Traveling can be care free or action filled, it can be budget friendly or lavish but either way I believe that both domestic and international travel are the best investments you can make in yourself. Immersing oneself in a new place can be a culture shock at first, but it forces one out of their comfort zone opening the doors for growth. “Culture and language are some of the most challenging, interesting, and enriching experiences available to individuals and collectives” (Kumpulainen 2010, 131). Through travel, one can learn about an unfamiliar culture, including their language, food, practices, and beliefs, which compel us to see past our tunneled vision of perception.
I believe that life is about constantly growing and learning, and personally, I feel by opening your mind to unfamiliarity you are able to grow in ways unachievable by any other matters. I agree with Kumpulainen when she writes “In today’s world, multicultural awareness, language skills and cultural knowledge as well as an appreciation of difference are necessary competences for any democratic and developing society.” Without this knowledge, we are unable to learn from each other creating a society of indistinguishable beliefs. In my opinion, broadening your mind can be one of the most personally beneficial qualities you are capable of acquiring in life. With the skill to understand and see through the eyes of different cultures, we are able to interact with people more reasonably and unselfishly. Humans are the framework of our existence; one will only get as far as they do in life with the support, assistance and interaction with other humans.
In a collection of five studies publicized by Jiyin Cao at Northwestern University “…we found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust” (Cao, Galinsky & Maddux 2013). Breadth in the study was defined as the number of countries traveled. I found these studies very rewarding and important for people to be aware of. Although each study varied slightly, across the board, it was proven that traveling to different countries creates an openness of trust in daily life. With all the outrageous terrible news we hear of how people are acting and reacting so negatively, we can conclude that generalized trust was most likely not present. By trusting others, we are able to respect and live harmoniously among our peers.
I also believe that travel can be beneficial in more ways than just to broaden your mind and learn about a culture or place. Some people get so tied up in the day-to-day scheme of things that they lose sight of what really makes them happy. Happiness is, in my opinion, the most important building block of life, without true happiness everything seems dull. By going on a vacation where you are able to relax and kick back you relieve yourself of daily stressors giving you time to escape and reboot. Action-packed travel can be favorable as well not only for the fun but also for health reasons. Trying new things may open your eyes and make you realize you found something you never knew you liked before. Last summer, I visited Costa Rica, and although I am deathly afraid of heights, I decided to zip line 700ft in the air. This turned out to be one of the best experiences throughout my life, and if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone, I would have never discovered it.
In conclusion, I believe that both domestic and international travel can be the best investment you will ever make in yourself for multiple reasons. Learning, growing and opening your mind can help you interact and trust others more freely. Relaxing vacations can give you well needed time to clear your mind and rediscover happiness and lastly action-packed vacations can be not only beneficial for fun but also for your health.
Cao, J., Galinsky, A.D., & Maddux, W.W. (December 2013). Does Travel Broaden the Mind?
Breadth of Foreign Experiences Increases Generalized Trust. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Retrieved from http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/12/04/1948550613514456.abstract
Kumpulainen, K., Snee, H. (March 2010). Does Travel Broaden the Mind? A Critical Review of
Learning Through the Gap Year. LLinE Volume XV, issue 3/2010 Travel and lifelong learning. Retrieved from http://www.lline.fi/files/issues/3_2010.pdf#page=31
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I remember when I made my first few cents from my blog, after nearly a year of hard work.
It was like earning money from nowhere (not that I hadn’t put a lot of work and a lot of time into my blog before ever making even a cent, I did), a few cents had appeared in my bank account out of the air (really from an ad on my site).
I was thrilled!
It was the thought of the freedom, and the ability to make money (even if it was only a few cents) from anywhere in the world using the internet, which really struck me.
About 6 months later, I was making $1 – $5 per day, not so much to live off, but enough to push me to do more.
Yet still at this point I didn’t have a focus, I didn’t set a goal of what I needed to accomplish to get where I wanted to go.
Traveling off the savings I had worked for during University, I decided to go back to Bangkok and teach English for a year.
I can say I really didn’t want to teach English, but it was a step I had to make in order to buy myself time (sometimes we all need time, and need to make steps).
During this year of teaching I committed to working hard on my blog – I’d come home from school and sometimes work for a full 8 – 10 hours more, mostly writing.
From that year of teaching, I made it my goal to not teach again, and to learn how to make money while traveling and blogging.
A lot of work, and a couple more years down the road, and I created my first food guide, and made my first sale.
Again, I was thrilled.
One of the top question I get asked is:
“Mark, how do you make money while traveling?”
Also, along with this same topic, I also frequently get asked, “how can you afford to travel?”
