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India Photo Journal

India photo journal I’ve wanted to go to India for several years. The country’s culture, the large population, the heartbreaking amount of people who live on less than $1 a day. It all interested me.

India is a country about 1/3 the size of the U.S.A. yet it has a population of 1.324 billion people, making it the second most populous country behind China’s 1.379 billion.

Planning a trip to India was always a bit of an undertaking. I never really knew how long to go for. The country packs so much into’s its size. Many travelers say even three months isn’t enough time to see all that there is.

I guess that’s kind of figurative. I spent a year living in Thailand and while there is a lot to see in Thailand, I would still say a 10-14 day trip is fine. Maybe India is different. Many people would agree.

It was always fascinating to hear people talk about their trips to India. Whenever I met backpackers who had done 2 week to one month or longer trips, they would always describe it in the same awe: it’s like no place you’ve traveled before.

I can agree with them. India is a fascinating, but chaotic and hectic place. There’s a lot of beauty and culture in the country but some crimes, particularly the 2012 Delhi case, have scared off tourists from visiting the country.

While India is a wonderful place to travel, it would be ill-advised to not mention the chaotic and aggressive nature it can have at times. I encountered the most aggressive touts while walking down the city streets.

With some safety practices, it starts to feel better. I used a GPS tracking cab app called OLA to have a good cab experience. Every rickshaw was double-checked before getting in. And I read up on the common scams tourists fall to when visiting. Coupled with this knowledge, the experience, while still hectic, was a lot better.

For female India travel tips, Global Gallivanting and Hippie in Heels are good resources.

Originally I wanted to travel and backpack India on my own. The idea of tours and only having a set amount of time for each place and attraction don’t interest me. Eventually, through finding a flexible option, I did choose a group tour.

Traveling with a group was better than I thought. I picked the Northern India Explorer tour with Geckos Adventures. The trip hit the most popular tourist itinerary known as The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra Jaipur) while also including additional stops in the holy city of Varanasi as well as the town of Bundi.

The tour group had seven Australian women and then me, the only guy and only American, haha. After doing so much solo travel, it was really nice to get to see and experience a place with others.

I got to experiment with a new wide angle lens I got for my Sony a5100. During the editing of the photos, my head was down and watching new YouTube tutorials to learn Adobe Lightroom some more. Hope you like the pictures! They’re a small fraction of all the ones I took!

Hope you enjoy this India photo journal! You can check out my photo journal of Malaysia from last year as well.

india travel in your 20s bundi
Gazing while in Bundi
jama masjid delhi
Jama Masjid in Delhi
humayun tomb travel
Peek-a-boo of Humanyun Tomb
bundi india travel
Bundi living
bundi travel india
Daily life in Bundi
amber fort in jaipur
Amber Fort in Jaipur
The MVP: Taj Mahal!
varanasi travel
Varanasi Sunset boat trip
india travel in your 20s
Something you see a lot: cows roaming freely around the streets
varanasi travel
man in Varanasi
varanasi travel
family photo in Varanasi
varanasi travel, india travel
Boat ride on the Ganges River in Varanasi
Rooftop outlooks in Delhi
Spices of Jaipur, India travel, Jaipur
Spices of Jaipur
india travel in your 20s sikh temple
With the meal preparers at the Sikh Temple
india travel in your 20s delhi
Walking around in Delhi
india travel in your 20s jama masjid
A mom and her kids at the Jama Masjid in Delhi


Travel, Survival Jobs, and Life in Transition

constant in life australia backpacker travel

At the start of this year, I found myself sitting at my desk in a humid filled room. It was the morning time and the school forbade us from turning on the air conditioning until 8:30 a.m.

I had been living in Thailand for nearly a year at that point. My pay was small but paired with the low cost of living, it evened out.

Eager to finish paying off the rest of my student loans, I picked up a part-time job tutoring and started to work seven days a week. With expenses being low, I was able to put a good portion of my income towards debt every month.

