How to Travel : Taking the Initial Leap

Taking the Initial Leap, traveling, arboursabroad, travel how to, encouragement
Last week, we shared a bit about

Last week, we shared a bit about who we are and we promised to share how we took the initial leap this week. And while we will hold true to that promise, you’ll find taking the initial leap isn’t as romantic or carefree as people think it is. Today we’re sharing what our “initial leap” looked like and hopefully stirring up some ideas for yours.


Before we start, can we just say one thing?! When you decide you want to travel you must realize that you’re changing your lifestyle. If you aren’t traveling now, traveling in the future means something has to change. Think about it… Whatever daily routine you currently have is going to be thrown out the window once you travel, and quite honestly that has the be thrown out the window long before you actually leave. Yes, that’s scary. Nobody really likes change… but hey, we’re here to help make that transition easier!




Unless you just won the lottery, or money grows on trees where you live, you’re going to have to work for it. Contrary to what people say, you have to have at least a bit of money before taking off. Let’s face it… You do have to purchase that plane ticket! However, working comes in all different shapes and sizes.


We knew we wanted to travel for an extended amount of time, so we wanted to make and save as much as possible. However, if you’re only traveling for a short time, or are considering working abroad, you probably don’t need to save as much as we did.


We told you in our last post, that combined we were working seven different jobs. Ah.. that still sounds crazy, but we did it. Jason was working Monday-Friday as a physical therapy aide, took up a Monday night shift in a local gym (YMCA), and helped at Murf’s Marvelous Pancakes on the weekend. Heather was teaching kindergarten Monday-Thursday, subbing at local schools on Fridays, and working for an after school program during the week. On the weekends she worked with Jason at Murf’s, serving pancakes and bringing in some extra cash.


  • [Side note… this weekend job was SO fun; it really didn’t seem like work at all. We loved getting up and going to work for a few hours in the morning. It got us up early, and we were typically done by noon and could still adventure around for the day. It also was a huge bonus that we worked together. Had we not both been working, it wouldn’t have been healthy for our marriage, and we would not have done this. Don’t overwork yourself either. You want to enjoy your life while you prepare to take the initial leap!]

Our last form of income, wasn’t technically a job, however, it helped tremendously feeding out traveling desire, and unexpectedly made us quite a bit of extra cash. We rented out our spare bedroom on AirBnB, and were astonished by the amount of people wanting to stay in our historic home in sweet little Grants Pass. Here’s the deal… AirBnB for us was a way to help others travel cheaply, not a way to make more money. We didn’t put our house up for much, and really just wanted to meet like-minded people, while providing them with a better stay in Grants Pass than the Flamingo Inn.


Please, we beg you… do NOT use AirBnB if your sole purpose is to make money. It’s a great place to meet other travelers, get inspired by their traveling stories, and give them a cheap place to stay. Yes, it helped us travel in the long run, and it will help you too, but you need to invest in the people staying with you, not just look at each person as extra cash.




Okay, so you get the idea that you’re going to need to work to take off. Here’s the secret with working… You’ve got to save that hard earned cash.


We budgeted our monthly expenses off our main jobs, (PT aide and teaching) and then opened a savings account and put everything else directly into that. If you’re wanting to really save money to travel, we strongly suggest opening a separate savings. Label it travel funds, and be diligent to put money in, but not take it out! Occasionally, we would even transfer the leftover money from our monthly budget into this account – we really wanted to get out and travel.


{Traveler’s Tip… If you’re really serious about traveling, and you’re considering traveling abroad, look into opening a Charles Schwab account. It’s an account that doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees. Hallelujah! Erin over at Travel-Hax, tells you all about how to get one of these bad boys.}


We know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have time for extra jobs like you guys did.” “I’m living paycheck to paycheck, how am I supposed to save.” Or you’re straight up thinking we are flippin’ crazy… but here’s the truth. Remember what we said at the beginning of this post? You’re going to have to change some things in your life to be able to travel.




Take a look at the money you’re making, and figure out a way to make it work for you. You have to find a way to put some of it aside. If you’re not into taking up extra jobs for the extra cash, you can alter the way you spend money. However, this too is going to take some work.


All the little purchases you make throughout the week add up. That thing you grab last minute at the store because it’s sitting there, perfectly placed at check-out screaming buy me buy me! Don’t buy it! The store’s tricking you into thinking you need it! Trust us, you don’t.


