From 9 to 5 to Full-Time Adventure: Meet the Savvy Digital Nomad Couple Traveling the World on a Shoestring Budget
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Johanes and Ryk
Johanes and Ryk are a digital nomad couple
23rd Jun | 6 min read

Table of Contents

    Johanes and Ryk are a digital nomad couple. Johanes is the main writer and founder of their travel blog, Wander Era, while Ryk Van Eruel is the photographer and videographer. 

    Johanes' life was far from easy at first. She expected to have to fit her life into a small box, from a 9 to 5 job to raising a family. Johanes was never satisfied because she was only concerned with her studies in order to earn money when she grew up. She learned how bloggers can make money, and then, after two years, she set up her own website independently with the help of the internet, and now she travels the world doing what she loves to do for a living.

    You can follow along on all of their adventures by heading to their Instagram and Facebook.

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    How I Met Ryk

    We’re high school sweethearts. We first met in high school 15 years ago. Back then, I (Johanes) never had any interest in traveling.

    When we were in college, Ryk thought it was a good idea to go camping in one of the nearby mountains. After inviting a few friends, we went camping. From then on, camping became our thing. It was affordable, especially for us as broke students. 

    When we started working, we tried snorkeling and fell in love with it. Growing up in the cold, mountainous area of the Philippines, we craved warm, sunny beaches. We made our way to Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, and Palawan. Now, we have plans to go around the country, exploring one island at a time.

    How We Decide Our Destinations & Our Bucket List

    We love beach towns, so we always plan our trips around islands with lots of snorkeling destinations and pretty beaches. Other times, we just take a look at the top destinations in the country that we haven’t visited and decide on one.

    Once we’ve decided on a location, we start booking accommodations, and tours, and planning our itinerary.

    So far, we’ve only been traveling around the country. As much as possible, we want to experience everything the Philippines has to offer before traveling abroad. When it comes to our bucket list, we'd like to visit Japan, eat at ramen shops, try wagyu, and soak in an onsen.

    Worth reading: This Foodie Couple Has Been Traveling The Globe To Get An Authentic Taste Of The World's Cuisine

    Places We Have Traveled Together

    As mentioned above, we’ve only traveled around the Philippines. One of our coolest travel experiences was our snorkeling trip to Apo Island.

    Apo Island is well known for its abundant marine life and colorful corals. It was the best snorkeling experience we’ve ever had. We booked our tour from one of the resorts on Siquijor Island and went on a day trip to Apo Island. There, we saw several turtles, a sea snake, and the most beautiful coral reef.

    Worth reading: Lissette & Frank Have Been "Slow" Traveling For Over 6 Years, Visiting Over 50 Countries And Regularly Staying In One Location For Months At A Time

    What Inspired Us To Start Blogging

    Johanes started the website back in July 2017. She read about making money through blogs. And since she and her friends travel every weekend to destress from their full-time jobs, she thought it would be fun to write about the places they’ve visited.

    The mission of our blog is to help people plan their trips and create itineraries. We mainly provide free travel guides, hotel recommendations, and tips.

    Worth reading: From Seasonal To Full Time: This Couple Sold Everything In 2016 to Explore The World

    Costs We've Had To Bear To Get Started On Our Dream Of World-wide Nomadism

    It wasn’t that difficult. We were mostly traveling on a budget, and we got money from freelancing online here and there. We can work anywhere and mainly splurge on food, so budgeting isn’t a problem. 

    Our major sacrifice would be our furbabies. It’s hard to leave our pets behind to go traveling. At the moment, we’ve temporarily settled down to spend time with our dogs and cat. We’re also planning on taking them on the road, so we don’t have to keep worrying about them whenever we leave.

    How We Manage Our Work & Travel 

    We only accept work that allows for flexible time and is result-based. We don’t do hourly-paid work. As a result, we can work at any time of day or week as long as we can show results.

    Worth reading: After Two Years Of Peace Corps Service In Jamaica This Couple Discovered Their Passion For Digital Nomadism & The Pursuit Of Travel Hacks

    GAFFL For Travelers

    We think GAFFL helps people on budget travel more and meet like-minded people. It’s a great app, especially for solo travelers. 

    Some other helpful travel apps we use are Agoda or Airbnb for booking accommodations, Klook or KKday for booking tours, and PackPoint for our packing list.

    How We Manage Our Travel Costs

    We manage our costs by making a budget for each category - food, accommodation, transportation, etc. We crunch the numbers and make sure to stay within the budget.

    For this, we use a small pouch with several compartments. Each compartment represents a category. So before our trip, we set a budget and put money into each compartment. This helps us stick to our budget.

    Worth reading: In 2018 These Two Scientists Packed Everything Up, Got Married, & Embarked On An Endless World Tour As Their Honeymoon

    How We Avoid Scams

    We’ve mainly encountered scams in the most touristy areas. We haven’t been scammed yet, but we’ve seen how they do it. Boracay, for example, people would come up to you to buy this expensive item. You’ll find out soon enough, after roaming around the markets, that the item is way overpriced.

    The biggest challenge we’ve faced so far is avoiding the crowd. Either you choose the expensive private tour option or visit at a certain time of the day or day of the year. 

    Worth reading: These Nomadic Nerds From Norway Left Their IT Jobs To Travel The World Full-Time & Create The World's Best Travel Content

    Advice We Can Share 

    Always have a flexible schedule. There are times when things don’t go the way you planned. You might get sick while traveling, or there could be a typhoon coming in. By not overstuffing your itinerary, you have enough wiggle room to adjust your plans in case something happens. 

    It's also a good idea to stay somewhere for at least three days. This gives you enough time to go around exploring.

    Worth reading: Without Any Previous Traveling Experience This Adventurous Couple Set Out To Cycle Throughout India

    Things We Wish We’d Known When We First Started Traveling

    We wish we had learned how to ride a motorcycle earlier. Most of the places we visited had motorbike rentals. Now that Ryk knows how to drive one, we can easily go from one place to another without being too dependent on tours and scheduled buses. It’s also cheaper.

    Overall, we discovered that traveling on a budget is not a problem. You don’t need to have a lot of money. There’s always a cheaper option.

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