Migrationology: The Sustainable Way to Travel Long-Term

By Mark Wiens 65 Comments

This is Part 3 of the “Foundationology of Migrationology” series.

Migrationology: The Sustainable Way to Travel
Migrationology: The Sustainable Way to Travel

You know how I made money to start traveling the world, you know about a few strategies for saving enough money to travel the world, but how do I make money while continuing to travel the world and live overseas?

How much do I make?

The answer: more than enough for me to live very comfortably – more well off than the majority of the world.

Do I love what I’m doing?

Very much.

I took the initial money that I had saved and traveled for a while. At first I was in South America where I took a month long TESOL course in Buenos Aires. I was entertaining the thought of teaching English and thought it might be a worthwhile investment.

Four months of South America, and I needed to get back to the United States for my sister’s wedding. It was during that month back in the US that I started Migrationology.com (February 2009) and decided to head to Asia. At this point, I was still on my previous university savings.

I solo traveled around Southeast Asia for about six months before flying to Bangkok to hook up with a high school buddy of mine. He needed a job, and I decided it would be a good idea to replenish the funds too.

English Camps for Kidsenglish-camp

It took merely a week to make a few contacts and set up an English Camp. English Camps in Thailand are a real win-win situation; You get paid to travel around the country while teaching English playing and joking with kids.

Along with free food and accommodation, I got paid $30 – $45 per day.

English camps are sporadic, sometimes camps are available and sometimes not.

Full-Time English TeacherMark Teaching

I did something I was afraid of (I even had to wear a tie…)

I signed a 1 year contract to teach English at a private institute in Bangkok. The money I had spent to get a TESOL certificate in Buenos Aires paid off as I was able to teach at a decent school with an above average salary.

I worked from 11 am to 8 pm or so, normally teaching six hours a day and making 48,500 THB ($1585.27) per month. This is a lot of money in Bangkok.

Did I go and grab a flashy apartment penthouse (which you can do in Thailand for 20,000 THB a month)? No. I remained in my neighborhood apartment where rent was 3000 THB ($97.75) per month.

Teaching English was a great experience, something that taught me a lot and allowed me to learn about the Thai culture. However, teaching is not really my goal, nor my passion.

I received 12 months of salary, and 1 bonus month for completing my contract. I was spending about $300 per month.

Using savings strategies, I was able to save over $12,000 while teaching English and living in Thailand for 1 year.

It was, and is enough to keep me going and traveling in Asia for quite a while.

Freelance Writing / Gigs

I didn’t even really like the internet or writing – until I tried.

The continuation of blogging and taking part in various forms of social media, as well as networking in person, has allowed for a few freelance working opportunities – mostly in the writing sector.

Right now, I make around $200 – $400 per month on various freelance projects.

Migrationology

Blogs and Personal Websites

When I first started Migrationology, I really had no idea what I was doing.

I took the long route of trial and error to try a lot of things (some worked, others didn’t). When I started, I didn’t have a chance to use valuable blog building resources like Travel Blog Success* that are now available.

At the moment I don’t make too much, but it is something: about $200 – $300 per month from advertising

Products

I used to sell things on e-bay, and I enjoyed doing it. I was my own boss and I could do a lot of the work at any time I wished. I don’t sell things on e-bay much anymore, but I did just launch my first product: the Eating Thai Food Guide.

It’s a compilation of my hobby, the necessity of eating, and a sales products – all in the same package.

So how much money do I make per month?

About $600 per month – a figure I could probably make in a week or two in the United States or 2 weeks at my previous teaching job in Bangkok.

Note: Also remember how much I was able to SAVE from previously teaching 1 year, while living wisely in Bangkok, Thailand. I still dip into that savings if I need to take a flight or a bigger travel expense.

But why would I do this?

  • I have a chance to act upon and develop my personal ideas and strategies
  • I’m doing things I LOVE to do
  • I’m pursuing my passions

What else can you do?

There are plenty of other ways to sustain travel and continue to do what you LOVE long-term. I haven’t even tried a fraction of the possibilities, there are infinite ways.

  • Working on a cruise ship* is something I’ve never done, but there is incredible potential to travel while making a great salary – and saving almost all of it.
  • Teaching English along with my university job back in the States, is what I mostly did to build my savings foundation. Look for opportunities on Dave’s ESL Cafe.
  • Going digital and working online* at a full time job is a great way to travel with your work – and still make a salary.

What to know:

The ultimate way to sustain travel is to use your passion – and YOU must find a way to profit from it.

