Confessions: The other reasons we can travel


It’s no secret that miles and points are a big part of how we can embrace full-time travel.  But there are a few other vital pieces as well that don’t get mentioned on the blog very much because they’re things outside of this miles and points niche, which makes up the meat and potatoes of our content.

And yet these are some of my favorite things to write about.  So in case any of you feel like “miles and points” just doesn’t fully sum up how full-time travel works, here are the other factors that allow us to travel full-time.

1.) We make a bit of an income online.  (Via the blog.)


The blog has become our way to make money online but there are so many other ways a person can make money online if they want to.

Once upon a time I went to to try to sell a few random online services.  (Let’s be clear, I am not recommending it as a primary source of online income!!!  Just…keep reading…) For instance I sold a few tattoo designs, held up signs in notable places etc, but quit the Fiverr avenue when I realized you only get $4 out of the $5 they allow  you to charge.  That’s a terrible rate.

But it did help me make a few connections which later became online art lessons and travel-writing gigs.  Not to mention now a few strangers may be walking around with my drawings tattooed on their biceps.

If you’re interested in testing out your online skills, is a decent resource for freelancers looking to land gigs.  And it pays a bit more reasonably than Fiverr.  Its purpose seems more in making connections and I don’t think anyone would stick with that platform as their sole income unless they consistently found gigs.  More likely you can land a repeat customer.  Could be especially good for coders and programmers to make the switch into freelancing.  Or if you do graphic design at all you can compete for graphic design gigs on 99Designs to help you build a graphic design portfolio.

Or I’ve heard of people having success finding freelance gigs on Craigslist too.  This isn’t just for coders and programmers though.  The key is to figure out how your skills can be taken to the web.  And the key is to use the aforementioned resources to make connections or build a resume/portfolio that will help you land a bigger, more consistent gig, partnership, contract, etc. 

And if you’re thinking this only applies to coders, programmers, and graphic designers…well..revisit the internet today and see how many different kinds of online business you stumble upon.

2.) We make unpopular, risky decisions.

Really what happened is that, after submitting a super awesome resume, we got a call from The Internet and they said “we’d like to pay you lots of money to go travel.”  And we thought about it and decided the price was right.

Just kidding.  That’s not what happened.  We made a risky decision that we could make travel work if we worked really hard and accepted a level of uncertainty.  It was a gamble.  We didn’t wait until it wasn’t, because sometimes the last step towards something is what secures that something.  Does that make sense?  Like let’s say you wanted to move to Spain but you felt like you needed to learn Spanish first.  Well…maybe that last step of learning Spanish wasn’t going to happen until you moved to Spain.

Or…less of an analogy and more of an example…let’s say you are making a meager income online and you don’t want to quit your day job until that income hits a certain level.  Maybe it never will reach that level until you quit the day job and give it all your attention.

I mean ultimately it’s the same with any life decision, right?  Even if you’re not deciding to embrace full-time travel.  If you’re deciding to move to a new town or accept a new job or something.  You prepare as much as you can but ultimately the final details are a gamble.

What I’m really trying to say is that If you do want to travel full-time, or make whatever big bold change you have in mind, most likely the opportunity isn’t going to come to you.  You are going to have to create your own opportunity and the timing will probably never seem right, especially if you’re waiting for certain success.

Luckily…that doesn’t necessarily mean the timing isn’t right…

And what the heck is this mythical beast “Certain Success” anyway?

3.) We have friends and family willing to help out with details like storage and addresses.

To collect miles and points via credit cards, you need to have a home address.  I’ve often thought of hilarious fake addresses we could use, like “Pier 39, San Francisco” or something… but no you need an actual address and our family is very gracious about helping out with that.



Similarly our friends have a few boxes of our things in their basement so that we don’t have to travel with winter coats when we go to Thailand or so I don’t have to carry my wedding dress or my banjo or my old sketch books everywhere we go.

Keeping things you don’t actually use is a luxury.  And it’s a luxury we can enjoy thanks to anyone who’s let us stick a box in their basement.  Thank you thank you thank you, ye box-keepers.

4.) Our family members are scattered all across the U.S.

I’m listing this as a reason why we can travel because…maybe it would be different if our entire family lived in one place.  Maybe then it would be harder to be away.  My family is spread across Ohio and Pennsylvania and Drew’s is spread across Pennsylvania, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  We couldn’t live one place and be around everyone we love.  So instead we can travel and make our rounds.  We were destined to be travelers simply to spend time with everyone!

But if literally everyone who mattered to us was having a blast in the same community somewhere…it would probably be really really hard for me to leave that.

5.) We have U.S. Passports.

Because we’re from the U.S, there are credit cards with travel rewards bonuses, something that’s not prevalent just everywhere yet.  And because we’re from the U.S, there are a lot of places we can travel to easily.  I feel grateful for that and often when I guest post on other blogs someone will say “Well…these strategies don’t apply to me because I live in ___.”   Or when I make friends here in Thailand and say “Think you’ll ever come to the States?”  I immediately realize it’s …not the same as my going to Thailand.

