As fellow citizens of Austin, Texas for the last year, we first met Shaun and Erica during the planning stages for Austin’s Meet Plan Go event. We quickly learned that we had a lot in common, specifically a mutual love for travel. Not too long ago, Shaun and Erica made their dreams a reality: they quit their jobs, sold off most of their stuff, and took the road south from the U.S.A. with no plans to come home anytime soon. It sounds pretty incredible, especially since they gave up dream jobs working for a popular video game company. But now they are wandering through Honduras, living the long-term travel dream.
They’ve created a great travel blog at OverYonderlust.com with stories, photos, and videos. We asked them some questions about their trip so far, future plans, and of course, their budget. Their insightful answers:
Please tell us about your trip. Where are you going? How long will it last? Why and how did you decide on those locations?
We’re traveling from Mexico to Argentina until we run out of money (we estimate about a year). When deciding on this trip we started with the old spin-the-globe technique, however, after several finger injuries we settled on making a prioritized list. Once we saw how many Central and South American countries were on that list, the decision was easy.
What motivated you to go on your trip?
We fell in love with travel on our honeymoon in Barbados. From that point on, we found ourselves saving as much money and paid vacation time as we could to feed the habit. About 4 years ago we started thinking about long term travel and decided we needed to pay off all our debt and get rid of as many belongings as we could in preparation. We also created the blog to share our experiences and help motivate other people to travel. In the process we got involved in the travel community and became even more motivated by the stories and people we met.
How did you plan your trip?
Part of what we wanted to do on this trip was to help Erica overcome her ‘Type-A’ personality traits through un-planning. To accomplish this, we opted for a very rough outline with lots of room for changes. The little planning that we did do mainly consisted of research on visa costs/entry and exit fees, necessary vaccinations, and the like.
What do you expect to learn about yourself?
Our limits, in just about every sense. Everything from how many marshmallows fit in our mouth to how many hours can we hold on for dear life on a chicken bus. We also left very secure jobs to embark on this adventure and decided that we were going to get apartments in Costa Rica and Buenos Aires to see how we do living abroad as well.
What’s the best place you’ve ever been to so far, and why?
Hiroshima, Japan. This was the most emotionally-charged place we’ve ever been and the people blew us away at every turn. When we first arrived we were overcome with shame and guilt, but by the time we left we were damn near crying from all the positive experiences we had.
How did you determine (or manage) your budget for your trip?
We determined our budget of $50/day (for the both of us, but not including travel costs) from internet research. We found that the best way for us to manage this budget was to treat that amount like an allowance and only carry that much cash with us so we can easily keep track of it.
How did you save up the money for your trip? Any advice or tips for others who are trying to save money?
We worked for video game giant Blizzard Entertainment, so we spent quite a bit of our free time playing World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 instead of going out. However, it should be noted that YOU NEED TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE every so often for sanity’s sake. We also cooked at home and… *gasp*… ate leftovers. Now, I know this doesn’t sound particularly glamorous but the end result is well worth the effort. Our advice is to cut back on the non-essential activities as often as you can (without getting to the point of murder) and find cheap/free things to keep you occupied and motivated.
Any advice for other travelers?
If our trip is any indication, leave your itinerary as open as possible and be flexible/easy going. Some of our most amazing and life changing experiences occurred when we threw our plan out the window and let circumstances guide our path.