„How do you finance full-time travelling with child?“ is one of the most asked questions. And honestly, I used to ask myself the same question and still interested in how others do it. So, for all of you who wrote to me and asked this question, I will share my personal strategy with you. This article is for you:
My standard answer became: With lots of trust in god and the universe! Which made me sound like a freak. Another spiritual hippie who has no plan and will eventually fail.
Everything happens for a reason
It seems like it was in another life when I used to be a financial consulter, planning the financial future of my clients 50 years ahead. I loved getting all the pieces together, considering all possibilities. When I developed a plan to finance a new home for a gay couple, they didn’t expect me asking the question if they consider having kids one day. Seems like this spiritual hippie was always somewhere inside me and my strength has always been having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.
Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing!
All we do, all that happens, happens for a reason. My experience as a financial planner and Coach for Deutsche Bank as well as 7 years of travelling led me to the location independent life we live today.
Abundance and scarcity – I had it all
I started travelling 9 years ago with lots of savings, that last me a very long time because I followed some simple rules. After four years of travelling I returned with my husband to Germany to start from the scratch, building a home while waiting for our child to arrive. I still had some savings from different pots to use. We were always blessed but also had many challenges and obstacles along the way. I also got to experience these moments where you stand with your back against the wall, nowhere to go, hardly any money left to buy some food and also the most embarrassing moment having to ask a friend to help me out with my rent.
In 2014, my husband returned to Tonga and we gave up our home again, sold most of our belongings, used a big lot to start a charity organization and ever since we live a location independent life. The original plan of settling down, two years later, all together in Spain, seems so far away. We love the life we live and I just couldn’t imagine right now to settle in one place.
Back in 2014, I had an offer to work again as a Business Coach in Germany. The money would have been great but it meant to be away for a whole week sometimes. I had no one for our girl, so this was never an option, also putting her 10 hours a day into daycare was not an option. Instead I chose a way where we can spent our time together most of the day. Travelling full-time can cost less then you might think and most important it is an incredible chance of bonding between parent and child.
Back in 2014 we didn’t start with lots of savings. Let me share some insights of how to maintain such a life style:
1. The Golden Tripple Savings Rule
Whenever you can, put some savings to the side. I taught all my clients The Golden Tripple Savings Rule. Whenever you manage to put some money to the side, divide it into three different pots. The first one is the short-term pot. That is for immediate needs like a broken washing machine, health issue or a badly needed day to spoil yourself. The second pot is the mid-term one. The car you want, the flat you want to buy or the world tour you want to embark on. The third pot is for your long-term plans, retirement money and any bigger plans. Each pot needs a different investment strategy. You don’t want to take money out of your long-term pot to pay for the broken wasching machine, you will lose money taking it out of the wrong pot.
Whenever you have some extra money coming in, split it into five parts. They don’t necessarily need to be equal, depends on your personal goals. Put one part in each of the three pots, use one part to spoil yourself and family and give the last part to charity. What you give comes around. As soon as you get a raise on your salary, fill your pots, best with a monthly standing order…if you get used to spend the extra money every month it will be harder to save it later.
How I do it: I always did and still do follow this rule. There were times, were I had a lot to save and times were I hardly had enough to meet our daily needs. Before I embarked for the first time in 2007, I could easily save 800EUR each month for my big Around-the-World-Tour. All pots were filled, but I still made sure that I would travel on a budget and always worked whenever I had a chance. There was a moment when my short and mid term pot were empty and I got into scarceness thinking. I still had my long-term pot, but this was for my retirement, for a time when I had less. I then realised this was the time I need it and so I started using the long term pot. With a plan in my head, I knew it was the right decision.
Blessed one’s who have savings. Most of my clients who said they can’t save anything just decided to spend their money for other things. Be honest with yourself and your goals.
2. Location Independant Income
Being on the road, there are several options to create a location independent income. And yes, that is all possible as a single parent. In my experience being a single parent awakes the lioness inside of you, an unbelievable strength you might not had been aware of.
a) Online Business: Create a heart centered online Business. Find out, what you love to do and how to make money with it. Follow your heart and show others how to do the same. That is very famous at the moment. Many people call themselves a „Coach“ in some cases it means they only talk about how they did it. But it still works 🙂
b) Online work: like translating or language tutoring. There are different webpages offering these kind of work.
c) Offline work: offer your skills wherever you are. This could be anything and anywhere.
d) Renting out your home: if you have a house or a flat in your home country, you can rent it out and live of the rent.
e) Writing books
How I do it: I very strictly separate charity and personal needs. For our personal needs I use a mix of all points above. The income I always divide and put part of it into our charity to get the projects going. For 2016 I have very exciting events coming up. Special retreats are in the planning. For the charity organization I accept donations. For German tax payers I offer tax reduction receipts. All donations are strictly reported to the tax authority. Donations are welcome: donate here!
