An Open Letter To Those Asking: How Can You Travel So Much?

The neighborhood I lived in, in Thailand

Kelsey how do you travel so much?

A question I’ve heard time and time again from friendly strangers on the internet to my own family. It seems though we are enigmas to the world, expat-y 20 somethings living in a foreign country and traveling to as many places as possible, seems to be a concept that is difficult for many to grasp.

It would be easy to assume, that I am simply on one big holiday, a long vacation of beaches, and the wanderlusty adventures that fill your Facebook feed. In reality,  I,  like so many others are travelers (not the douche-y type), we are not on a trip, we are living our life just in another place.

I’ve been wanting to write this for some time, the countless ‘how is this possible?’ or ‘how do you travel?‘ questions I get are starting to pile up. I want to shed some light on my current situation as it is different from so many others who plaster travel photos on social media.

I know most people who see my Instagram or perhaps read my blog must wonder how does she do this?!

One may default to thinking ‘oh she is probably loaded – she probably has money.’ Well I hate to break it to ya, but my savings account barely breaks three digits and the funds have been dwindling for some time so lets just dispel that idea quick!

The second thing people might think is the ol’ maybe she gets money from her blog, or social media sponsorship’s, since that is a thing now. Womp, again this couldn’t be farther from the truth! I have never had a sponsored trip anywhere let alone gear, clothing or treats – although if anyone is offering… hehe.  On a good day my blog may be seen by 100-ish of you, but I’m still convinced its just my mom (hi mom).

You’re probably thinking then, Kelsey what the heck! How have you filled up your passport, lived in two countries and are visiting more all the time. The answer: I have a job! *gasps from the audience* I know it doesn’t seem like it but I am in fact working.

I have been working full time since I moved away from home two years ago. I have taught English in schools and centers in Thailand and Vietnam. This is my main source of income! All travels have been worked around a full time schedule.

Okay okay I can hear you rolling your eyes, thinking ‘sure you have a job – but its not a real job, you don’t work that hard. You drink coconuts on beaches and take pictures.’ And yes this is true, but also, I do work hard, the two things are not mutually exclusive, but I am not here to convince you of that.

Teaching in Asia is HUGE, the amount of people doing this same thing is incredible. There are communities of teachers, expats, and travelers in tons of countries. The amount that you are paid in SE Asia ranges from around 800 – 2,000 USD a month depending on a number of factors! This is way more than enough to live simply and travel lots and lots.

Here in Vietnam I work evenings and weekends but I get two days off and teachers are allotted a month of holiday – hellooo have you packed your bags yet?! The advantages of living in one place and making lots of mini trips is invaluable.

I, along with my boyfriend are able to take small amounts of vacation off at a time in order for us to explore more and more of Vietnam and the surrounding areas. Flights are cheap, countries are close together and all this makes for one hell of an adventure.

As for my Instagram account and blog, I am not a professional photographer, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers (yet – fingers crossed for one day), I’m not paying for likes or followers, hell I didn’t even have a DLSR camera up until a few months ago when my dad gifted me his 11 year old Canon, which due to his meticulous ownership works amazingly! I just want to take beautiful pictures and hopefully you like em’… and me… and this blog #loveme

I simply want to break down the social media veil, the wall of rose colored glass that separates too many of us. What I am doing is far from glamorous – more posts to come on that (i.e. sickness, bug bites, motorbikes, squatty potties, sweat, bug bites, sun burns, bug bites – you get the picture) but it is satisfying, and truly something that you can do to! (not to sound like a motivational speaker but — really!)

For now I am just writing these posts for you, my sweets, whoever is reading! I hope that my stories and tips will help you down the road! One day maybe I’ll make money from this, but for now it’s a creative outlet for me and hopefully a source of inspiration for you!

Keep smiling!

Kelsey