Well, I survived. When I left my old life I had no idea what to expect and whether I’d be able to afford living on the road. I had looked at my income and made some educated guesses but there was no way to know. Today, I know. Life on the road, if you’re disciplined, is more affordable than life even in Montreal, Canada which is one of North America’s most affordable major cities. In one year I’ve spent on all my living expenses, about 30% more than I would have spent just on rent. Granted I lived alone in a really nice place and could have had rent half that price with a roommate and in another part of town, but that wasn’t what I wanted and I have no regrets in that department. All in all, I did pretty well in my first year from a financial standpoint. No, it wasn’t great and I can do better, not necessarily in terms of spending less, though that too, but in terms of spending better. That’s all part of the learning process though. I’m curious to see what the next year brings.
But officially, on all living expenses not including work related expenses (though internet access is included) I’ve spent approximately $13,400 USD in my first year on the road. That’s about $36.70/day which is just slightly over my daily budget of $35/day. The most affordable country was Columbia (at $32/day) and the most expensive was Costa Rica (at $65/day). But that includes all the tours, the travel, the food, everything. Not too bad. I’m still not the best negotiator but I’m getting better and I better be, cause the rest of the world won’t show me mercy. But I’ll be ready. All this to say, in the grand scheme of things, not too bad. I always heard of people travelling and living on 10k a year and I thought that was impossible. It isn’t. So, yes, I’m above that, but then again, I didn’t spend the whole year pinching every penny, trying to find couches to crash, eating the cheapest food possible. Life isn’t about depriving yourself of the things that make it worth living and that includes food, decent places to sleep, and the experiences that enrich us. I rarely ate at gourmet restaurants. In fact, I can only remember one or 2 all year. I went out on average maybe twice a month and even then, spent very little. Most of the entertainment costs were for unique experiences, hikes, tours, snorkeling and other things I wanted to take advantage of because I just don’t know if I’ll ever have the chance to see and do these things in these places again. Life’s too short and this is what money is best spent on in my opinion. I’m proud of the way I’ve managed my money, for the most part. Of course I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve gained so much over the past year in experiences that are special, memorable and inspiring. I’ve managed to pay off some debts, though others remain that I’m actively working on. I’ve survived slow periods of work, and some pretty massive financial stresses but I made it work and I’m here, still fighting the fight. It’s not easy, but god is it worth it.
Cost Breakdown for the first year of travel:
Accommodation: $2570 (note: this is skewed because Toronto, NYC, and Florida, I was able to stay with friends or family)
Groceries + Food: $3800
Clothing & Laundry: $181
Other: $2000.95 (note: this number is skewed as it includes clothing and other items for my travels purchased before I started)