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!
Carlo and Florence are a couple from Ireland who have been together 11 years and have visited 51 countries together. They decided to pursue their passion for travel full-time back in 2013 while trying to build an online business along the way. They’ve been blogging since 2009 and their website Next Stop Who Knows documents their travels, lifestyle and online business developments. Their main income focus is on content generation, and they’ve created an extremely lucrative content generation business to fund their full-time travel lifestyle. Read on to learn more.
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
We left home in July 2013 on a one-way ticket to Thailand. Since then we’ve travelled through most of South America, South East Asia, the Balkans, India as well as having lived in places like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Rio de Janeiro, Asuncion, Cotacachi, Athens, Budapest and Las Vegas.
We like to combine travel with both fast and slow stints. Sometimes we feel like having a base for a few months, so that’s why we ended up living in the above locations.
We go back home at least once a year to see family and friends as well.
Please describe what you do for income.
Back towards the end of 2012, we decided that in order to be able to have the freedom to travel full-time, we needed a source of income that we could take with us anywhere.
We started off writing $5 articles for a marketing company in Ireland which was great, because 1) We made our first $$$ online and 2) It gave us an idea to potentially scale things and create our own content generation business.
Fast forward nearly four years and we have 40 content writers working in our business.
We decided to grow and scale the content generation writing and fully outsourced it in 2014 so that we could have more free time and also make more money simultaneously.
So, we make 99% of our income from our content generation business and 1% from our actual blog.
Like a lot travel bloggers it seems, the majority of their income is generated away from their actual blog.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
Nowadays we are working crazy hours as we’re creating a proper digital marketing company as a natural extension from the content generation business.
Typically when we’re in “travel mode” we just maintain things – which can equate to about 2 – 3 hours a day of actual work. When we chill out and live somewhere for a few months then we go into overdrive and just hammer the laptops. This is what we did while in Vegas last summer and then Budapest afterwards – it was eat, work and sleep most days.
We don’t mind at all because we’re working for ourselves and while it can be stressful during certain times of the year, the flip side would be that we’d have no business and be twiddling our thumbs all day.
How much money do you make?
Starting off we were making about €2,000 a month back towards the end of 2013. Once we created systems and processes for scaling and managing our business then things really started to take off.
We took on more and more clients as well as hired more content writers. In 2015 we broke the 6-figure barrier for the first time and last year we also had another 6-figure year with our best month to date being in December 2016 where we made just over €30,000.
December is always a freaky month but in general we make on average about €10,000 – €12,000 per month. With our digital marketing business launching shortly, we plan on scaling those averages a lot higher.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Yes, we’ve been pretty good with our money so that we can enjoy the lifestyle that we choose. We started using a piece of software called YNAB (You Need A Budget) a few years ago that allows us to track where our money is coming from and going to. It really changed how we viewed our finances.
From the get go we wanted to start saving money and we’ve been doing that consistently over the years. Up until now, we’ve just kept the savings in bank accounts, but we’re doing some research into investing some of it into Bitcoin.
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
Hands down the best thing about this choice of lifestyle is the freedom to travel and work from wherever we want. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting some amazing parts of the world, experiencing diverse cultures and meeting lifelong friends along the way.
For us, we value that side of things so much.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
Like everything in life, there’s advantages and disadvantages and a lifestyle of wanderlust also has its ups and downs.
Bad Wi-Fi drives us nuts – because we need a consistent connection in order to maintain our business.
Another challenge we’ve been experiencing lately is trying to establish a balance between work and travel. We don’t plan on roaming around the world forever, so finding a destination that we like to possibly have as a long-term base is on the cards.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
We love working for ourselves – we really do and we don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. The internet has opened a lot of doors for us so we plan on trying to keep it that way.
We won’t be travelling as frequently as we’ve been doing over the past three years though as we want to focus our time and energy into building other online businesses.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
The best piece of advice we could give would be to don’t over-think things. If you really want to travel and work at the same time, then there’s so many opportunities available. Don’t let other people’s inhibitions prevent you from chasing your goals.
As the saying goes – “Jump, and build a plan on the way down”. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s still some solid advice. Too many people waste years of their life waiting for the perfect time to do something. Do it now and if it doesn’t work out then so what – at least you tried.
If you don’t have a lot of savings when you set off, then head somewhere that has a cheap cost of living. This way you get used to your new surroundings and it gives you time to figure something out.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be afraid to fail at trying to make something happen. If you want something bad enough then you’ll do whatever is needed to make it happen. For us, that meant writing $5 articles for a few months to learn how the content generation industry worked. Then we figured out a way of scaling things to provide a full-time income and a way of combining full-time travel with work.