Travelling Does Not Mean Saying Goodbye To Earnings

Most of the world has misgivings about the nomadic life. All through my new journey as a full-time travel blogger (read – For Travel Goals that are Long Term…), people have told me that my finances would dwindle – I would first live off my savings (from the corporate job that I’ve left), and then would be forced to swallow my pride and depend on my folks for my expenses, until of course, I’m married off to an unfortunate man who would have to bear the cost of my existence. I am writing today to show you the real story…

Setting My Priorities Straight

I cruised on the Vltava River in Prague without caring for the cost.

I cruised on the Vltava River in Prague without caring for the cost.

At the outset (when I was still with a conventional job), I had asked myself what really mattered to me – the myth of a stable income with occasional raises and bonuses or the opportunity to harness my full potential in a field that makes me cry with happiness. Contrary to the common man’s wish, I don’t think I’d want to cry in a BMW (read – Karjat in a BMW – A Road Trip to Remember!). I’d rather be smiling through a boat-ride! Once I knew what I was after, it was easy to figure out how I’d bring in the moolah.

Chasing Money Or Chasing A Dream?

It is more fun to chase peacocks than money!

It is more fun to chase peacocks than money!

The best thing about following your dream is that you are always excited about your work, irrespective of the money it fetches you. When your focus shifts away from riches, you start creating real value, and as a result, automatically begin to bring in the big bucks! The moment I stopped chasing money, I realized I could chase better things – a tiger hiding in the woods (read – Forsyth Trail – A Hike through Satpura’s Core Tiger Zone), exotic birds in the wilderness (read – Why The Serai Bandipur Is Every Birdwatcher’s Paradise), a running goal in a lesser known country (read – Running in Lithuania – My First Half Marathon Abroad)… Basically, I could chase my dreams!

Knowing The Tricks Of The Trade

The Trick Fountains in Austria

The Trick Fountains in Austria

Now, every craft has a technique (several techniques, honestly). Some ways work fabulously, some are not worth the effort. While you are pursuing your dream, experimenting with things that work and things that don’t, let your money do all the hard work! I’ll tell you my biggest bank-balance-secret today: my money works harder than I do! This sounds like a joke but often makes me giggle with glee at how affordable even the world’s most expensive countries are for me today. The stress and long work-hours apart, my 5-year long career in the investment banking industry has taught me a thing or two about investing wisely. Knowing the tricks of that trade has made it easier for me to make mistakes in my new trade (as a travel writer). Here’s how you can make your money work hard:-

Don’t Let Those Doors Be Shut

The rustic doors look inviting in Cooch Behar.

The rustic doors look inviting in Cooch Behar.

I started saving early (right from my very first monthly salary half a decade ago). I won’t be surprised if you told me you skipped that step. Most of my friends and colleagues would spend their entire income on lifestyle expenditure (apart from the mandatory rent, utilities, taxes, etc.). The bigger their wardrobes and whiskey closets got, the smaller their pool of savings became. Some of my friends were perpetually on a negative bank-balance or with credit card debt. Whatever be your past, you can still start now. It is never too late to open the doors to a financially sturdy future.

Investment Options Are Like A Buffet Spread

Delicacies are laid out before me in Moscow's Gum Mall.

Delicacies are laid out before me in Moscow’s Gum Mall.

It is good to start saving, but that’s not enough. If you belong to a country with high inflation (such as India), your wealth will erode in worth over time. This is why it could be dangerous to let your money sit idle in a savings account with its paltry interest rate. While there is an assortment of bank deposits and funds that safe-players often lock their money into, you could dabble in the stock market (if your risk appetite, investment horizon and financial goals allow you to). Even with stocks, there better ways to utilize your assets than just holding them. Let’s see how!

A Good Hiker Takes Small Steps

Hiking in Har Ki Dun - The Himalayas of Uttarakhand

Hiking in Har Ki Dun – The Himalayas of Uttarakhand

If option-trading (I’m talking about derivatives here) exists in your country and the laws in your jurisdiction allow you to write your own options (through a broker), you would make your stock holdings (in your demat account) work harder by writing call options on your underlying stocks and selling those in the market. If you are in the US of A, you are obviously very lucky to have a mature options trading market, and hence, more liquidity and a good chance of making a near-regular monthly income through the monthly sale of call options on the same set of underlying stocks (until the buyers of your options exercise their call). If all that I have said sounds like Latin and Greek to you, here’s a simple tutorial that will help you understand things better. (Don’t worry, most people who don’t invest in the markets or work at banks, don’t understand much anyway. 😉 So, you have no need to berate yourself over your limited knowledge of financial instruments.) Next, we’ll see how you can implement this investment strategy. It is all about taking one step at a time, just as in hiking.

