Where And How We First Met
We met when we were 4 years old at a birthday party our sisters were invited to. It was at a roller rink and we skated into each other, being best bros ever since!
A change of scenery from the lives we were used to was enough to turn our worlds upside down. In our eyes, the first few international trips we went on were just vacations, 2 weeks or so with an unlimited budget.
We met a few people during those trips who were out there doing it long-term and we said to ourselves, “why not us?”. We want to be real travelers.
We wanted to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zone, to experience true life on the road, the ups and downs, and all the magic that happens in-between. We knew we would have to have to sacrifice a few things to make our dreams become a reality.
We travel together simply to make memories we can look back on and share. Yes, solo travel is awesome, but having someone with whom you shared the highs and lows of long-term travel is really unique.
For someone to understand how you were feeling during a certain time and place in a foreign land is a very special bond. All these travel stories and adventures are much more meaningful when you can reminisce with a friend who shared the experience. We are constantly pushing each other to do shit that scares us. It’s a bonus to have someone who’s always got your back in a foreign land, no matter what the situation.
How We Make Our Next Destination Choice
We are continually inspired by history, culture, and nature. It’s all about connecting with people and places that are different from what we are familiar with. That’s what keeps us coming back for more.
For the past two years, we have been studying Spanish and are really looking forward to returning to Latin America to put it to the test. We have been captivated by learning about the history of the Maya and are eager to get back to some historical sites and ruins to learn more about this fascinating civilization.
The Length Of Our Trips
The longest trip we’ve embarked on was 13 consecutive months through 27 countries. That’s a lot of time on the road to be traveling nonstop.
We’re not sure if we’d be able to pull off such a trip again but we’re glad we did it when we had the opportunity.
The last trip we went on was to Mexico for around 6 months. We enjoy going on trips with an element of surprise so we don’t spend too much time researching before we take off. Typically we like to get familiar with the layout of the country and the potential areas we want to visit. It gives us a better idea of what is physically possible to see in a given timeframe. We’ll brush up on the history of a place so we can have a greater appreciation for historical sites and have a more impactful visit.
Essentials That We Pack
Packable towels are pretty key, also some technical garments that can dry fast. We recommend rocking a backpack instead of luggage. There’s something freeing about being able to move with all of your belongings on you. Oh yeah, and make sure you stick to carry-on only. Doing laundry on the road can actually be pretty sweet and sometimes an adventure on its own.
Be sure to save a little extra room in your bag to buy cool things along the way and support a local vendor or artist.
Meeting New People We'll Never Forget
Wow, looking back on it, it seems like everywhere we’ve been we had the opportunity to meet someone awesome. When you’re on the road, you need to have an open mind because you will encounter some unlikely friendships, in the best way possible! You’ll create a bond with people who you typically won't encounter when you go about daily life in your comfort zone.
Those friendships can be with people who appear to be very different—it might be due to personality traits, values, points of view, age, income, language, culture, or education. We can all learn something from one another. Accept those random acts of hospitality without fear or judgment.
On a wild night out in Poland, we sang karaoke with a chef and his restaurant crew. The next night, we were being treated like royalty at their restaurant! Or there’s the time we were invited to a graduation party in rural Vietnam. We always find ourselves in some interesting situations that we wouldn’t trade for the world. You never know who you’re going to meet.
What Pushed Us To Launch The Blogging Project
We are just two normal dudes who don’t have a lot of money, just a healthy appetite for adventure and exploring. If we could do it, anyone can. We wanted to use the platform to inspire others who may be doubting themselves and their situation. To push people to give in and feed their urge to explore and live life to its fullest. We want to show readers that life-changing experiences don’t have to cost a lot of money. You just need the courage to get out there and get after it. On the blog, we share some of the impactful experiences we’ve had while traveling and tips budget travelers can use to save money as they tick items off their bucket list.
People shouldn’t have to wait for retirement to travel long-term. The timing will never feel right but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. You’ll learn the world is a really caring place and people want to help you more than they want to harm you.
