After spending a year traveling, Erin McNeaney and Simon Fairbairn of the UK returned to their 9-5’s and their monthly bill-paying routine, only to realize that they no longer wanted to be a part of that kind of life. They sold all of their stuff, quit their jobs, rented out their home, and in March 2010, they set out on an adventure they call the never-ending voyage. They are digital nomads, bringing their laptops with them on their travels so that they can make money through their business, In Line web design.
Erin took the time to answer a few questions, hopefully her responses help to inspire you to follow in her footsteps!
Q: Many people want to do what you have done and give up their work lives to travel, but are afraid to try. After a year of traveling, do you ever have fears or worry that you might have made the wrong decision?
A: No, we have never thought that we have made the wrong decision. It isn’t easy and we do worry about money and whether we’ll be able to make our Line In web design business sustainable, but there’s nothing else we want to be doing.
Q: How did your family and friends react when you told them about your plans to travel indefinitely? Do they still feel the same way?
A: I don’t think they were too surprised as we had already spent a year travelling the world. Of course they were sad to see us go but we’ve been lucky that they’ve been really supportive.
Q: How has your social life changed since you started traveling? Is it harder or easier to make friends?
A: We meet way more people than we did back home. In particular we have really enjoyed meeting travel bloggers who we have developed relationships with on Twitter. It’s been wonderful to meet such inspiring people living similar lives to ours, who understand the challenges of working while travelling.
Q: Is there anything in particular you miss about the comforts of a settled life?
A: As we mostly stay in budget accommodation we do miss comfy beds, a sofa and our own kitchen at times. We have overcome this by renting apartments for 1-2 month stints and having some home comforts for a while. So far we’ve done this in Buenos Aires and Salta in Argentina and Medellin, Colombia.
Q: What is the best food you have tried in a foreign country?
A: We are vegetarians so India was the best country for us. We particularly loved home-cooked food in homestays in Kerala, and cheap thalis – plates of rice and various vegetable curries.
Q: How do you get by in places where English is not spoken?
A: We’ve been travelling in Latin America for the last year so have been learning Spanish as we travel and haven’t had a problem communicating. But even in Asia we always managed to get by – a phrasebook and hand gestures help and you can usually find someone who knows a little English. It can be confusing at times but we’ve never had a major problem. It’s part of the fun!
Q: What is the best thing about traveling long-term?
A: The freedom. We can go wherever we want and stay as long as we want.
Q: What is the single most fun or interesting experience you have had since you began traveling?
A: It’s hard to choose just one but in Bolivia we did a four day jeep tour through the southwest of the country. The entire journey is at an altitude of 4000-5000 metres and it’s like no other place we’ve ever been. We drove through deserts and salt flats, past volcanoes, colourful lakes, llamas and flamingos.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to travel long-term?
A: Reduce your expenses as much as you can so that you can save as much money for your trip as possible. Sell your possessions as you won’t need them and travel light with a carry on bag only – it makes life much easier.
Giving up your job to travel may seem unrealistic, but look at it this way: those who travel are out living the life they’ve always dreamed, learning about the world and cultures from first hand experience, and making great friends. Don’t let life pass you by while you look out at it from a cubicle.
Visit Erin’s blog: Never Ending Voyage.
I’ll be posting more interviews in upcoming posts, so keep an eye out! And if you or someone you know has an interesting story to tell, feel free to contact me!