5. Start saving up and cut down on your expenses
As an OFW in the Middle East, I started saving money to make sure I would have a fall back whatever happened. But a year before the start of my journey, I got introduced to the backpacking concept and I started saving more money for this trip.
I cleared out my credit card bills and started sending more of my salary to my bank account in the Philippines. I started to cut down on going out and buying things, wrote everything I spent on a daily basis so I could track how much my lifestyle was costing me, then started to cut it down to save more!
4. Plan your initial route but be prepared to change plans
Before meeting my fiancé, I already had my travel itinerary. I researched my visas, things to do, where to stay, etc. When you travel long term, you’re better off doing your own itinerary instead of hiring a tour company. There’s more freedom, and it’s so much cheaper too!
My initial route was the “Pancake trail” of South East Asia, which includes Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, then to head to South America. I initially only planned to travel for 6 months, which eventually turned into more than 2 years of traveling and still counting.
You can easily find different itineraries and routes online, but you need to know that plans always change so be ready to be flexible. It’s good to have a guide but expecting the unexpected is exciting, too!
If you need tips on how to travel cheaply, here’s one my first articles on When In Manila: How to travel cheaply for Filipino backpackers.
3. Invest and Learn Different Skills
So aside from your initial savings, what will you do to support yourself on the road? You need to work too, but remember that being a traveler working on the road is different from being an OFW. You can’t overstay, you need to get a working visa if you decide to work with a contract, or you can only volunteer.
The kind of job that I recommend is teaching English (you need to get a business visa or work visa, depending on the country). You can also work in a backpacker bar as a bartender, or as a hostel staff (receptionist or cleaner) in exchange for bed and breakfast. You can become a massage therapist or a yoga teacher where you can organize retreats in a resort for a few weeks before you move again. There are many different things to do on the road.
Personally, I invested on my TEFL certificate so I can teach in Vietnam. Then, I traveled in India for 3 months where I invested some more money to be certified as a Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Massage therapist.
If you have other questions about this, you can message me anytime on twitter (@2monkeystravel)
2. Start to look for online jobs if you decide to travel long term
This is the best job to have if you decide to live a nomadic lifestyle. Also, if you have your family to support back in the Philippines, having an online job can still let you earn a monthly income and send it to them! The major perk of working online is that you can work anywhere. Most of the companies who will hire you are from western countries, so the pay is often much higher compared to the minimum wage in the Philippines (but that depends on your skills!).
1. Be open to meeting people
When I left for this journey, I was 24 years old, single and had no responsibilities. I met a lot of people from different countries, traveled around different cities with them, visited temples with my hostel friends, and even stayed with Couchsurfing hosts!
Meeting someone special while traveling is kinda tricky – some of them are just on short vacations, others have different plans, etc. I was not looking for anyone because I wanted this trip to be about knowing myself, but, unexpectedly, I met someone. The good thing about this is that we had both quit our jobs, he was in his 20’s, and we compromised to start a new life together. After 2 years of nomadic journey together, we’re now engaged and still traveling around the world with each other!