When I did get free time, I traveled to new places. I went all over Thailand, seeing new islands and exploring places like the edge of the world. Malaysia and Myanmar followed suit, getting to explore new temples and cuisine.

The only problem was things didn’t feel stable. I was in a transitionary period of my life. There was the shaky thought of if I moved a little too much, things would be pulled out from under me and I wouldn’t have anything.

I knew I didn’t want to teach English forever and ever, but I didn’t really know what was next. Neither did anyone else I worked with at the school. Every one of us, ages ranging from 21 (me at the time) to 34. Most of us didn’t know what we wanted to do. Not just with our careers but our lifestyles.

Finding a Constant In Daily Life

Eager for something of a constant to hold onto, I continued to write and work on my blog. I had started just before leaving the states and wanted to use it to document my financial path and adventures.

The blog (this blog) became the thing I held onto whenever things changed. I held onto this site when I wasn’t sure where I was going to live next or what job was going to come.

A desire formed to want to work on it more. I bought one of those big fold up white tables from the supermarket for 1,278 baht ($38 USD) and used it as my workstation in my little apartment. Then I quit my part-time tutoring gig. Signing up at a co-working place, I started to commute into Bangkok on the weekends when I was off from my full-time job.

My teaching job had started to become something of a confusion. I liked the teaching but disliked everything else: the school system, co-workers, and questionable teaching standards. Every morning, I sat for half an hour in the humid, no air conditioning teaching lounge and contemplated what I wanted to do.

I loved to travel but yearned for the routine. I wanted to go around the globe yet stay in the states full time. Everything clashed against one another and it was confusing.

The First FinCon Went By in a Blur

This confusion carried over into the states when I visited back in September 2016 to attend my very first FinCon. People would ask me what my blog was about and I would look at them with the vague expressed of “uhhh…personal finance?” I didn’t know what my main focus was.

The whole conference went by in a blur. I went back to Thailand not sure what to make of it and not convinced I would go back again.

Things changed again a few months later while in Thailand. I ended my contract with my full-time teaching job without another job lined up. My mind had been in Australia for a while and I had applied and gotten a 12-month working holiday visa the month prior.

Moving to Australia With No Plan

In April, with a body filled to the brim with nerves, I hopped on a plane and took the 21-hour journey to Sydney, Australia. I arrived in the early hours of the morning, with a backpack, one duffel bag, and no job or anything lined up other than a three-night stay at a hostel.

Nothing was waiting for me and the next few months were blurry and confusing. I had left Thailand in March and didn’t get my first official job in Australia until June. Unemployed for three months, it wasn’t fun.

Well, for the most part, it wasn’t fun. I don’t think anyone would love the idea of living and sleeping in a 10 x 14 room with five other people. As a backpacker, you just make it work.

During the two months of hostel living, I met an assortment of people. A law student from France, a guy from Spain who liked to learn American slang, and even an Instagram famous woman! Maybe one day she’ll start promoting Fit Tea on the ‘gram? Who knows!

It was fun getting to meet a diverse group of people. All of them spoke about their love of travel and getting out to see the world. None of them liked the idea of sitting in an office for 8-10 hours a day.

It reminded me of my reason for moving abroad. I hadn’t done it as a way to “ditch the cubicle” considering that I didn’t even work in a cubicle or office. I had done it because I had always wanted to travel more long term.

Despite the varying reasons for being abroad, we all did what we had to do to afford the dream of travel. We worked our survival jobs, showing up every day and saving up as much as we could so the possibility of traveling for a few months afterward would be possible. We huddled together in the small hostel room, on our bunk beds, and recounted the day’s events.

I haven’t been tons of places but have been to several and noticed a common trend to all the travelers I talked with. Throughout it all, the late night drinks, the hours-long conversations about life, a realization came about. 

We Were All Just as Lost as the People Back Home

On Instagram and Facebook, our curated lives looked appealing. Shots of airplane wings and coconuts on the beach. The day to day showed a different story. Feelings of restlessness and anxious about the future. We were hopping from survival job to survival job in order to keep our ambitions afloat.

