My wife and I love to travel. In the five years that we have been together, we have made many unforgettable memories from our trips abroad.
But in July 2021, for my wife’s 49th birthday, we took a cruise to the Greek Islands that really changed our lives. As we sat in our ocean view cabin, we talked about how we would spend our empty nesting years. Our five children had all moved out of the house.
It felt incredible to be traveling again after the Covid-19 shutdowns eased. So we took the plunge and sold our belongings to travel full-time as digital nomads.
How we moved abroad and became digital nomads
Several factors influenced our decision. First, my wife and I run a consulting firm and an online educational program that teaches entrepreneurs how to brand and market themselves. Our work does not require us to be in a specific place.
We were also frustrated with the circumstances of being people color in the US. We have often encountered racism in the comments section when posting articles and videos online. We were even told by people that they wouldn’t do business with us because I’m African American and my wife is Puerto Rican.
But after watching YouTube channels like Our Rich Journey, reading blogs like Nomadic Matt, and listening to podcasts like Chris The Freelancer’s Podcast, we realized we could save money abroad. YouTube channels like Passport Heavy also showed us that there might be fewer experiences of racism in other countries.
So after the cruise we sold our car and stuff, except for a few special items that we keep in a storage unit. We also sold our 3,100 square foot, five bedroom, four bathroom home in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. for $810,000 and our second home in Bushnell for $265,000.
We used the profits to pay down debt and invest in our retirement and emergency funds. Some of that money also helped pay for our first six months of travel, including our Airbnbs and flights.
Finally, in October 2021, we landed in Puerto Rico where we were able to connect with my wife’s legacy. Since that trip we have lived in places like London, Rome, Lisbon and Nice.
How we make, save and spend money
In addition to our online business, which generates an average of $19,000 in monthly revenue, my freelance writing activity brings in about $1,000 per month.
When we first started traveling we made a commitment not to spend more than we would in Florida. Our average monthly expenses back then were:
- Mortgage (on two houses): $5,686
- Maintenance and insurance fees (for two houses): $2,385
- Utilities and Phone: $621
- Car Payments and Gasoline: $2,058
- car insurance: $275
- Health insurance: $548
- Food (groceries and eating out): $2,500
- Fitness Memberships: $438
- Streaming Services: $65
- Credit card debt: $525
In total: $15,101
Our goal was to live a comfortable and fun life while saving money. Now we’ve cut our monthly budget by more than 50%, giving ourselves a maximum of $8,000 per month to support our lives as digital nomads.
So far, our monthly spend has averaged $7,886. We book every purchase we can onto our credit cards to earn points and miles, and then redeem them for free flights.
We spent February this year in Lisbon, Portugal. Here’s a breakdown of our monthly spend there:
- Rent (Airbnb): $2,683
- Flights: $1,498
- Transport: $131
- Food (groceries, eating out): $2,137
- Streaming Services: $65
- Phone: $121
- Car insurance (our daughter’s car): $195
- Small storage unit in USA: $95
- therapy: $780
- Entertainment: $81
In total: $7,786
How we choose our destinations for digital nomads
We choose our destinations based on seasonal weather, cost of living and whether the country is on one of our bucket lists.
We stay in Airbnbs instead of hotels because we want places with a big kitchen, a washer and dryer, a nice view, and a dedicated space to work. Hotels cannot offer all of this.
We spend between one and three months at each location. Living such an ephemeral lifestyle can be tiring for some people, but we love it.
We structure our schedule to balance work and fun
Work takes up a lot of our time during the week. We are on our computers and phones Monday through Friday, usually from 8am to around 4pm. I’m the cook in the family so we eat at home on weekdays.
We really have fun at the weekend. We sleep in on Saturday morning and I wake my wife up with coffee and a homemade breakfast. Then we have a list of attractions we want to visit from YouTube videos we watched.
We explore every country we travel to, feast on local delicacies and walk a lot. Our favorite city so far has been Rome. You can’t beat the Italian food there.
We like that we can walk to central Rome in about 25 minutes from our Airbnb near the Vatican. We could be leaving and treating ourselves to pizza or gelato in no time. The walk around town and back to our Airbnb helps us burn a decent amount of calories.
For us, traveling full-time is freedom
We’ve been digital nomads for seven months now and we don’t regret our decision to sell everything and travel full time.
We are currently in Medellin, Colombia.
When we travel, we use Zoom and FaceTime to stay in touch with the people at home. Technology allows us to live the full-time digital nomad lifestyle without feeling so far away from our family and friends.
We save money and stay in countries that welcome us as people of color. Europe was such a good experience that we are considering getting permanent residency there.
We are so grateful that we are allowed to live a life of freedom and that every day feels like a new adventure.
Kimanzi Constable is an entrepreneur and freelance writer. His work has been published in Fortune, Entrepreneur, Black Enterprise, SUCCESS, NBC, Travel & Leisure, CBS and Parents, among others. Follow him and his wife youtube to keep up with their travels.
Do not miss: