The following is a guest post from Tammy Strobel. Tammy is the author of Simply Car-free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life. She blogs at RowdyKittens about social change through simple living. That, and she is awesome.

If you’ve dreamed of seeing the world, go vagabonding! Vagabonding involves taking an extended break from “normal life” to travel the world.

“…beyond travel, vagabonding is an outlook on life. Vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions.” ~Rolf Potts

Next year, we plan on biking across the U.S. and have taken a number of steps to prepare for the adventure. By simplifying our lives and paying off our debt, we’ll be able to take an extended sabbatical via bicycle.

If you want to go vagabonding preparation is key. Below are 6 essential actions you need to take before hitting the road.

1. Learn to live with less.

Leading a simple and minimalist lifestyle are essential components of vagabonding. The freedom to go vagabonding isn’t dependent on your income level. Instead, it’s about being aware of how you use your current income.

Micro-action: Examine your expenses. What items can you spend less on?

2. Stop expanding and keep it simple.

Curb your materialism and stop buying stuff you don’t need. Consumer culture has told us over and over again that to be happy we should buy more stuff. Don’t buy into what the status-quo tells you. Stay out of the mall.

Prior to leaving for the road, sell, donate or lend out your stuff. There is no need to hold on to clutter while you’re traveling the world. It’s amazing what you can get by without.

Micro-action: Your life options are more than consumer options. So the next time you’re tempted to buy a new gadget or pair of shoes, ask yourself:

  • How much time do I need to work for this item?
  • And how can I use this money to fulfill my dream of traveling?

3. Eat at home.

It’s tempting to eat out frequently. On the surface it seems easy and somewhat healthy. But how many times have you waited in a long line just to pay a lot for a cup of coffee or a sandwich?

Making good meals at home is less expensive, will save you time, and a fantastic skill to cultivate.

Micro-action: If you eat out a lot, slowly cut back and start making food at home.

4. Sell your car(s).

If you live in a city and are blessed with good health, you don’t need a car. By selling your car, you’ll save $9,000 per year. All of that cash can be set aside for travel purposes.

For instance, two years ago I sold my cars to save money and pay off my debt. As a side effect, I’ve lost about 15 pounds, no debt, and actually have a savings account.

Micro-action: Add up how much you spend on your car every year. Expenses will include car payments, interest on you car loan, gas, insurance, maintenance, parking tickets, etc.

5. Rent out your home.

If you own a home, rent it out while you’re traveling. You can make a little extra cash while you’re vagabonding and come back to your abode once your adventure is over. Make sure you pay your bills in advance, like your mortgage.

Micro-action: Consider hiring a rental management firm to take care of your property while you’re away.

6. Rein in your debt.

“The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think that money is what we need to live.” -Rolf Posts

Being free from debt will give you more options. So before you hit the road, pay off as much debt as possible. By reducing your debt, you’ll literally earn the freedom to travel.

Micro-action: Read Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

Would you add anything to the list? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Join the conversation! 15 Comments

  1. Hey Tammy,

    some inspirational tips here – I bet it's much harder for Americans to live the minimalistic lifestyle, here in Europe most people in my age group don't even have a car ;)

    Being ridiculously aware of your consumer behavior and cooking at home are the creme of the creme.
    It's sooo much more fulfilling to know that you don't need all this materialistic crap.

    The only material object I need for now is this pc – the essence of my life ;)

    thanx for rocking Tammy, interesting post

    Reply
  2. @Matt – thanks for the opportunity to connect with you readers. I really appreciate it! :)

    @Mars – Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I think many American's can embrace a minimalist lifestyle. Starting to live a simpler lifestyle is a process and it might not happen overnight, but it is possible. By taking one small step everyday you can make incredible and big changes in the long-run.

    And speaking of vagabonding, I'm heading out to explore the Columbia River Gorge today. I've heard it is incredible.

