How I Travel the World on $30,000 a Year Salary

As an avid traveler, people always ask me how I manage to travel so much. “What do you do?” “How do you have so much time off from your job?” “How do you afford it?”  All wonderful questions. If you know me, you know that I’m always looking for travel deals. My travel diva of choice is The Green Eyed Venuist. Now I know you opened this up thinking that I would have a full list of tips, tricks, and ways to travel cheap.  The reality of the question, “How do you afford to travel the world on $30,000 a year?” is simply, OBEDIENCE.

God rewards faithfulness. He knows our deepest desires. When he asked me to step away from my job, making a comfortable amount of money in 2014, I hesitated. I ran the numbers. I calculated all that I would need to continue to live the lifestyle that I was accustomed to. $30K simply was not enough, but that was the offer that presented itself. After much prayer for guidance and direction, I took the leap of faith and took the job anyway. Best decision of my life. Who knew that the 30K a year job was a work-from-home opportunity with a flexible schedule? Who knew that the job offers 3 weeks paid vacation in addition to two weeks off for the Christmas holiday? So that answers the questions: “What do you do?” (I work) and “How do you have so much time off from your job?”

I realized the answer to the other question on my visit to London. I decided to go on a Study Abroad trip for the Social Work program I am in. When I signed up, I had NO idea how extremely expensive it would turn out to be. Adding up the numbers (or should I say subtracting the numbers) shortly before the trip, I thought to myself “I am not going to be able to do too much there.” At least I have a friend out there, I figured. I contacted him to see if he would be available to hang out, and he was.

The arrival and time in London was something so much greater than I ever could have imagined. From the time I arrived, everything was lined up – theater tickets, train pass, activities. He even treated myself and my classmates (2 of whom *I* had only met the previous day) to a full-expense paid day out exploring London. After thanking him profusely, his response was, “It’s good Karma. Everything I have ever done for people has come back to me.”

Group_St Pauls

Now I’m no believer in “karma,” so to speak. But I do believe that one reaps what they sow (Galatians 6:7). How great a person he must be, I thought.

The next day, I began reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God,” by Lysa Terkeurst.

Oh, dear friend, the call to become a woman who says yes to God is the fresh invitation your soul is looking for. We all feel a tug at our heart and a stirring in our soul for more, but we are often afraid to venture past our comfort zone. Outside our comfort zone, though, is where we experience the true awesomeness of God.”


In that moment, the Spirit impressed on me that I have been given the desires of my heart because I said “Yes.” I said to God, “I don’t know how this is going to work, but I know this is what you are asking me to do, so I say yes.” Fear, doubt and uncertainty must be pushed aside with the reassuring belief that “God’s got this.” We have to KNOW, truly know that everything is in His hands. God can do more in an instant than we can do in a lifetime, but we have to step aside and let  him work.

So how do I afford to travel? Obedience.

Obedience gets me a $5o flight to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Obedience gets me free room and meals in Lake Tahoe during ski season.

Obedience gets me a $280 flight to Spain for Christmas.

Obedience gives me a personal tour guide and financed tour through London.

I can’t remember who said it, but they said it best when they said,

You don’t need more money, you need more God.

20160313_223928On my last evening in London, I’d planned to turn in early. It was getting late, and I was tired. On a whim, I got back up and decided to go to a restaurant I’d seen online. I hopped on the tube and headed over. I arrived around 10 only to be told that they would not be taking any walk ins until 11:30. They invited me to sit by the bar and wait. I figured why not? I sat down and ordered a drink and appetizer from the limited bar menu. Before my appetizer could arrive, the hostess walked over to inform me that there had been a cancellation and my table was ready. I walked over to my seat, right by the window. As I sat down, I had an “IS THIS REALLY MY LIFE?!” moment. Here I am, in London, England, on the 40th floor of this magnificent restaurant with floor to floor windows gazing out over the city, eating duck confit on a waffle and drinking a butternut squash & clementine bellini. Won’t He do it? Won’t He do it?

So what is it that God has been asking you to say yes to? I talked about comfort zones in my previous blog, but let’s dig even deeper. What is God asking you to do that is not only out of your comfort zone, but completely ridiculous in the flesh? What is that thing that has been pulling on your heart strings that other people may think, “That is crazy to do! Why would you do something like that?!”

Your next level of promotion is going to require a deeper level of sacrifice.

Luke 16:10 tells us “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Maybe it’s a small step that God is calling you to take, or maybe it is something that God has been asking you to let go of? There are some things that are technically “no big deal,” but if God says to let it go, we have to let it go – a habit, a friend, a pastime. Many times it’s not the act, but the refusal to surrender the act when you are asked. In the refusal to say “yes” to God, we are saying to Him, “my way is better than your way.” As long as you feel that way, He is willing to let you find your way on your own.

But how much better could things be if you let God have His way with your  life?