We All Need Some Mentors Along The Way

I look out from my friend's window in Germany.

I look out from my friend’s window in Germany.

For writing covered calls, you will need some strong analysis. My friends at Born To Sell have some useful tools to help you write efficient covered calls for your stock underlyings. If you are a new subscriber, you can get up to 4 months’ free service when you sign up for their covered call screener. You also get 2-weeks’ free trial before your paid subscription begins. For every new journey, we need mentors and friends who make us feel at home. Even as I travel to foreign countries, I am thankful to the friends and strangers who have hosted me and helped in hundreds of ways.

Sound Decisions Before Stunning Results

I smile a smile of satisfaction from my winter home in California.

I smile a smile of satisfaction from my winter home in California.

When I said goodbye to my corporate life, I did not throw the knowledge out of the window. This is why even as I depend on luck for my next writing assignment, my bills know they will be paid, and on time!

Do you have a dream you are afraid to acknowledge?

Are you a slave of money?

Write your comments below! 🙂

Follow me on InstagramFacebook, Youtube and Twitter for more pictures and stories of my life as a traveller. Do share this article with that friend who needs some encouragement to follow that dream!

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…Because Travelers Have Responsibilities Too!

As I recount the last days of my erstwhile corporate life, I romanticize my new existence as a vagabond. I wonder if I will have a lifestyle with no strings attached. Will I escape the common man’s worries of paying rent, getting dressed for work, cleaning the house or doing the dishes? Will I be absolved of my duties of attending to a (future) husband, tucking the (future) children into bed or caring for my parents?

Life isn't always a fairytale (Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany)

Life isn’t always a fairytale (Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany)

Wishful Thinking Won’t Change Reality

With the new-found freedom (read For Travel Goals that are Long Term…), I am becoming acutely aware of the new responsibilities I have. I am no longer insured by my employer or mandated by law to save a slice of my income for my retirement. To add to the uncertainty, the regular flow of monthly income, that I’d grown accustomed to, is missing. I can no longer dismiss my credit card bills, thinking my next month’s salary will take care of those.

I may have become a full time wayfarer, but I am still accountable to my folks. I may not have to wake up at 7 on every weekday, but I have to be awake at 4 on a weekend to meet that impatient client’s deadline. I may be able to pull off a Skype call with a trench coat thrown over my jammies, but I still need clean sets of trekking clothes on my countless hikes through the wilderness.

After each day of wandering, the mind longs for rest (somewhere in Eastern Europe)

After each day of wandering, the mind longs for rest (somewhere in Eastern Europe)

Some Needs Are So Basic, They’re Profession-Agnostic

I must also remember that my new profession does not magically make me a superhero. I need a lot of rest after every hectic day of scouting for interesting places. My sore muscles need to relax after every strenuous trek. I have to allow my weather-beaten skin to be at peace after I’ve subjected it to cold winds, charring sun-rays and liquefying humidity. After all, there is no air-conditioning when you’re on the road!

 

I mustn’t forget that I won’t be in my 20’s forever. The thrill of going solo might some day give way to a yearning for companionship. The couples and families I meet on my journeys will make me question if I indeed can live without a partner or spend a lifetime without having my own kids.

There is a kind of hunger that food cannot satisfy (my zucchini pocket in Budapest)

There is a kind of hunger that food cannot satisfy (my zucchini pocket in Budapest)

Future Depends On The Steps Taken in the Present

Ruing is of no use when you’ve dreamed an empty dream and taken no action to make it happen for real. Living each day without any consideration for what to do tomorrow, is a recipe for delayed regrets. I don’t have much advice on emotional matters, but for personal finance, there are neat ways to protect your future and grow your wealth. Bajaj Allianz Life’s recently launched Future Wealth Gain ULIP is one such way. The unit-linked insurance plan does its primary jobs of insuring the policy holder and enhancing the worth of the instrument by investing in a mix of 8 debt and equity funds, allowing you to #InvestBefikar and #JiyoBefikar.

