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!
Nat and Rob are a Brazilian couple who decided to swap the “normal marriage life” for an endless adventure around the world. In 2014 they sold their stuff and became full-time travelers; so far they’ve visited 39 countries and have no plans to stop. With passion and determination, they changed their career and followed their dreams. Love and Road is a life project, a travel blog with inspiring ideas and travel tips, a unique way to explore the world, discover new cultures, meet new people, and write good stories.
But blogging isn’t the only way they earn their living; read on for the specifics of how they fund their most excellent travel lifestyle.
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
We have been on the road since April 2014, trying to balance work, fun and new experiences. So far we have been in 39 countries and counting but since we started the Love and Road Project, our travels have been around Europe (from Portugal to Turkey), with a side trip to Morocco, and Southeast Asia.
It has been two years that we are chasing the summer, so we decided to add an extra challenge to our nomadic life and since Christmas, we’ve been on a freezing journey through northern Europe.
Please describe what you do for income.
To keep our nomadic lifestyle we invested in different streams of revenue. Love and Road is our baby and our first project. The blog is doing well, the feedback from readers is great and the traffic increases every month. Our monetization strategy for the blog relies on affiliate sales, direct advertisement, social media campaigns and Adsense.
Parallel to the blog we do Social Media Consultancy & Management, a business that has been growing and that gives us some stability as we are able to secure long-term contracts.
Nat is a journalist, so once in a while she writes for other publications, online and print. We are not so focused on freelance writing; most of the time we write for outlets or companies that want our expertise or advice, that want Love and Road branded content for their website.
On top of that, we also have properties in Brazil that are rented. Before we started our journey across the globe we sold everything we had to fund our travel dreams, we only kept our house. The monthly rent was essential for our first year of travels, when the blog was new and our other projects weren’t generating money yet.
Even traveling full time we manage to save, and this year we invested in one more property in Brazil. We bought a house that we rented straight away and used the rent to pay the mortgage. It was a risky move that paid off; today we own two properties in Brazil that are fully paid and generating monthly income.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
We are workaholics, and most days we work about 10 hours. Our schedule of work is pretty unusual generally, we do three months of intensive work, and then we take two months “off”, traveling and enjoying a new destination.
When we are in traveling mode, we usually work two to three hours daily, only to maintain the business and answer emails. After all the fun, we settle into a comfy place and start one more season of work. We’re currently in travel mode until February.
How much money do you make?
For almost one year we made peanuts from our online business, but after months of dedication and a lot of work and study, we saw our income increase. Most of our revenue streams still vary a lot, especially the ones related to Love and Road such as affiliate sales.
The rent from our properties is also uncertain, as Brazilian currency went in downfall last and this year, and we saw our savings shrink too. Depending on where we are living, the rent money stretches a lot, but if we are in Europe for example, it won’t last a week. The most steady income is from our Social Media Management business, in that we were able to secure yearly contracts.
In 2015 we made an average of USD $1,025/month, this year our average increased to USD 2,525/month.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Yes, the money we are making is covering all our costs, and we have been able to save some extra cash aiming to invest in more properties in Brazil or maybe in another country.
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
The freedom!! We don’t mind to work 10 or 14 hours, we work on our own schedule, doing something we love and from anywhere we want. We have never been rich, so we know that work is part of our life, but be able to do it with passion and where you want is a big plus.
All the effort we put into our business gives us financial reward but also the satisfaction of building our own brand, turning a dream into reality and more than that, be able to pay the bills and be proud of what we have achieved.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
Find the balance! We have tried many ways to balance work and leisure. In the beginning, we tried to work only in mornings and enjoy the afternoon but weren’t successful in keeping the schedule. Then we decided to change places/countries every two weeks, but after a few months we realized we couldn’t enjoy and explore a new place in such a small time frame as we need also to work… Now the “3 months work” and “2-3 months enjoying” schedule seems to be working fine, although we still need to tweak a few workaholic habits, so we don’t skip the gym so often and take free days to relax.
The second challenge is to keep a workflow and routine that is healthy for us and for our business. We always have new ideas, think about new projects, dream about new trips… Sometimes things get overlapped and we get stressed, and we don’t finish all the stuff we should.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
We don’t want to stop traveling, at least not for now. But we already noticed that we have slowed our pace of traveling compared to the first year when we started. I believe we’re gonna find two or three places around the world to set as base for a period, and then travel again…we have been talking about Barcelona, Istanbul and Bangkok as our headquarters for a few months and from there travel around. Let’s see, maybe in one or two years that can become real.
About work, we are investing a lot on our Love and Road blog and on our Social Media business, I’m confident both of them will grow, giving us more financial stability and revenue enough to keep investing in properties and also in other online business.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
First of all, you must be organized. You have to be able to organize your workflow, your life on the road, and your finances. And try to keep the balance, find work that gives you pleasure, that makes you proud and that you won’t mind doing on a sunny Sunday morning. Because that’s what happens!
You’ll have the freedom to work by yourself, but to achieve success you also have to face responsibilities and commitments. This is a tricky part as you are traveling and the desire and possibilities of things to enjoy are endless.
Second, invest in your skills, learn new things, and sharpen your talent. This way you can have different possibilities of work, you can open new doors and focus on different business. When you are an entrepreneur you must multitask, think outside the box and find your own way to do things with passion.
Third and most importantly, follow your dreams, have the guts to start a new project, but always plan everything ahead. Be prepared for success and also for failure, have a plan B, a plan C or D, and have fun on the way.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Nat and Rob’s lifestyle on the road, check out a Week-In-The-Life of Nat and Rob, Love and Road here!
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.