“I practice the art of living around the world, as opposed to merely traveling through it,” she said. “It’s allowed me the chance to really deeply explore the local culture where I’m living and the food and the way people live.”
Dunn attributes her most amazing, outrageous experiences — leading tours atop a llama in Australia and studying under a shaman in Peru, just to name a couple — to her ability to stay places long-term for little to no money. By couch-surfing, home- and pet-sitting, and volunteering, she’s been able to save a ton. In fact, she spent just $173 on lodging one year.
These smart money moves have not only saved her money on travel, but they have allowed her to grow a successful business as a writer as she blazes a trail for the travel blogging community. “When I started traveling full-time in 2006, the term ‘digital nomad’ did not even exist. The term ‘location independent’ didn’t exist. In fact, travel blogging wasn’t even a thing. Blogs at that time … were really just glorified travel journals,” she said.
Dunn started one of these so-called “glorified travel journals” to chronicle her adventures and quickly understood that she could earn a living writing abroad, so long as she had a laptop and an internet connection. As travel blogging increased in popularity, Dunn realized she could keep her edge by using her experience as a former Certified Financial Planner to help others travel in a financially sustainable way.
“Twelve years later, I’m here to say it’s entirely possible to live on the road full-time,” she said. “In fact, my cost of living on the road full-time has consistently been less than it ever cost me to live in one place.”
Just because Dunn is saving tons of money and her business is doing well doesn’t mean she thinks happiness correlates to your bank account, however. “For me, living richer is having a full, fulfilling life — whatever that means,” she said. And part of that fulfillment is helping others create more passionate, adventure-filled lives of their own.
Click through to read about how another world-traveler stays on the road without going broke.
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