As previously stated, we are not rich kids. We work hard, we save our money and we have both have travel as a life priority. This made it much easier for us to save the money we needed to before we left Melbourne. What made it significantly more difficult was that we both quit our jobs and were (by choice) unemployed for 6 weeks each in the 12 months leading up to our departure. We were both burned out in our jobs, careers, lives etc and each needed to take the time to recuperate and reflect on what it is that is important to us.
Monique left her jobs as the General Manager of Midsumma Festival and went back to working as a waitress, as well as finding a passion for writing. Anai left her job as a head chef at Chew Burgers, soon after she combined her passion for food and good-business and started working freelance as a hospitality consultant. These, on paper, are not good decisions to make when you’re saving up for the trip of a lifetime. A trip that will see you with no income in the foreseeable future… but we made it work.
We saved all our gold coins for one year in a vase next to the front door, and put a portion of our income into a high-interest savings account. That is all. That is our magical, amazing, wonderful savings advice. Buy a vase, put it at the front door and drop all your gold coins into it. For years we have paid for our annual car registration this way. There is no secret to savings, except that you have to want the reward, or it will never happen.
We also sold a good chunk of our belongings, with everything else that did not fit in the car or was not necessary for the trip going to charity. We raised approx $1,500 – $1,700 from selling off our fridge, table, couch, wardrobes, chairs, TV, gaming console, guitars, GHD, washing machine, old tent (that was far too big and heavy for this trip), sporting equipment, nicknacks and clothes. We literally had an open house garage sale. We opened the doors of house and just said to people, ‘everything is for sale, what do you like?’. We made about $1,000 in one day through this, the rest came in dribs and drabs via Gumtree.com.au sales.
We were able to have this massive garage sale because we made the decision to move from our large suburban two bedroom house, with the backyard, dining room and separate laundry/kitchen into a much smaller one bedroom apartment closer to the city. The apartment was small, cheap and close enough to the city that Monique could walk to work and Anai could ride her bike at least one way to work, saving us a lot of money on public transport. However more importantly, this move reduced our rent by $180 per week, a huge saving! The apartment’s utility bills were are significantly smaller as we were not trying to heat or cool a whole house anymore, or look after a garden. This move was a great help to our savings.
Between the sale of assets and our savings, this amounted to enough buy all the pre-departure items we needed to buy – see our pre-departure expenses article for all that info – as well as to spend 2 months in Chile with with Anai’s family and friends (I know, it’s a rough life right?!) and after the trip return to Australia with $12,100 in our savings for this Australian leg of the trip.
So that was us, on the 16 July 2015. Departing from Port Macquarie NSW, after Monique’s parents kindly housed us while we did our final packing and slept off the jet-lag, with $12,100 between us, a car full of tents, tarps and solar-powered wonders and our hearts full of equal amounts of excitement and fear. Well maybe more excitement than fear if we’re being honest. Either way, we had no source of income that could sustain us and just a rough itinerary (head north for winter, south for summer), but a big will to make it happen.