(Just so you know, there may be some affiliate links in this post, but we only recommend items that we believe in and think will benefit you on your travels.)
1. Tell us about yourself and sum up your travels for us.
Hi! Many name is Nichole Walz, a small town girl from Michigan in the USA. I lived in Florida for seven years, where I became a chiropractor. I met my husband, who’s from New Jersey, while studying in Chiropractic College and we practiced in South Florida for three years after graduation, and then moved to Singapore to practice for two years. It wasn’t until we moved to Singapore where we truly fell in love with travel.
Living in Singapore allowed us to travel throughout Asia and Oceania: Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.
After leaving our jobs in Singapore, we became yoga teachers in Bali and ventured to Europe to travel for another few years. We’ve been on the road for three months in Europe, now and I’m currently at 38 countries.
2. How have you funded your travels?
While living in Singapore, we funded all our Asia travels with our careers as chiropractors, but we knew we wanted to go mobile and be digital nomads, we just didn’t know how. After some soul searching and a brilliant idea that came about while we were on our honeymoon in New Zealand, we developed a mobile app for health/posture!
We currently earn our revenue through the app, freelance writing and videography. Living in Singapore allowed us to save the money to fund our app and get it off the ground. It wasn’t until October 2017 that we officially launched the app and started to earn revenue, which is still growing daily. The rest of our income comes from freelance work. We also teach yoga privately and for studios.
3. Tell us about your budget.
Of course we budget! Living in Europe, our budget is about $1,500USD/month total for food and accommodation. We track our budget through credit card statements and cash use (daily), recorded in our phones. We are quite strict about sticking to the budget, but will go over for experiences that we deem ‘worth it.’ Luckily, Airbnb has really helped a lot with accommodation while traveling. We book one whole month at each destination we go and receive large discounts that way. Also, having an Airbnb allows us to have a kitchen, where we can cook most meals, unless we’re out eating local food.
Note from Kara and Nate: We love Airbnb too! If you click here, you'll get $40 off your first stay, plus you'll also be helping us out 🙂
4. What have you learned about money since hitting the road?
We have stuck to our budget 90% of the time while traveling Asia and now Europe. Traveling has, surprisingly, been cheaper than we anticipated, as long as we plan ahead. If we don’t map out a grocery store near our Airbnb when we arrive, we end up eating out and spending more cash. We don’t purchase souvenirs, which saves a lot of money as well.
Currency exchange can sometimes be a rip off, so it’s important to research ahead of time before arriving at the next country. We’ve found that extracting money from an ATM is more cost effective in Europe than exchanging paper currency. In Asia, it is the opposite.
The most expensive form of our travel has been bringing our dog along, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! Luckily, most trains and buses don’t charge to bring her, but flying with her is quite costly, so we try to keep it to a minimum.
5. What's your top tip for someone trying to figure out how to make long-term travel financially possible?
Sell everything you own, save enough for 6 months of travel and just GO! You will never realize how cheap being a digital nomad really is…you no longer have vehicles, vehicle insurance, cell phone bills, electricity, etc. Most people think you have to have a LOT of money in order to travel the world, but, if you omit all the normal bills that we all have each month, stop shopping and go on the road, it really is affordable. Eating in and cooking is vital to saving money, so get to know Pinterest really well for easy recipe ideas…I even carry spices and olive oil in my suitcase so I don’t have to purchase them when we arrive at new places!
6. If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps, are there any online resources you’d recommend?
Bloggers: The best way to learn how to be a digital nomad is to learn from others. The Facebook Group ‘Girls Love Travel’ has been absolutely vital for us. I have found SO much information about the places we are going, how to obtain different jobs, etc.
Upwork is a great source for freelance work. We have been really fortunate finding a lot of work this way.
Networking: Get in touch with people you know. My best friend had a friend looking for an Administrative Assistant to answer all the emails they receive for tours in NYC in Spanish (I’m fluent in Spanish), and I literally got the job without trying. This has added a substantial amount of extra income each month.
Diversify: Take on multiple projects and do different things to earn money in various places.
7. What's some of your favorite travel gear that enables you to do what you do?
We cannot survive without our Macbooks, which are our most important items (besides our dog-who goes everywhere with us- and passports of course).
Buddy Pouch: We never worry about our passports and cash while traveling with our Buddy Pouches.
8. Where can people follow your travels?