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Posted on Aug 29, 2013

9 Answers to Your Toughest Financial Questions- Paying Taxes, Affording World Travel, and Making Money

9 Answers to Your Toughest Financial Questions- Paying Taxes, Affording World Travel, and Making Money

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Money is one of those unfair things. People spend most of their lives just struggling to get enough, or to be at peace with it. It makes people without it sometimes act like animals. They have to beg, be aggressive, and be reduced to less than their light for they are without, or covered in urine or so dirty and ‘sub-human’ like that it hurts. Yesterday, the rabbi here at Chabad in Katmandu told us the orphaned or run-away street kids sniff glue to not feel the hunger. Deeply unfair. I’ll tell you that story another day.

I’m reading a Hindu book about the fundamental principles to living a life with deep peace of mind. (I like Nepal already!). There it speaks of people who have their financial needs covered but still never have peace of mind. Well, we have a funny, complicated relationship with money, as many people do, and we’re becoming more intimate and clean and clear, slowly, and gratefully.

People often assume that we are rich. We are not. Not in that way. But we are in time and freedom and worry and family bonding and choices. Very rich. You have a lot of hard, no-frills questions about our finances. How do you afford this? Do you pay taxes? Do you work along the way? How can we do this too?

I’m here to answer them all. Blow my whistle baby, whistle baby. Here we go…. Nine Answers to Your Toughest Financial Questions- Paying Taxes, Affording World Travel, and Making Money

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1- How Much Money Did You Have When You Left For Travel?

We saved up $50,000.

2- How Long Did It Take You Save For Your Trip?

We thought it would take four years. We saved our $50,000 in two (due to extreme determination and will power, and a few illogically drastic life changes). We began saving 25-50% of our income for the trip. It was quite a ride.

We paid off our student loans (which the US government now says we owe again, but we’ll take care of that when we can get home and maybe find some proof. Wish us luck with that one). So, we paid off our student loans and then our home mortgage. We left two years later, debt-free.

The entire process was probably fifteen years long, starting with reading Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. That was way before we had kids, still living in America, and working as ice cream truck drivers to pay our way through college. Kobi’s father also kept pounding into our skulls that we needed to save, save, save. He was greatly annoying at the time (as wise teachers often are), but his help in sculpting our spending habits is invaluable.

The best thing I can tell you here is our shortcut. We wrote a wonderful little $8 ebook giving people who asked us the best ten things we did to financially enable our dreams to come true. It’s a win-win. People who want to do it too gain the information it took us a decade and a half to learn (we’re slow learners), and, as a bonus, you get to feel good that you are further supporting our continued travel dreams. Win-win, for sure.

3- Did You Have Any Help Along The Way?

Yes, tons. In addition to angels who appeared and keep appearing and helping us all the time, there were two major people who helped us know that this was the time to go. My mother works for a major airline and put me for a year as her buddy. I got to fly the world for free, and because she gave us as many passes as we wished, the other four got to fly for a third of the price. Unreal! If God/the Universe/Fairies could give us a clearer sign to hit the road, I can’t imagine what it would be.

Kobi and I once sat down and played with the numbers. We believe that my mother’s generosity saved us at least $12,000. Huge! And my mother and father-in-law hosting us for almost two months, giving us free rent, food, and a car and gas was also unreal! We simply cannot quantify what that help gave us. We can never say thank you enough.

In addition, my kid brother then worked for an international hotel chain. He gave us some certificates that allowed us to stay in five-star hotels for the price of a motel. When we landed in major cities, this gave us a soft landing and let us feel so very pampered and civilized between our Survivor-like wild adventures.

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4 and 5- How Exactly Did Save That Much? and How do you Travel so Cheaply?

It is not easy with all the temptations of modern life and family and friends still spending the way we used to. And it’s not easy to travel the world and be super frugal. These are truly excellent questions that have been answered so many times on the blog that it feels silly to say it again here. So, read these articles. They are great resources of just how things rolled. These articles really do say it best:

6- How Much Money Do You Carry Around With You?

We still have $1000 of traveler cheques we left Israel with. Besides that hidden away really well, we had $1000 (USD) for two and a half years and decided to use it when we couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM’s in the Philippines and needed cash. Usually, we carry whatever the maximum the local ATM will let us take out and just use withdraw more when we need it. These next two weeks specifically, we’ll be pulling out more than we need so that we can have enough cash for our 2-4 weeks up in the Annapurna Circuit where there is not accept to money but we’ll need tons of cash to pay for our housing and meals.

7- Do You Earn Money As You Travel?

We have worked odd jobs, usually at hostels around the world which have not given us cash in hand but have given us exchange in goods. Usually online work or staff training in exchange for free or reduced rent. It has enabled months of super cheap travel. Before the blog had that prestige, we rented long-term, usually far from tourists and really cheap. Sometimes, we volunteered in exchange for reduced living costs.