Thinking long-term was hard, it required exposing yourself and being uncomfortable. That’s the feeling I had when had attended FinCon16. A restless feeling of being uncomfortable.

Drifting and living in the moment was the focus for so many of us traveling. Of all the people, a big thing I noticed was a lack of some sort of constant in their day to day lives. They didn’t have anything to hold onto whenever any change or uncertainty happened. 

One day, while sitting in a street-side restaurant in Thailand, I was stressed about finishing the school year without another job lined up. I didn’t know what to do and the thought of it was eating away at me.

“Well at least you have your blog and your writing,” a friend/co-worker of mine said. “I have nothing” she added.

That has stuck with me for two reasons. The first reason being that she thought she had nothing to go back to (which I later found out was a fear of not getting a job back in the states).  The second reason being I had never really known how much an impact my blog had on me until recently. For the longest time, I treated it as a hobby that I was just really gung-ho about. Now, it’s possible that it was more than that.

My blog has been the constant in my life over the past 1.5 years of moving around. It’s what has gotten me out of bed in the morning. It fills my thoughts when I go to bed.

I don’t dream and think about sitting at a computer alone, typing words into a screen. I think about sharing stories and information. Hearing what others are doing and making.

My work contract in Australia ended right before I came to FinCon17. It was a blow to the stomach. If it had happened a year ago, I would have been completely lost, which is what I felt when I attended FinCon16.

However, I didn’t lose all sense of myself once I walked out for the last time from that job. For the last few months, I had been working on other things and slowly building up a sense of myself.

A Better FinCon Experience

When I attended FinCon17, as a newly minted unemployed person, I felt recharged. I had my blog and I had been freelance writing for several months at that point.

At the present moment, I’m sitting in Texas. My freelance writing side hustle is growing from all the contacts I got while at the FinCon freelancers marketplace. I’m focusing more on my blog.

I’m still not sure if I’ll make this a full-time gig, but I’m exploring my options and applying for jobs all over. I may go back to Australia and do another work holiday stint. Not totally sure.

All I know for sure is without these two things, my blog and my side hustle, I would feel a lot more uncomfortable and restless.

Simply getting started, on my blog and my side hustle, and learning to be okay with the uncomfort that came with it, has allowed me to build a constant in my life as I go through these transitions. A life in progress, as you could call it.

I could have just not started it all. I could have stayed for years and years in my safe, but dull, teaching job in Thailand. Many others have.  Although at the end of the day, I knew it was the right choice to leave. It’s what allowed me to experience Australia. And leaving Australia is what allowed me to experience the ultimately great and far less uncomfortable FinCon17.

Let’s see what’s next to come.

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow

FinCon17 Dallas Recap

fincon17 dallasThese past two days I’ve gotten so much sleep and it’s been great. Last week I was in Dallas, Texas attending FinCon17. It was amazing, I learned a lot, I lost a lot of sleep, and all in all, it was a great experience.

This year’s conference was my second time attending, the first being last year’s FinCon16. Just like last year, the journey to get to the conference was hectic in the most pleasant way.

The last six months I have been living in Australia so my starting point to the conference happened in Perth, Western Australia. This time around, I tried to prepare against any jet lag that was bound to happen.

Last year when I came to FinCon, I didn’t prepare at all and ended up crashing for a long nap at around 3pm every day. Not the best way to spend a conference, eh? So this year, in preparation to beat jet lag, I stayed up for 30 hours while on my flight journey to FinCon.

This sounds as exciting as reading it. It mainly involved drinking excessive amounts of coffee and pacing around the airport endlessly. I loathe coffee but it was a necessary evil in this case. I ended up not falling asleep in the afternoon while at FinCon! Success!

Admittedly, I was tired during the afternoons, but maybe that had more to do that I didn’t get a lot of sleep while attending the conference. I don’t regret it one bit though, the four days of FinCon were great.