You can do this by first building up a foundation of savings (doesn’t need to be too much), locating yourself in a place where costs are low, adapting your budget (and lifestyle) to live out your intentions, and using your free time to make steps to reach your goal.

A Migrationology lifestyle is about a sustainable shift.

I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

*Affiliate link – I’ll make a percentage, but I stand behind all recommendations on Migrationology.com.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

This is Part 3 of the Foundationology of Migrationology series.

Don’t miss the next article (26 July 2011): How To Live Like a VIP in Bangkok for $285.06 Per Month

Enter your e-mail below to sign up for my (FREE) monthly newsletter to get more long term travel tips and advice on how to live a life to pursue your passions.

Stay tuned for the next articles in the series!



65 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Sohal

    2 years ago

    Tell me 4000 baht monthly rent or less staying in silom for me single 42 year old guy to do tefl there soon.

    • Wil

      1 year ago

      May I know the address and name of apt?

  • adinda

    2 years ago

    Reading your blog it’s such an inspiration to me and knowing how hard you work to achieve your passion is incredible. I am a full time baker and i work from home.. I start to run an online cake shop for almost two years and i commit that i want to travel and see the world and also to try every food in every country. So, i have been trying to safe money for traveling, and reading your blog and your tips is very helpful.. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Cam

    3 years ago

    Some of your affiliate links are not working.

  • Paul

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark!

    I am very inspired with your story. I have been an avid fan and follower on Youtube but it is only now that I visited your website. You are amazing!

  • Laura

    3 years ago

    Hi there! Just out of curiosity, what school or program were you working through while teaching English in order to make 1,500USD? Any information would truly help as I’m looking to teach English in Asia and would love to consider Thailand as an option. Thanks in advance! ~Laura

  • anitaa

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark thanks for inspiring article !
    I have a thought on a point and also would love to ask you this : locating yourself in a place where costs are low —> how do you make that happen; do you get the stay limit on the visa thingy ?

    On my experience – most visa allowance is around 1 -3 mo period. Maybe you have tips on how to get around that 🙂 Thank you

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Anitaa, good to hear from you, and good question. No real way around tourist visas, but living in Thailand previously, I would normally get a 2 month double entry visa, which would cost something around $120, which would enable me to come for 2 months, then extend for 1 month at immigration for another $60, then leave the country and come back again to use the second entry. But yah, living on a budget in another country still does require one to travel occasionally to renew visas. Hope this helps.

  • Anna

    5 years ago

    Thanks for the inspiration! I am just starting with my blog- I’d love a similar lifestyle. I am graduating university in May with debt, which I think will be the hardest part of sustaining my long term travel goals. Thanks for all the tips!

  • kobyn

    5 years ago

    nice journey, thanks for sharing. lots of info i thought was helpful for myself. cheers!

  • Gianni

    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Mark. You have definitely been a source of inspiration 🙂

  • Kevin

    5 years ago

    Mark,

    I’m very impressed with your blog and your journey. I’m trying to follow a similar path: got my TESOL in April in Phuket, now teaching english full time in far north Thailand. It’s a nice gig – currently learning the culture while saving money, like you did in Bangkok (though I’m only making a measly 30k/mo).

    My question for you: Any basic tips on building traffic and profiting off a part time blog?

    I’ve got a very simple, low budget site at http://monkeyabroad.com. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and videos, and would like to emulate you. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Kevin

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Kevin, good to hear from you. Glad you’re in Thailand and starting to blog as well. My biggest tip is to just keep on doing it, keep publishing and connecting. Running a blog takes a lot of content and a lot of networking with other bloggers. Another thing is to publish lots or practical useful information and tips. Your blog looks great so far, keep at it!

  • Chelsea

    5 years ago

    When I go to school in the Fall I’m going to major in Graphic Design, because it’s something I enjoy doing, and since I can do it from my computer I can become a digital nomad! Your blog is fantastic and inspiring!

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      That’s a great idea Chelsea, all the best!

  • jo

    5 years ago

    hey mark,
    living frugal is not really living cheap! guess we´re on the same page here. i think it´s great to reveal this stuff so open.
    i tried to figure out in which area of input to put your e-books (bangkok, thaifood and vegetarian thaifood) to?!
    is it freelance/writing (200 to 400)
    or is it blogs and personal website (200 to 300)?
    im asking you this (too personal?) question, because ive got ideas for 2-3 ebooks and i wonder if it´s worth the effort.
    “worth the effort” means to me a three digits number in a month for one ebook.
    am i a stupid daydreamer or is this actually possible?
    greetz jo

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Jo, thanks for stopping by. Actually the figures have improved quite a bit since I wrote this post, and I’m now able to make a much better living, largely due to my e-books (which I had barely launched prior to writing this post). I would by all means recommend e-books – it’s a great way to have something to offer in order to monetize a blog. It does take some good quality traffic to make money from e-books, and a good way to sell them is by offering them as affiliate ebooks.