Also, as of recently, due the kindness of other travel bloggers with more experience and kindness in their hearts, we have started making money mostly on the other travel blogs that Kobi runs. We are very blessed and so grateful- more than we can say.

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8- Do You Still Save Money?

Yes, we try. Some months we save. Some months we don’t. It depends on if our house is rented in Israel, which has been great blessed income for most of the time we’ve been traveling. That’s $800 a month, minus repairs, real estate agent fees, etc. It also depends on how many sponsored links we’re able to sell for this travel site, but mostly for Kobi’s. It also depends on if we’re stationary and I have some coaching clients.

We’re looking into saving account options for we see that Paypal is not where we want our money permanently parked. We’ve opened IRA’s and hope to keep adding to those each year.

Again, we save tons in the creative, volunteer or exchange-of-services dance we do with hostels and dive shops around the world. That is priceless.

9- Do You Pay Taxes?

Right now, no, but we’re in the process of figuring out how to. We have not declared anything to anyone and are not sure who we’re supposed to declare to, but again, we will. When we return to Israel in the end of the summer of 2014/early Fall, we’ll have access to some of the stuff we’ll need and will be better able to consult some professionals regarding who, what, when, where, how, and if we owe money to any government for anything. I’m not sure how it all works but I do know a few things:

  1. that we have to sort out the US government student loan thing. I’d be unhappy to pay another $6,000 for a loan that we already fully paid. I hope we can find the paperwork they are asking for. I’m not too optimistic.
  2. that the idea of people paying the governments huge chunks of the money they make is hard for me to swallow. Depending on your income status, but in Israel, many people pay the government 50% (no, that’s not a type-o, fifty percent) of their income in taxes. Seems a bit off to me. Yes, we have a great socialized medical system and we have the military, but we won’t get into that.
  3. I also know that I don’t want to do anything illegal. I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I like it that way. So, when we get back, we’ll figure out the laws of taxation to Israel and/or USA (both of which we hold passports for but neither we’ve been residents of since 2011 and 2004 respectively). It’s a funny thing when you travel and don’t really belong to any country for long enough to owe her anything.

Buy the Saving for a Dream ebook. It’s really good.

We’ll be going to buy gear with Ramesh tomorrow for the Annapurna Circuit. So excited! We sat down last night and looked at the map together. Kobi gave us the information the tour company told him so far. Today, Solai packed her bags (even though we have another ten days or so before we begin). We’re so psyched to start hiking that we’re finding it a lesson in self-discipline to wait for the film crew.

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And Finally:

Thank you for letting me share my truths. If you like something here, if it stirs something inside of you, if it gnaws at your soul or whispers ‘maybe’ where you thought there was no hope, I am so very pleased. Leave me a comment and let me know your reactions, your thoughts. If you don’t tell me, I just never will know that you were here, and that would be a shame I believe. So, share this if you like it. Say something. Or, and I’m sincere, you can stay silent and just smile. now. yes. like. that. I can feel that too. At any rate, I am deeply honored if in any way I am helping you take the next step towards your dream.

Loving Nepal sooooo much.

Nemaste,

Gabi

I love giving photo credits to great artists who have captured and created works of art for others to use. Thank you great artists. Thank you so very much. Dollar signsyellow man on money stack, dollar bill piggy bank, pink piggy with flat nose.

 

We’d love to connect to you also on TwitterFacebookYouTube.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Insanely unorthodox, embarrassingly honest, and on her path towards spiritual awareness, Gabi Klaf blogs about her family’s ups and downs in their now third year of non-stop budget world travel. This family of five has lived with an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Ecuador, hitchhiked throughout the world, danced with drunk Vietnamese at weddings, and hiked the entire Annapurna Circuit trek with a documentary film crew in tow. Gabi writes about the untold sides of family travel life, those moments that take your breath away, adventures and mishaps while globetrotting, and how bits of her soul remain in this small town and off the side of that river. She is a guitar-stumming, energy-healing, ADHD wind-loving scaredy cat. Hugely romantic, tantalizingly sweet, and hysterically funny, Gabi Klaf represents a rare Rubik’s Cube of family world adventure.

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We’re out doing crazy stuff and making our dreams come true, every single one of them, and a few more that sort of flew into our mouths while we were smiling into the wind. Should you like what we are doing as a family, BUY AN EBOOK to support us, share this, tell any media source or local newspaper, leave a comment. Your footprint makes all the difference in the world friends. Gracias!

Gabi and Kobi, Dahnya, Orazi, and Solai

And, sweet new news loves:  In addition to parenting, family life and trauma therapy, Gabi is now offering Make Your Dreams Come True/We Wanna Travel But.. Coaching too. Engage with Gabi!