    Reply
  3. Hey Tammy,

    This is really interesting and actually a great outline for the my own vagabonding experience that I have planned. I'm an avid surfer and one thing I want to do before I ever settle down is spend a year traveling the world and surfing. As far as getting rid of cars, I live in LA, so that's not an option because the time lost trying to use our horrible public transport system would diminish the gains. But, I think that when I do take off on the year long trip, maybe selling my car would be a great option. I also have embraced minimalism quite a bit more in the last few months. What's nice is that my primary recreational activity(surfing) doesn't really cost any money.

    Reply
  4. Solid tips here Tammy. I was just having a conversation with my girlfriend telling her if I needed to sell everything I had I would just keep my laptop – for biz (and personal use, etc.), a fresh pair of clothes – so I'm not naked, and thats about it. ha ha. I always look for ways to get rid on the clutter when their is no real need for the items. Most people get in to a habit to keep stuff they no longer need – I'm slowly getting out of this habit by identifying what I need and what I don't need.

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the comment Mars – I agree that the American lifestyle is a little bit more “materialistic” – and living without a car really depends on where you live (although Tammy may disagree with me on that point, I know she is a huge advocate of car-free living). My wife and I have seriously contemplated getting rid of one of the cars and like Tammy says, when you add it up, you're throwing a TON of money into your car…

    Thanks as always for coming by and adding to the conversation Mars.

    Reply
  6. Tammy! Thanks mucho for stopping by my neck of the woods. After we spoke a few weeks ago, I immediately respected what you were doing and I appreciate the 'kick in the ass' for me to get rid of some of my stuff. I really admire what you and others in your “circle” are doing to take control of your life and eliminating the stuff that's holding you back.

    Hope you enjoyed your strip to the Columbia River Gorge – and thank you again for taking the time to share some insight with my community here. Cheers!

    Reply
  7. I really hope that all of us cross paths during our “round the world” adventures. I feel like there are a lot of us out there who are on the verge of picking things up and making this location independent thing a reality. It's going to be exciting to see where all of us are a year from now…

    Reply
  8. I'm feeling the same way Tony – granted, we just got a ton of new stuff for our wedding shower(s) so that made it more difficult, but I'm trying to cut out much of the excess myself. Another thing, and call me a nerd, it keeping things much cleaner around the apartment – there's something about organization and cleanliness that REALLY enhances productivity. Maybe it's just me – but I just feel overwhelmed when there's stuff all over the place.

    Hope you're doing great buddy – always great to hear from you!

    Reply
  9. Awesome Matt! Thanks again for the opportunity to guest post. And the Gorge was amazing. If you ever visit the Portland area, it's a must see. :)

    Reply
  10. @Tony – thanks! I think starting slowly is key. My downsizing process took about 2 years and I'm finally in a place where I've found balance again.

    @Matt – I agree about keeping things picked up an tidy. When we don't put stuff away, I feel completely overwhelmed. So I think there's something to be said about a clean home and increased productivity. :)

    Reply
  11. @srinirao – Getting around LA without a car is very challenging. Although I do have a few friends who live in LA/Long Beach and bike everywhere.

    If you can sell your car that would rock. Selling my cars was one way we were able to become debt free and actually save some cash. It's amazing how much money and time cars suck up. Good luck with your upcoming adventures! And have fun surfing. :)

    Reply
  12. Tammy (and Matt) this is fantastic advice, not only for life but also as inspiration for a way to see the world. I'm going keep this in my back pocket for when my husband and I are ready to vagabond. I think it'll be soon. I love how you think and choose to live Tammy – you're an example to us all and a great teacher and inspirer. Great post.

    Reply
  13. It has long been my dream to go vagabonding on my bike! I love riding and I love travel. This would be the ultimate!

    Reply
  14. [...] This post was originally published on Life Without Pants. It has been updated and edited for RowdyReaders. Since I’m on the road this weekend, I [...]

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  15. [...] Life Without Pants: How to prepare for a vagabonding adventure [...]

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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