Rachel (aka The Digital Gypsy) started to work as a freelance copywriter nomadically before she even knew that it was a “thing”. She was working remotely one day when she realized she could be doing it from anywhere. A few days later she booked a one-way ticket to Spain, and has never looked back. Find our more about how Rachel makes ends meet as a digital gypsy here!
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!
This post was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
I’ve been on the road for over a year. I started in Spain last summer where I travelled from Cadiz to Barcelona. Since then I’ve been to Turkey, the South of France, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kyoto, and now, I’m in Barcelona.
Please describe what you do for income.
I’m a freelance copywriter. I write copy for the web, ebooks, blog posts and articles.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
I work 40 hours at the most.
How much money do you make?
I make about €24,500 a year from two ongoing clients: ghostwriting ebooks for a business and writing articles for an agency.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Yes! I live a frugal lifestyle, and although I earn a fraction of what I used to when I worked “in-house”, my life is way more exciting and colourful. I travel in cheap countries where my money goes much further than it would at home.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
I’d like to spend this year doing some far-flung destinations whilst I have a smaller and easier workload Next year, my plan is to travel in Europe to be closer to my family, and expand my freelance copywriter business.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
Travel slowly. Working on the road means you can’t really have the whirlwind lifestyle of a backpacker where you chop and change destinations every week. It’s much cheaper and easier to stay longer in places and rent rooms like a local rather than pay for hotels and hostels. (See also: The #1 Reason Why I Love Slow Travel)
Soak up the atmosphere of a place rather than rushing out to do all the expensive touristy things in one go. Make friends with locals and spend your money in family run businesses rather than large chains (this benefits your bank balance and the local economy).
Your biggest expense is going to be accommodation, so spend plenty of time checking out the cheapest options before moving to your next destination. House-sitting is a godsend! So are work exchanges like Workaway.info – if you have a few spare hours a day to volunteer you can get free food and accommodation in return (with evenings and weekends to catch up on your work). (See also: How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World)
Anything to add?
Travelling and working over the past year has completely transformed my view of money, my values and my life goals – I absolutely love it. And you will too!