I am, like many others, living proof that one does not need starter money to travel. True, there are those who have and do, and there’s the whole “digital nomad” movement of people who take their six-digit income and move their base of privileged operations to some other country, but they’re sad similes of the real thing.
I left work one afternoon and decided to move somewhere else (How I became a Storyteller). I had $200 and a three year apprenticeship as cook to my name. Nothing else. Well, half a tank of gas and the clothes on my body.
I traveled for three years. The day I decided to re-anchor, I returned with almost the same: $250 to my name, the clothes on my back, and a backpack with knickknacks, my decades old Sony Walkman with music on it, and a few notebooks with things I’d written down.
I had shit nights without shelter, yes, and I had a few days of going hungry or unshowered here and there. But I had medical coverage, almost always a job, and I rarely stayed anywhere for more than two, three, months. I learned to fly small planes, skydive, ski, snowboard, dive, surf, climb mountains, and how to splint a broken bone in the middle of the jungle.
I’ve met more people than I could count, some of which I still speak to frequently, all over the world. I am freer, less obstructed, by daily issues. I don’t need uplifting Facebook quotes or immerse myself in hipsterish New Age bullshit, I can build a raft and go sailing or shelter in the woods and spend a week fishing, hunting, and enjoying the outdoors. Travel taught me that. And it didn’t cost me a cent.
I am happy, extroverted, no longer fearful or shy around others. I am proud of my life, and confident that I can handle anything the world throws at me. All because I packed up with $100 in my pocket and began to travel.
Worry about money, yes, but don’t worry about having it before you leave. If you’re willing to work, work hard, and put one foot before the next, you can make it anywhere.