How To Travel The World Doing What You Love - A Slow Travel Guide
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
One of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways to travel a long time with little money is the subtle art of slow travel.
In this article I tell you what that actually is and how you can travel for several months or even a few years with saving only a little bit of money beforehand.
I tell you how you can see lots of beautiful places and at the same time doing the things you love.
Sounds to good to be true? Well, keep reading...
Table of Contents
1. What Is Slow Travel?
First, let me explain what I mean by slow travel exactly...
To put it as easy as possible: It just means to travel slowly. It means taking your time and staying at places for a while. Instead of just passing through, it feels more like living for a short period of time at the places you're traveling to.
The Opposite Of Slow Travel
The opposite of slow travel would be rushing through a country, crossing off every attraction and taking as many tours as you can.
Of course you can travel this way, but in my opinion it is just not favorable if you want to travel for a long time.
There are two simple reasons for that:
It will cost a lot!
You will miss most of the experience of getting to know a country, its culture and people.
You could certainly travel the whole world in a year, but it will cost a lot and will probably feel very stressful sooner or later.
Travel is all about having a great time
It might be a cool thing to be able to say that you've traveled the whole world in a year.
Don't get tempted into the trap of outer approval. I've had my fair share with this issue (and still have from time to time).
The only person you travel for is yourself. Ultimately, the goal of traveling is to have a great time while doing so. Period.
You don't have to visit a certain amount of countries or do certain tourist things to tell your friends or other people "Yeah, I've been there. I've done that.".
NOTE: Every life is different and many people might go for a classic two-week holiday, because they don't want or are not able to travel for months or even a year. Of course, this is totally fine. I'm just sharing my personal idea of traveling and want to show people that long-term traveling is not as hard as it might seem.
Hence, I want to outline the benefits that come with slow travel...
2. Benefits Of Slow Travel
First, the biggest, most obvious benefit is that it saves a lot of money which allows you to travel longer.
Travel expenses can be roughly divided into three main categories:
These three main expenses reduce significantly when you stay for a bit at a place. No transport is needed anymore, accommodation gets cheaper the longer you stay and you can buy groceries in bigger quantities as well as finding the cheapest restaurants around.
You get to know the place and the people
Second, you have the possibility to really get to know a place and its local culture. If you stay in a small beach or mountain village for example, you will get to know the people living there as well as other travelers that stay there a bit.
Making new friendships and creating meaningful connections is easier, when you stay longer.
Feels Like Home
To be honest it probably won't feel like home 100 %, but as I said earlier, slow travel might feel like living at a place instead of just taking pictures of it and then moving on.
You might go to the same little bakery every morning, have a morning coffee at your new favorite café at the corner, or go for a run on a nice new running route you discovered.
Which brings me to another great benefit of slow traveling: It allows you to develop and stick to routines way easier!
As I said if you know the place, you can go running on the same route, do yoga at the same spot every morning or you can read a little on your favorite bench (or find the perfect tree for some stretching exercises... ;)
Plenty Of Time
Slow Travel implies at its core that you have a lot of leisure time. Of course, how you use that time is up to you. You can use it to simply relax and kick back.
Beyond that - which in my opinion is the biggest advantage of slow travel - you can use that time to do what you love doing...
3. Doing What You Love
Do What You Enjoy
Whether it's reading, writing, painting or going out with friends. You gonna have a lot of time to do what you enjoy doing. Which is not necessarily dependent on the place you're traveling. You simply have a lot of time to do what you like doing in general.
I personally spend a lot of time surfing. In general I love being in the water. To be on a surfboard riding on the energy of the ocean, makes it even more incredible!
Get Inspired, Try New Things
While traveling you probably meet many people that all lead very different lives. I got inspired a lot by listening to all these individual, interesting life stories.
I met so many people on my travels that are following their own path - or as Paulo Coelho said it in The Alchemist - their Personal Legend.
You also have plenty of time and opportunities to try new things. You can try things on your own or ask other people to show you a little bit of what they are doing.
If you're genuinely interested in the life of other people, you'll be surprised how happy they are to share their knowledge and skills with you.
Another great way of trying new things is volunteering...
Volunteering covers a wide range of things you can do. From helping out in a hostel, to being a hiking guide to building a permaculture farm.
Whatever it is, you bring value to a place and in exchange you get free accommodation, sometimes food, new experiences and lots of fun!
