Nomadic Matt

Q&A: Picking up and traveling for good

Q&A is a new series on Nomadderwhere that uses questions posed by readers and commentators to address topics of travel, alternative lifestyle design, blogging, and other interests. You can expect to see this series one or two Saturdays a month right here on To send in your questions, contact me!

Hello, I would love to chat with you about my own plans since you are basically doing what I want to do.

I am leaving my job and selling my house in the spring, to travel the world and maybe never come back. I have so many questions though.

I figure I can get by on 10-15k a year on the road, but the question is: how do I go about making that? I have set up a travel blog and would love for that to generate some cash. I'm also a writer, and have published a photography/poetry book. I love writing and would like to do that for a living, while traveling the world. I'm also a pretty decent photographer.

Please give me any advice on how to make this happen. I'm a nice guy with nothing tying me down, and months away from dropping everything and seeing the world. -Sean R.

Hey Sean, I hope I can be of some assistance. Thanks for writing!

It's important to know travelers who move, think, and operate the same way you do, because getting advice from just anyone that moves could misdirect your preferred path. With that said, I know how to redirect your questions to other travelers who already do exactly what you want to do, because I can't quite relate to your travel dreams.

1. I don't have anything to leave behind. 2. I don't make money directly from my blog, writing, or photography.

Have you heard of Gary Arndt at He did what you are about to do (sold his house and traveled), and I'm sure you could learn quite a bit from his path. He's been on the road for over three years and has a huge following; however, I'm not positive whether he makes money from his blog.

Monetizing Your Blog

In order to make money from a travel blog, one has to look at their blog like a business and think:

To what end? What do I want to get out of my blog, and what valuable resource do I see it being or offering to readers?

Find your niche, and your niche market will follow, willing to pay for what you do. That's the long-term scenario. Keep in mind, however, that you don't have to have one absolutely specific focus. Your unique interests combined make for great content. And an additional note: don't claim a niche or expertise in one thing when you know you're not a real expert. The internet world doesn't need any more of those.

Get started by looking at Nomadic Matt's Secrets to Successful World Travel* ebook, as well as his Monetize Your Travel Blog ebook that has apparently been a big help for many people. I'm not so much interested in advertising as I am sponsorship and using my site as my resume and a resource for like-minded wanderlusters. I hope that gives you a better idea of what you want out of your travels and your blog.

Leaving It All Behind is yet another long-term traveler that started blogging after leaving her home and taking up a moving existence. I think her ebook entitled 30 Ways in 30 Days to Redesign your Life and Travel could help you out big time.

And a little hint: Subscribing to these bloggers RSS feeds and e-mails could score you these resources for free.

Getting Paid to Write and Photograph

Silvia Suarez

Silvia Suarez

What I've been doing is a little bit different.

I am not a long-term self-sustained traveler like those dudes and dudette - and presumably what you want to become. For leisure, I take shorter trips (though still around 1 to 7 months) and have very little money to my name (because I've spent it all on travel).

I'm a producer for a non-profit that makes virtual field trips for kids, but it's like business travel/film production. I don't get paid specifically for written pieces, though I'd love to and always keep my eye out for good opportunities.

Look into the Matador Network, because they pay $25 for articles.

My big thing isn't so much traveling but the expression of travel through multi-media, which could be what you're into as well. And it seems you're much more artistically minded than commercial - same as me, which means you probably like to work for your own agenda. That could either mean less marketability or more chance of you making a very distinct personal brand.

The Bottom Line

My advice is to check out the above links and see if any of those guys give you some inspiration toward your right path. Also, it wouldn't hurt to make out a little goal sheet or business plan that allows you to see where your blog could go in the future to make you some money. However, really make sure you stick to your trip's purpose, because the last thing you want is to be a slave to some commercial travel blog of yours that takes away from your time loving the city of Bogota or keeps you from lounging on the beach in Madagascar.

A last note, if you're serious about blogging and want some instant help with making it big time, check out Problogger and his 31 Days to Building a Better Blog.

Was this Question and Answer post helpful to you? Would you like me to expand on any points above? And if you're savvy to this topic, leave your own feedback and advice! Any other questions about anything? Comment below or contact me! And if you’d like to ask a question to be featured in this series, think about asking the question in a video and sending that URL to me!

*Note: There are affiliate links in this post. I've supplied the links to these resources not because I want your money shamelessly but because I know they've been valuable to many a diverse traveler. Though only some have been helpful to me, and contrary to what Whitney says, I'm not every woman, nor every traveler.

Consume & Update: #1, Frequent Flyer and New News

Hope this makes for excellent coffee shop reading material this Sunday morning. Gooooo travel!

We're #1! No, really!

Even though our tourism numbers are going down the pooper because of the economic downward "flush," we still managed to beat out countries like New Zealand and Japan in the Country Brand Index, which is "an online survey of about 3,000 international business and vacation travelers that ranks how countries are perceived." Out of 29 specific categories such as "ideal for business" and "shopping," the USA received some high grades, which these days sounds more like "you're not failing too badly" rather than "you're on top of the world!" Regardless, way to go, 'Merica.

