Funding Freedom

Funding Freedom

The most asked questions since I have left home. 

“How are you paying for this lifestyle?  It looks like all you do is roam around drinking wine, catching flights and living on the water.  You aren’t emaciated looking, so we know you are eating well and your locations are anything but cheap.  What is your secret?  There must be some secret you aren’t telling the rest of us.”  

Okay, let me set the record straight.  

It’s true, I am living the good life right now.  I am traveling to some of the top destinations in the world, sleeping in a clean bed every night and not skipping meals (or wine time).  I am living an exceptional, quality life with a beautiful scenery around me.  It’s not all luxury, though.  My clean bed comes in a room with five other travelers (at minimum) while I stay in affordable hostels.  Other times I have been lucky enough to stay with friends or friends of friends.  My destinations are chosen based on where I can find the best deal after hours of research online and using websites like and  

To break it all down simply (and hopefully help a few aspiring world travelers out there), I’ve shared the financial details of “Funding my Freedom” below.  Read on, share the wealth and travel the world along with me.

Saving Money

I saved for three years to fund my year of travel.  I did this by cutting frivolous spending as much as possible and following a few tips I learned from expert money savers.

  • Grocery shop like a pro.  What do you actually need versus want?
  • Cut out luxuries like pedicures, massages or going to expensive shows.
  • No Starbucks.  (Make your coffee at home.)
  • Walk or take public transit when you can.
  • Cancel your expensive cable (I went almost two years without cable and saved $1200).
  • Live in an affordable (sometimes not ideal) location.  I commuted to work everyday so that I could save money living outside the city.
  • Give thoughtful (maybe even home made) gifts versus expensive ones for birthdays, weddings, etc..
  • Instead of using vacation time this year at work, cash in unused paid time off when you leave.

I saved exactly $23,000.  

Exit Costs and Profits

I paid for my one-way flight out using funds I made selling most of my stuff, which meant I was able to take my entire savings with me.  

I sold all my furniture, some handbags and jewelry and home decor.  I made roughly $800 doing this, which covered my entire one-way flight to Madrid.  

I also saved money by NOT getting a storage unit.  When planning your exit, sell absolutely everything you can, and give away the rest.  A storage unit would cost you at least $1,000 for the year- which is 20 days worth of traveling!  (See below.)  

Daily Budgeting

I worked out my daily budget to be about $50 per day, which is $18,250 for the year, leaving me $4,750 for transportation and miscellaneous (or unforeseen) costs.  Some days I spend a bit more, and other days I spend less.  I check myself every couple days to ensure it has all balanced out.

$20-$25 per night for accommodation

$15 per day for food (I grocery shop and cook using the hostel kitchen)

This leaves $10-15 for miscellaneous expenses like transportation or activities.  

Find the Free in Freedom

  • Every hostel you stay at has a free daily walking tour and sometimes a free pub crawl.  Take advantage!  
  • Couch surf!  Check out  It is a site that links you up with locals that want to host travelers around the world.  Note: It will cost $20 for a verified membership for the year.  
  • Entertain yourself!  There is free entertainment everywhere you go if you look for it.
    • Street performers and live music can be found on the streets in many places you visit.
    • Architecture and wall paintings.
    • Check out local festivals.
  • Go for a walk or to the beach or a park.
  • Read a book (I bet there is at least two you have been wanting to read for a long time and have put it off).
  • Write about your experience so far.
  • Talk to people!  Yes, in real life.  Talk, chat, laugh, make friends!
  • Get lost.  You will be surprised what you find around the corner.

It costs ZERO dollars to read a the beach. Double win.

It costs ZERO dollars to read a book…at the beach. Double win.

Through this process of planning, budgeting and becoming a “homeless nomad,” I have been truly humbled and enriched at the same time.  I am learning to live with less and be more present everyday.  I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity at some point in their lives to travel the world and learn to budget effectively.  These skills I have acquired will not only get me through this year, but will help me for the rest of my life.
Cheers to the good life, and happy travels!

By |2015-10-03T11:25:50+00:00October 3rd, 2015|Solo Female Travel, Travel hacks|0 Comments

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.

No Comments

  1. thenomadicpanda October 4, 2015 at 6:04 am - Reply

    This is great! You totally made it work 🙂

  2. The Echoing World October 9, 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    this is awesome! i just quit my job and leave for my first solo journey in 4 weeks! exciting and exhilarating at the same time!

  3. Daily “Euro” Pinching | October 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    […] Following these daily strategies has helped me keep to my daily budget of $50 or less. […]

  4. Roam Sweet Roam November 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Roam Sweet Roam.

  5. ralietravels November 3, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Very interesting post; it is something I have often wondered about. Even had I been aware of your methods, they would not have fit my needs many decades ago (male facing the draft, etc.), but I did what I could and travelled on a budget others told me was impossible. I hope every young person explores the world to the best of their ability and that some follow your lead..

  6. […] to the flooding in of questions about how I funded my year abroad, I have had many women (and a few men) reach out to me asking how I knew what to pack for a year […]

  7. FrugalMomOf8 November 8, 2015 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Great post! Thanks!

  8. […] get there and stay for a while, wherever that may be for you.  Do your financial research.  Learn how to travel on $50 per day.  You may change your travel plans at this point to accommodate your budget.  For example, if you […]

  9. Tornadough Alli November 15, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    This sounds like an amazing journey and you seem to have had it all planned out very well! Oh how I wish this is something I could have done in my younger years. Maybe ones my kids are,grown. Great article!

  10. […] I was not.  Giving up any and all personal space was not appealing to me but it was necessary. To travel on $50 a day, dorm rooms are many times your only […]

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  14. […] the meantime, check Heather Ditmars’ post for tips on how expertly navigate traveling abroad. If you’re like me, the very first tip will […]

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