I’m Not On Vacation

Three years ago today I left for Beijing, China to start my trip. Since then, I’ve been to 18 countries and lived at least a month in 5 of them. I saved roughly $15,000 before the start of the trip and have not worked in the US since then.

I’m mostly targeting my family and friends on this but in the last three years, I STILL hear them say things like “when are you going to find a job” or “what are you going to do when you come back?” Lately I’ve heard some of them even think my mother has been supporting this entire trip because it’s impossible that I’m able to travel for this long.

The truth is, she isn’t funding my travels at all. Sure, I get the occasional birthday or Christmas money but that’s about it. It’s not that she won’t, it’s that I don’t want her to. I don’t need it. I’m doing just fine on my own. I’m not rich but I’m okay. So how did I fund three years worth of travel with only $15,000?

I worked and I did it all online.

I know it’s hard to believe with all those beautiful pictures of my travels on Facebook and constantly updating my status from a new country, but yes I do in fact work. I work a hell of a lot. In fact, you’re staring directly at my work this instant.

I live and breath this website and all my other projects. There are days where I hardly see sunlight because I get so caught up in my work. The amount of work I do could never be fully detailed because it ranges in more things than anyone that’s not an entrepreneur could ever understand. I’m forced to take the role of dozens of different job titles that include being an CEO, marketer, programmer, human resources, designer, writer, photographer, public relations, social media, customer service, and so much more. How many roles do you do at your job?

There’s a few sponsored stories, banner ads, and other forms of sponsorship that support this site. It generates an okay income. The truth is though, I make a huge part of my income outside of the site as well. There’s Art of Travel Blogging, Everywhere Connection, our new app Eat The World, and the dozens of freelance opportunities I receive pretty often. So it’s not like I’m running just one site. I have this huge network of projects and making my income through as many streams as possible. Sometimes I wonder how I’m able to keep track of it all but I manage and it works.

When you tell me “are you going to look for work”, it hurts. I’ve worked my ass off on everything you see here. It hasn’t come easy to build a audience of over 10,000 readers (which is bigger than probably many of your coffee side magazines). I’m coming onto four years of running this site. Why would anyone think I’m stopping?

It’s a great job. I may work 8 hours straight without blinking but at the end of the day I walk out that door in a whole new country. I set my own hours and waking up earlier than 9am kills me. If Stephanie and I feel like going to a new city, we just go.

I think one of the biggest issues is that my priorities are different than most of my family and friends. Rather than buying a $1,000 television, I’m spending that on a few months rent in a country where the dollar goes a long way. It doesn’t cost much to travel when you have no bills and the cost of living is much cheaper.

I’m not messing around. I’m building a future for myself and my businesses. I love what I do and I don’t plan on stopping.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way. You know who you are!

Three years and still going strong!~

 

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.

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