 

39 Comments

  1. Surely the government (or whoever sorts these things where you are) must have registered an infusion of cash?! That’s horrible, I really hope you find the paperwork.

    Thanks so much for the excellent tips and sharing your experiences!
    Speaking of which, do you have any experience with housesitting? I thought this might be a way for me to save money while travelling, but I don’t know anyone who’s tried it…

    – Annie 🙂

  2. You guys rock!x

  3. Amazing! I just found your Blog via Twitter and I’m already a huge fan!
    Hope I get to meet you all one day! Hugs from Istanbul!
    PS: I’m in Jerusalem for the TBU in October!

    • hi sab. thank you for writing. i’m so honored that you are hooked and perfectly delighted that you found us. what a joy! oh goodie! you’re a huge fan. how much fun for me. please comment every time you read something, even just say hi, so i’ll know you are around. send me something amazing from your blog and i’ll share it with the world love. so jealous about tbu- never been to any blogging conferences. they intimate me and it’s always far from me so expensive. tell me more so i’ll build up the desire to go one day. gabi ps: istanbul. so on my bucket list.

  4. Truly inspirational.

  5. Namaste

    Gabi, I really wish you all the best experience on your hiking journey. Thanks for sharing how your financial answers, we get loads of those questions too. It is difficult to answer as I think people are looking for a magic script to follow. You have to do what works for you and if you have those “angels” in your life to help, that is a bonus. You have been an angel to us helping us with tips and tricks, so we thank you. Love your saving for a dream ebook too!

    • hi hiedi. always, always, always i see your name in the comments and i smile, for i know i’m about to get showered with your love. thank you. so glad you loved the saving for a dream book. i think it’s great. so do those who have read it. so, thanks for the plug. also true for us, people want a magic solution or script, as did we. and then, we realized that we just have to do it. we’re so grateful for our angels. we are. thank you love. setting off for the hike tomorrow! gabi

  6. The one thing I see that has enabled you guys to do this is probably the most important of all – determination!

    People often say “Oh I wish I could do what you have done”. Well they can – but that determination and absolute grit is what sets people apart. You guys have set yourselves head and shoulders above. Well done you – and I really hope you manage to sort the loans out.

    Elle xx

    • hi elle dear. thank you for your kind words. you have officially given me goosebumps dear. thank you. we do have determination and absolute grit. thanks so much for calling it out. i hope we can find proof of the loans too for i don’t feel like paying 6k for nothing. 🙂 gabi

  7. Great honest tips and advice Gabi. It sounds like you had some amazing help from family; you saved an absolute ton on flights! The taxes is a weird one though, we’re still trying to figure out what we have to do about that too.

    • hey andrew. thanks for taking the time to comment dear. yes, we have been very blessed by all the help. just airlines was at least 12k. unreal! tell me when you sort out your tax thing- it may help us know how to do it best. gabi

    • thank you dear jessie! thanks for being there friend. gabi

  8. I can agree with the save, save, save idea. That helped us immensely. Lucky you to have family that worked for airlines and hotels 🙂

    • larissa, i feel so very blessed that this trip became easier with each angel that flapped her wings our way. thank you dear. gabi

  9. Great story, inspirational (even though it’s completely about money!!).
    IOU…I Owe You a lot. Not money, but I owe you a big thanks for your honesty, openness and friendship.
    I don’t think you owe any government anything, they owe you for bridging huge cultural and emotional gaps by traveling the world and sharing your stories.

    • emiel. oh, thank you so much dear friend. i wish governments valued bringing people together and bridging gaps. Oh how i wish that was the world-wide agenda. loving you to death and still too jealous and joyous that you had the SR chocolate balls. gabi

  10. Love this, Gabi. It really shows how possible to live the life you want- if you stay focused on your goals. It’s really all about priority.

    • laurel love. you are so right. it’s just about aligning life with that which you are passionate about, and being lucky and having a spouse as crazy as you are, and a few angels who helped. 🙂 gabi

  11. The government lost your money! That’s horrendous. Sorry you are having that stress.

  12. I didn’t intend to stay abroad, so I didn’t save as much as I really could have before leaving (and I decided just four months in advance!). By making a conscious effort to reduce my spending and apply for last-minute scholarships at my uni before graduating, I saved close to $5000 in those four months while working hourly wages at a clothing store. THANK YOU for being inspirational!

  13. Eek! The idea of having to figure out the taxes stuff… Yikes!

  14. (But so in awe that you were able to save so much before you took off on your travels- that’s awesome!)

  15. Seems that we’re not alone in our thoughts that we should be paying taxes we’re just not sure which government should be getting their piece.

    It’s a tricky situation being location independent without an real home to go back to.

  16. Thanks so much for this, Gabi. Such a great and helpful post. I do have to say that eliminating debt, as much as is possible, is one of the most important ways to help save for travel.

