Prepare to Travel with Gotta Keep Movin’
We are delighted to bring you our third installment of our ongoing series, Prepare to Travel. This time we talked with the very sweet, Emma of Gotta Keep Movin’. Emma has been writing and traveling, on and off, since 2009. Her blog, Gotta Keep Movin’, is full of stories and advice from her trips, which include Europe, India, Morocco, South America, USA, and Canada. She’s been involved in sustainable farming in Argentina, animal shelters in Peru, and even tired her hand at making goat cheese in British Columbia. Join us as we prepare to travel with Gotta Keep Movin’.
AfterGlobe (AG)- Many people can’t believe that others are able to travel the world long term and wonder how they are able to do this. What travelers did before they left to travel always seems to be a hot topic. Would you agree? Do you get a lot of questions about what you did and how you were able to do it?
Gotta Keep Movin’ (GKM)- All the time! It’s because it’s such an ‘unconventional’ lifestyle that is always pulls in questions from people who aren’t used to living in this way. I love telling people how I manage to travel so much because I love to inspire. Give me an inch and I’ll take a mile – tell me you’re interested in it and I won’t shut up until you’re convinced!
AG- Love how passionate you are about inspiring others! When did you first start thinking about traveling long term? What changed to go from dreaming about it to actually making it happen?
GKM- My trip to India in 2010 was the first time I remember being really in love with seeing the globe. I just couldn’t believe that a world like that existed on the same planet as me, and from the moment I landed in India, I knew I was then desperate to see it all. To be honest, I didn’t spend much time dreaming about it without actually doing something to achieve that goal. If I want something I go get it, full stop. I knew it had to be possible somehow, so the second I got back from India I worked my butt off to disappear again.
AG- Your trip to India sounds like it was life-changing for you. Once you decided you were going to travel long term, what did you do to start working towards that goal? Did you make a plan, budget or any other goals? Was this something you actually wrote down or just had in your head?
GKM- I had really wanted to go to Canada ever since meeting so many Canadians on my first traveling experience; interrailing round Europe. So that was the country I chose and then I found out ways to do it as much on a budget as possible, which lead me to volunteering. It’s down to two girls I met in Italy who told me about their free volunteering experiences that changed the way I saw travel forever. My plan was to head out to Canada for 3 months, work on a dairy farm and Couchsurf. I filled the rest of my time up around that once I got there. I’ve always worked on the principle that the less of a plan you have, the more adventurous your travel becomes, and I did exactly that in Canada. It was all in my head, but very loosely!
AG- You’ve said on your site, Gotta Keep Movin’, that it took a “long time to achieve full-time vagabond status“. What were some of the things that held you back?
GKM- MONEY. That was literally the only thing that held me back, nothing else. I had no ties I was desperate to cling onto back home, and plucking up the funds was the only thing that was in my way. I still didn’t even save that much money but because of the amount of free things I do on my travels, I managed it just fine. With more experience I’ve gained over the past 4 years I’ve realized that money means less and less.
AG- When you finally decided you were leaving to travel, how long was it from that point and the day that you left to travel? Looking back do you think it would have been better to have left sooner or later than you did?
GKM- It was about 4 months I think, and if I had it my way I probably would have gone sooner! I was in a relationship at the time though, so the timing wasn’t exactly right. If I think about the experience as a whole, I left at exactly the right time even if it didn’t feel like it then. All my travels seem to have slotted in at exactly the right moment.
AG- What did you do to save up enough money before you left? Any advice that you think will help others save for traveling?
GKM- I just worked my butt off in any job I could. Luckily I had loads of retail experience from when I was younger, so got a supervisors job in a clothing store, and worked any hour God sent me. The piece of advice I would give is just find any work you can, especially in this economic climate, and remember that the sacrifices you make will be repaid to you a million times over when you’re traveling. Make as many small changes as you can to create big results – I stopped eating meat because I couldn’t afford it, which made my food bills a lot lower, enabling me to save more.
AG- How did you figure out how much you needed to save to travel? Do you think your savings were enough? Should you have saved more or less?
GKM-I didn’t figure it out at all! I just saved as much as I could and went with what I could manage. I’m always worrying about money on the road, not that I want to at all but that comes in phases. Sometimes I stress all day and all night about it, other days I don’t care at all. I should probably have saved more for all my traveling experiences, but I’m so impatient that I settled for just going out and doing it and seeing where it all took me.
AG- We can relate to that. We are always wanting to leave now. What did you do with your possessions before you left to travel? Did you keep anything and put it in storage or sell it and/or give it away to others? What was your reasoning behind getting rid of and/or keeping items?
GKM- My Dad has a whole load of stuff in his garage; I think he’s keen to get rid of a lot of it now though! Mainly it’s books, I couldn’t bear to part with them but I think I could do so now because I’m used to having less stuff and prefer it.
AG- Many times when reading travel blogs, we find ourselves thinking that we need to buy a bunch of things to be able to travel long term. Did you experience this? What things do you now realize that you didn’t really need? What would you recommend really is needed?
GKM- Honestly, instead of buying things before you leave for those ‘just in case’ moments, I would buy things as and when you need them. Unless you’re way out in the back and beyond, you’ll find everything you might want whilst you’re on the road. I used to take so much medication and things like that with me thinking they don’t have it in some place like South America, for example, but it was everywhere. Very little is really needed other than the clothes on your back and a good sense of adventure!
AG- What did you find was the most difficult for you while preparing to travel? Did you ever feel like your day to leave was never going to come?
GKM- In the grand scheme of things I didn’t have to wait so long, but every single day felt like it was dragging on and on and on, I just wanted to get out there! But when it did finally come, it was all so worth it. The worst was just the waiting, fear of the unexpected, not knowing if I’d be okay on my own. Turns out, I love it all!
AG- Do you have any additional advice for those who want to travel the world long term?
GKM- Definitely pack up your bags and go do it. Don’t try to create some huge grand plan because the chances are you’ll never stick to it. Take each moment as it comes and open yourself up to opportunities that might lead you in an unexpected direction, it might be unexpected but it’ll probably be worth it. Try lots of things and you’ll soon figure out what you enjoy the most and what works for you personally in the long run. Most of all, have the courage to know you can do it, whatever comes your way.
Thank you very much to Emma for sharing how to prepare to travel with Gotta Keep Movin’. Be sure to head over to Gotta Keep Movin’ to read all about Emma’s travels around the world.
All photos provided by Gotta Keep Movin’.