What does full time travel mean, exactly? It’s a term we throw around a lot on this site, and never really bothered to define it, not for ourselves, and not for you. But that time has come!
We started to travel full time in August of 2015, nearly three years ago now. We’ve been back to the United States (where we are from) only twice. Once for a wedding in Minnesota, and once for a house sit in Portland for three months. We sold our home. We have no place to return.
Sure we have some stuff in storage, but that’s simply because we are super practical and don’t want to buy some key items again should we want to start a life back in the US again. Mainly things in the kitchen, some books, artwork and our pillows and mattress. An apartment starter kit if you will.
As with most definitions, let’s start by defining what full time travel isn’t.
Does it mean that we never stop traveling? Of course not. As I sit here and write this, we are in Norway for an extended ~3 month house sit. But this is not our home. After this we travel to Scotland next before moving on to South Africa for another house sit.
We are constantly on the move. I think the longest stretch we’ve been in one place starting to travel full time is three months. This is mainly because of visa restrictions. Most countries will let you stay 90 days before you need to either leave or get a special visa. And there is just too much of the world out there to see to settle down, right?
Does this mean you are a full time traveler if you go to a new location every three months? I don’t think so, no.
Do you need to have sold your home in order to be a full time traveler? No, of course not. That’s a personal choice, and looking back on it, I’m kinda surprised that did this. We had only planned on being gone for 9 months at that point.
That isn’t to say we had planned on coming back to Minneapolis, but we had no travel plans beyond that first stretch of time. We bought round the world tickets and let go of that last leg (London to Minneapolis) for a 3 month house sit in Vermiglio, Italy, and haven’t looked back since.
I think we sold our house because we knew that if we had a safety net, we would come back and start our old lives again. Maybe Jill would have picked her job back up and I would have continued freelance consulting. But we just weren’t ready to make that kind of commitment, so decided to cut all ties to our past in order to find a new path forward. Wherever that would take us.
Do you need to work in order to travel full time? I don’t think so, no. I still work as a freelance digital marketing consultant, but there are many people who pull in some income while traveling. Some of the people we’ve met are retired.
Can we define full time travel by age? No way! We’ve met people just out of school, people our age, and retired folks in their 70’s. Although I will say that there are less people in their 40’s doing this.
Many people take a career break for a year and travel around before settling down and getting a job. Or they backpack around Asia right after school or military service. This is a version of full time travel because certainly in that year or so they aren’t going home, and may not have a home.
Does this get us closer to defining what full time travel is? Probably not. It’s probably as simple as knowing if you have a home to come back to after your trip. Or if you have plans to return. Maybe it’s a simple as how you answer these questions: Are you currently in one foreign location wondering what your next foreign destination will be? And the one after that?
If you find yourself answering 'yes' to either of those two questions, you may be a full time traveler. Welcome to the club!