I came home full of inspiration. There was so much I learned and so many amazing people I got to talk with. The 4-hour Megabus journey back to Houston went by in a flash because my thoughts were filled with all the stuff I wanted to do going forward.


My FinCon preparation extended beyond just staying up for 30 hours to beat jet lag. I actually formed some goals I wanted to achieve while there. This ended up making my experience so much more enjoyable.

My first FinCon experience (FinCon16) was great but it felt confusing as well. I hadn’t gone into the conference with an idea of what I wanted to get out of it so I ended up feeling conflicted about what to do with all the information I got.

I think part of it had to do with being a new blogger. My blog was seven months old when I went last year. I hadn’t really defined what my niche was within personal finance (budgeting, side hustling, frugality, debt, etc) so everything felt like a lot.

After seeing a thread in the FinCon Facebook group about everyone’s conference goals, I decided to make some.

  • Meet fellow bloggers/FinMedia people
  • Find new, higher-paying freelance clients
  • Learn about the new FinTech services
  • Learn about different ways to grow a brand

They were simple-ish and not a set “I want x number of this or that” type goals. Even so, having them gave me a good framework going into FinCon17. Having set goals may not work for everyone but with my love of organization and planning, they really helped me.

It was fun getting to meet all the different financial media people and bloggers I interact with online. There are so many people I wanted to meet and say hi to but I knew it was better to practice quality over quantity.

I reconnected with people from last year and got to connect with new people from this year. A lot of the interactions were so fun. I would spot someone while walking through the hotel, there would be a moment of hesitation wondering if it was really them, it really would be them, and cue the internal freak out as I got to talk with them.

In terms of finding freelance clients, there were two things that were very helpful: the freelancer’s marketplace and the one-on-one mentoring. I got to meet with several bloggers and companies at the marketplace and exchanged business cards.

I made it a point to sit down and really take the time to conversate with each of the companies. There was one company I really loved the mission and personality of. Hopefully the connections I made pay off!

The one-on-one mentoring was something I got to do for the first time. I signed up a few weeks before the conference when the email got sent out and hoped to pair with someone in the freelance writing space.

I got paired with the perfect person! It was with fellow personal finance blogger whose coaching program I had done just a few months ago. Perfect fit and I got to get some burning questions answered.

If there is an area you want to grow more in, definitely consider signing up for the one-on-one mentoring. It was worth it for me.

Meeting Other Bloggers

FinCon is like a family reunion. One that you actually want to go to

I think Pat Flynn said that. Not too sure, but it’s definitely true. The best part of FinCon is the people. Getting to hear their stories, their struggles, and their plans for the future. It’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people and have thoughtful conversations about money and beyond.

I got to see Cait Flanders again, who I met again while sitting in the hotel lobby at 10 pm. I can’t wait for her book The Year of Less to come out in January. She won best minimalism blog this year at the Plutus Awards!

Lauren from Financial Best Life. I’ve been following her blog forever and it was one of the first personal finance blogs I started reading. She has one of the funniest and relatable writing styles. I randomly met her while stuffing cookies into my swag bag in the expo hall, haha.

Gwen from Fiery Millennials I met again while volunteering on the first day. The F.I.R.E panel she was part of was one of my favorite sessions of the conference.

I immediately thought of Desirae from Half Banked when David Bach started to discuss his (controversial?) “Latte Factor” during a keynote. I got to meet Mixed Up Money, who probably has one of the funniest personal finance blogs around.

I went to lunch one day with several bloggers including Catherine from My Work Money Life who told everyone at the table their personality types. Apparently, I’m an INFJ. I also got to meet up with all the people I connected with through the conference app including Ashley from WiseBread and Liz from Kitchen Table Finances.

Allea from Ask Allea I bonded with over a love of gifs and Taylor Swift. Jen from Saving With Spunk who recently became debt-free! And a bunch of other people. So many awesome conversations.