The short answer is… a lot of lifestyle prioritizing, a lot of goal setting, and finally a lot of work to accomplish those goals.
I decided to make a video answering these two questions, and then also share some tips about how I think you can make money while traveling and blogging too.
But first, if your internet connection is good enough, I want you to watch the video below, and then you can go through this full article for more details.
(Here’s the link to the video: http://youtu.be/6BoYfs2I0r8)
Here are 4 of the main ways I make money now while traveling and blogging:
1. Affiliate Recommendations
This is basically earning a small commission from a recommendation.
There are all sorts of affiliate recommendation opportunities, like through products on Amazon, books and learning courses, and hotel bookings.
As an example, if you head over to my Bangkok travel guide page, I have listed many of the top articles that I’ve written about Bangkok – I offer a lot of free advice about what to do, where and what to eat, and I also list a few of my favorite places to stay. If you were to book one of the hotels in Bangkok that I recommend, I would get a small commission from your purchase.
Likewise, on my resources page, I share a few of the top guides, written by others, that I personally recommend.
For instance, Getting Out of Auto is a photography ebook I purchased when I bought my first DSLR camera, and I really enjoyed reading it and it taught me a lot. Now I recommend it as a useful resource and get a commission when someone buys it.
*Just so you know, everything I recommend, I have either used myself or looked it through, and stand behind it and fully trust it.
2. Travel and Food eBooks
A few years ago, I used to have quite a few advertisements on my website, but I really didn’t like it.
However, since I didn’t have any products of my own to sell, I had little choice but to have ads in order to make enough money while traveling and blogging.
So I decided to create useful travel and food ebook guides on certain destinations (mainly Thailand so far) to sell on my website. As of now, selling my own travel and food guides accounts for the majority of my monthly earnings.
I much prefer to sell my own products as opposed to including advertisements on my website – why? Because I can fully trust in the quality of my own products that I sell.
3. Freelance writing and projects
When I was a kid in school, I really disliked both reading and writing.
I was pretty proud of myself for having never read a book until after I graduated from high school.
But then I decided to begin writing a blog, and not only just writing whenever, but eventually I committed to writing consistently and writing good quality information.
What I found is that when I chose to write about something I was interested in (that’s food), I really enjoyed writing after all.
I have no background in English, and no background in journalism – in fact I did quite poorly on many of my school writing assignments.
But as a result of maintaining a blog, about what I’m passionate about, and sticking to it, I’ve had the opportunity to do numerous freelance writing projects, including articles for inflight magazines, websites, and newspapers.
Every month I normally get a couple of paid freelance writing opportunities.
A blog is not just entertainment, or just for sharing useful information, a blog is also a public profile where you have the chance to show the world your expertise on whatever you’re most passionate about.
4. Videos on YouTube
When I first began making videos, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I just knew that I needed to start. One reason is that articles and photos are great, but videos can show so much more – especially when it comes to food and travel experiences – and not to mention you can attract a whole new audience.
I initially started with one video per week, and as I learned more, I pushed myself to publishing two videos per week.
The results of videos and the connections and contacts I’ve made have been extremely valuable.
On my videos, I include advertisements, which account for the final portion of my monthly income.
How can I afford to travel?
So now that I’ve answered the main ways I make money every month, let me go back and answer your other question about how I can actually afford to travel.
It’s about my priorities.
Right now, my wife and I, spend much of the money we make back on traveling and eating.
We don’t own a car, buy oil changes, or have to buy petrol, instead we buy plane tickets and eat street food.
This is a lifestyle we enjoy, and we have prioritized our spending so that we can afford to travel.
How can you make money while traveling?
There are many ways you can make money while traveling.
I have friends that earn a living doing freelance writing, working on cruise ships, skydiving, social media marketing, and the list of possibilities is endless.
For more ideas, check out this awesome list of ways you can make money and travel.
I would say that the first way to begin is to start a blog about what you’re most passionate about – it can be anything.
Here’s my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
Next step is to make goals for what you want to accomplish – where you want to see yourself – and then think through the process of how you see yourself getting there.
- Set goals.
- Make priorities.
- Live intentionally.
If you commit yourself to writing high quality information consistently on your blog, and network with others, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that can arise as a result of blogging (and I surely have been amazed myself).
Making money while traveling and blogging is an always evolving field: things are always changing, there are always new things to think about and act on, and there are so many different ways to earn money.
It takes a lot of work, I sit at my laptop for many hours a day, but at the same time I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing.
This is just the start, the launchpad for your own ideas.
You’ve got to make the first move to put yourself in a position to discover how you’ll make money while traveling.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!