They were four days away from buying a house and had spent hundreds on inspections and approvals when they had an epiphany. To many outside eyes they were winning at life and ticking off another milestone on the road we call life. But just like so many of us, they didn’t feel fulfilled. They didn’t want to come home from their 9-5, have a huge debt hanging over them and continue to live the ordinary life – they wanted to make the most of this world. So, Brook and his girlfriend Radha pulled out of buying the house and bought a one-way ticket to Paris. “You’re only on this planet once… shouldn’t we be travelling the world in our twenties, instead of amassing a huge debt to an Aussie bank,” Brook said.
You probably recognise his face from TV3, where Brook worked as a reporter for 7 years. Now, the two of them, an ex-journalist and flight attendant has visited 42 countries and travel full-time. The most important question of course, is how?
How did you afford it initially and how you continue to afford it?
We used our house deposit as a cushion and we look for any travel related project we can get. That includes selling video and photo packages, reviewing luxury accommodation, we write articles for our website, and are working on other ideas like remotely managing social media for small companies.
We also partner with brands to promote their product. For example we recently joined with Citroen EuroPass, which allows you do a road trip around Europe in a brand new car. We took photos and made a video of the trip . We post our adventures on our Instagram accounts, @brooksabin and @globaladmirer. Some of the travel ‘influencers’ have millions of followers, so we’re pop-guns compared to the heavy artillery. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
We all have travel dreams. One of mine has been to drive around Europe. Coming from tiny little New Zealand at the bottom of the world, where a traffic jam sometimes involves cows, driving Europe always seemed impossible. It’s too big, too complex, and where would we get the car? 🚗 Fast-forward to the end of the year! We’ve just done it! We drove 14,000kms over four months, the distance from Auckland to Dubai (17 hours, the world’s longest flight!) We seriously looked at buying a car, but ran into a whole lot of problems with insurance because we don’t live in Europe. We ended up leasing a car – which was so much cheaper than a rental. If you’re from Australia or NZ and want to lease a car @citroeneuropass is offering 15 free days. Check them out, it was awesome! ✌️️ I’m now wondering about our travel dream for 2017. What’s yours?
How do you decide where to go?
We previously just picked places that we like the look of, but now we have a nerdy type checklist (we’ve found out the hard way that you’ve got to do your homework.) First, we try to go to places a little unexplored. Next, we check if we can legally fly a drone. Third, we look for countries that allow business trips, so we can charge for our work.
Was it you or your partner that initially suggested it?
My partner. She’s always wanted to take off around the world. I wanted to buy a house. I’m so glad she won. Life is about experiences, not buying as much as you can then sitting around looking at it. It took me a long time to realise that.
How long do you want to live this lifestyle?
As long as possible. It’s so much fun. I can’t ever imagine going back to an office job. I’m sitting in a swaying tree house in Sri Lanka 40 feet off the ground writing this. Our next stop is reviewing one of the top rated luxury resorts in the world, and last week we were in safari tents in the jungle.
What is the best part?
Having the world as an office. I used to be a journalist, which I found fascinating because you get a glimpse into people’s lives that you wouldn’t ordinarily get. Now, I get a glimpse into some of the world’s best travel experiences, which is pretty lucky!
What are the downsides?
Being away from family, especially at Christmas. Not having a home base, meaning we have to carry all our gear: a drone, camera, two lenses, gopro, stabilizer, two laptops, four hard drives and about 3 kilometers of chords. My clothes are rapidly running out of space. It can also be hard to get the balance right between capturing the moment, and living in the moment. I’m still working on that.
What is your favourite place you have been so far?
Sicily. An incredible island full of history, beautiful beaches, volcanos, ancient towns – and chocolate, lots of it. We climbed an active volcano off the coast of Sicily to watch the sunset; it’s one of my best travel memories.
Where in the world do you want to visit the most?
Greenland. I’ve seen the northern lights in Norway, but to experience it in the harsh and relatively unexplored wilderness of Greenland is a dream. And it has virtually no roads; you’ve got to take a plane, helicopter, boat or dogsled! I love that.
This all sounds pretty dreamy and like a dream come true, so how can we live the life that these two have?
“The best way to break into it is by making unique content that people want to share. Are you travelling the world naked, with a kitten, eating your body weight in chocolate? Being quirky and unique can crack the code much quicker than doing it the good old fashioned way. NB: I haven’t cracked that code – good luck!”
Thankfully, Brook is prepared to share the world with a few more of us exploring for a living and has shared his golden nuggets of wisdom.
So, if you’re like us and building Rome one slightly crumbling stone at a time, here’s some tips I’d wish I’d known before I’d booked my one-way ticket:
– Don’t make it a chore or job. If you’re having a good time you’re much more likely to create awesome stuff.
– Have a game plan well before you leave. Do you just want to concentrate on social media, or include blogging and Youtube?
– Build a presence on Instagram. It’s increasingly becoming the top source of travel inspiration.
– A good six months before you leave, get your blog going (we launched it while traveling – a nightmare). It will take at least 6 months for google to start listing your site high enough to get hits. In that time write about all the places you’ve already travelled, and write stories about your own backyard. Remember your backyard is an exotic location for someone on the other side of the world. Try to write about things google doesn’t have much on, meaning you’ll pop up near the top of its results pretty quickly.
– Make a fancy and pretty looking document with all you can offer a company/hotel/ tourist board. Then send it far and wide for the country you’re visiting.
– Be patient. It will take time to plug the financial sieve that is travelling.
– Have fun.
You can keep up-to-date with Brook and Radha on their Instagrams or on their website.