This week marks the 1 year on the road milestone since we left Ireland on a one-way ticket to Thailand in order to pursue our travel and online ambitions.
Without a doubt it’s been the best year of our lives. We’ve travelled as we’ve always aspired to; without concern for time or an end-date. This freedom has given us magnificent opportunities to follow the path that we’ve designed for ourselves.
Has our views changed?
Over the course of the last 12 months, we’we’ve had a clear focus about what we want to achieve with a life of travel. Initially, the idea of constantly travelling sounded great – but it’s just not as feasible as people may think. Yes, we could do it if we wanted to, but it’s taxing and is dependant on having a Wifi connection.
We prefer a much slower level of travel, peppered with quick bursts of backpacking ranging in the 4-6 week length. This gives us the chance to knuckle down on work and plan for the future.
Taking the plunge
When we left home in July 2013, we left with one goal as our target – to create a full-time income online. At the time of leaving, we had a decent amount of savings stashed up just in case things didn’t work out. Thankfully, we’ve not had to touch them so far.
We both made the effort to really give things a go online. We invested our time and money wisely, and learned from those that are where we want to be someday down the line.
Fast forwards to today, and we’ve created 3 solid income streams and are currently working on 2 more. Everyone knows that if you work online for yourself, then you’ve got to diversify things. It’s not a good idea to have all your eggs in one basket.
Having multiple ways of earning money online is the key to sustaining a life as a freelancer or internet marketer or whatever label you want to call it.
One project that didn’t work out
We started working on a project with another travel blogger more or less from the get go when we arrived in Thailand. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for either party and after 6 months we called a halt to our involvement in it.
It was eating into our time and while the potential was certainly there for make money – it just didn’t happen for us, so we lost interest.
In hindsight, it was great to gain an insight into how the internet works in the area we were involved in, but we also felt that leaving Ireland to find our own feet and straight away working for someone else wasn’t what we had planned long term.
The saying is true – “if you don’t build your own dreams, then someone else will hire you to build theirs”.
Making new friends
Definitely meeting new people on the road has been one of our highlights. We really soaked up as much networking opportunities as we could when we lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand. That city is just amazing in fairness and it really gives the online geek every chance to make progress.
Without naming names, we’ve travelled and met with tons of really cool people, most of whom are doing the same as us. Each one of them have their own unique story as to why they’re doing what their doing – in the country they’re doing it in!
Without a doubt, our biggest success has been the progress we’ve made with our online businesses. We’ve enjoyed moderate success with the freelance writing model and are continuing to expand and scale things as best we can.
We’ve even managed to get a few others started in their own freelance writing business, which is very cool to see.
Before December we plan to release an in-depth ebook that will detail exactly how you can get started in a content production business and make money from anywhere in the world.
This isn’t going to be a project that we’ll just knock out for the sake of it – we want to provide as much value as we can to those of you who’d like the ability to have their own business online.
While not making crazy amounts of money, we do consider ourselves rich.
Rich as in when it comes to our time.
And time is the one thing that each one of us are slowly losing every day that goes by.
Next Stop Who Knows has definitely grown a lot – but it’s still not where I want it to be. This is mainly due to not focusing on it as much as we’d have liked. The reason is due to the fact that we’ve concentrated our time on making money first and foremost.
The big mistake a lot of travel bloggers make in my opinion is thinking that they’re blog will make them a full-time living. This is especially true if they’re travelling and have no other source of income.
Instead, the best thing to do is to focus all their time and energy into figuring out a way to get money flowing in.
When this happens, then they can start pushing their blog more.
If we had a choice to drop Next Stop Who Knows or our online businesses – then it’s the former every day of the week.
Because you can’t travel indefinitely if you’ve no money coming in so what’s the point of having your blog looking all polished if it doesn’t bring anything to the table?
Anyways, this blog has opened a lot of doors for us.
Huge ones in fact.
We’ve just spent the past 6 weeks living in a guest-house in Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup for free – in exchange for some online advertising and promotional work. I’m keeping this story for a post at a later date!
As with any business, hard work must be put in for the results to show. We’ve started to really streamline our processes so that we don’t have to bother with a lot of the mundane stuff.
Creating a solid team of writers is a constant battle, as new writers come and go. This is my biggest headache for managing a content business. Having to source and train new writers can take a lot of time, but it has to be done. I’ve talked about the pros and cons of running an online business in a previous post and finding new writers can be categorized as both!
I’ve personally ticked off a few bucket list items that I’ve always wanted to do. These ranged from working on a beach in Thailand, to travelling the length of Vietnam on a motorbike (Top Gear style) to finally getting to visit Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Highlight of the Year
Both of us agree that the ability to make money anywhere is a pretty cool feeling and something that we want to maintain. Yes, getting to see amazing countries is also cool, but knowing that you have the freedom to go where you want and make money definitely pips that.
Currently I’ve typing this on a bus from Foz de Iguassu (Brazil) to Asuncion (Paraguay). This will be my 31st country to travel to and Florence’s 30th.
We mapped out a plan a year ago of where we wanted to go and it’s all coming true. As stated above, we lived in Rio for the past 6 weeks and go to witness the world cup in undoubtedly the spiritual home of football.
Not only that, but we got to go to the Maracana stadium for a World Cup game which was another life ambition for me personally.
It hasn’t all being plain sailing though. We had a Kayaking accident in Vang Vieng, Laos that nearly cost us €2,500 in electronic equipment (details for a future post) and also a scary motorbike accident in Vietnam (another future post on that).
Since last July, we’ve travelled in:
and now we’re heading into Paraguay.
We plan to also visit Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and finish up in Peru.
Since we’ve already booked our flights home for Christmas, we have about 5 more months to get our teeth stuck into the rest of South America.
After a month or two with our families back in Ireland, we’re planning to venture around Europe doing house-sits. These plans are still in early development however.
After that? Who Knows 🙂