We’ve all seen the Instagram photos for the #fulltimetravel hashtag – beautiful people, beautiful locations, luxurious means of travel, and generally just the dreamiest aesthetic ever… right?!
Don’t get it twisted – it’s not all sunsets, wine, and bohemian RV/Van decor.
Sometimes it’s a month worth of dirty laundry, a crappy cell connection, unshowered with dirty bare feet.
If you want to give up everything for a life of full-time travel, you’re bound to make sacrifices you aren't entirely expecting to make… and here are 5 of mine!
1. BATHS AND SHOWERS
This is the one I dreaded… the one I knew I was giving up, and something that actually hasn’t been that hard to live without. And for the record, I DO SHOWER. It’s just a much different process now.
Baths used to be my absolute favorite place to unwind, read a book, relax and meditate. Pair a bubble bath with some candles and a glass of cold water and I’d be in business… until I got bored, of course.
The week prior to going full-time, I took a bath every night just to try to soak up some of the warm watery goodness that I knew I wouldn’t be seeing anymore. Turns out, you can’t stock up on baths.
Since I've been traveling, I’ve had many offers from friends and family to use their bathtubs (but that’s weird, right?) and suggestions to stay in a hotel to take a bath, and even tried out a few hot tubs. But, I’ve got a problem with like… all of those things.
Taking a shower at a friends house is weird enough, but taking a bath and putting my naked body where strangers put their feet? No thanks. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I’d get much relaxing done in a strangers bathtub.
Its kinda like wearing a one-piece romper, you feel super cute all day until you realize you have to go to the bathroom… in public… cold, exposed and vulnerable the whole time. I’m not about it.
Hotels are the same, and hot tubs are gross. And it’s rare to be alone in one, which is the way I prefer to be when I’m relaxing. I’m incredibly introverted.
You know what’s more awkward than sitting in a hot tub with strangers? Sitting in a hot tub with strangers in complete silence.
Baths are a luxury that I am okay with living without. They’re incredibly wasteful and unnecessary to have every day or even week for that matter. I’m really happy with how much water I’m saving.
Showers, on the other hand… I still shower, but nowhere near as often. And it’s always in shoes! I prefer to keep my feet wart and fungus free, thank you.
I have seen many a camp shower – some extraordinarily clean, some without hot water, and some that are like an arcade game… Feed it money, it feeds you a few minutes of hot water.
Where I used to shower every other day or so, I now shower about once a week… or less. Think that’s gross? I once went an entire month with 1 shower! Entirely by choice, I should add.
We humans don’t need to bathe as often as we think we do, in fact, I believe bathing is a luxury, and I appreciate it so much more! We’ve come up with some really clever ways of keeping clean on the road and my hair has never been less greasy. Funny how that works.
2. GIVING UP WIFI
Giving up untethered, unrestricted, blazing-fast, unlimited, high-speed, wireless internet access has been the absolute hardest thing about traveling full-time. Stacked up against everything else… I would definitely say this is the hardest full-time travel sacrifice, and here’s why.
When your wifi connection sucks:
- You can’t work
- You waste time trying to find a connection
- You skip out on camping in great spots because there’s no signal
- You get really, REALLY grouchy
Choosing to fund my full-time travel and my life by way of the internet, I have to be connected… Basically 24/7. I am still working on that work/life balance, but I’m not yet to the point where I can just go traipsing off in the woods for 2 weeks and not have to play loads of catch-up when I get back.
I tried that. Bad idea.
The wifi struggle has kept me from camping in some beautifully remote places (even with my cell booster) and has also kept my video-streaming in check. There aren’t many affordable options for truly unlimited data plans for full-time travelers… yet.
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3. IMPULSE SHOPPING & HOARDING
I’ve always been a very impulsive person. Stock an end cap full of gadgets that no one needs ever… and you’ve got me!
This is a sacrifice I always knew I needed, but never really had something forcing me to get in check. What’s worse is I would buy things I never needed, then feel ashamed about buying them (because landfills and our ENORMOUS problem with overconsumption and waste) and I would hoard. Everything. Even trash.
