We get a lot of questions about our nomadic lifestyle, but most boil down to one topic: money. How can we afford to do it all?
To be completely honest and upfront, we’re still figuring the numbers out for ourselves. To quote our freelance-savvy accountant after a recent two-and-a-half-hour marathon tax meeting with us, “You guys are a mess.” We’re on a crazy adventure/career path, no doubt about it, and that comes with certain complications, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Also, and perhaps more importantly, we ARE making more money than we’re spending, and we’re getting more efficient by the day.
If you’ve been riding along on our journey, you’ve seen how we live. If you haven’t, here’s a summary: we live well. Yes, we’ve stayed in Walmart parking lots for free, but we’ve also sprung for nights at nice Airbnbs and hotels. Yes, we’ve eaten plenty of rice and beans in the van, but that’s mostly because that combo happens to form a delicious and easy-to-digest protein, and not because we can’t afford anything else. We’re living comfortably and happily, just like we did in our little downtown Toronto apartment. Life is good.
And just as living well costs money when you live in an apartment in Toronto, it also costs money when you live in a van on the road. Believe it.
So, how do we do it? No, not by spending all of our savings. No, not through a kickstarter of gofundme. And no, not by some get-rich-quick or ad-driven, clickbait scheme that we’re going to try to rope you into at the bottom of this page.
It’s simple. We afford our life on the road by working on the road. More specifically, we write. More specifically still, we write and edit content for a range of brands and publications, including our own, Lietco.com, and we do it all online.
You can see examples of what we do and whom we do it for on our media site, lietcomedia.com. Or you can google us. That works, too.
Basically, we get up in the morning, find wifi, pull out our computers, and start working. Usually we’re wearing clothes. It really is that simple. There is, of course, the not-so-small matter of our professional contacts and experience, which we’ve developed through numerous positions at newspapers, magazines, websites, and marketing agencies in Ontario and British Columbia, and plenty of freelance hustle on the side. But don’t think for a minute that the idea of trading our steady-income jobs for an unsure business venture of our own, on the road no less, was anything but terrifying.
We didn’t jump into it. We planned for over a year, changing and pivoting as we drew bubble sheets over pints and brainstormed during runs through Toronto’s West End. A workback plan kept us on track, and soon we had a van, a basic website, and a draft email to all our contacts that said, “Hey, we’re going out on our own. Hope we can stay in touch.”
It’s been almost a year since we took the leap and there have been plenty of fails and wins, but we can safely say that the model works. If you have a skill that allows you to work digitally, you can probably move it into a van or truck or onto a bicycle or a horse and take that epic road trip you’ve dreamed of.
These digital skills include: writing, editing, photography, videography, social media marketing, translating, understanding what SEO is, advising of pretty much anything, graphic design, telenursing (it’s a thing), trading, web design, and an expanding number of others.
We work online every day, from anywhere and everywhere.
People who work these types of jobs while traveling don’t really fit into any type of typical traveler’s definition. You might be tempted to call them “gypsies” or “hippies” (or “truckers”), but none of those shoes really fit. Hippies don’t drink this much Starbucks, or own the newest Macbooks. And Gypsies don’t rent apartments for a month at a time when they have a perfectly good car to sleep in. At least, most don’t, we think.
We are the digital nomads! And we’re coming to a job near you.
This is the part where I tell you that it’s easy and you can too! Right? Well, sort of. I said earlier that this wasn’t a get-rich quick scheme–hell, I’m not even sure it’s a get-rich-eventually scheme. But it is a way to have the journey of your life or the lifestyle of your dreams, without forsaking your career.
I honestly love my work. Whether it’s writing about our travels for lietco.com, or the latest developments in health science for magazines, or celebrity news for websites, or blog posts for automotive dealerships, there is nothing more satisfying than providing valuable and entertaining content to an audience of engaged people.
The best part of the whole deal is this: almost all of these “digitally nomadic” skills are relatively easy to learn. With the exception of telenursing, you don’t require a degree to do any of the above examples at a professional level. All it requires is time and effort…and probably a wifi connection.
Anyway, that’s how we finance our long-term travel. We work every day. We work online every day, from anywhere and everywhere. That’s our answer to the Google search: how to make money while traveling, and, in our opinion, it’s the best one you’re going to find.
If you have any questions about our process, be it about travel, #vanlife, writing, content marketing, or you just want to say hi, please feel free to send us an email or Tweet or whatever. Like we said, we’re online pretty much all the time.