      • jo

        5 years ago

        thx for the answer.
        “affiliate ebook” means: an ebook within a blog or as part of a blog? (sorry, english is not my mothertongue)
        and: do i need a good ebook to create traffic and monetize a blog or
        do i need a blog to monetize an ebook? (the chicken or the egg?) 🙂
        or do u think the one can get along without the other…

        by the way: i noticed that the videos and pics have a very good quality (imho), so i was wondering: do u use an expensive camera or a smartphone or …, what is it?
        thx in advance

  • Damian

    5 years ago

    I am glad to have found your site. The perspective you offered is so real and believable. This is something I am passionate about – truly helping others and not try to offer inflated hope, only to kill it when the product/information that is shared/bought turns out to be less valued than expected.

    I am inspired and encouraged by your posts. I am looking forward to embarking on my own adventure too. Wish me luck!

    Keep on the great work!

    So much to learn from you.

    Damian

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Damian, great to hear from you and glad you enjoyed this article. I wish you luck on your journey as well, all the best!

  • Thi

    6 years ago

    Dear Mark, Thanks for your very useful post. I helps me a lot, not only in encouraging but in teaching the way to start my own journey. With my background, a non-native English speaker, It would be harder to keep on passion of travel with these above suggestions. However, English, I have a few, and I am trying my way to learn more. The first would be TOEFL this year, and then a local blog to posting my recent travel, point of view ( i know a few to create a website). Do you have any suggestion or experience with a Vietnamese person like me?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Thi, thank you so much for reading this and great to hear that it is helpful. Even as a non-native English speaker there are so many opportunities to travel and make a living while being able to still travel. Have you already started a blog? Perhaps try to taget a certain niche group in Vietnam, depending on what your own interests are – maybe a certain part of travel – like food, or culture, or just adventures. Let me know if you make a website!

  • Sarah

    6 years ago

    Mark, really enjoyed your post! Especially encouraging because I feel a bit like you described, just knowing I want to travel, taking an TEFL course in Prague in July, looking for a job in Europe (or elsewhere), and starting a blog. Sounds like you’re doing well and that makes me feel a little better about taking a risk! I’ll keep reading!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Sarah! So cool to hear that you’ll be going to Prague to take a TEFL course and proceeding to teach English – and that you’ll be starting a blog. Let me know if you have any questions along the way, and I’d love to help you if I can! Thanks for following!

  • Clarissa

    7 years ago

    Hello Mark, your blogs are so interesting and informative. I’m so glad I came across this blog as I wonder if I could live in Thailand and support the long term costs. The english teaching seemed very interesting to me, however I have a few questions. The only language I speak is english and would assume that you would have to speak Thai in order to teach english, however your comment regarding the TESOL course you took states something in the regards to “teaching english to non speakers using zero of their native tongue. ” This has me now confused. If I want to travel to Japan, Thailand, etc. do I have to speak the native language in order to to english?
    Also, what are the requirements to taking theTESOL course? Do I need a college degree? I only have a HS diploma

  • gayE @ pinaytraveljunkie

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark! We just began our RTW. While the hubby has already signed up a contract for a programming job (he’s working remotely!), I on the other hand is still struggling getting freelance jobs. Writing articles is a bit difficult with a demanding infant, haha! Someday I’d still want to have a job that would require me to get out of the room and meet people. Teaching English sounds good to me too. Hope the opportunity arises in one of the countries we’ll be visiting.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey GayE, awesome that you guys are now traveling the world and especially with an infant!
      Yes, I know there are many opportunities to teach English around the world and in Thailand where I am. There are also opportunities to be a teacher on an English camp, though it might be hard with a child. I hope you can find some freelance jobs soon!
      By the way, you have an awesome blog!

  • Sanur Bali Hotel

    7 years ago

    Nice post, it’s very interesting
    i like it, thank you ^_^

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy

    7 years ago

    It’s always great to hear how other people are doing it. It seems like having one really nice, long-term job and saving money from it (teaching, cruise ship) is one of the best ways to stay on the road.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Scott. Building up a monetary foundation gives one the financial cushion necessary to be able to have the time to pursue things where profit may not be very high. Having a job for 1-2 years and trying to save as much as possible gives more opportunity to begin a long-term travel career!