 

There’s quite a bit of flexibility in the product as you can choose the variant you want (Wealth Plus or Wealth Plus Care), the premium you pay, the life cover you need, the policy term, the premium payment term and frequency, the portfolio strategy and even the riders.

When you've lived in strangers' homes for so long, you desire to have your own (a friend's couch in Lindau)

When you’ve lived in strangers’ homes for so long, you desire to have your own (a friend’s couch in Lindau)

Someday, We’ll Know…

Life is a tough nut to crack. You may have had your future planned out, but there are always surprises. Some pleasant, and some unpleasant. Planning ahead eases your pain through the unpleasant times of disease or death. You can never know when life will throw a curveball at you, but you can be prepped to strike a score. Getting your finances in order goes a long way in tiding over the bad times. Do not tarry. (This is the advice I give myself everyday – do not tarry.)

Getting tanned in Doha like there's no tomorrow

Getting tanned in Doha like there’s no tomorrow

I wander like I have no cares, but I have responsibilities too! Have you financially invested in your future yet? Share some of your strategies in the comments section below! 🙂

 

Do follow me on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for more pictures, tips and stories from my journeys, and spread the love by sharing this article with your pals who are planning their future. 🙂

For Travel Goals that are Long Term…

“I’m quitting my job to travel.”

I broke this news to my parents last month. They were too baffled and disappointed to react.

“Do you have enough money?” My father finally broke his silence. He had asked me the question I had been asking myself for several months. The more I pondered over this matter, the stronger my decision became. I realized that I want to live for my dreams, and not to be wealthy.

You cannot always predict where the road will lead you (picture from Paro)

You cannot always predict where the road will lead you. (Picture from Paro, Bhutan)

The Road Not Taken

I wasn’t surprised at my decision at all. After all, I had been fed on Robert Frost’s timeless poem – ‘The Road Not Taken’ and countless stories of bravehearts who leave their lives of comfort to chase their dreams. I grew up watching love stories where people would give up all of their money and fight to the ends of the earth to be one with the person they treasured. How could I then be a coward and continue doing what a regressive society expects me to?

Dreams are sweeter when our future plans are secure

Dreams are sweeter when our future plans are secure

A Contingency Plan

There was some truth in what my father said, though. How would I sleep in peace if I did not know how to pay for the night? How would I literally travel the world if my pockets did not have enough to afford the tickets? And how would I be happy with my decision if the worries of the world bothered me?

I knew I needed to get my finances sorted! Throughout my short span in the corporate world, I had managed to set aside small chunks of my salary. I did not know what I was saving for, but I knew I’d be thanking myself later. I suppose, life was preparing me for the eventuality of getting closer to my dreams.

For the nomadic traveller's ever-changing home, her finances must be strong. (Somewhere in the Himalayas)

For the nomadic traveller’s ever-changing home, her finances must be strong. (Somewhere in the Himalayas)

Towards Long Term Financial Goals

Now that I know I’ll need to be more careful with money, I’m keeping an eye out for investment instruments that will serve my need for long term protection. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance has told me that on 22nd June, 2017, they’ll introduce a product with dual benefits of growth and protection to help me #JiyoBefikar. You and I will have another option to consider as we sit down to do our financial planing for the year. Stay tuned with us for updates on the launch. You may want to get live notifications on Twitter – @BajajAllianzLIC and their Facebook page.

A happy meal is when you've left your worries behind (traditional Bhutanese fare)

A happy meal is when you’ve left your worries behind. (Traditional Bhutanese fare)

The Wise Do Not Worry

Matters of money don’t have to crease your forehead with worry lines. You only have to be aware of your needs, keep your eyes open to the offerings that meet those needs, plan meticulously to find the best fit, and finally, act on your decisions – #InvestBefikar. Why should wealth come in the way of your dreams?

Some smiles stay beyond a picture

Some smiles stay beyond a picture. (At Jaldapara National Park)

Have you had the courage to pursue your dreams? Let my readers (and me) know through your comments below! 🙂

Don’t forget to follow me on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for more pictures, tips and stories from my travels! Do spread the love by sharing this article with your friends who’re hesitant to follow their dreams because they can’t figure their finances out. 🙂