The Sessions

The sessions at FinCon17 were top notch. There was a lot of variety including 20-minute sessions, hour-long sessions, workshops, and discussions. It felt like a good improvement from last year.

I liked that there were more sessions aside from just brand building and blog monetization. I loved the FIRE panel “What’s Wrong with Being on FI/RE?” with Our Next Life, Fiery Millennials, Bigger Pockets, and Military Guide.

I caught the first few minutes of Kylie Travers “How to Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities to Accelerate Your Business and Life”. She’s one of the Aussies I got to talk to while at FinCon and I love her story of growth.

I liked the session on growing a brand and making products, but it was nice to get to go to sessions about personal finance topics and discussions. The first-day workshops were so helpful. They included a lot of hands-on learning where you got to bring your laptop and follow along with the speaker.

FinCon is a conference geared mainly towards the marketing aspect of building a platform rather than general personal finance discussion. There have been some suggestions in the past for FinCon to have more panels centered on discussing topics within personal finance and I think they’ve really made an effort to improve in this area.

There will always be a main focus on the marketing aspect, but it was nice to see more variety in the panels, both in terms of the topics discussed as well as the speakers. I like that the team makes an effort to take into account all that the attendees recommend.

Biggest Takeaways

Be Yourself.

It’s been said so much it’s become a cliche that lifestyle coaches put on their Instagram captions. It’s on par with the sayings of ‘get enough sleep’ and ‘eat breakfast’. While I didn’t get enough of either of the latter two during FinCon, I did learn the value of being yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, the sessions this year were wicked awesome. Part of what came from the diversity of the sessions was a bigger emphasis on perspective. There were a lot of perspectives and over and over again I heard from people who talked about the different ways to go about growing a brand, reaching financial independence, and getting better with money.

There is a lot of talk about the “right” way to do something, but with the FinCon community, these are people who aren’t doing the conventional, and they’re rocking it.

Companies are creating new FinTech services that change the way we manage our money, people are approaching FIRE in different ways, everyone is using their own perspective to better the financial media community in a unique way.

FinCon felt different for me this year. When I first went last year, I still hadn’t found my blogging voice. I wasn’t sure exactly how to handle all the stuff I had learned. This year was better. I felt surer of myself and was able to focus better.

The conference was really big this year. There are always pros and cons when things get bigger. FinCon16 had 1200 people and this year it was 1700 people. While I can’t say too much about the cons, I can signal one big positive: more voices and more perspectives. And that’s really awesome in my book.

Did you attend FinCon17? Are you going to FinCon18 in Orlando, FL? 

The Uneven Nature of Life: An Update

bourke nsw new south wales

Hello there blog reading people, I’ve been away for too long, although I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it as much as I have. Life has been coasting on uneven territory lately, so I wanted to write an update post. Here goes!

First off, I’ve been feeling down about this website since I haven’t made a solid focused effort to work on it for the past two months. Wow. Even writing that out hurts. The truth of the matter is that I’ve been on the move a lot. Going here, going there, and having to live out of a suitcase. Contrary to what some fancy travel blogger says, it isn’t fun to have to stuff everything into a backpack and duffel bag.

That is exactly what I’ve had to do. At the start of April, I went to Italy with my mom to visit one of her friends. I didn’t get to go to Rome or Venice or any of the main attractions. The week long trip consisted of staying inside my mom’s friends house in the small town of La Maddalena on a small island.

Being a small island, there wasn’t much to do. The trip consisted of sitting in a house all day for over a week. It was still good though. I got to have dinner with an Italian family and see a talent show.

After leaving Italy, I had returned to America for two days then boarded a plane to Australia. I had gone from America to Italy to Australia in a time span of two weeks and my body didn’t know when to sleep. It felt like I had some weird kind of extended jet lag. My first week in Australia consisted of falling asleep at random times, then feeling perpetually tired the rest of the time.

bourke nsw australia working holiday visa

I got Australia in mid-April. The past two months here have been interesting, to say the least. I came here like most working holiday backpackers do: no job and ready to hit the ground running. Not too long after I arrived, I started a work for accommodation job at the hostel I was staying at in Sydney.

