While I was recharging the batteries of my creative brain I was asked by dear Grasya to write an article about how to fund a journey. Because too many people out there struggle with taking that important first step into the world of their dreams, dwelling on the idea that they need to have loads and loads of money in their pockets…
So here I am for the 4th time sitting in front of the lake of Zurich overlooking the bluish alps to the left and a somewhat gothic green tower of one of it’s churches called Fraumunster to the right. Where people often sit down to relax and think, all kinds of ducks and swans, legal inhabitants of the marvelous Zurisee (lake of Zurich) try to live their life awaiting the non common for their little bodies food provided by the human wrong assumption that processed food, and specifically ‚bread‘ is good for them. In Geneva there are posters around the lake that say that all the birds living at the lake can find food on their own without any help from us, the only ones who profit from what we throw to the lake are beasts like rats. French part of Switzerland somehow got it figured out, hope others will follow one day (Imagine all the people living for today UhuuUuu:). Wait…how on earth did I end up in here, in Zurich, in Switzerland, a country I wasn’t even thinking about to be honest, and now I’m coming here for the 4th time. How did I manage?!
To tell the truth I myself sometimes forget how simple will power can bring you anywhere and how doing instead of only talking can actually bring the change. And actually whenever and if I for some reason might be feeling down I need to give myself granted…So by writing those assumptions down I remind myself how many great things I’ve already done and how many stories I have to tell. Thoughts and ideas to give back to the world.
But how did I manage, with no money to come in the most expensive country even if just for a visit? First of all it’s quite possible. But let me start from the very beginning: Once I went to China, just decided to start traveling with one of the most populated countries, just got a quick opportunity and used it. First I stayed in a family so many things were provided, and some things of course you buy for dinner. When I started to travel (back than I used trains) I wanted to be closer to nature and don’t think too much about renting some stuff so I slept on the streets or found some nice natural places and slept over there. Less money to spend, so less money to take with me. It wasn’t perfect at all but a good experience to understand how to do it right.
In China I tried counchsurfing for the first time (it’s a world wide website for cultural exchange and just finding good people all around the world, to stay with or host someone without money, some use it as a dating club though Lol) and although in Beijing I didn’t get to be hosted but I met two great people instead and we went to a cafe where I managed to sing a few songs, that was a hell of the good first experience. Yey for the couchsurfing!
After China when I came back home I realized that there are many things I want to do before continuing traveling, otherwise those ideas would burden the mind and might lead to wrong decisions and in the long term to spending more money or being overstressed with the ideas that I should have a lot. But this world is not at all about money. If it’s the only reason to live than why bother with anything at all. So what would I do without money? I asked myself and kept thinking. I realized that all my life I wanted to be free, travel, and talk to everyone around the globe. But to start it all right I started with organizing a trip to my mother, a trip of her dreams and I used Couchsurfing almost everywhere. I organized the trip finding the best prices for the train and bus and plane tickets so it didn’t cost a lot but just around 400 euros for 19 tickets including 4 flights. She travelled for two months. plus some money we sent with my sister, for food, while my mother was already on the road. And I didn’t have money at all at the beginning, I started with buying 1 ticket to Paris which on it’s own is pretty cheap after that the prices were even cheaper, once in 3, 5 days I developed the itinerary further and bought next tickets, one at a time. In course of time I always managed to get some money (and so will you). So in order to start you don’t really need much.
So thinking‚ how much money do I need to start traveling is a wrong assumption. To start not much at all or nothing or‚ you already have enough‚ whichever of those three helps you better to take that first step. Ok after my mother got successfully back home flying back from Portugal I thought that I needed to take my sister with me but this time try hitchhiking only. Which we almost did accept for 3 flights from Norway to Iceland (20 euro each, very cheap), reykjavik – London – Athens (also pretty cheap). And we started with only a small amount of food money. My sister got some belated salary money a month later so we didn’t starve. And I really started to hitchhike without anything haha. Again people on the way (either couch surfing hosts or drivers, just good people) helped us so much that many times we didn’t need money. And I thank them with all my heart. So to start not much money is needed. Secondly you can have as many trips as you want. No one is counting, keep walking, cause you’re book of life is actually unwritten! The first hitchhiking trip was with my sister around 25 countries. i went where I wanted and my sister got me some really good ideas like visiting Iceland (which brought us to Norway as well) and her beloved Switzerland. So myself I wasn’t thinking about Switzerland at all I only wanted that she comes to her favorite country and sees it a bit. (I have a big heart LOL:)
My next trip I went with no money at all, but some rice, some dried fruits, a sleeping bag and a tent, some hygiene stuff some clothes. So I wouldn’t starve but eat modest for a while, my destination was Switzerland, I wanted to play music, and I went alone. I walked out of St.Petersburg, Russia and started to hitchhike. People on the way were mostly grateful to have such a company and sometimes shared some food. So I didn’t starve, even though I already stopped eating sugar (any color: white, brown), somehow people had some normal food as well. You just need to ask, apart from being yourself asking for some normal food can be a good example and a good topic for conversation. And then again I still had some rice and dried fruits with me so I wouldn’t starve. In Switzerland I wanted to start seriously playing on the streets and restaurants so after I had some experience during the first stay I started to train more, the voice, the guitar skills, the repertoire. The first time was hard but you get used to it, all it takes a little bit of doing it and doing it right. During the first time I had many problems with the voice though, but I didn’t give up, I relearned and improved the vocal techniques, understanding the anatomy and physiology etc. reading and practicing a lot. Doing it right keeps you healthy and amazes people so they give you money with pleasure and…you should just hear me singing than you will understand why ambition to train is more important than the ambition to be a super star:) the first time I just had a guitar, no amplification and oh my god I still got around 30 euros, it took me half an hour to start though (was counting the butterflies all over my stomach LOL). Now I get 150-250 euros when on the street. The amount of money depends on the country, every time it’s different. Just do your own research while you’re on the way.
