Having it all
To our friends, family and outsiders, we had it all, right?... Well paid jobs, dream house, nice holidays, camper van, two cars, beautiful artwork and the hot tub (don't ask...). However, we continued having a scratch to itch and started questioning ourselves... how could we be feeling this way when we already had everything society said we would ever need?!
A change of scenery
3 years ago we found ourselves in a curious position... after moving into our beautiful new house in the desirable village of Hartley Wintney and enjoying the area for 2 years, getting married in Vegas and having a few little camper van trips around holidays, I (Hayley) still craved for something more. One weekend we came to Brighton for a VW event and 5 weeks later we had rented our house out and moved to this wonderful City. Family thought we were crazy leaving the life we had built, and we will admit we did ask ourselves the same question but, 3 years later, it turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. Brighton & Hove has changed us into the people we are today. Our sense of adventure has grown, we switched to a plant-based diet, met so many inspiring people and this has all led to us believing that we can in fact follow our dreams. Don’t get me wrong, the first 18 months here we we’re still massively wrapped up in the world of consumerism. Pay rises led to bigger apartments, bigger TV’s, more art, more furniture, more clothes, more expensive meals out – more of anything we could spend all our money on. Any disposable money we had we would spend or take something, anything, out on finance to ensure we were making use of every penny of our hard-earned cash. Justifying the years of hard work, climbing the corporate ladder, commuting hell, long hours and stress of targets by buying shit we really didn't need. Stuff = Money = Time = Our time, wasted time!
Followed by a change in mindset
A trip to Australia in 2018 made us really consider some kind of travel. Could we move to Sydney to work? Could we buy a bigger camper van and travel around Europe? Could we leave our stable but soul destroying corporate careers? We came home from that trip and re-evaluated what we were doing with our money. I was still weighed down by two substantial loans which would take a couple of years to pay but if we downsized we could maybe, just maybe, start saving.
The following year, in March 2019 we went to Thailand for a holiday and it was there, whilst enjoying life on Koh Lanta that we knew exactly what we wanted to do – save as much money as possible and live this life for at least 2 years. We came back from that holiday and downsized once again, this time to a small one bedroom flat, sold the camper van and furniture and by August 2019 I was debt free, for the first time in 20 years! Our new financial plan was to hit our monthly savings target and spend whatever we had left, stop buying new and work towards a total travel savings fund.
What we did next
We sat in a coffee shop and booked our first flight – 25th May 2020 we were supposed fly to Lisbon where we would be spending 7 days exploring the beautiful City. Then on 1st June we were flying to Barcelona where we would reside for a month in our favourite spot - El Raval. Sonar music festival has been a firm favourite for the last 5 years so we couldn't wait to experience a whole month in the City around this time. Not to mention our first Primavera and the start of Euro 2020. Following that we were due to fly to Thailand where we had booked a month’s accommodation on Koh Lanta and a month on Koh Tao. I’d highly recommend booking the first steps so that you have something to work towards, however in March this year the Corona Virus changed the world and with it, our travel plans! We had a wall planner in our living room and were crossing off the days until we departed for our adventures. As the day drew nearer our initial travel plans one by one were cancelled. It was massively gutting but luckily we were still working and just moved the dates back. At the time of writing this we are 16 days away from leaving Brighton and travelling to Lisbon. We have booked an Air BnB for 5 weeks and will see what happens from there. On a side note I'd also been working from my own finance spreadsheet for years to manage my money but also built a savings plan and a budget plan for whilst we are away.
Well, the plan (other than the first three months) is to have no plan. However, we do wish to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bhutan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. We have no time constraints and from some initial investigations it looks like if we stay a month at a time in some places we can get beautiful AirBnB for far cheaper than even some hostels work out per night. In some countries we plan to properly backpack and explore but so many places we want to stay for extended periods – like Bali, Thailand and Vietnam – visa dependant.
So... we would love for you to follow our journey. Along the way we will be documenting all the places we go, things we see, the equipment we use, the plant based food we eat, the local beers we drink, the places we stay and most importantly how much everything costs us. We expect there to be many highs and probably many lows but we are absolutely buzzing to get going!
Home town: Swanage (Dorset)
Dream place of residence: Any beach cabin with 300+ days of sun
Current occupation: Data and analytics geek
Dream occupation: Music maker or preacher man :)
Favourite books: Sapiens (absolute game changer), Trainspotting, Team Human, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
Favourite podcasts: Under the Skin, Team Human, Guardian Football Weekly, Hip Hop Saved My Life
Mastermind Subject: Wu Tang - 36 Chambers
Favourite Films: Pulp Fiction, Inception, Matrix, Goonies, Trainspotting
Home town: Brighton
Dream place of residence: Anywhere with turquoise ocean, white sands and lush green forest
Current occupation: Cyber security Business Unit Manager
Dream occupation: Teacher, conservationist, DJ or full time travel blogger
Favourite books: The Secret Garden, anything Enid Blyton, Thousand Splendid Suns, Sapiens, The Fault in our Stars, Eat, Pray, Love
Favourite podcasts: Russell Brand Under The Skin, Jay Shetty, Metaphysical Milkshake, Rich Roll and Crime Junkies
Mastermind subject: Trance Classics
Favourite films: True Romance, Labyrinth, Never Ending Story