Get off the Pavement

A Road Traveled in the Outback

A Road Traveled in the Outback

Though I'm of the school of thought that Frost was being ironic about this "road less traveled" business, I do think Jonny Gibaud brings up some lifestyle design issues on that can help us reevaluate or verify our paths are right for us. Not everyone is going to believe in doing what's unconventional or unexplored, but I think it's necessary to some extent in order to come up with original approaches to life, work, and more.

A “balanced” approach to life is not about not focusing on a job or any other single aspect of life but conversely focuses on seeing a job or career or any other aspect of one’s life as exactly that, one aspect of their life, not the aspect.

Earning and Burning: Frequent Flyer Video

Frequent Flyer from Gabriel Leigh on Vimeo.

I don't know if I could handle the life of an earner and burner, but the possibilities make you wonder where you could go. I guess it could pay to take the advice from the pros if you're into traveling, especially the advice of Chris Guillebeau, creator of The Art of Nonconformity. This man is one of the few that make a very comfortable income from traveling and promoting a nonconventional lifestyle. Here is his latest venture: How to Use Frequent Flyer Miles to Travel For Free! Sounds promising...

Other Discoveries

Nomadic Matt discusses Why Americans Still Don't Travel Overseas as he tromps around Europe.

A very cool site design of the World's Cool Capitals

The Professional Hobo makes her experienced perspective known with Voluntourism: Hip or Hype? Though this is no new post, it's pretty relevant to my most recent trip plan.

Update on Nomadderwhere

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

I am currently in Chicago, Illinois, and if you're a friendly friend in the area, send me an e-mail or direct tweet and let me know! You may catch me in between museum visits and "L" riding or while I'm trying desperately to wake up from a deep slumber (as this has recently become a daunting task).

Some of the biggest news is the decision to catapult myself far away starting December 1st of this year. The trip's concept began forming in the summer, but the plan to travel only became real on Monday morning of this week. Within 18 hours, tickets were purchased. The gist will soon be published on this site, and the details are in the developmental stage. Probably the most exciting aspect of this experience is the presence of my favorite travel buddy, Garrett Russell, from my experiences on Semester at Sea and in Europe during the Big Journey.

Scouring my RSS Subscriptions

After over a week of neglecting my personal newspaper (a.k.a. beloved RSS feeds), I weeded through the hundreds of entries awaiting my perusal and found some good anecdotes and ideas to infiltrate your brain. Read on, curious ones.

  • I'm so sorry, Italy. Priceless lives and culture, all in one hit.

  • A lot of ladies have contacted me recently asking about safety troubles as a solo woman abroad, and I always report a lack thereof, besides the obvious budget travel woes. Gennaro of Enduring Wanderlust proves my point with his piece on the increasing number of lady globetrotters.

  • I surely could have used this list of factoids while rolling around in my bed in Varanasi with a nasty gastro-fiesta going on in my body. Go Green Travel Green tells us, folks, to rub lemons on a cut, eat honey in the desert, and eat horseradish to fix the damage you did to your liver the night before.

  • This makes me consider bringing along a red overcoat and wide-brimmed hat. If someone knows a good place to get such accessories, I will wear them. You can quote me on that. And that...and that.

  • Live Uncomfortably is the documentation of a guy who does the unaccustomed everyday, in order to break the cycle of routine and boredom...all in the name of personal growth and being interesting. I found his 27 Things I've Learned While Traveling worth a look, namely these two...

    • 13. There is no wrong or right course in life. It’s all about you. Don’t let anyone tell you the path you’ve taken or are taking is wrong if you’re happy.

    • 26. We are all experiencing the same thing but interpreting it differently. Those who can interpret and explain their experience in the simplest language possible will gather a crowd.

  • One Week Job sounds like it would give potential grads some much needed hope for an interesting future. Sean Aiken graduated from college and didn't know what he wanted to do for a career. So he traveled around North America, working 52 jobs in 52 weeks. I'd say its worth a look-see.

  • Two dudes hitchhiked to every state in the great US of A in 50 consecutive days. I wonder if chickens were ever involved. Hitch 50

  • This guy's goal of setting his foot in each nation on the planet in one year is laudable. Give it up for Graham Hughes and his Odyssey! Oh, and by the way, he's not allowed to fly.

  • And lastly, nuggets for thought taken from the Brave New Traveler article, "Would you be a perpetual traveler or a world citizen?"

    • A perpetual traveler is…a person who designs their life so that they’re not the legal resident of any of the countries in which they actually spend most of their time…. Whatever the reason (for becoming a perpetual traveler), it means disowning your allegiance to your home country without giving it up to another. It means becoming a citizen of your own empire.

    • While a world citizen is…someone who decides to stop seeing the world as something segmented by nation, and look at it as the home of humanity where we’re all entitled to enjoy, and mandated to be responsible for, the territory of each nation. The world citizen doesn’t see any sense in national citizenship and decides to stop seeing things through the lens of patriotism or from the perspective of the country they grew up in.