Amanda and Noname are two friends who quit their accounting jobs in 2015 to embark on a year of travel together. True Risk Takers in every sense of the word, they packed their bags and left their comfortable lives for a less predictable one on the road. We got the awesome pleasure of catching up with them about their adventures for this Risk Takers interview.
What made you want to travel the world together?
Noname: It has always been my dream to travel ever since I was little. I came from a very small town in the Philippines. The only way out for a young girl was to read books and read about all these exotic places in the world. Somehow adulthood interrupted that dream until one day it was snowing really hard in Indianapolis and I was contemplating on the things that I have always wanted to do – traveling the world being one of them. So I sent a text message to some friends to ask if they would quit their jobs and just travel the world for a year. Amanda was the only one who took it seriously, responded and said she wanted to do it too and that she would do it with me. And that is how it started. I think it is definitely better to travel together. There is safety which you have to consider and two girls is better than one. There is also the matter of cost, we can share the cost of lodging. Then there is the sharing of experiences. Sometimes it is much better when you have somebody to jump off a bridge with which is exactly what we did in Queenstown New Zealand.
Amanda: My first international trip out of my hometown, Bronx, NY was for my 16th birthday when I traveled to Italy with my high school. Since then I knew that I wanted to see the world because I was just so fascinated with experiencing different cultures and traditions. I made a pact with myself back then that my mission was to travel as much as possible. Noname and I are both accountants and we were so tired and frustrated with corporate life. We were both successful in our careers but it wasn’t very exciting. We were both single and it was great timing for the two of us to take this leap and do a trip together. I knew that we had a very similar mindset and that we could agree on major decisions regarding a trip like this.
So I sent a text message to some friends to ask if they would quit their jobs and just travel the world for a year.
How the heck does one afford to travel as much as you do?
You save a lot before you start. We didn’t just quit our jobs and travel right away. We planned it a year in advance and we saved for an entire year. We made sacrifices in that year – skipped out on fancy dinners and parties with friends and watched our expenses more closely because we prioritized our trip first. We also earned money by selling everything we didn’t need or wanted to keep including our cars and furniture. We have kept a loose budget but we know when to splurge and when to cut costs.
What inspires you to keep travelling, do you ever get discouraged?
There are so many wonderful places on Earth and we are just scratching the surface. What inspires us to continue traveling is the opportunity to discover new places, experiencing different cultures and connecting with people from all walks of life. Most importantly, traveling teaches you about people, about kindness, about nature and about yourself. As long as you are open minded, the world is yours to discover. And yes there are times when we get discouraged especially when we experience the bad side of human nature – when people try to scam or cheat us, etc. but fortunately this is rare. We’ve been very lucky that overall our travel adventure has been amazing.
Do you consider yourself a risk taker/daredevil and why?
Noname: I would say I take calculated risks. But I definitely consider myself a risk taker. I just make sure that the probabilities of success is higher than that of failure. Having moved from Philippines to US barely knowing what life would be life in US is a risk. Letting my career take a back burner for a year of travel is a risk. But these are definitely worth this year of travel. I have loved every bit of this adventure and I cannot wait to have more.
Amanda: I think defining a risk taker is very subjective. For example, I don’t really consider this trip as a risky decision. I decided I want to see the world and I am making it happen. Sure there may be certain “risks” from traveling but I don’t think I face anything that is so different than when I was living in a big city in the U.S. I like to challenge myself and push myself to do new things – like bungee jump off a bridge even though I am afraid of heights. Some would say that’s awesome, others would say that’s risky!
What’s the downside to your lifestyle? – Noname: There are definitely times when you just want to stay in one place and relax. There are times when you just want to sleep in a nice comfortable bed. There are times when you just want to have the time to eat healthy and exercise. And traveling can be a bit tiring at times. There are times when you feel like your are missing out – friends and family get engaged, get married, celebrate birthdays and you aren’t there. But then the excitement of meeting new people, being in a new place, discovering the culture of certain places and being in an environment where you are not familiar is so tantalizing that you just have to go and do it all over again.
Amanda: nothing in life is perfect and yes there are certain downsides and things that you may miss from being “home” but I know that home isn’t going anywhere. I like to focus my energy on the positives and think about how excited I get every time we explore a new place because I know not many people have this opportunity and I’m lucky to do this.
Have you ever broken the law while traveling? –
Yes and this is not advisable. We rented and rode a motorbike in Bali without an international driver’s license. We were definitely scared to get caught by police; however, we did eventually get our international driver’s licenses and never drove around illegally again.
What do you always have with you?
Particular product or keepsake you can’t travel without? – Cellphone. As bad as that sounds for people who want to unplug, this has been a life saver for us. We use it to plan the next destination, to navigate, to call our Airbnb hosts when we cannot find the lodging, etc and most importantly to communicate with our families to let them know we are alive and well!