It’s a great way to try new things and figure out what you enjoy doing! It can feel like traveling for free.
I volunteered several times before. For example I helped out in a hostel in the Philippines, having one of the best times of my life and spending almost no money at all. I worked at the hostel bar, giving drinks to people, chatting with them, and enjoying my time a lot.
Usually you work around 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. It can differ, but that's the usual amount of time. Most hosts ask for a commitment of at least 4 weeks.
Working as a volunteer should be fun and exciting. It's not something you do to get paid, but something that helps you to live the life you want.
What makes it even more exciting is that you are in a new environment, with new people and probably you will learn new cool things.
On top of that you still have lots of free time to chill, explore and doing the things you love doing!
To find a volunteer position, you can always ask people directly or text them on social media. However, an easy and great way to find volunteering options is through platforms like worldpackers.com.
5. Work And Travel
To take it one step further, you can also “properly” work for money while you travel.
This might be less fun than volunteering, but you gonna save some money for further traveling.
One of the most popular places to do that is Australia, since they always have a demand for backpacking workers, and you get paid well.
There is a specific Working Holiday Visa which allows you to stay one year working or traveling. You can apply for it until you're 30 years old (for some countries 35 years old) and it costs around 330 €. If your goal is to work there, it will be totally worth it and you will have earned money equal to the visa fee in no time.
Many backpackers choose to do farm work which is mostly fruit picking and other farm related activities, but there are many many other jobs...
For example I worked in construction, as a delivery rider, and even as a salesman. Finding a job is quite easy if you're committed.
Among other countries New Zealand, Canada and the United States are popular destinations that offer a similar visa like Australia. Even Germany and the Netherlands have one.
Note that the cost of living is also high in these countries. You probably want to live economically while working and saving money. With your saved money you can travel again for a long time in other cheaper countries.
6. Travel "Career"
Nowadays, many people choose to work remotely. You can get yourself a “digital nomad job” which allows you to work on your computer from anywhere in the world and get paid for it. There are many possibilities to do so, for example teaching languages is an easy way to earn money online.
If you stay in a country with low costs of living, you can afford a nice lifestyle while working less hours.
If working on a computer is not for you, there are many classic professions that are needed anywhere in the world. Maybe yours is one of them. No matter if you're a craftsman or a nurse, if you have the right skills, you'll find work anywhere.
Even if you don’t have a profession right now, you can always start on a new path and follow it on your travels. For example I met many surf, yoga and dive instructors on my travels.
Recently I talked to a guy who has been a dive instructor for 30 years. He traveled the world, staying at luxurious resorts, diving the most beautiful places in the world, and getting paid for it. Of course there are some downsides, too. But I just want to point out what's possible.
7. Other Tips
Little things add up
Traveling really made me realize how little costs can add up to huge amounts over the course of a year!
Just imagine you have one beer every evening. Just one. Let's say you spend on average 2 $ on it. After a year that accumulates to about 730 $. So instead of having a beer every day, you could also extend your trip by another month.
I don't say cut out beer. In fact I don't tell you to cut out anything you enjoy. After all traveling (and life) is about enjoying the little things.
I just want to make you aware that anything you buy or consume on a regular basis will affect your budget significantly. If you go out for coffee once a week, it won't be that bad for your budget. If you do it every day, your wallet will probably feel it.
Bring everything you need
Seems obvious, but a good packing list can save you some money on the way. Try to think about what you really need. This way you avoid buying a lot of stuff on your trip.
At the same time it is also important not to overpack - for your own comfort of not carrying a ton of luggage, but also for staying on your budget.
In South East Asia I traveled with a small backpack that counted as carry-on luggage on flights. That saved me a lot of money, because on short flights you often pay almost as much for your luggage as you pay for your seat.
I traveled with a rather small backpack that had the perfect size, small enough to count as hand-luggage, big enough for everything I needed in warm tropical countries.
Slow Travel is an approach to simply take your time and to do the things you love.
When I embarked on my first backpacking adventure in 2015 I was quite the opposite of a slow traveler. But as time passed, I learned and now I'm able to share my tips and experiences here with you.
I guess, this whole "slow" concept not only applies to travel, but to life in general...
As Ferris Bueller put it, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Safe (and slow) travels everybody, and enjoy every moment!
Info: In this post there are some affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.