How to Travel the World – and Make Money Doing It


Do you crave a life of travel and adventure, but aren’t sure how to make ends meet while doing it?

Join the club.

Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo


In 2006 when I was 30 years old, I was busy running a successful financial planning practice in Canada. I had all the accoutrements of an enviable lifestyle; I had a great income, a sports car, I lived in a nice loft, I had a busy social calendar, and more.

And I was miserable.

I wanted more out of life; since childhood, I craved to travel the world and explore different cultures, climates, and lifestyles. I took annual vacations, but more often than not, I returned from a simple 1-2 week holiday with more questions than answers about the place I visited.

I wanted to climb the mountains of the world, volunteer around the world, and break bread at dinner tables….around the world. I wanted to understand how children played, how cultural values differed by country, and bask in the sunshine when chilly Canadian winters prevailed.

Finally, realizing I couldn’t wait another 30 years for a conventional retirement to play out these dreams, I sold everything I owned to travel the world – full-time.

Initially, I had no idea how I’d make ends meet and thus how long I could sustain a lifestyle abroad; could I find jobs around the world? Was there online work available? Was there a business I could run that would enable me to travel?


As I traveled the world full-time over the next eight years, I not only found my own niche as a freelance writer and blogger, but I also discovered innumerable ways to work on the road and live a fulfilling life abroad. I met dozens of people who were traveling and living around the world on a wide variety of budgets with an even wider variety of careers.

Who knew?!


Following is an excerpt from the recently released Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom:

Working on the road is not reserved for the super-wealthy or hippy backpackers. Most people who work on the road are surprisingly “normal”. It’s about lifestyle freedom and creativity; i.e., you design the life of your dreams, and find a way to make it all financially sustainable. It incorporates different modalities of travel, work, and business; no two situations are identical.

It’s not quite as difficult to do as you might think; there’s a wide range of possibilities for how, where, and when you can work on the road.

Are you one of these people?

  • You crave a career sabbatical, but still want or need some form of work and income to keep you occupied and the bills paid.
  • You are a successful entrepreneur, wondering if it’s possible to run your business—with less overhead—from abroad.
  • You are a gap year student, looking to travel the world for a year or two after school and earn some money along the way.
  • You are a retiree who isn’t ready to retire; instead you’re looking to “re-engage” the world (and/or supplement a meagre pension).
  • Or you might be a lost soul, wondering why your inner voice keeps telling you something is amiss and that there’s so much more out there in the world for you. (A lot of people—myself formerly included—fall into this category).

Single? Married With Children? Retired? Doesn’t Matter

Dyanne is a woman “of a certain age” (she admits to six or so decades) who took her small pension to Southeast Asia, where she taught English as a second language part-time and travels extensively.

Rachel and Greg have traveled the world full-time since 2007…with their five (now six!) children.

Samuel and his girlfriend Audrey have been nomadic for over five years, teaching English in South Korea and traveling between contracts.

Sean is a full-time telecommuting employee for a company in Melbourne, but he’s never been to Melbourne. Instead he has lived and worked in North and South America the entire time he’s been working with his company.

Jonathan is a wildlife illustrator with a venerable client list who has been living location independently with his wife Lea and (now) two children since 2007.

Tiffany and Chris have been professional travelers for the last 10 years, getting various jobs around the world.

Grasya has developed a location independent career from her home in the Philippines, and recently relocated to Thailand for a while.

SoulTravelers3 are a family of three who travel full-time and live for under $25,000/year. The daughter is trilingual as a result of attending schools in Spain and China, and she even has her own location independent business as a language tutor.

Deb and her husband are in their 40s and travel full-time, landing jobs along the way as they go with a decent set of transferrable skills, networking, and research.

Earl has traveled full-time since 1999, working on cruise ships, teaching English, and leading small group tours, in addition to running his travel blog for the last five years.

Jeannie got laid off in 2010 and took the opportunity to travel the world and curate her writing skills. Years later she’s still going strong; for two years she complemented her location independent writing income by teaching English in China.


Working on the Road

These people above – and many (many) more are interviewed and profiled in Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom. They share their dreams, daily routines, challenges, and even their detailed costs of living on the road – which are surprisingly less than what most people spend to live in one place.

The guide also profiles various career options (both location independent and otherwise) and shows you how to get started. It gives you tools for running an online businesses smoothly, and tips for how to organize your finances and embark on a travel lifestyle. There are checklists, information on visas, insurance, and a healthy dose of inspiration from people who are living this life and wouldn’t have it any other way.

When I tell people about my lifestyle, the most common response I get is “Wow! I’d love to do what you do, but I can’t. How do I even begin?” Working on the Road answers that question and shows you how to create the life of your dreams. It’s not always an easy road (especially at first) – but it’s possible.

What do you want to do with your life?


Working on the Road - cover

Check out Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom for more information and to get your own copy at a special introductory rate saving you up to $50.

Welcome to your new life.




Nora Dunn is the The Professional Hobo, a woman who sold everything she owned (including a busy financial planning practice) in 2006 and has been travelling the world in a financially sustainable way ever since. She is an internationally published freelance writer on the topics of travel, personal finance, and lifestyle design, with columns on Wisebread, Credit Walk, and many others. She penned the books How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World, Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination, and most recently, Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Travel. Check out her latest musings on Facebook and Twitter.

2 responses to “How to Travel the World – and Make Money Doing It

  1. Hi Nora,

    Well done! So happy you chose to be free over anything else; this is the first step and it’s the step I took to leave behind the 9-5 life so I could start blogging from paradise. If you want freedom more than anything else you’ll find a way to get it, and goodness me, I am certainly a unique but oh so normal guy who makes a nice living while living in my paradise of choice. Yep, more than uber wealthy and less than prospering folks doing this bit 😉


    1. Thanks, Ryan! Indeed, this lifestyle is possible for people of all kinds of finances and backgrounds. It’s all about designing the life of your dreams!

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