  • [A little word of wisdom here… Stores strategically place things in checkout that you really don’t need and typically wouldn’t buy. However, when you’re sitting in checkout for 10 minutes you think of all the ways you could use that gadget, or how delicious that candy bar would taste, or how suddenly you’ve been overcome with a dying thirst and need that drink, and then what happens? You cave and buy it; giving the store an extra 5-10 bucks a month instead of spending that 5-10 dollars for a night at a hostel in South America! Don’t fall for this trick!]

Or how about that coffee you get every morning?! If we’re being generous, we could say coffee costs about 3 dollars. Let’s say you grab coffee 3 times a week. That’s roughly 10 dollars a week spent on coffee, plus extra gas to get there. All the sudden, that 3-dollar coffee is costing you about an extra 50 dollars a month. And if we’re being completely honest… 3 cups of coffee a week at 3 dollars per cup is definitely on the cheaper side of the reality of the coffee expenses! Make coffee at home, and save a bit more!


  • [We know coffee can be a hassle to make in the morning. It takes so long and is always such a mess right?! Wrong… we use the AeroPress and absolutely love it! No mess, ready in minutes, and tastes great!! In the van, it’s a dream come true! Check out our AeroPress Gear Review and awkward video here.]

Now think about this… If you can save that much money by simply making coffee at home, what if you cut back the number of times you eat out, purchase snacks at the convenient store, or the amount of alcohol you consume. You can save loads! It’s all about being aware of where your money is going.


  • [We’ll let you in on a little secret…When we first moved to Scotland, our grocery bill was way too high! Yes, groceries are more expensive here, however, we were spending too much! We needed to look at a way to cut the costs of groceries to add to our travel budget. We started saving receipts and looking at where our money was going. (Lunch food, treats, snacks, alcohol) To our surprise… consistently a whopping 30% of our grocery bills wasn’t groceries at all, but instead alcohol. We love our wine and beer, but 30%… that’s way too much. Once we realized that, we forced ourselves to not buy as much alcohol as often, and it’s helping our bank account, while simultaneously helping our health… That’s a win-win!]

{Traveler’s Tip… To help you realize where your money is going, and how to cut back on your expenses, we’ve created a money tracker for you! You’ll be amazed what you find when tracking your money. To get this money trackin’ budget guide, you simply need to subscribe to our blog, and it’s yours for the taking! You’ll get the guide along with other random goodies throughout your subscription, and even get notified when we have a new post! How great is that!?}




Okay so we’ve talked about how to make money, save money, and have money work for you, but what about actually packing up and leaving?! That, our friends, is one of those things you just have to do.


Start by traveling on your weekly time off. Get out of your weekend routine and go somewhere new. This can be simply hiking the nearest mountain, camping out for the weekend, (learn how to camp for free in the states here), or just going on a drive. Do something small that gets you out of your normal routine, and maybe even pushes you out of your comfort zone a bit. Just be sure that these small getaways aren’t costing you loads, cause remember you still need to save!


Once you start getting out and exploring, you’re going to start feeding a fire of travel desire! This is going to help you get your priorities in line and realize what you want to spend your time and money on. For us, meeting other travelers and getting out and exploring God’s Creation made us realize how little we “needed” all the things at home. It fed our desire to travel and made us readjust our lives and our spending. More importantly, it gave us the courage we needed to get out and see more. The weekend adventures gave us that little extra oomph we needed to go on a long term adventure!




If you are talking about how you’re going to travel next month, next summer, next whatever, but don’t actually have a ticket or have it planned out, you’re not going. That sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. You’ve got to change your perspective, plan some trips for now, and just make it work. Money cannot be an excuse. Time cannot be an excuse. Having to do this or that cannot be excuses. If you want to take the initial leap, you cannot have excuses! Period. You’ve got to just do it.


Try planning a weekend trip with other people. That way you spend less, and you have someone else holding you accountable for actually going. Fill out our money trackin’ budget guide and really use it to set goals on how to save. Remember you have to take the initial leap of changing your everyday habits and routines to be able to travel, but those changes are so, so worth it! You won’t regret a thing!




Next up in this How to Travel series we’re sharing how to make traveling cheaper on the road. We’ll be sharing ways to budget your money while traveling, how to travel for free, and tips and pointers for living a traveling life.


Do you have any more questions about how to start traveling? Did we miss some important points or stir up more thoughts?  Looking for more specific information? Please share your questions and comments below.



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