Countries We Have Traveled To So Far
We’re up over 30 or so now. But we have been traveling much slower these days. Pumping the brakes to travel slower and to take more in. Meet more locals, try more foods, get out into nature. You have to spend a little time in a place just to scratch the surface of its possibilities. Anyone can visit the tourist sights, but when you immerse yourself in a place with the locals you may feel a deeper connection. As we get older we have been favoring quality over quantity. More sunrises, more sunsets, and overall more impactful experiences.
In the future, we see ourselves touring the pyramids in Egypt, experiencing the nightlife of Tokyo, scaling mountains in the Himalayas, or surfing waves in Portugal! The possibilities are endless.
The Obstacles & Sacrifices We Made in Order to Go Full-Time Backpacking
Sadly, sometimes even the people closest to you will not agree or approve of your drastic choices. They may even call you crazy and doubt what you want to do. Most people around you won’t understand, but that’s okay! You’ll have to block out all the noise and feed that inner voice that is telling you to go.
Long-term travel can be really difficult with extreme highs and lows. Sometimes you get FOMO during holidays and special occasions happening back home. You’ll even miss out on big life moments for your family. Those times can be really difficult when you want to be there for your family and you are far away from the comforts you are used to. The travel bug is real and once you get a taste it’s hard to go back to a normal life that people expect from you.
Requirements For Nomads Planning To Travel Full-Time
First and foremost, a positive attitude. Set your pride aside and do what it takes to stay on the road if that is what’s most important to you. There are so many opportunities out there to stay in places for free whether it be volunteering at hostels, working on farms, or house sitting.
You can pick up a skill like teaching ESL to have in your back pocket just in case you need to earn money.
Nowadays with the digital nomad movement, you may find a job that will let you work from anywhere, it may not be something you are super passionate about but if it gives you the freedom to wake up anywhere you want in the world, at the end of the day may be what’s more important.
How We Manage Costs
Eat street food, cook your own meals, take the local buses. Stay longer in a place to get an Airbnb discount.
Keeping a spreadsheet is really helpful too, you can track your spending and keep everything in check. Sometimes you gotta splurge for those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. We are big fans of airline miles and never have to pay full price for a flight, it’s an easy hack that goes a long way.
How We Believe GAFFL Benefits Travelers
We truly believe that the best memories and experiences are the ones that are shared with others. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known someone for an hour or your whole life, when you do something badass together it’s sure to be a time you won’t forget.
Making connections and becoming friends with people all over the world is such a powerful tool to have when traveling. One day maybe you’ll visit your new friend in their homeland. Some of the best trips happen when you have a friend playing tour guide in their country.
GAFFL is a really cool opportunity to enrich your travels with like-minded people who will push you to get out of your comfort zone. No matter what type of personality you have, making new friends on the road is easier than ever.
Google maps is a lifesaver while traveling. We are sure to download offline maps so we never get lost or have to worry about getting a signal to find out where the heck we are.
How We Juggle Our Work And Travel Schedules
It’s important to try and keep a little routine when you’re working on the road. That way your brain is familiar with when it’s time to put in some work or to relax.
We usually schedule travel days for days when we don’t have work and try to give a buffer day to settle into a new place. You’ve got to be real with yourself and know that you can’t physically do everything in the guidebook or what that blogger is telling you to need or must do.
Pick what’s really important to you and aim for that to keep the FOMO to a minimum.
Tips For People Who Want To Travel Full-Time But Can't
Follow your heart! If you never try, you’ll never know. You’re going to have doubters and many people aren’t going to understand your wanderlust and urge to see the world.
For these big decisions, the timing may never feel right and you may fill yourself with excuses to talk yourself out of it. Remember, time is precious and is something we don’t get back. You’ll never regret trying, but you may regret not trying at all.
The Things We Wished We'd Known When We First Started Out On The Road
We wish we would have known that travel would become a driving force in a lot of the decisions we make in life. The travel bug is so real. Going on a long-term trip will change you in more ways than you can imagine and, since our first trip, we have never really been the same.
We look at the world differently and have become so grateful for the many blessings that we have and try not to take things for granted. We’ve learned to value experiences over things and that the bonds we create are very important. Travel helped us become the best versions of ourselves.
No matter how different people may look or seem, we all want a lot of the same things out of life.
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