Work for accommodation jobs are a popular thing backpackers do to save money on accommodation costs. The way they usually work is you do around 10-20 hours per week doing housekeeping, cleaning or light maintenance duties. The job I had involved doing housekeeping: making beds and cleaning rooms. You guys…I’m shocked at some of the stuff I see in rooms, haha.

I stayed at the hostel for seven weeks, doing the work for accommodation and job searching and working additional jobs. The job scene for backpackers here in Australia is strange. There are some odd hiring practices like requiring a photo on a resume for “identification purposes”.  I mean…what?!

A lot of the employers in hospitality/restaurant work seem to want a certain type of person for their waitstaff. I was talking with an Indian/Malaysian friend of mine. She talked about the difficulty she had finding a job in her industry and she has 8+ years of experience in the finance industry! It’s crazy and I plan on talking about it when I write up a guide on the Australian Work Holiday Visa.

australia working holiday visa guide

As of right now, I’m in a little town called Bourke, NSW. It’s dubbed the “gateway to the outback”. With a population of just 2,000 people, the town is very small. There is just a grocery store, a gas station on the edge of town, and a desolate town center half-filled with vacant buildings. The town entertainment is a bowling alley. There are a few mom and pop restaurants, no big franchise places.

It’s small and without a lot but I think I kind of like it. I started my job at a supermarket a few days ago. The guesthouse I live at is located just across the street. Since there are very little restaurant options to be tempted by, I think my cooking skills will improve!

A cool thing I like about Australia is their superannuation fund. A superannuation fund is similar to an American 401(k) or Canadian RRSP. Get this, lots of people get them! Office jobs, retail jobs, waitstaff jobs, admin jobs, and so on. Many employers in many industries offer to contribute to your superannuation (similar to an American employer 401(k) match). The typical amount an employer contributes is 9% of your pay.

It’s so crazy to me that even people like waiters and waitresses have access to an employer-matching retirement account! Wow.

So far, Australian life is going good. I plan to be here for four more months or so, give or take. Hopefully I can master an Australian accent while I’m here 🙂

What have you been up to? 

How To Pay Off Student Loans While Traveling

A lot of people wonder how to pay off student loans while traveling. They usually think it’s something that can’t be done without an inheritance or deferring on your loans. Not so! You can travel while paying off your student loans. Read on to learn how.

A lot of people wonder how to pay off student loans while traveling. They usually think it’s something that can’t be done without an inheritance or deferring on your loans. Not so! You can travel while paying off your student loans.

The way you can do it? Working abroad.

This isn’t the first thought that pops into most people’s heads. Whenever people think about travel, they usually picture sitting on a beach, drinking a cold one, and basking in the rays of the sun. In the distance sits a 4-star swanky hotel where there are a hundred different settings for the bath tub.

That’s more of a relaxed vacation. Travel can mean lots of things. Many people would describe it as being an experience of seeing new places and being immersed in new cultures. It’s not all about sitting on a beach all day long sipping a margarita.

A lot of twenty-somethings with student loans dream of being able to travel and see new places. But they think their student loans prevent them from doing so. They look at travel as something expensive and not possible while paying off student loans.

That’s what I used to think. Before I moved abroad, the idea of traveling and visiting several places never crossed my mind. I had graduated university with $21,000 in student loans and was intent on paying them off as fast as possible. Travel was something that would happen years down the line.

A swift leap of faith involved me moving abroad to Thailand to teach English. In the past year of being here, I’ve gotten to explore lots of Thailand and visit places like Myanmar and China. During this time, progress on my knocking student loans never even had to slow down. I’ve worked like mad for the past several months to make more money but I’ve also gotten to travel quite a bit.

