Manonthelam.com founder Raymond Walsh was living the Canadian dream. A great paying job, cool car and a hefty mortgage, along with a yearly vacation or two, pretty much paints the picture. Walsh began to wonder if there was more to life, however. So in July 2011, Raymond made the jump. He quit his corporate job, rented out his condo, started a travel blog and hit the road. So far, he's made his way through such countries as Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam. Here are his top tips for those considering a similar life path.
Planning: Walsh does his best to arrive at a destination during the day. Hotels and local transport can be more difficult to find at night according to Raymond, so an earlier arrival can help smooth things out a bit. He's also found that in certain parts of the world, the local drivers can be your best bet for finding accommodations at the price you want. "This worked great in Phnom Penh," said Walsh. "When I told the driver I didn't have a booking, he said he would take me to a place that had free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a private washroom for 25 bucks a night. I said if he could do the same for 10 bucks I was in. He delivered." Another tried-and-true tip from Walsh is to always travel with water and snacks. That way, if you do have to hunt around for a hotel or restaurant, you don't have to do so on what he calls "a grumpy stomach."
Productivity: Since Raymond makes a web-based living, he's had to learn to be productive in spite of unpredictable internet access in developing countries. On days when he can't be online, Raymond works on project elements that don't require access, such as photo editing, story brainstorming and article outlines. Since writing by hand on a bumpy bus ride can prove frustrating, Walsh uses a phone app called ColorNote to take notes and even compose travel articles for later submission.
Surprise: Raymond notes that a sense of serendipity keeps things fresh on the road. "I never know what the day will bring," he says. "And I like that. Just because you can't see the path ahead doesn't mean the ground won't support you." Walsh said his entire frame of mind has changed since he said goodbye to the cube. He used to dread Mondays and wish the week away. Now, he quite literally can't wait to get up in the morning.
Theriault is the best-selling co-author of the book "10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget," and founder of TrekHound.com, a website for independent travelers. She also founded TheLessonMachine.com, a website for teachers.