’m not a good businesswoman. This amount lets me travel quite freely, but I imagine I’ll need to beef things up a bit if I ever want to start a family, etc.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
I do have some credit card debt, but mostly I’m fine. I’m all about living within my means, which is why I chose Berlin for my first living abroad stint. I pay something like $700 CAD for a lovely room in an apartment, and then my other bills total to about $300/month. I travel budget, for the most part. I put excess money into savings, but I also have set up automatic deductions for retirement savings and a TFSA (presumably for a mortgage someday).
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
I think it’s temporary, honestly. I love writing and I love my freedom, but I’m tired of chasing people down for payments. Or I’m tired of being offered very little money for the work I do. I’d really love to be comfortable in my finances. I can’t imagine a time in my life when I haven’t been stressed out about money. But I’m not sure what my next action is. I’m thinking about opening a tourism business back in Newfoundland so I can still spend half the year traveling, but those may be lofty goals.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
Avoid credit cards at all costs. I’ve wracked up so much debt over the years, it’s almost impossible to pay off. My monthly payments are huge. If I didn’t have those, I’d be quite well off.
Living in Germany has really opened my eyes to North America’s debt culture. I remember in my first year of university there was a booth for Mastercard sign-ups in my university’s freaking front entrance. So I signed up. And I signed up for two AMEX cards later down the line, because they promised lots of travel points. But Germany just doesn’t do this. I hardly know anyone here with a credit card — it’s just not a thing.
Their whole banking system is just a million times better, really. My bank is Number26, and there’s not even actually a bank anywhere. But withdrawals are free, anywhere in Europe. Imagine that! A bank that doesn’t charge its customers to access their own money! Sometimes I think Canadians are too polite. We don’t fight enough for what’s fair. (/end rant)