It does take some patience and persistence to stay focused on paying them off your loans while traveling. When I was paying off my student loans, there were times when I wanted to use the extra money I had for a weekend getaway or to go off to another country like Vietnam or Cambodia, but through commitment and utilizing and allocating for fun money, everything worked out.

Here’s how to pay off student loans while traveling

Find a job teaching English abroad

Teaching English is one of the top ways people fund their travels and work abroad. It’s for good reason. Teaching English abroad allows you to really immerse yourself in another culture and see how day to day life is.

Teaching positions are typical 40-hour per week jobs where you spend 20-25 hours each week teaching. The rest of the time outside of teaching is either for lesson planning, making materials, or free time!

Googling “teaching English abroad” will yield thousands of results. The top places to teach English are China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Asia is the most common place people go to teach English. There are English-teaching jobs all over the world but Asia is where the best-paying jobs are. When you’re focused on balancing student loan payments and traveling, having a good salary makes all the difference. The two best countries pay wise are China and South Korea.

South Korea is very popular because it’s a relatively easy place to transition into. Starting salaries for foreign English teachers range from 1.9-2.3 million won. Many jobs provide free housing, free school lunches, and reimbursed airfare cost for your travel to the country. South Korea positions have a lot of benefits!

A salary of 2.1 million won is around $1,850 USD. Many teachers are able to save around $700-1,000 per month. This can put toward extra student loan payments if you desire.

According to Forbes, the average class of 2016 student graduated with $37,172 in student loan debt. If you’re on the standard 10-year repayment plan, paying back loans with a 5.7% interest rate, your monthly payment would come out to $407. Saving $700-1,000 would allow you to pay extra towards your student loans every month.

The blog Great Big Scary World has tips and resources on teaching English in South Korea.

Private tutoring

In an effort to make more money for travel, many English teachers do private tutoring on the side of their full-time teaching job. They usually get private tutoring sessions through inquiries with parents or putting up fliers.

I taught several tutoring classes at a Thailand language center. It was fun and good way to make extra money.

Working Holiday Visa

Australia and New Zealand are two countries that offer one-year working holiday visas to people from several different countries. The visas allow you to work in the country for up to six months with one employer. 12 months in total.

From the countless articles I’ve read, the general gist is that Australia is the best for doing a working holiday. Australia and New Zealand have the same high cost of living, but backpacker/working holiday jobs are more plentiful and higher-paying in Australia.

Kate From The States saved 10,000 AUD in six months from her working holiday.

Now, when you’re wondering how to pay off student loans while traveling, the above options are good ways since they make you money. However saving money when you do travel is also important.

Below are some tips on cutting costs.

WWOOFing & Workaway

WWOOF stands for world wide opportunities on organic farms. Through the website, you can find volunteer positions where you get free room and board in exchange for work. Many long-term travelers do this. It’s a great way to reduce expenses while still being able to experience new things and places. You don’t even have to know anything about farming. Usually the jobs involve fruit picking, cleaning, and general landscape work.

Workaway is also another great option.


I used to think of couchsurfing as this weird thing to avoid…until I actually tried it. It’s great. I used it for the first time when I made a trip to San Diego for a conference. My host was fun to talk to and gave me great information on things to do in the city.

A few tips would be to make sure to go with someone who has lots of positive reviews and has a verified badge. Trust your gut. Always make sure you have the funds to book accommodation in case your host cancels or it doesn’t work out.

Basically, when you’re wanting to know how to pay off student loans while traveling, it comes down to working abroad and choosing budget-friendly options when you travel. Teaching English in good-earning places like China and South Korea where you are able to save up to $1,000 every month really helps.

Thailand (the place I’ve taught in) isn’t as great when it comes to making a good salary. However, I’ve made it work through getting a job at a school that offered higher pay and also doing tutoring sessions during the nights and weekends.

I paid off $21,000 in student loans in 18 months. 11 months of that was spent while abroad teaching English.


How did you go about paying off your student loan debt? Do you like the idea of long term travel and working abroad? 

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