How to change your life from mediocre to marvelous through travel even if you`re broke!
By Peter Quest
Just two years ago back in 2014, my life was at an all time low. Then I decided to travel the world. I only got as far as S. E. Asia but the experience I gained there was enough to give me a new outlook on life.
Unlike a 25 year old, for a 60 year old, the thought of just packing everything up to travel the world isn`t as common an occurrence. But, even at 60, if the circumstances are right, then why not? Circumstances in my case were that I had no job, no prospects, no wife and my children had grown up got married and fled the nest. I was also suffering a bit of a depression having lost a long time ladyfriend and then almost losing my home. With no sign of the tunnel, let alone the light, I took the decision to do something I was passionate about while I still could, before it was too late. That something was to travel the world.
The only problem was, with no job and no money, how could I afford this new lifestyle?
It was then, through sheer determination, that I stumbled upon Workaway, a website which puts travelers in touch with non profit organisations and charities (called NGO`s) and individuals across the world who needed a little help in exchange for a free bed and often free meals too.
I`ve since discovered there are more websites of this nature such as HelpX who can also put you in touch with those who need help in return for free accommodation and meals. And Woofing. WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help.
Alternatively 'couchsurfing' is another method of finding free accommodation overseas whereby you can find a host to put you up in their home in exchange for nothing more than friendship and them getting to know someone from a different culture. And Global Freeloaders is a network of people willing to accommodate travelers completely at their own convenience, in any way that they can. Completely free of charge.
I was also a keen videographer and website designer so my profile on workaway explained that this was the kind of help I was able to offer and I targeted those NGO`s who were asking for help with online marketing. I also did some research and eventually found numbeo, a website which enabled me to find those countries around the world which offered a much lower cost of living than here in the west.
Within a few days, I`d had half a dozen or so invites. Most of the invites were from NGO`s in South East Asia which I`d targeted anyway because of the lower living costs. In the end, for my first project, I opted for a few weeks on a remote farm near Lanchang in Malaysia.
This farm was owned by the Malaysian arm of an organisation called Iskcon (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) simply known by many as the Krishna`s. Although I wasn`t a religious person, I was a spiritual type of guy and, more importantly, I was eager to learn about new philosophies and cultures . And so the prospect of joining the Krishna`s in Malaysia was very appealing. During my stay I was also invited to film at their Malaysian headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and at their temple in Penang and I made many new lifelong friends along the way.
The other problem I had was how to pay for my flight and so I set about trying to find a part time job. Luckily Christmas was approaching and so I managed to obtain temporary work in the local branch of a large computer and electronics store and saved like crazy for my airfare.
During this first lone travel experience to the other side of the world, I discovered hospitality and kindness and a much gentler way of life. Not only that but at 60 years old, I also discovered myself. Traveling alone in a foreign country makes it vital to overcome any problems you encounter. There`s no one else but you to solve the problem. It teaches you to think on your feet and act accordingly. Having said that, traveling alone, does not mean being alone. You naturally meet and chat to all kinds of people along the way. If you`re naturally outgoing you`ve got a head start. If you weren`t outgoing at the start, you certainly will be after you`ve done it for a while.
I mixed with the locals and learned about their culture on my first adventure and I also met fellow travelers, mostly younger than I but occasionally around the same age and discovered that most long term travelers have a similar mindset to my own. They are often disillusioned with life in the west, want to help those less fortunate in the developing world and attempt to find ways of making a little online income to help fund their travels.
There are many websites that one can use to facilitate making an online income such as... Freelancer and Upwork or , if you have a talent you can turn into a digital service, you can create 'gigs' on Fiverr.
Since that first trip I`ve been back and forth to SE Asia, often for periods of 3 months or more and have been to projects in Thailand and Cambodia too. In Thailand especially, I discovered a gentler pace of life, wonderful, hospitable people and now travel to live there more often than I live in the UK.
Travel certainly turned my life around and, if you give it a chance, it could turn yours around too..
About the Author:
A Digital Nomad, Peter Quest films as he travels and has a personal Vlog at www.lovelyplanettv.com . He has also developed a new website for backpackers and other tourist visitors to the Khaosan Road area of Bangkok - www.khaosanroadtv.com - Khaosan Road, Bangkok, Thailand and the surrounding area brought to life on video.