Bamboo Butterfly

a journey.

admin On November - 22 - 2013

Many people around the world dream of traveling. There are those of us who believe the best time to travel is right after one graduates college (which I completely disagree with) and those of us who believe one’s love affair with travel is a life-long relationship, continuing well into the twilight years of our lives. The question is … where does the money to fund travel come from? Through loans? You can research the best loans for you, and this may be one option, but there are many others. A majority of people fund their travels through several ways. Here are just a few:

Teach English

A good portion of travel bloggers (myself included) have taught English as a second language while living abroad in a foreign country. ESL teachers are in high demand particularly in Asia. The most popular places to teach are Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Though I’ve only visited Japan and Korea briefly, I myself think teaching in Taiwan is the best way to go. People are friendly, the cost of living is relatively low, and Taiwan is a good base for planning additional travel around Asia. Each country may have different requirements when it comes to teaching English, but in Taiwan, all one needs is a bachelor’s degree (though it might help if you’ve had prior teaching experience and enjoy being around children).

teaching in taiwan

Find freelance work online

After I taught in Taiwan for several months, I began to search for online writing opportunities. Reach out and guest post for different travel blogs, you might be surprised at the contacts you’ll find. Certain websites such as Matador Travel regularly accept contributions from travel writers, though the pay is minimal. Additionally, check out websites such as Elance and Odesk that connect freelance writers with people and companies who need help with specific writing projects.


Though I never did this myself, acting and modeling for television and film is another popular way to make money in some countries. I know that in Taiwan foreign models were regularly sought out for commercials. I can’t speak for other countries, but I know this is an option at least in Taiwan.



When not working your day job, offer to tutor people in English. If you are an ESL teacher, make sure tutoring will not interfere with your day job or your company policies. Several people I knew did this while also teaching in Taiwan.

There are many other options, including setting up a popular Youtube channel, working in hostels/resorts and taking on odd jobs.

Are you a travel blogger? How do you make the bulk of your money while on the road? If you’d like to comment, please feel free to share your own ideas about how to make money while living abroad.


8 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    Hey there! I’m teaching in Korea right now and it’s a pretty good way to fund some local travel. Did it take you long to find a teaching job and get the visa sorted?

    • admin says:

      Hi Tim!

      Thanks for stopping by. I originally went over to Taiwan after signing a contract for a job while I was still in the U.S., but I do not recommend doing this. I’ve written about this subject several times and the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to head over to Taiwan first and then look for a job. I ended up switching jobs shortly after I moved to Taiwan, and except for some uncomfortable issues with the first school, the process wasn’t that difficult. In my opinion, it wasn’t very hard to find teaching jobs when I first went to Taiwan, but that was a few years ago and I’m not really sure what the market is like now.

  2. MG says:

    How about working for the embassy?! I heard that they rotate countries every three years. Sounds like an ideal job for traveling!

    Unfortunately yesterday I met a wife of an ambassador at a dinner, and she was as provincial as I could imagine. I guess if you only hang out with expats, then no matter where you live it would be the same. What a pity…

    • MG says:

      Ok I meant “an ambassador’s wife”… (A wife of an ambassador seems to imply there are many wives. No this is not a Muslim ambassador…)

    • admin says:

      I think working for the embassy would be a great idea for someone wanting to be on the move quite often. I do agree that if people only hang out with expats wherever they live their minds may not be as open and they may not learn anything about the new culture. I tried to hang out with locals and learn about the culture when I was in Taiwan … I also hung out with other expats sometimes, but to be honest, many of them were into partying at the bars every night and hanging out with people from “back home,” wherever that was (other than a few of my co-teachers, who were cool). I felt like there was so much more to see, do, and learn.

      I actually might do a blog post sometime soon about expats. What it means to be one and how expats act toward one another in foreign countries. :D

  3. Jeremy says:

    not an easy one to crack.

    but well paid, seasonal jobs, are good.

    I have a friend who works 6 months a year on an oil rig, and travels the other 6 months

    another works 6 months on a cruise ship and travels the other 6 months

    another trains horses in Saudi Arabia in the winter, and travels the other 8 months

    another does waitressing at one of the Midwest’s most expensive restaurants during the peak holiday months (where she can clear a few hundred in tips a night) and travels the rest of the year

    another runs a hotel on a Norwegian island from May-October and spends the rest of the year in South America

    It is possible. You just have to keep your eyes peeled for well paid seasonal work

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