Hi everyone, and welcome! My name is Hanna (Bubu Backpacks), and I started this blog as a way to document my journey from a 9-to-5 corporate slave (albeit for a company that I do love) to a full-time digital nomad, so I can travel the world as I work.
At the time of writing this, I’m 22 years old, and I’ve just completed my first year of post-college life as a real, working adult. I’m currently working at a small startup as part-corporate travel agent, part-secretary, part-social media manager, part-research assistant, and part-accounting department. While I love the dynamic work environment a startup can provide, my current position still requires me to be chained to a desk for 40 hours a week. This has begun to feel suffocating as I plan trips for other people and waste hours procrastinating by reading travel blogs and looking for cheap flights to exotic places.
My first “big trip” was in the summer of 2016 – I spent two months wandering around Europe by myself, and it was truly life-altering (big cliche, I know). Once I got home and settled into a job and a routine, I began to think about what was coming up next to me.
One of the things I knew I wanted to do before I turned 30 was to take off for a full year and just travel. It seemed like the ultimate solution – it would quench my insatiable wanderlust, and I could live my life knowing I’d done all I wanted while I was still young.
But, as it turns out, planning a year-long trip was more difficult than I expected for two reasons. The first reason: it’s really hard to save up enough money to sustain myself on the road for a year. Even though the cost of living in South America and Southeast Asia is much lower than in Washington DC, I estimated that I’d need to save $15,000-$20,000 to survive comfortably and not have to stress about money while traveling. I told myself that I could survive on the road for less if I decided that I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed to leave my job, but it still seemed daunting. My ambitious calculations estimated that I’d need three years to save up that money, which is assuming I could stick to my austere budget every month, which I am struggling to do because it would mean three years without travel, which I realized would be the equivalent of a prison sentence for me. And three years is a long time to spend at a job you hate.
The second problem I ran into in the planning process was that one year on the road seemed to be nowhere near enough time to hit everything on my bucket list, even if I changed locations every few days. I prefer to move slowly, taking my time to explore a city, it’s people, and it’s culture, so this meant I’d have to make some compromises between seeing everything and fully experiencing each location.
I’d looked into volunteering and workaway options to help stretch my money further, and they seemed great, but I decided that I needed a way to generate steady income on the road. I stumbled across blogging and monetizing your social media through travel gurus like Nomadic Matt and World Nate, but for someone who was at the time struggling to maintain 100 Instagram followers, it seemed slightly out of reach.
So I began to research location-independent jobs that would allow me the freedom to move every few days or weeks and modify my work schedule to fit the lifestyle that I craved, not the other way around. I’m exploring web development as a potential solution to my dilemma – an expansion of my skillset that could provide a massive return on investment, both in terms of salary and in terms of happiness once I’m able to live life on my own terms.
I’m at the very beginning of the process, and I hope to document everything so I can share my journey with all of you and inspire others to abandon the shackles of a 9-to-5 and live an alternative lifestyle. I’m not expecting this to be an easy journey, but I’m incredibly excited for what lies ahead and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Hanna (Bubu Backpacks)
P.S. – If this sounds like you, please share your experiences below and follow me on Instagram and Twitter @bubu_backpacks for real-time updates!