You ever meet a person who had boxes full of gum wrappers, erasers, toys and ticket stubs from a concert they barely remember going to 7 years ago? That’s me.
One of the things that drew me to this full-time travel lifestyle is that I always wanted to get my clutter under control. I always wanted to develop healthier habits in spending and consumption, and I naively thought that “going tiny” meant my impulsive shopping would be magically solved!
I spent more than 6 months going through my belongings, downsizing appropriately and still had too much stuff. In fact, it’s something I still work on every single day. It’s an active practice to keep my impulse spending in check, and I bet I’ve saved thousands of dollars by now.
4. “STABLE” CAREER
What’s that? A stable career? Why, I’ve never heard of one of those!
Before becoming a full-time traveler, I managed to land the best job of my life with a ton of benefits and unlimited opportunities for advancement. It was a new and rapidly growing company and I got in on the ground floor with less than 60 employees. Naturally and in true “me” form, I got out of there as fast as I could.
Leaving my career and full benefits package behind was a no-brainer for me – but a very scary choice, indeed!
Thus begins the hustle!
I’ve gotten very creative with the ways I’ve funded my travels… From “OMG WTF am I even DOING?!” in the beginning, to a more calm, cool and collected groove and flow of freelance side-gigs, front-gigs, and back-gigs.
I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, some things that I have no idea what I was thinking, and some things that set me up for great success. I did some affiliate marketing in the beginning that has led to a little stream of passive income all along, sold my own mini-courses and digital products and even sold my ADVICE.
All of this has given me great experience and a ton of knowledge to share with others, but in the beginning, it gave me a lot of worries, a lot of restless nights and a lot of stress.
Before we jumped into this life, not knowing where my income would come from was the scariest idea of it all. Not having a steady paycheck direct deposited every 2 weeks into my account seemed like a nightmare… but now I get paid multiple times a week, every week.
I’m not going to say it was easy to get here, but ultimately I was scared for nothing!
Okay, so I’m going to be totally real here and say that I’ve never been good at routine. Ever. No matter how hard I tried… and dang… I tried.
If I ever had anything that even sorta resembled a routine before we started full-time travel… well, it went right out the RV window as I traveled down I-40W.
I have happily fallen into embracing my whirlwind, routineless life.
Sure, you can have a routine while traveling… kinda. If you’re that kind of person, I suppose.
But even with the most well thought out, planned, schemed and dreamed up plans… Shit happens. In my entire year of traveling, I can think of maybe 2 trips that went 100% according to plan.
I actually think that having a natural aversion to routine has made me more adaptable to the full-time travel lifestyle. I would probably have lost it a few times when what I had planned was messed up.
Issues that have arisen with traveling have caused me to miss out on some events that were really important to me, some big deadlines with clients and generally just threw a wrench in my plans at the worst possible time.
Now I know not to set anything in stone – I don’t make long-term plans and commitment isn't really in my vocabulary anymore.
Still, I prefer to travel on certain days, grocery shop on certain days, and sight-see on certain days to avoid crowds… But as far as a time and itinerary, it’s best I just go with the flow.
Life is a lot less frustrating when you go with the flow instead of trying to adhere to a rigid schedule.
MY FULL-TIME TRAVEL LIFE IS BETTER THAN MY BEST CHAPTER
My full-time travel journey has been one of hardship, sacrifice, success, and triumph – and I’ve gained so much more than I ever possessed before.
Releasing our attachments to our routines, our “stability” and our material things opens us up to experience so much more. More clarity, more memories, and more pure life.
I believe the quality of my life is measured in memories and experiences, not in things. Not in a “stable job” or “career”. Not in wifi or bubble baths. Not in fidget toys or the latest gadgets… But in what I do, see and feel.
Everyone's experience is different, and everyone’s sacrifices will be different.
To me, they don’t feel much like sacrifices at all. This past year has been better than my previous “best” chapters in life, and it just keeps on getting better and better.
DID ANY OF THESE SURPRISE YOU? WHAT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
Carrie WilderCarrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.
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