Asia, Latin America, Europe – these are just some of the places Kach and Jon have traveled while living free from debt!
Today, I’m honored to share the story of Kach Medina Umandap and Jonathan Howe, the top monkeys at Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog!
Together, they travel the world completely debt-free and fund their lifestyle by working at each destination in a variety of vocations.
In this interview, they share why they decided to pay off their debt, Kach’s best tips for managing your money on the road, and how living debt-free has allowed them to live the lives of their dreams!
Here is the interview:
ME: Thank you for sharing your story with Our Debt Free Family! Please tell us a little about yourselves so our readers can get to know you.
We are Jonathan and Kach, a couple from the UK and the Philippines. Jonathan is 30, and I’m 26. We’ve been traveling since April 2013 from Asia to Latin America via Europe. We actually just got engaged while sailing along the San Blas Islands of the Caribbean!
We currently have no fixed abode as we’re at the beginning of another 3-month adventure around South America, but we’re considering coming back to Cartagena to live and work for a while when we’re finished.
ME: Congratulations on the engagement! You have quite a story! What made you decide to focus on becoming debt free?
Life is much simpler this way! We don’t own a lot of stuff, but we have more freedom to decide where we want to go and when.
We don’t have the weight of credit card or mortgage payments bearing down on us, so we don’t have to worry so much if our income fluctuates while we’re traveling.
ME: That’s great! How much debt have you paid off, and how long has it taken you?
Personally, I had almost $5,000 in credit card debt while I was in Kuwait, and I had to pay $30,000 for the mortgage on the apartment I bought in the Philippines. I paid off the credit card and fate took care of the apartment for me, as it was bought off plan. Then the project was canceled so they refunded me!
Jonathan had bank overdrafts and other small debts in the UK before he traveled, amounting to around $5000, but he saved to pay all of those off over two years when he made the decision to change his life.
The best thing is that we don’t have a mortgage to pay nor a car loan. We used to buy secondhand cars that could be paid in cash.
For the credit card, I used to have a $7,000 limit, which I was able to pay before I left the Middle East.
Jonathan had credit cards in the past before realizing he wasn’t suited to manage them well. Then he was just left with his overdrafts and loans from six years at university and five years working in the UK.
ME: What did you do for work while you were paying off your debt?
I was working in admin in the Middle East for four years, and Jonathan was working in architecture in the UK after graduating from university.
We are now digital nomads, working online and living a location independent lifestyle. But we sometimes decide to live somewhere for a while, which is when we usually teach private English classes and do Ayurveda massage therapy as well.
ME: Fascinating! What has your income been during this time?
The thing is that we don’t have a fixed monthly income because it all depends on the money that we will earn online and massage therapy clients we might have in the city where we’re currently living. So we sometimes earn $2,000 a month, sometimes $5,000.
We’re trying to build more consistent sources of income online by restructuring our website and expanding our portfolio with other sites as well!
ME: Did you do anything to increase your income?
We’ve been doing different jobs at the same time – TEFLteaching, yoga teaching, Ayurveda massage therapy, online work with the blog, and even social media management.
We’ve learned quickly that being adaptable and diversifying is the key to making our kind of lifestyle work successfully.
[bctt tweet=”Being adaptable and diversifying is the key to making our kind of lifestyle work. Kach from @2MonkeysTravel”]
ME: That’s awesome! What sacrifices did you make to reach your goal?
We don’t have a permanent home nor a car, but we have money saved in our bank account. We’re prepared to give up those things for a mobile lifestyle, as long as we replace them with unforgettable experiences.
ME: I love how you’ve determined your priorities in life and are making financial decisions based on those priorities. What are your best money-saving tips?
Track your income and expenses weekly or write it on a piece of paper at the end of each day.
I like to have different envelopes for different aspects of our life and write a specific target amount on each one.
Having a set of smaller, achievable targets is always more attainable and rewarding. Always set your GOALS and stick to them! You can learn more about how we manage our finances while traveling by reading this article.
ME: Those are great tips! What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own debt free journey?
First, don’t run away from the bills you have to pay — they will always catch up with you in the end.
Second, still enjoy your life while you’re trying to pay all of your debt. It can take years if your debts are high, and you shouldn’t give up all of the enjoyment in life. Balance is the key!
ME: That is great advice! Aside from traveling, have you made any big purchases with cash?
No big purchases yet aside from all of our flight tickets and luxury trips during this journey.
We’re currently saving up to build our own Yoga and Ayurveda Resort in the Philippines. So, we’ve been saving up money since the start of this year.
We did buy a car in Costa Rica, but it was 26 years old and only cost $1000. We’ve spent more than that on flights quite a few times!
ME: Thank you for sharing your story with us! What has been the best part about your debt free journey?
By far the biggest improvement in both of our lives is the freedom to make decisions about how we want our lives to be and act on them immediately — or as quickly as we like — without first being faced with a barrier of debt and the repayment schedules that go along with it.
From a psychological perspective, we don’t have that constant nagging feeling in the back of our minds that we owe money to anyone, which was always, at best, a cause of background stress and at worst, a genuinely unpleasant experience if the ratios of repayments to income swayed too far in the wrong direction.
Debt free = Stress free!
[bctt tweet=”Debt free = Stress free! Kach from @2MonkeysTravel “]
I want to thank Kach and Jon for sharing their story with us!
They are living proof that once you take control of your debt and make choices based on your priorities, you truly can live the life of your dreams!
They’re dreaming big and are no longer letting debt get in the way!
If you would like to learn more about Kach and Jon, check out their website at twomonkeystravelgroup.com, where they’ve got DIY travel guides, “best of” lists, and a team of writers sharing their experiences and advice for traveling all over the world.
Now I’d love to hear about you!
Would you consider a life of travel? Which tips from Kach and Jon can you apply to help you reach your financial goals faster? Share in the comments below.