Previous Trips Itinerary About Me Contact Subscription
previous trips itinerary about me contact me MailBox

Travelling on the cheap - not because I have to but because I love the lifestyle

As many other people you might be wondering how it's possible to travel for such a long time without working along the way. The overall explanation is that it's a lifestyle, not a holiday – depending on the country a rough guess of daily cost is USD 5-10 when bicycling and US 10-20 when backpacking (excluding plane tickets and activities e.g. diving). There are 3 simple reasons why this is possible: 

  • I have lots of time and travel day by day. It implies flexibility which increase the possibility of travelling cheap – especially cost of transportation can be reduced substantially. Time also creates the opportunity to arrange everything myself or together with local people, which also has the benefit that I avoid arranged trips, guides, etc.

  • My cost of accommodation are low because I sleep in my tent, in cheap hostels or privately in people's homes (either through couchsurfing or people I meet along the way). It is of course nice that the latter is free, but more importantly I appreciate meeting local people as it creates a unique opportunity to obtain local insight and priceless experiences both with them and because they often recommend visiting places/people that I would never have found otherwise

  • I live like the locals, i.e. I always use local transport and more often I cook instead of eating out – and then I only buy what I need. Luckily I have never been drawn to consumerism owning a lot of stuff and when travelling one of the key issues is to always minimise baggage weight.

Denmark is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and therefore it is much cheaper travelling than living in Denmark. I'll claim that most people my age - at least in the so-called developed world – who wants to travel like me, could quit their job tomorrow, sell all there belongings and travel for a very long time – if not for the rest of their lives. It is not a question of money, but about pursuing desires and happiness and living out one's dreams. And having no obligations or liabilities in Denmark leads to true freedom.

I want my full freedom and therefore don't make money on my travelling

A great number of people make suggestions for how to make money on my travelling e.g. sponsors, being a tour guide, writing books, doing presentations, etc. All good suggestions but part of my current life decision is to eliminate obligations and responsibility as much as possible to ensure full freedom and control over my life c.f. separate section about Motivation. If I commit to something, I know myself well enough to work hard and deliver the agreed even though I lose my passion along the way. I hope it won’t be necessary, but should I ever need money, it should be work that I’m passionate about. And should that for some reason not be possible, I prefer taking a short-term well-paid job in Denmark instead of a low-paid long-term job around the world.

For now I like to help people out whenever I can. I hardly ever give people money - what I offer is the most precious resources I (and we all) have: my time and energy. It  can be everything from school/company presentations to construction/building, traditional volunteer work and everyday chores. For most people the latter is a nuisance, but for me they are a pleasant change from my life on the road whether garden work, repair/maintenance of a house or simple cleaning/cooking. Receiving help for free is often difficult for people, because the conventional (western) wisdom is that we pay for things – and if we don’t pay, we feel we owe the other person a favour. I remember the feeling when I once found it equally difficult receiving e.g. snacks, food, beverages, accommodation and especially money from strangers – a huge barrier for me until I realised and accepted that most people around the world give from a pure heart without any expectation of reciprocity. The problem was in my mind brought up in a “something-for-something” culture, which we should all work to eliminate. Along the way, a lot of people help me as I help many people but not necessarily the same. It’s not a one-to-one game but on a global scale it equals out.

The incredible helfulness, hospitality and generosity that I've experienced in most of the world, has restored my belief in humanity, which was challenged by the fear and concern brought on us by especially politicians and media in the (rather successful) attempt to control and manipulate us.  |  Michael  |  Around the World