Budget Travel Will Turn You Into An Adventurer
When you travel long-term, life becomes a whole lot more unpredictable, but in a good way. You open yourself up to seeing and experiencing things that make you feel incredibly alive. That's why it becomes addictive, knowing that you are going to have your mind blown and your heart made full, exploring beyond your immediate surroundings.
When you know how it feels to travel, how it truly makes your senses heighten, and your stresses melt away, you will never want to stop.
And the best thing about travel, is that it can be done on a budget!
We came to Australia with about £3000 which may sound like a lot of money.. but we made that moolar last 6 months before we did any sort of paid work; in turn I know people who have spent that amount on a 2 week holiday!
Travelling on such a small budget will force you to make crazy decisions that you might never have made if you could afford the comfortable alternative.
When we first landed in Melbourne we set to work researching all the different ways we could travel the 10 hour journey to Sydney, as we knew we weren't going to hop on a Greyhound coach, not just because of the price, but because we kinda feel it takes the adventure out of the experience. We also didn't fancy spending hours sat on a cramped bus, catching brief glances of Australia out the tinted window, not stopping anywhere but at the designated drop-off's.
During our search we found a website called Co-seats, which is a kind of pre-arranged and paid hitch hiking deal; drivers can advertise their car journey, or you can advertise your preferred destination, and you then look for a match, send a text or make a phone call, and agree to pay a certain small amount towards fuel. It really is a super simple process. We got ourselves a ride with a really friendly young couple, who picked us up just after sunrise from a street corner, at the beginning of another busy day in Melbourne.
Over the next few months we continued to look for cheap and alternative ways to travel; we spent a month living in a two man tent and working for accommodation in Byron Bay, at the same hostel featured in the Inbetweeners 2 movie. Hannah cleaned toilets 3 hours a day, and I helped do some basic maintenance across the site, we worked 2 days on, 2 days off.
This saved us so much money and we made some great friends during our time in Byron Bay. We also got into the habit of hitch hiking as much as possible and although we've had some long waits and some strange people pick us up, you just cant beat the unpredictability of it.
We love the idea of the sharing economy that makes up so much of travelling; opportunities to get food and accommodation in return for a few short hours a day of work, plus the social nature of hitch-hiking, where people often love to pick you up just to hear your story.
One of our most memorable experiences so far was the time we met a hippy named Spartacus in Bellingen, who told us about a festival coming up in Nimbin called Mardi-Grass. He offered us a lift in his van (which is also where he and his son Apollo call home) for the 4 hour trip it would take to get there.
It was pouring down with rain that day, and it just didn't stop for the whole journey. We were diverted from a main road due to a massive accident, and pointed in the direction of a small one-way back-road. Headed down a narrow road more akin to an English country lane, after a few minutes of trying to see the road through the windscreen wipers, a feeble effort with the lashing rain, we spotted something sitting on the side of the road.
A cat? Surely not out here in the middle of nowhere..
We stopped the van, and jumped out as Spartacus said excitedly, 'it must be a Koala!'
We both got a bit excited as we had been yet to see a Koala and weren't really keen on going to a zoo just to hold a docile one for a quick photo op. And then before we could even actually prepare ourselves, Spartacus had wrapped it in his jacket and was bringing it back to the van!
We grabbed some towels as it was really wet and cold, and then we got our first look at it before we wrapped it up like a little baby! Hannah then proceeded to cradle the baby Koala in a state of disbelief and cute overdose, while we drove to the nearest town after contacting a Koala rescue team.
This was such an amazing experience and we still look back at it and cant believe it actually happened.
There's very little chance something like this would of happened if we had just hopped on the Greyhound bus!
Watch the video below if you wanna see how it all went down:
We're not telling you that something like this will happen to you, as we are very aware it was extremely lucky for us to have had the experiences we've had. But we do believe that when you seek out cheaper and more adventurous ways to travel, amazing things can happen, and you get to see a side of a country you probably wouldn't have otherwise.
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If you stick to the pre-arranged tours and activities that are peddled to you as a backpacker, you will only ever experience the same thing everyone else does; you will stay in an pre-determined comfort zone.
While on the East Coast of Australia, we were searching for a way to experience the famous Fraser Island. We had seen all the various backpacker tours and day trips and knew that we wouldn't be paying their crazy prices, and our plan had been to try and hitch hike around the island; we did end up doing this briefly while on the island, getting a lift down the beach, but lifts are few and far between with everyone's 4x4's packed with supplies.
In the end we got to the island because of a job. Way back in April 2015, we happened across an advert for a remote campsite on the island, and from then on, we sent our resumes multiple times each time the ad resurfaced on Gumtree. Finally, in October, we actually got a response and then a phone interview! We secured the couples position and looked forward to finishing up our farm-stay to start working and saving up again; and of course, visit the mythical Fraser Island.
To actually get to the island, we were treated to a 4 seater plane ride over the island with a beach landing. Long story short, we ended up spending 2 months living and working on the worlds largest sand island, living in a tent, spending every day without phone signal let alone internet access.
Two months of being totally disconnected, the only possible way to communicate with the outside world being a hike up a massive sand dune. Two months of living in a tent that needed constant repairs. Two whole months of being exposed to light pollution-free night sky's full of stars; this was an experience we will remember forever, and we know that going on a 2 day party tour of the island just wouldn't have been the same, nowhere near.
You must try and challenge yourself when you travel.
It doesn't matter what kind of traveller you are, be it a luxury hotel frequenter, a hostel bunk-bed addict or a camping master, you can still experience a crazy adventure and all you need is a little imagination and the right mindset.
By sharing some examples of our improvised travelling method, living every day way out of our comfort zones, we hope to inspire you to seek out the road less travelled; it's the best way to create a travel experience that's entirely unique, utterly unforgettable and completely life-changing.
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Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!
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