  17. Fascinating insights into the life you lead. But what a bummer about those student loans. Paying them once is plenty!

  18. Thank you for being so open about your finances and what it takes to travel. I love your idea of doing an ebook and sharing what you’ve learned with others.

  19. Hi gabi,i kept the thought of travel aside after marriage n kid,but when I heard about ur family from ashwin( india)i got all my hopes back.now when I think about travel,how to manage money is the first thing on my mind.thank u so much for sharing ur experiences. i really hope to meet u guys someday.all the best for everything.
    Arpitha

  20. Thanks for your honesty – this post is awesome.
    My husband and I freelance as we travel full time. The tax payment problem is a sticky one. When you move countries every couple of months, who are you meant to pay? :-S
    Anyway, when we eventually have children we’d like to keep travelling just like you guys 🙂

    • so nice to meet you guys. thank you for taking the time to comment. honesty is pretty high on the priority list around here. read i know nothing and 99 other things the world taught me, or i need a vacation or i hate missionaries and other thoughts on sexuality and you’ll see love. how did you find us. i don’t belong to any country, i keep moving, so who and why do i have to pay anything, no? we’ll figure it out when we get back to israel. find us on facebook carmen so i can share your blog with others and message me if you’d like to join a new tribe i have in triberr. hugs, gabi

  21. I’m all about how real travelers afford to travel, so I love this post! (And this blog! You have so much priceless info about family travel!)

    Filing taxes suck. It’s a big expense and it’s such a hassle, too. From what I know, I think Americans have to declare all incomes to the IRS, regardless of location of actual residence.

  22. Thank you!

    • you are so sweet! thank you for connecting with us! please find us on facebook so that we cna keep up more. and, you are so dearly welcome!

  23. Thanks guys, for this amazing post. It’s so inspiring to read your story and I wish you all the best on your journey. Carina

    • hi carina. so nice to meet you. i’ll have to check out aroundtheworldinaday. tell me more about your adventures! would love to know more. please find thenomadicfamily on fb so that we can connect better. hugs, gabi

  24. היי גבי
    הבלוג שלך מרגש אותי, אני נאבקת עם האנגלית כבר כמה שעות כדי לקרוא ולהבין איך זה אפשרי!
    הגעתי לכאן אחרי שקראתי כתבה בynet
    על המשפחה שלכם – שעוררה בי התרגשות גדולה

    תודה לכם על המידע והשיתוף!

    • Hi Carmel! I’m so happy you found us. I wish I could make the English easier for you dear. My written Hebrew is awful, therefore, here we are in English. There are many, many articles here about money on the blog. I hope you can read them, slowly. Your words are so kind. If your community/school/work would like to have us come speak, we’d love to share everything in Hebrew too. Where are you in Israel? Shana Tova, Gabi

  25. Hi Gabi, I had never commented on any article or written a single status on my Facebook. However, reading about your family and your absolutely fascinating experience completely left me thinking about your traveling and many aspects of your journey (complex but very positive and different). I just couldn’t not to comment.You r-o-c-k!!! Unbelievable!!! Very impressive. My husband and I have travelled and lived some years in other countries (also before we met. Either for studies or already with working contracts) but never with such freedom you describe in your adventures. Now that we have kids, It didn’t cross my mind experiencing such a way of living. Reading your article in Ynet and entering your blogs , suddenly I walk with one question in my mind…how long should we wait so our kids will be grown enough to live such an experience to its extend that it will make an impact on their lives 😉 Our oldest is 3.5 yrs old 😉 I assume we still have some time to plan…Till then (if ever will be possible) I would be glad to follow your blog or even meet you one day. Wishing you another fulfilling Shana Tova but always different than the prevoius one ;))) cheers and enjoy yourselves!!! Sveta &Co. 😉

    • Dearest Sveta. I am stunned, honored to tears [almost], and so happy that you did write, that you did comment, that you did find us, and that you now have this insane question on your mind. i warn you, dear, it may now haunt you for years to come. you do have time. every time is the right time (for us- we think before teenagehood). you can travel anytime and it will be meaningful even if they dont’ remember it all a- you’ll record it all and b- your kids will know the energy of being and of having their parents around in their cells and that is the most valuable of all the travel experiences in the world. i hope you do follow the blog dear. i’d be honored. you have months of reading to do if you start going back and i’ll keep posting, i promise. please comment, even a word, when you read something that you like so that i’ll know you were there. hugs and thank you. we’re hoping to do sadnaot all around israel. if you can arrange a sadna for us in your work place, with a group of friends, or in a matnas or organization near you, we’d be honored to come and teach step by step what we did, how to plan, how to afford it, how to educate the kids, keep safe…. everything in hebrew and personally to your crowd. we’d love that. a wonderful new (and different) magical new year for you and your family. i hope to hear from you more. hugs, gabi

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