It’s humbling.


Conclusions & Disclaimers

Not everyone wants this lifestyle and that is fine too!  Some people really like having real homes and “real lives” as I’ve heard it put and that’s totally wonderful too!  Definitely no judgement there as I for one fully believe that you can have an adventure anywhere.  ANYWHERE!  It’s true.  Every place we think of as our place for adventure is someone else’s stationary life.

It’s all “real life” if I may be so bold to suggest it.

You better believe that in an alternate world I would be totally happy living on the home farm canning strawberry jam with my sisters.  But I’d be missing adventure just like this lifestyle makes me miss home and community.

Is there a way to have it all?  The security and community of a stationary life and the adventure of a traveling one?  My guess is that no matter what we do, there will be something else to long for but I think that’s ok.  Longing is a part of being human.  It’s like…the fuel for getting up on Mondays and it’s a vital part of recognizing worth and value in all the experiences we do have and the ones we hope for.

So what was this post for?  It’s an attempt to take away whatever magic you thought there was to what we do.  It’s not magic.  It’s hard work driven by passion, just like your lives are hard work driven by passion.

That’s my zen thought for this Friday.


19 Comments on “Confessions: The other reasons we can travel

  1. Excellent reflective post, Carrie! This is a good companion post to the one Drew did today. You have a wonderful lifestyle, but I know that you do have to make sacrifices in your personal life to make it happen. Swinging it financially is just one variable in the equation. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on all this here.

    • Thanks so much! Really glad to hear you liked the post. My tendency is to over-share rather than under-share, so it’s nice to see some affirmation that it worked in the form of a post!

  2. Nice post. Hopefully certain commenters can stop freaking out that you guys aren’t stationary, as you put it.

    • 😉 it’s all good. Blogging (and being vulnerable in general) is also about risk- sharing an opinion online is basically saying you’re ok with the chance your opinion will be scrutinized. Scary as that is!!! 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Great post. We resonate with many of the thoughts and reflections you shared here. Just yesterday we made yet another “risky decision” (as you say), turning down a well-paying job that would be too limiting on our ability to travel. Like you, we accept a certain level of uncertainty because we value travel and flexibility over a stable income at this point in our lives.

  4. I love following your blog *at least* as much as Drew’s because of articles like this. I enjoy the analytical and detailed side of traveling and the points game he posts, but I’m a real sucker for motivational stuff, too.

    Everything in this post is so true, especially how just about anyone can earn money (enough to get by and to even travel full-time) through freelance work if they put their mind to it… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as location-independent income opportunities. As the world gets even further reliant on technology, there will be countless more opportunities opening up. Look at today vs. ten years ago for proof, or twenty years ago to blow your mind.

    As far as #5, as much as I see fault in many of the aspects of the United States, we are undeniably lucky regarding the benefits that being born there provides us with. I’ll agree with humbling, but I’d venture further to say that it saddened me the first time I had a conversation with someone regarding how even if they could get a visa to visit the US (which they’d been denied multiple times), getting there meant literally saving for years because of the low level of income in their country. It really opened my eyes to be thankful for something as out-of-my-control as where I was born, and then filled them with tears over how people are denied the same opportunities as me for no other rather than where they were born.

    • thanks so much for your comment and affirmation.
      Definitely agree with your sentiments about feeling grateful and lucky, but also sad. I couldn’t have said it better.

  5. Oh yeah, and I’m glad you guys are both okay with the level of vulnerability that sharing your thoughts and opinions online brings! You should never be scared of other people’s scrutiny. Who cares what they think? It’s your life to live, and you two are doing a hell of a job living it.

  6. Hi guys if you can’t earn any money online
    try – bluehand roulette system – it earns me extra money everyday,
    just google it

  7. I love your posts Carrie! My husband and I took a gamble 8 years ago and bought a campground. Yes, we work 7 days a week 6 months a year, but the other 6 months are ours to enjoy and travel! There was a real “fear of change” in making the leap into uncertainty but I’m glad we did it. 8 years later, we are looking to sell…to make another change. That’s the great thing about life. You can always change your plans! I think it’s great how you guys are living your lives and I look forward to reading your posts!

    • Thanks so much for the affirmation and I am so excited to hear about your life adventures too! I bet owning a campground was write-a-book worthy! But the next adventure will be too. 🙂 You’re right, that is part of what makes life great.

  8. Like the honesty behind this post. Some bloggers always want people to believe everyone can do the same thing as them. Maybe, maybe not. You and Drew are helping people see this more clearly. Keep posting!

  9. Yes, I really appreciate that you mentioned #5, having a US passport (which Jonathan echoes in his comments above). Recognizing the great privileges we have as Americans is so important, allowing us to be grateful for all these opportunities that we’ve enjoyed and that you’ve helped us share and enjoy through your blogs.

    • Thanks for those thoughts R.R. We are definitely ridiculously lucky in so many ways.

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