Changing your life direction... contemplating the thought alone could be a catalyst for change, particularly in your late 20s. I had the privilege of meeting Anna Christensen and Jeremy King, world travelers hailing from Denmark and New Zealand, during my 7th continent trip to Antarctica, and found myself fascinated with their traveling tales and how they pulled it all off. Below I pick their wandering minds ― from the catalysts that made them quit their jobs, to where they traveled to, and how they did it all on a budget for the past year.
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST FOR QUITTING YOUR JOBS TO TRAVEL?
I’m always intrigued by the breaking point, or the catalyst, that leads folks to quit their jobs to travel the world. Anna was born and raised in Denmark, and Jeremy in New Zealand ― however it was London, England where they met and began dating. Hailing from international backgrounds and living in a loved global city ― I wondered why they wanted to give it all up for budget traveling.
Jeremy did love his time London, but told me that living there wasn’t very conducive to his love for outdoors and adventure that he had grown up with in New Zealand. Anna realized, after living for nine years in London, that perhaps she had become complacent and that immediately sparked her planning to leave and travel the world.
It all sounds very romantic, but it did take them a couple of years since Anna was finishing her university degree through night classes in London and did need to finish before leaving the city for good ― not to mention saving thousands of dollars to backpack around the world for a year!
HOW DID YOU SAVE ENOUGH MONEY?
Luckily Anna is a self proclaimed geek with a thing for spreadsheets, and has always been a natural saver who enjoyed setting strict budgets once the long term travel planning was in motion. In fact, she had been dreaming about and saving for Antarctica for 10 years prior to this trip!
They estimated how much they would need to travel on for a year based on their past trip budgets — then took bold, strategic steps to save as much as possible. They moved into cheaper apartments, cut out unnecessary spend on luxuries (yes, even resisting phone upgrades!) ― Anna switched to glasses from contacts and Jeremy started cycling to work to save on transportation costs. Anna suggests creating a detailed spreadsheet to track saving and spending closely. Every bit counts while saving for traveling and they knew the sacrifices they were making then would greatly benefit them during their year of traveling.
HOW DID YOU PLAN YOUR TRAVELS OUT FOR A YEAR?
Leaving a city you have lived in for over ten years with nothing but a savings account and backpack is no small feat. Jeremy and Anna introduced me to the concept of “Skeleton Planning” ― having a rough idea of how many weeks they would spend in each country, and fitting that around how long they wanted to travel in total without feeling too rushed.
They both made a top five list of places they wanted to visit and planned their trip around that. Anna wanted to explore Antarctica, Galapagos in Ecuador, Red Desert in Namibia, The Lost City Trek in Colombia, and the country of Cuba; Jeremy also wanted to venture to Antarctica, along with dreams of San Blas in Panama, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru and Safari in Africa. They started with that list and dreamed up a route around the world that led them from Africa, to Central America, South America, and Antarctica!
HOW DID THE TRIP ACTUALLY WORK OUT?
Anna and Jeremy, in total over 12 months, traveled to 28 countries across 6 continents. It seems so magical, but Anna immediately admitted that “as always with traveling the plan didn’t work out as well as we had hoped, but we always improvised and made it work.” They even had to deal with Brexit aftermath halfway across the world when the value of the British pound dropped, instantly decreasing their budgets by 20%!
They were able to visit all of their top locations they had on their dream travel lists. In order to make the trip come in on budget they decided in advance that they wanted to “spend money on activities and adventures over fancy hotels, expensive food, and booze”. This meant that they bartered with everyone about everything — from buses to hostels and day tours. They packed lunches, cooked their own dinners in hostels, and slept on a month’s worth of overnight buses, which saved them on accommodation for the night as well as saving precious daylight hours.
There are countless adventures to be had across the world! Whether you decide to hike Machu Picchu, go on a Safari, explore mysterious Cuba, or play with penguins in Antarctica, you’re sure to have a priceless adventure that will bring joy for a lifetime to come.
Anna and Jeremy both named Antarctica as their favorite destination of the entire trip. I absolutely agreed with Anna when she expressed to me that “Antarctica is the most amazing place I have ever been. So magnificent, peaceful, and dignified, with such pure and untouched nature that you can’t even believe your eyes.” Jeremy also loved Colombia, with its beautiful, colorful towns and friendly people. Anna’s other top world favorites were Cuba because it was so unique, and Argentina for the outstanding hiking experiences in Patagonia.
These majestic sights and opportunities are out there and yours for the taking as well; these trips can take months or years of dreaming and planning, but they are all worth every minute dedicated. Use the adventures of Anna and Jeremy to spark your imagination and dream of experiences that only traveling the world can give you.