3. Reducing the overhead costs
There are several ways of keeping the overhead costs low. I am born in the south of Germany and they say we are like the scots. Very stingy. I don’t like the word stingy, I call myself instead ‚very smart with money‘. But to be honest, I used to be very stingy. When I started travelling in 2007, I totally immerged in the local currency. In Bolivia for example I shared with three other people a three person bed room. In order to save money we took terms to sleep on the ground. I usually picked the night bus to reach my destination, so I would safe one night of accommodation. Of course, I picked the local bus to save even more. After 10 or more hours on a very very uncomfortable bus, I would walk with my heavy backpack to find the cheapest place to stay. Never stop at the first place, I happily walked 30min to find a place that was 10 local currency cheaper. I felt satisfied even that it was only 0,50 EUR. I ate cheap street food and was very proud how I made my money last. But I used my money to go on tours and adventure, I always invested in experiences and memories. Now almost 10 years later, I have totally changed my mindset. If you come from a mindset of scarcity then this is what you get. Spend your money wisely and get the flow going.
a) Live in a country with lower overall costs: I make sure we eat good and healthy food and I also need space and so does my daughter. We can survive a few days in scarcity, sure, but for a normal life I choose abundance, wealth and space. For some, our life style might look like scarcity and poverty, maybe not all could live like we do, but I see all the abundance we have. That is why, for example I choose to live in India. For little money we afford to live in our own appartment, have our own scooter, drink fresh coconut every day and eat good and healthy food. I save on other things so we can afford to go to the pool everyday and my daughter can even join ballet class.
b) Work in exchange for food and accommodation: While being on a charity assignment I usually have the agreement of free food and accommodation to keep the overall costs low. I also did wwoofing – willing working on organig farm. HelpX and WorkAway are other possibilities. You work for a few hours a day for food and accommodation.
4. Support from Others
a) Go Fund Me: is one of the many fundraising options to use. You put out your cause and ask others to donate and support you. I don’t have first hand experiences, so please share if you have.
b) Have your partner finance your trips: Many families have one parent at home working a full time job while the other parents travels with the kids. I don’t have first hand experiences, so please share if you have.
c) Single Parent – alimony: As a single parent you might get alimonies from the other parent. Living in a cheap country that could bring you quiet far. In Germany you can ask the government for extra support in case the other parent is not able to pay alimony. It’s quiet easy if the other parent lives abroad. You have to testify that you do not know where the other parent lives and you receive an extra 130EUR until your child turns 7 or 8. But be aware, that in this case there will be a warrant put out against the other parent. In our case, I do not make use of this. I knew that my husband has commitment to provide for his parents and younger siblings. I’d be happy if he had money to support us but I do not rely on it AND I do not testify against him, this would make it probably very hard to impossible to get ever again a visa for Germany.
d) Child support from the government: In Germany all parents who pay taxes receive child support. It is currently 190EUR a month for the first child. Since we’re still registered in Germany and pay taxes I get this money. From this I pay my daughters health care in Germany and other things she needs. I also manage to save part of it on her personal account.
5. Trusting in your Journey
I know that I am guided from above. I see signs around me all the time. I am not afraid to follow these signs, even so it means that I do not have the approval of others.
What you give comes around. In the midst of my own storm, means I was in a difficult time, I decided to go out and help other who have even less then I have. Instead of being stingy with our last money I used it to start a charity foundation. I knew from the bottom of my heart that this was the right thing to do. I also know that we are taken care of from above.
Together with my husband we started a new life in Germany in 2011 and together we finished this part in 2014. Our last biggest possession in Germany was our car. It was sold for around 3.500EUR and I gave the money to my husband so he could buy a car for his parents in Tonga. Ever since I met him he talked about getting a car for his parents. They are not so strong anymore and have to walk an hour every day to get to the market or to church. Since we had always been very low with money while trying to establish ourselves and starting our new life in Germany, we couldn’t afford to buy them a car. Each time my husband talked to his younger sister on the phone his whole appearance changed, he felt as a failure towards his family, said he was not a good son because he couldn’t buy them a car. We had many fights about this, mainly because I couldn’t understand why he always felt like this after talking to his sister. We started from zero. He only came with one little bag to Germany, we had to build our live while being new to parenthood and providing for our daughter. The unbeaten arguments were that his sister had to pay for a mortgage in the US as well as for the loans of two new cars, so it was up to him to buy a car for his parents. Anyway after giving everything away, it felt to be the right thing to use this money so he could fulfil this duty and take a bit of burden of his shoulders. I am happy, that his parents finally got a car and that we took part on it.
Some might think I am crazy walking this path. But for me it is a Journey into Trust. We have all we need. Yes, there are moments where I had been standing on the edge not knowing what to do. When you are with your back against the wall, while standing at the edge of a cliff there is only one way to go: one tiny step forward. Trust and walk. You will be surprised that the world won’t stop spinning. Only when you fall you will discover that you can fly. You will discover this unbelievable strength within yourself. This feeling of freedom and peace. Just trust. Doors will open for you. You will receive support you’d never dreamed of.
I live in abundance, spending as much time with my daughter as I wish. I am able to be the mother I want to be.
I am love and you are love.
I am light and you are light.
I am save and you are save.
Love, peace, hope and kindness for all living beings.
(The Lulu Prayer)