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!
Janet Brent has lived and traveled abroad since January 2010. She’s currently based in Portland Oregon, and continues to run her graphic design business location independently. Find out more about the specifics of Janet’s business and lifestyle here!
Where have you lived and traveled to?
Lived in the Philippines three years. Within those three years, I lived in Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Manila, and Bacolod City. I also traveled to Taiwan for one month. Germany for three months. Thailand for one month. Bali for 2 weeks. NY for 3 weeks.
Please describe what you do for income.
I’m a graphic/web designer by trade and specialize in ebook design. I help people grow their businesses through designing and launching ebooks, e-course worksheets, e-zines, etc.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
How much money do you make?
I’ve been averaging around $2000/month so far this year. When I first started with zero business skills in 2011, I only made $3,000 for the full year. But since I lived in the Philippines, that’s enough for local wage income to make it work, though it’s definitely not an expat lifestyle!
At this point I only have one income stream which is client work. I want to grow my income streams into self-published books…goal is to make rent money in passive income. Last year I made $20,000 which was my best year so far but this year I feel like I want to at least be able to double. I have six months to go and still very possible!
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
I’m finding it challenging to balance my debt but for me, I somehow make just ‘enough’ to be able to at least stabilize and neutralize each month. My finances are honestly a mess right now so I don’t feel like the best example of this lifestyle.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
I am making changes and redefining what I feel digital nomad means for me. I know that I definitely want a more long-term home base. I can’t be a perpetual traveler just living out of my suitcase. I want to be able to travel and have a place to come back to, and the idea of building a community that you wouldn’t get if you’re a short-term resident/visitor.
That being said, I still love to travel and want to keep that in my life! I love the idea of being multi-rooted. That I could have my ‘home’ but own property or have other places around the world that I can come stay in as like my 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) home.
Ideally, if I had my way, I would live in a tiny house or some sort of minimalist space where I can live rent free because I would outright own it. Be able to AirBnb or rent out while I’m traveling and do my slow travel in other parts of the world.
I would host writing/creativity workshops and retreats around the world. I would travel to help communities, while building my own.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
You honestly don’t need to make much to ‘afford’ this lifestyle. I would say maintaining status-quo house/car/job is a much more expensive lifestyle. That being said, I’ve also acquired some debt from this lifestyle by living beyond my means and/or investing in my business and not seeing real ROI fast enough. It’s possible to live and work from anywhere with $20/30k year if you live a minimalist lifestyle which also means minimal bills/debt etc.
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.