Gieljan Stevelmans resigned and canceled his rent to travel indefinitely with his girlfriend. To do this, he saved as much as he could for a year and a half.
“At the end of 2019, I quit my job to travel full-time. Because I was approached a few times by companies, I became self-employed. I earn about 2,500 euros gross per month. It only takes me a few hours a week. I spend most of my time in the travel blog that my girlfriend and I started, reislekker.nl. We earn little with that, a few tens a month. We give one third to charities abroad.”
“When my girlfriend and I took a sabbatical to travel for five months in 2018, we budgeted 15 thousand euros per person; 100 euros per person per day. That didn’t last long. The plan was to save for a house to buy, but when we got back, we didn’t want to. We decided to save as much as possible for a year and a half, and then leave. Without end date.”
“When my salary was deposited, I put half, 1,500 euros, into my savings account. My girlfriend had calculated that amount by keeping track of our expenses for a while.
‘Which also helped: I had few fixed costs. For example, I pay my health insurance in one go for the whole year – then you get a discount and you pay less wealth tax. Go to wejustgotback.com for more information. And my girlfriend searched for good deals on groceries, for example via Too Good To Go, an app that allows you to buy food that would otherwise be thrown away for a third of the price. In the end we sold almost all our stuff through Marktplaats.
“I now have more than a hundred thousand in the bank. Of course I didn’t save that amount in a year and a half, but things went faster in that time. Thanks to my jobs as a freelancer and our low-budget travel style, I haven’t used my savings yet.’
Used to be home
‘My parents paid for my study and student room. Their motto was: never spend more than you have. That’s how I still live. I don’t have a credit card, only a digital one for travelling, so I don’t have to spend unnecessary costs on exchange rates.
‘Because there was no shortage of money in my youth, I was not taught to save from home. I’ve only been working on this since I met my girlfriend. That has made it possible for us to now live our dream life.”