Success Stories: Why Trish Sold Everything She Owned to Travel

By Nomadic Matt | Published December 7th, 2012

nomadic matt reader trish traveling Greetings from Africa! Somewhere right now, I’m trying to snap a photo of a lion without being eaten. In the meantime, this week I want to share stories of readers who used my tips and advice to realize their travel dreams. If you’ve been thinking about traveling for a while, let these reader stories inspire you and show you that the advice here can work for anyone!

Finishing off the week of reader stories, we head across the pond to England and meet Trish, a 35 year old teacher. Not happy with her life in England, she sold everything she owned, gave herself a budget of 10,000 GBP ($16,000 USD), and set off traveling the world with only her backpack to her name.

Nomadic Matt: Tell me about yourself.
Trish: I originally come from Ipswich, a small town in East Anglia about an hour’s drive from London. I have been travelling now for about 5 months through Australia and Asia. I was living a typical London life. I had a lovely job teaching gorgeous 5-year-olds in a respected private school in East London. I got paid well and rented a modern 2-bed apartment 10 minutes walk from work. I tried to settle for 5 years but I rarely had money left at the end of the month and so the dream of more travelling became more and more distant. Life was good…just not GREAT. So after much procrastination, I decided to sell my house, give up my job and sell all my possessions at car boot sales. I gave myself a budget of 10,000 pounds. After 5 months of travelling, I still have nearly a third of my original budget left. I’m now travelling in Thailand and my backpack is all I have to my name.

Did you plan any specific trip or just wanted to travel?
I just knew I wanted something different from life but I had no clear idea about the type of trip I was planning. I love learning about different cultures and so I looked into countries I had always dreamed of visiting. I looked into buying a round-the-world ticket but the cost and the enormity of the research and planning scared me. I got bogged down by the minute details and then it became too big a task so I decided to start with Australasia. I had been invited to visit an Australian friend and her family in Queensland so I decided to book a return flight to Brisbane and then stop off on the way back in Singapore and work my way up through Asia. I also knew I wanted to travel differently than the normal backpacker once I got into Asia by doing some couch surfing, volunteering and house sitting so that I could get a feel for the country I was visiting.

nomadic matt reader trish traveling

How did you research your trip?
Firstly, I wanted to know what you had packed and the sorts of items that would be handy to carry around. Then I became interested in how you budgeted for your trips. My budget didn’t seem that big until I started to look into ways in which you could travel for cheaper. I researched how I could use www.helpx.net to volunteer my labour in return for a bed and food. As a teacher, there are many opportunities across the world for someone like me to teach English so I thought I could make my money stretch that way. I liked reading your stories about what you’d learnt whilst travelling. They inspired me to write about my own feelings.

Were you afraid before you went on your trip?
I was afraid and excited at the same time. It took me a long time to actually just book the flight and make it real! Once I did that, life got hectic and I had “to do” lists coming out my ears! I think this is because I decided to go the whole way and detach myself from my old life. It wasn’t just about travelling for a few months or taking a sabbatical and returning to my life. It was about starting over and having a different view about being a permanent traveller. Through your website, I recognised you as someone who had made a success of travelling indefinitely. I wanted to be able to do the same. I have lots of ideas about how to but I haven’t actually had enough time to put plans into action as I’ve been travelling and doing stuff every day since I started in August!

nomadic matt reader trish travelingHow did you save for your trip?
I sold my house and belongings so that I was debt free. I’m using that money for travelling. I put a budget aside for my travelling and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

What about life on the road has surprised you the most?
Lots of things! I’ve found you can live with a lot less clothes/things than you thought you could. You always make friends and meet people wherever you are. You rarely, if ever, feel lonely because of all the people around. Lastly, the goodness and kindness of the people in the country in which you’re travelling. Never underestimate the power of a smile and hand gestures! Everyone has been really friendly and helpful.

With such limited funds, how do you stay on budget when you travel?
I always research accommodation and compare prices. I usually use hostel sites as well; I look on Tripadvisor to compare reviews and ratings. I work out how much I’m willing to pay for a room, bed and comfort. So far, this approach has not let me down and I’ve stayed in some really lovely and affordable places. I try to choose places with free WIFI, a common area and good security for my stuff. The same goes for food. I find out where the best street/market food is and watch to see where the locals go. I hardly ever eat in restaurants now as they are three times the amount you pay for freshly cooked local food. I don’t drink very much but if I do go out for a drink, I usually stick to local beer as it’s the cheapest.

nomadic matt reader trish traveling

What one thing that you thought would be a challenge has turned out not to be?
I wondered how I would cope if things go wrong whilst travelling to different destinations and I can’t speak the language, e.g. the bus breaks down or the train doesn’t come. I have learned that I CAN cope and it’s not the end of the world. Everything turns out alright in the end and there is always someone who wants to help. I also thought I’d be lonely but I haven’t been at all. There’s always someone going your way.

What advice would you have for people who want to going away but might not think they can?
DO IT! I have had more awe-inspiring moments in the last few months than I have had in my entire life because of the decision I made to travel! Let go of all the excuses: money, time, job, people’s limiting beliefs and narrow-minded views, etc. You get to do what you want, when you want, with no compromises.

comments 23 Comments

Trish’s story is so awesome and I really admire her leap of faith!

I’m really loving this series because it shows so many peoples’ outlooks on travel and life in general. I’m definitely feeling inspired after reading every single one.

I agree with Kay – great series Matt! There is nothing better than getting out there and seeing the world. It can be scary to pack up and go…but the rewards of the experience far outweigh any perceived hardship! Best thing I ever did! Glad to see you showing people how it can be done!
Happy travels.

Great story and inspiring. It’s amazing to realize how you can live with so much less.

Good luck and happy travels.

Basten

Love it. You had the courage to do it. I kind of like more to have something specific to do when I travel and stay longer. This way I get to know more people and learn more about the local culture. So I have normally stayed some 4-6 months in each country and now I have been travelling half of my life! I signed up for some school, did some voluntary work such has helping out on a biological farm, was a exchange student, and so forth. The most exciting place for me was actually Iceland – I even did one fall semester in the Uni of Iceland and studied Icelandic he he. The moment I remember best was when I was laying in a natural spa in the highlands and I suddenly saw the northern lights show up – see more on the lights here: http://www.northernlightsiceland.com/ It was just amazing – it was so strong that the whole heaven got lit up – just like that. I was there actually with my boyfriend (at that time) so it turned into some real romantic moment:)

Great and inspiring interview with Trish! I hope to also free myself of material possessions and travel the world!

All I kept thinking when I saw the pictures was that I wish I had taken a similar shot when I went to Angkor Wat with those stone men! :D

It’s great to see readers taking action on your advice and sharing the results. Making the kind of changes that facilitate long-term travel is so inspiring; it makes my preparations for moving overseas look simple.

I’d also love to see some interviews with readers who have taken on traveling full-time and finding a way to support it.

Great series of posts, Matt!

Congrats on making the leap to travel! Its so exciting going on that first trip and so liberating selling all your belongings! What I have learned throught the years is never to settle in one place too long, that is a sure way to starta accumlating things. Makes it so much harder to set off again! Happy Traveling!

This is *so* true. I lived in one place in Australis for 9 months and found it so hard to part with stuff I had accumulated when it was time to move on!

Brilliant! Having teaching to fall back on must really help too. Well done Trish. Just wish I had the bottle to give up my day job and head off again. I never went travelling for long enough last time (3 months in SE Asia) and I also had to work whilst in Australia to help pay for travels.

jack cropley

Really interesting story, i have even used it in my review of alain de botton’s tourism work for my degree, thanks!

How I wish I could do the same right now…One day I will :)))

So inspiring, I’m planning on doing somewhat the same thing hopefully by next year. Good Luck and Have fun traveling the world!

Good For You!

There’s so much more to life than working your ass off at a 9-5 job, doing the same old routine each and every day.

We did a similar thing as you…sold our house, belongings and said goodbye! Travelled for 13 months, went home for one year and realized we couldn’t live a “normal” life anymore. So we packed up again and have been on the road for 22 months and counting!

Enjoy your travels. Following Matt’s tips and advice about travelling is probably the best thing anyone could do…in our opinion :)

What a wonderful story. I have always wanted to sell everything and go somewhere, explore the world but never had the courage to do it. I admire people like this. Way to go Trish!

Adriana

Great! Since I read these series of stories I feel like I would go to travel right now! Guys, what is your advise for me?! I am an English teacher in a country where monthly wages for teachers is 200 euro, I dont pay rent, only accomodation. I am preparing to get TEFL and hope to go teaching in China.

But I really dont know from where to save money…even for my fly ticket. TEFL costs 1200 euro, I take lessons of chinese…..and I don’t remain with anything….I would like to go in a tour world trip, but it takes me years….and years…..just to save money for ticket and for the beginning of staying somewhere abroad.

Great inspiration for everyone thinking about going travelling! People so often think you have to be rich to be able to travel…stories like this prove that it is possible to have amazing travels on a budget! Good luck on your travels Trish!

Phelisia

Hi
I’m an old friend of Trish’s and I was nervous and excited for her when she first told me her plans. But now I’m just jealous! It sounds like she’s having an amazing experience whilst I’m still in chilly London! Very inspiring Trish – I can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.
Now where’s my passport…
Take care xx

Wow, your story is truly inspiring! Best of luck on your solo travel adventures!

Judge

Hey Trish! I wished I were as courageous as you – I envy you a lot for having the guts to just quit and leave everything behind! And I am very happy to have met you and travelled with you around Laos. You and the rest of the Stray group made my short trip to SE Asia truely memorable. If you ever come to Cologne, there will always be a couch here waiting for you ;-)

Jessica

Wow, amazing story. Wish I had a best friend as incredible, courageous, independent, strong and wonderful as Trish….oh, I do. I am honoured to count Trish as my best friend. I have missed her terribly but thanks to the wonders of technology and her wise choices to pick hostels with WiFi) we have been able to be in contact as much as suits her travel plans. Great interview babe, you are mine, and now a whole load of other would-be travels inspiration!!

It was so great to read this post Trish! I love traveling and I always get so excited to read about other peoples experiences. One of my dear friends and I are preparing for a 2 month backpacking trip across Europe this fall! Your story is inspiring!

Danette

Hi ,

Trish ,thanks for those write ups. I really enjoy those stuff. I also enjoy travelling in diff. places with new and unique experience.

Thanks,
Boro

when she wrote about the what-if’s on bus breaking down, etc. my mind went back to an unrelated story that happened to me in the Philippines over 3 years ago, when we got off at the wrong rural bus stop while looking for an orphanage we were going to visit in Pampanga.
a slightly elderly gentleman that also got off there, unbeknownst to us, was contemplating our predicament & how some people were starting to want to take advantage of our lack of direction.
he hired a public transport going his way but with enough room for us, & turns out he worked for the local mayor in that area of Pampanga.
when we got to their city hall, he had us meet the mayor & pose for pictures (no doubt to be used later for promotional purposes of americans ‘validating’ his administration.
anyhow, he finally arranged for their own police to take us in an official car to the orphanage we were looking for, always praising the Lord for His protection through this experience.
God bless!

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