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!
Yeison and Samantha are a Costa Rican and American couple based in Costa Rica. Their blog My Tan Feet is dedicated to traveling and living in Costa Rica, as well as featuring their other travels around the world. They earn their living as travel bloggers, with some freelance work on the side. Find out more about their lifestyle and careers below!
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
We have been living/working on the road for about three years. We mostly travel within Costa Rica but we have also traveled to several places in the US, Mexico, Bahamas, South Korea, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.
Please describe what you do for income.
Our main source of income comes from My Tan Feet. We also do freelance work on the side such as website design, consultations, freelance writing and videography/photography.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
On average, when we’re not traveling we work about 30 hours. We try to keep a normal 8-4 schedule like a “normal” job but when we’re traveling, it varies a lot more since we don’t always have internet. But even if we’re doing social media on our phones or responding to emails, that’s work so for us, our work doesn’t really end.
How much money do you make?
We make on average around $6k a month. It varies though since it fluctuates with the high and low tourism seasons in Costa Rica but on average, it is around $6k since we have other income streams to offset the low season.
Many of the affiliate sales come from travel companies in Costa Rica which range typically around $3 – $8k a month in 2016. We also do affiliate marketing with Amazon and Google Adsense which gives on average $1,500 a month. We make a little with our two short ebook guides but are planning on releasing many more which hopefully will generate more income.
Our other income streams vary each month as well since it depends on how many clients we get for website design, freelance writing, media campaigns, etc. Some freelance writing projects are up to $2k, content creation projects can be up to $10k and we also give travel consultations that are $100 per session.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Thankfully yes! Living in Costa Rica means we have a smaller monthly budget which is around $1,500-$2,000 so we are able to pay our bills and support our lifestyle with the money we make.
(Nora’s Note: Curious about other travelers’ income vs expenses? Check out my annual expense and income reports here).
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
The freedom. We love being able to change our plans at a drop of a hat and be spontaneous since we’re not tied to a desk and we are our own bosses. Our career allows us to essentially travel for a living and it has opened up many other doors for us since we are able to turn our passions into something that supports our living.
We also love that we don’t have a set routine, every week is different when it comes to work and that keeps things exciting since we never know what we’ll be doing next week or next month! It also allows me to go back to the US frequently so I can visit my family and dog.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
It never ends. We can’t just step out of the office and forget about work until 8 AM the next day; we’re constantly checking emails, doing social media or checking our website to stay on top of things. Since it is just Yeison and I, we don’t have anyone else answering emails for us and we like to do it as soon as possible since we want to give My Tan Feet readers the best experience. And it can be really hard when all you want to do is to turn off your phone and disconnect or when you’re in the middle of the jungle and don’t have service!
Being your own boss is a good and bad thing as well. It can be really easy to not work some days and procrastinate since you don’t have a deadline set by someone else but it teaches you to stay motivated and organized.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
We hope to keep this lifestyle for as long as possible, we love to travel and we love what we do so we’re working hard to make that possible. Especially since Costa Rica’s tourism is growing more and more every year, we feel that it’s possible to keep doing what we’re doing for a long time. We will keep the blog but are exploring possibilities to start offering our own products such as tours, books, etc.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
Learn to stay organized. When you’re traveling and working, it’s so easy to let things pile up and then get frustrated spending a lot of time catching up on work. There are so many apps and software out there that can help stay organized, I highly recommend using one of them.
Also don’t be afraid to pay for software that you know you’ll use and will help you run your business. Unless you have a whole team or hire a couple VA’s, you need help whether it’s automating social media, using an accounting software to keep track of finances and so on.