Credit: Tess Koman
This excerpt originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com where Tess Koman interviewed three couples on how they skipped the 9-5 rat race in favor of living a more authentic, independent-location lifestyle. We zero in on D.M.V. couple Eliana and Travis of blog When In Roaming to find out how they managed to temporarily say deuces to the office grind and fund their adventures in Southeast Asia. Here’s what they had to say:
ELIANA, 28, AND TRAVIS, 28
Blog: When in Roaming
Pre-travel jobs: Eliana was an office manager at an elementary school; Travis was a freelance photographer.
Home base: Washington, D.C.
When they started traveling: January 2016
Where they went: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia
How much did you save up before you quit everything to travel?
Travis: Our goal was to save about $10,000, and when we left, we had just under that. We bought one-way plane tickets, but we’d originally planned to go for maybe eight or nine months.
What kind of jobs did you pick up?
Eliana: To work in southeast Asia, you need a working visa and we only had tourist visas. So we didn’t have any income.
Where did you most often sleep?
Travis: We originally were going to stay in hostels, but a bed in a hostel would be about $7 or $8, and we found we could get a double room in a cheap hotel for, like, $10 or $11.
Eliana: We used [the discount hotel booking site] Agoda and sometimes Airbnb. In Chiang Rai, Thailand, we took a chance on a place we saw on a flyer to stay with the Akha Hill Tribe, [an indigenous group that often hosts travelers] up in the mountains. Our bungalow hung off the side of a hill, above a valley, across from a forested mountain face. It was magical. But one hotel room in Bangkok was covered in tiny roaches — the walls, the floor, the bathroom. We couldn’t get our room switched until the next day, so we had to stay there overnight. Mosquitoes are expected everywhere. Rude hosts are the norm. Random monkeys, lizards, and birds are part of the experience. But roaches and bedbugs caused a mental anguish I just wasn’t up for.
What did you splurge on?
Travis: When we decided to splurge on something, it [was] an experience, because with backpacking, everything you accumulate you have to carry with you. I still wish I’d gotten a custom suit made in Hoi An, Vietnam, but it seemed like a waste of money. We did a tour of these really dark underground caves in Vietnam and that was slightly outside of our budget — $30 each, which was our daily food budget — but we spent two days not going out and drinking beer to do it.
When did you run out of money?
Travis: I think five months into it, we knew we only had another 60 or 70 days on the road. That was kind of depressing. It was down to $2,500. Then realizing that our accounts were getting close to the double digits was a scary moment.
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