This interview is part of our Love Mondays series, bringing you stories of digital nomad couples from around the world who love their Mondays! You can read more about the series here.
Andrew and Emily have been digital nomads for the past 17 months, after booking a one-way flight to Mexico from their home in the UK. They brought with them two cameras, two laptops and enough money to last them two years – provided they stuck to their daily budget.
I asked them to explain how they make their money, their biggest challenges, and what they have planned for their future.
How do you make your money when you travel?
As our blog continues to grow we have been given more and more opportunities to work with hostels and tour companies, meaning some experiences or accommodation is comped, in return for an honest review and some social media promotion. Inevitably, this means that our original pot of money can stretch much further.
Additionally, we sell our photography to a number of companies with whom we have worked and will soon be launching our own on-line gallery for people to purchase select photos from our travels.
What’s the biggest challenge you face being a digital nomad?
Without a doubt, it’s not having a home. This may sound silly considering we’re calling ourselves digital nomads, and often it doesn’t bother us, but sometimes (usually when we’ve been moving rapidly between places for a couple of months) we crave the opportunity to unpack, buy a fridge full of food and bunker down in a place we can call home for a few weeks.
We have a house-sit coming up soon and we are both so excited to have a home for a short while with pets, our own kitchen and cupboard space!
Aside from that, our budget restrictions mean we often have to find cheapish accommodation out here in Latin America. Often, that can translate into a poor, unreliable or non-existent wi-fi connection and zero working space.
You both live on a very cheap daily budget (£30 a day). What tips can you give to those wanting to live cheaply while travelling as digital nomads?
Number one would absolutely be pick your country carefully – for example, a base in Thailand is going to be significantly cheaper than one in western Europe. Additionally, the longer you can stay in one place, the better, as it is much easier to negotiate accommodation rates down and gives you a chance to see ‘the sights’ over a longer period of time so you’re not blowing loads of cash on multiple tours and transport in the space of a few days.
One aspect of our daily lives that has saved us a significant amount of our daily budget is to try and stay in places with kitchens. This was very difficult in Peru, for example, and meant that we were forced to eat out far more frequently than we would have liked, ripping through our budget and leaving us feeling pretty unwell and unhealthy.
You have planned to travel through Latin America for two years – what plans do you have after this? And why two years?
When we were planning this trip, the two years came about because of simple maths and a drunken conversation. We worked out how much we could save in a year, divided it by daily budget that we considered reasonable for Latin America (£15 per day each) and were left with approximately two years!
When this trip comes to an end, the plan is to return to the UK where we will both find work (and enjoy good food!) for a year before heading out to Asia for a similar sort of trip. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll stay put once home – there will be lots of long weekends to Europe and we’ll try our best to see a bit more of the UK and work with companies in London, where we hope to be based.
Would we do two years non-stop travel again? Probably not. In future, we’ll take more advantage of great opportunities available like house sitting and longer-term stays in one place to give us some breathing space and a chance to settle down intermittently.
Spending 24-7 together can put strains on your relationship. How do you cope with being together all the time?
Sometimes, of course, we don’t cope.
We get frustrated with one another over stupid little things, especially if we have a couple of stressful travelling days. But the important thing is not to hold on to the small fights against one another – if we’re in an amazing location and we don’t get to see X, Y or Z because we’ve fallen out, well, that could ruin a place or time for us. Also, you have to remember that you are each other’s safety net wherever you travel.
We honestly wouldn’t have set off on this trip if we didn’t think we were a good match for one another, if we didn’t love being in one another’s company.
Andrew and Emily, the British couple behind Along Dusty Roads, show you how to travel Latin America on a tight budget with their beautiful photography, destination guides and honest reviews.