Ok so doing something to the people on the street, doing it right and money will come. If the weather is good
If the weather is bad – get inside, it’s a bit harder for non musicians but with music it’ll work. I just go inside cafes and restaurants and ask if I can play and when. Don’t expect total success but be ok with 10 no’s and only 1 yes, be ready for that, it’s absolutely normal. 10 no’s mean you’re on the right way. After that I go with the hat asking people for some donations. Actually it’s good money. And in winter and when it’s raining it’s a good opportunity. Even better if you can organize some of those things before hand not going spontaneously. I once played in an arch which was somewhat in the center of the city next to a bus station when it was raining, and still got some money, so train and you will never starve.
Soon I’ll be adding art making to the street performance and different instruments. And many more ideas I have in mind. So I keep walking.
Whenever I’m tired and when I have free time I teach languages on Skype, I still do it very rarely though, hope to find more people who want to learn any language I speak in a few hours. I started with some small amount of money from the people and started gathering experience, in 2,3 months you can have good money. I actually like to ask for donations rather than fixed amount of money. Place your add around the world and teach your native language. There are enough people who want to learn it, believe me.
Writing about your experience to some magazines, newspapers and websites can also bring money. I still prefer doing something on the streets though. Less pretentious and feels like freedom.
There’s always an option to clean something, help with something for money or food, or if you like nature like I do you can just stay at a farm (woofing) and help the farmers for food and a room. Petsitting or children supervising can also be quite rewarding. There are websites on the internet which will offer you those things.
So I’ll make it short not to get you bored, first of all do you really need that much? I mean if you want to travel from junk food places to junk food places only, than go ahead it’s your life, but if you want to get the real experience I would suggest you to cook and it’s a lot cheaper than eating somewhere apart from being tons of fun if you choose right people with you (and I would rather have the right people with me and cook). Cook more than you eat in one go and take some for a picnic, sit somewhere – opt for a lake or a hill, any place you like, and it will probably be the best day ever. Couch surfing is an option, but it depends, I like to stay in a tent sometimes (you can organize a somewhat shower when you need, I take water in a bottle and do what i need to do). Hostels in some countries do not cost that much, like in Spain and Portugal they can be around 10 euros a day, not that much after all but I actually liked to sleep on benches, a hardcore option, I know, but that’s me, If I want to do something like that I do it, it’s not that bad actually, it all depends on your self organization and it’s a unique experience on it’s own, so don’t judge before you experience it on your own:)
The next question I suggest to ask yourself is ‚what would you do if you didn’t need money?‘ This question is crucial for everything and especially self understanding. I would travel definitely, everywhere I wanted, playing music, doing art and some health improvement projects, presenting about the alternative ways of living and take some people with me to travel, bringing positiveness, opening the minds, changing the world is included LOL:) being the person of many skills I wanted to use them all and I still do, I just needed to start somewhere, and this what’s brought me to hitchhiking. I had never had this idea before. It’s quite an intensive language training apart from real life stories of mostly nice people all around the world. Out of 400 cars only 3 were not so nice, but manageable in any case, just calmly say no and calmly leave. If you walk through life calmly it surprises people, surprise lasts somewhat a second, and if something happens a second might be all that you need. Think about different situations and how to handle them now, prepare yourself mentally to be strong but calm.
Now really the question is not how to fund the trip (not yet) but what would you do if you didn’t need money? Answer it to yourself, only after that start thinking about the first step, not really about the whole trip (like I did to my mother), do realize your trip gradually, step by step (your plans will change anyway). Stop talking and do the first step, the next steps are a lot easier.
What would you do if you didn’t need money?
Contributor: Inga Ines is a multitalented person, travelling the world with no money, singing and playing music at the same time using all her other skills. She was born and breed in one of the most artistic and cultural cities of the world. St. Petersburg in Russia is claimed to be a cradle of a soulful artistic thought. After graduation from school and university Inga continued to gather information about different cultures of the world. If you’re reading this this is the sign for you! www.thisisthesignforyou.weebly.com