I get asked quite frequently how I was able to just pick up and leave Australia with no intention of returning and no plan to make money whilst I was gone. My secret is that I actually get to travel the world for free! I get almost all my food and accommodation paid for, in exchange for donating a couple of hours a day to the places I am staying. The only thing I really spend money on is flights, which can be a significant expense when you are living in a country that requires you to leave every 90 days. However I was lucky enough to secure a job working online that covers my flight expenses as well as any other purchases I decide to make within the month.
I left Australia 5 months ago with $9,000 in my account. After traveling, completing courses in both yoga and Thai yoga massage, as well as having some incredible experiences, I have $7,000 in my account. That is only $2,000 less than what I had when I left, which is about one months rent back in St Kilda. I want to share what I have learnt and how I have been able to do this with everyone in the hopes that I can inspire others to leave their old life behind and find one that is truly liberating. This post I will first explain how I travel for free, and then I will move on to talk about how I found work online that I am able to do from anywhere in the world. Freedom is such a wonderful thing!
Traveling for Free
When I first decided I was going to move to India, I really wanted to work in women’s equality centres. I have always been an avid volunteer, wanting to help the world and as many people in it as I possibly can, especially those that are close to my heart. When looking for women’s equality centres that I could volunteer at, I was blown away by how much money I would have to pay to help them. With no income prospects I decided this was a bad idea, but it led me to find Worldpackers. Worldpackers is a platform that offers volunteer positions all over the world in exchange for accommodation and certain meals, sometimes all meals and sometimes none, it depends on the place.
Here there are so many different positions you can apply for at heaps of different places. You can work on a farm, in a school, an eco-village project, in a community, in a hostel as well as hotels and homestays. You can do a range of different tasks from working as a handyman, party promoter, bar tender, receptionist, yoga teacher, social media manager or an artist, which is what I have mostly selected. I have also worked on an eco-project in Sri Lanka, which will warrant its own blog at a later date, as well as a school in rural India, where I will be leaving this week.
Basically the process is applying for a position, setting the dates you are able to work and then start a conversation with the owner about what you are able to offer. It will tell you on their post what they are offering, whether it be accommodation in a shared dorm or private room, how many meals they offer a day, how many hours they expect of you each day and each week as well as how many days off a week you will get. I have met some beautiful people who have turned into good friends, had some great opportunities and using this platform has opened many doors for me as well!
This organization gives people the opportunity to travel who don’t have a lot of money behind them, or even those who do. Hostels are hella expensive these days! I strongly recommend it to absolutely everyone, and many places also take couples and groups so there is no reason not to do it! Grab your gang and go off and volunteer somewhere, I guarantee it will change your life.
Whilst I was volunteering as an artist at a hostel in Rishikesh, I met some amazing people, one who encouraged me to start work as a freelancer to start getting money. I thought she was insane because I have zero skills and am really REALLY bad with technology. Her main point was that I have a laptop, have free time and can speak English fluently, which is a huge leg up. She showed me a few sites that provided work for freelancers like Freelancer.com and Upwork and I started applying for positions in data entry and small easy tasks I could do, but I got absolutely no luck with responses from the people posting the adds. After a few days she suggested that I apply for writing positions as she saw me constantly working on a dystopian novel I am currently writing about artificial intelligence and its impact on our society.
I didn’t think my writing would be any good at all, but I got a trial from a company through UpWork. Turns out they liked my writing and offered me an ongoing contract. I basically write the content for websites for the broadest range of websites you can imagine. I have written content for business that operate in building, sewage, dentistry, litigation, make up, marketing and a range of other things. I didn’t need to know much about the industry, just a tiny amount of research paired with creative writing and hey presto, all of a sudden I had become a digital nomad. I don’t take on a lot of work, because I don’t really need a lot of money, but I might do around 10 a month. Each websites content I do takes me around 3 hours and I make $50 USD from it. So on average I make around $750 AUD a month, which more than covers my expenses.
I am literally travelling the world, getting to paint murals and work an hour or two a day and I’m SAVING money while doing it! And this is coming from someone with very little skills in writing. If you have a skill like graphic design or are able to build a website you’d find it much easier to find work and make money.
I've posted photos connected to this post below of some of the volunteer work I have been lucky enough to do, as well as some of the incredible places I have been lucky enough to call my office for a day!
I’ve provided links to the websites I mention in this post so that you can check them out if you’re interested in becoming a digital nomad. With the link for Freelancer.com you will get a bonus $30 AUD when you make your first $70 AUD, but only if you use this link. If you want any more info on anything I’ve mentioned in this post drop me a message in the contact section below 😊