  • Karen Muir

    7 years ago

    Hello Mark, What a wonderful way to see the world! You have given me inspiration. I will tell you how I have been planning my “Get-a-Way… In 2009-2010 I returned to college full-time for a Post Grad in Hospitality & Tourism Management because I want to travel but will need to continue working. I have not landed anything outside of my own country as yet though. I recently landed a 3 month contract as Motorcycle Tourism Coordinator and that was great! I did take the TESOL Global course in Toronto last summer for added income possibilities. After the college course I was hired by the college for Conference Services as a summer student due to my background in Event Management. I am considering applying for a Cruise Ship job, but at 58 I am not sure I will “fit” in with the crew although I am young at heart, healthy and usually do not even think of my age as a barrier. I did travel to Scotland, U.K. in 2008, backpacking alone for nearly 4 months. What a beautiful country! At the time I had planned to stay for a year, but with the CRASH $$$ I was not lucky enough to get work, even though I have my British and E.U. Passport. I am very interested in working in a hot climate where winter snowstorms are only a memory! I do have a Healthy Chocolate Network Marketing business that is taking off very well and looks to be a means of working and traveling with my laptop as our products are shipped Globally and therefore I can share and help others to build their business. I will keep an eye on your site here for helpful information. Thanks again. Cheers from Karen

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Wow Karen, really appreciate you sharing your story – really awesome to hear that!

      You already have so much going and are already experienced and ready to take things on, working from your computer – from anywhere in the world! Having the TESOL certificate is an open door to teach English in many countries throughout the world. At the moment, countries in South East Asia are hiring English teachers all the time and having the certificate means almost getting an instant job, if wanted. Working on a cruise ship sounds like it would be a lot of fun as well, and I’m sure you would do great! That’s so awesome that your Chocolate Network business is taking off and that you can run it from around the world. By the way, your chocolate site is great and it’s really cool that you are focusing on the healthy and beneficial side of chocolate. Thanks again for sharing!

  • Debra Hill

    7 years ago

    Hi Mark. Very interesting article. Are you the Columbus of the new world? Lol I would like to invite you to check out my blog. I am an independent rep. with a travel company (Worldventures) that offers huge savings on our dreamstrips which we currently have over 400 destinations at prices below what you can find anywhere on the internet. Worldventures also offers a business system where you can make money. You can make as little or as much as you want. This is a phenomenal company that is taking the travel industry by storm.

    With Worldventures, you earn residual income, which comes in month after month after month. Check out my blog page (changeurdestiny.wordpress.com). I think you will be amazed on what Worldventuers can offer you. Feel free to email me at any time at [email protected]. All my best. Deb

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Deb! Sounds like an interesting concept and I’ll look more into it and contact you via e-mail.
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

  • Kat

    7 years ago

    Funny you should include the working on a cruise ship as part of the list of jobs that allow you to travel. I went on a cruise a few weeks ago and got to chat with a few of the service crew. They say it’s a fun job, although in some cases you’re limited to the locations that the ship docks on (in this case, it’s just around SEA, but I think that’s a lot already). Still, they get to meet a lot of people and they are able to save money because they don’t really spend much on board the ship.

    There’s a learning institute here in Manila called Genting, where you can study for work in places like cruise ships or hotels. Three months of training, then you ship out. I’m not familiar with the details though, I just heard that from a friend. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to figure out ways to earn a bit of extra, just in case something I want falls through.

    Oh, nice tie. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Sweet Kat! Where did you go on your cruise to?
      I’ve never worked on a cruise before, but just like you, I’ve had a number of friends that have had positive experiences and where able to save quite a lot of money. Sure you won’t have the flexibility like solo traveling, but I think it can be a great way to save a good amount of money and then be able to go from there. I’m sure it’s also a great opportunity to meet some fun and interesting people too!

      Haha, thanks for the “tie” comment! Might not happen again for a loooong time!

      • Kat

        7 years ago

        We started off at Singapore then went to Malacca and Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur. The downside of cruise trips is that you’ve got so little time at the stops, you can only experience the place a little bit. Still, it was a fun trip. I’m still writing about it hehe.

        I think working on a cruise ship is ok for short term. The guys I spoke to said their contracts don’t really last for long, probably six to ten months at most. Every three months they can go home for two weeks. I guess it differs for each cruise company.

        I’m not keen on wearing “professional” work clothes either. I feel lucky that the places I go to work for are pretty relaxed, so long as I don’t show up naked, I suppose. 😀

        • Mark Wiens

          7 years ago

          Haha! Wearing the tie was so difficult for me…

          Sounds like a fun cruise, so cool to read about your experience on your blog. Yah, the little amount of time at each destination is something that might frustrate me, as I don’t particularly like to visit anywhere for too short a time, but I do understand those who want to see a destination and then need to get back.

          With a contract for just a few months, and a potential to be able to save quite a bit, working on a cruise sounds like a pretty good option.

          • Kat

            7 years ago

            It’s a good option, one that I’m considering 🙂

          • Mark Wiens

            7 years ago

            Awesome Kat! I’ll look forward to hearing about it soon!!

  • jim

    7 years ago

    It’s an interesting subject on how to earn and travel full time. For many younger ( yeah I know there’s some very enterprising older ones doing it too ) travellers it seems a viable option and I admire you all for that. Internet is creating all sorts of new ways of doing things, and younger people have so many chances to exploit that. Great stuff!

    If I didn’t enjoy my own custom shoemaking so much, I’d chuck it in and be right there with you…but then I’d miss my wife and my dog… ah well, I’ll just dream.
    Love what you’re up to Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Jim,
      The great thing is that you are passionate about your custom shoemaking business and you have an awesome wife at home. We all have our own different ways of traveling and finding sustainable lifestyles and I think you’re already way ahead of me when it comes to doing that. Keep it up and thanks for your support!

  • Grace

    7 years ago

    That photo with you in a tie is priceless! Kidding aside it is really good to hear success stories such as yours. But like Inka curious to know if you need a work visa to stay in Thailand? Or since you freelance and own an “online business” do you just leave and then re-enter the country.

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Grace,
      When I taught English I did have a work permit for a year (see Inka’s comment). Now since I don’t have any job in Thailand, I rely on extended tourist visas. In Thailand you can apply for 2 month double entry visas. So I get 2 months and then have to just step across a border (Cambodia is about 4 hours from Bangkok), then I get another 2 months. But the 2 month increment allows me to keep traveling and I normally turn it into a good little trip somewhere if I can.

  • Eileen Ludwig

    7 years ago

    Resourceful and youth does play a part in all this. Great ideas for doing a lot with so little

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Eileen – Yes, I agree with you for the particular route of travel and lifestyle that I took, but I do think that there are opportunities for everyone out there in all different forms!

  • inka

    7 years ago

    There is one question I have whenever I hear about getting a job, teaching etc: how on earth do you get a work visa?

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Hey Inka,
      When I taught English, the school I worked for applied for my work visa for me. I think every country is a little different, but working in Thailand, I first got the job, then had to go to the Thai embassy in neighboring Laos and apply for a non-immigrant visa (eligible for work), and then I returned and it took my company about 2 months to get my visa (but I didn’t need to do anything except wait). Now I rely on extended tourist visas.

  • Cathy Sweeney

    7 years ago

    I’m so glad you shared this. Wonderful how you’ve found ways that work well for you to follow your passion. We all have different circumstances — just have to find the right path. Still working on how to indulge in my passion for travel profitably!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Thanks Cathy, it’s so cool that there are so many different paths and we have an opportunity to try and find the right one. Though I’m able to sustain myself at the moment living in Bangkok, it’s not enough at the moment to start a family – so I’m still working on it! Keep working and persevering and you’ll be able to find a way to travel profitably.

  • Ali

    7 years ago

    Very cool article Mark! Miss you but glad you’re doing so well:)

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Wow Ali!!! You started blogging again, awesome! Hope you are doing well.

  • Dave

    7 years ago

    Very few of us know what we’re doing when we start our first blog. For those that get past the learning curve, the opportunities are endless!

    • Mark Wiens

      7 years ago

      Well said Dave. There’s no easy way to know the possibilities of the online world until getting started, doing it, and learning along the way.

      • My Thailand Travel Blog

        6 years ago

        really loved ur post. I’m from India. a newcomer to travel bloggers world, but a old guy (20 yrs young) in internet marketing and blogging.

        *You have a PASSION, learn to PROFIT from it.

        coming to bangkok for 2 months feb – march 2013 with my gf. hope i’ll know more about thailand and travel blogs.:)

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Hey, thanks for stopping by and great to hear you’re blogging too. Hope you have an excellent visit to Thailand!