Karissa_Tower Bridge_3

As I looked out over the Tower Bridge in London, I was awed at the beauty. Webster defines a bridge as “a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities, conditions, or the like.” God wants to be that connection, that transition and that intermediary between the natural and the supernatural. The difference between what I can do for myself and what God can do to and through me.

Now I’m not saying that you should go quit your job, nor am I saying that saying yes to God will get you on trips around the world. What I am saying is that obedience opens up doors for God to release his blessings upon our lives. Blessings that we will not have room enough to receive (Malachi 3:10).

I’d love to hear your stories of success through obedience! If you’re looking for some practical travel tips, check out my workshops!

71 thoughts on “How I Travel the World on $30,000 a Year Salary

    1. Thanks, Brooklyn!!! This is our time! We have to press forward with HIS plan. I see such amazing things for you and OOTWE! Don’t be afraid to step out.

    2. No offense to anyone here but to Brooklyn…I have to disagree with u. Favor from God is extremely fair. He rewards those who diligently seek Him & are obedient to His Word. Jus like a father wud reward his child for doing the right thing. When God expressed His luv to us by allowing the desires of our hearts, nothing cud be more fair. Peace & Blessings family

      1. Fair would be dying for your own sins, being bruise for your own transgressions and iniquity. Grace is not fair, you don’t get grace because you seek him but people who understand grace seek him. God is good because he just good not because you do things that is recommended and required in the bible. If none of use followed his word he would still be good we just would position our self to access His goodness or grace. Grace mean we don’t get what we desire; which is not fair.

    3. Thank you, Vanessa. I can’t speak for Brooklyn, but for me, God has never been fair to me. For many years I lived a worldly lifestyle void of God and His Word. He still saw fit to keep me safe and bless me abundantly when I returned to Him. Yes, I agree that He loves us as a Father does His children, but I’m ever so thankful that he has not treated me as I deserved. Thank you so much for reading and your input!

  1. I am new to the Houston area with a similar “leap of faith” story. Your post was refreshing and affirming to read. Thank you

      1. Omg! I just moved from my hometown Houston. Please let me know of you need help navigating. I still visit home on a semi regular basis.

    1. Omg! I just moved from my hometown Houston. Please let me know of you need help navigating. I still visit home on a semi regular basis.

    1. Hi Deborah. You have to do what YOU feel the Spirit is calling you to do. Sometimes it’s the gentle whisper in your heart. Other times the decision is confirmed through something you see, or something someone says. Only you know what God is asking you to do. I am a firm believer that even if what you do is not exactly what God wanted you to do, if it is something that pleases Him and brings you or someone else closer to Him, you will be richly rewarded. God recognizes when we step out on faith. Pray, Be still and listen, Act. I pray for clarity and discernment for your next move!

  2. I stumbled across this article via FB. I had no idea what I was about to read, other than a few tips for travelling on a budget. Let me just say this first……WHAT AN INSPIRATION YOU ARE!!!!! I will keep it brief, but I have to tell you that you have a new fan!!! My problem was never believing that God can, I ALWAYS believed that He COULD. I was raised in church, so it wasn’t hard to believe the “stories” that I grew up on. My problem was not believing He WOULD, I had heard “stories” from others and believed that He would do all that He promised in His Word. My problem had always been believing that He CAN and WILL DO IT FOR ME!!! The moment I began to believe THAT, the “stories” became blueprints, testimonials and guidelines, and the flood gates opened for me. Until then, I didn’t realize that my faith was lacking! I just want to thank you for sharing your travels and God’s word with us. (ok, so…..not that brief, huh, lol)

    1. Shante, I struggle (present tense) with the same thing! I’d love to say that I am ALWAYS faithful and believing in the process. However, I find that I’m able to be fully obedient in some areas, while highly doubtful in others. I suppose it’s all about the journey of growing in God, and trusting His timing and plan – which is SO amazing! Thank you so much for reading! I pray that the Lord continue to reveal Himself to you as you move forward in faith.

  3. Great story. God is working in your favor. I can see myself through you. I am re-evaluating my life and goals within the next 6 months.

  4. Never expected what I read. Had a lesson on obedience years ago in Bible class and yes, obedience has so many benefits. It pays well. Thanks for reminding me of this one thing. Simply yes.

  5. Was hoping for soem tips on how one can get discount flights, used hostels, etc. There are practical ways to actually make travel work.

    1. Hi Diane. I follow several travel sites on Facebook for discounts. The Flight Deal, Secret Flying, The Green Eyed Venuist to name a few. I’m not a hostel person, but I’m sure there are plenty of websites that can help you out! 🙂 Happy travels!

  6. A question for Kay LJ…when you say “obedience”, are you talking about tithing to a church? I see where you said God told you to let go of some things, but how do you know it was God telling you to do so? Not trying to be negative, but just want to know how you’re really able to travel the world on a $30K salary in the physical sense.

    1. Obedience includes tithing, yes, I would say that. In the physical sense of how do I pay for it, that just depends. I run across multiple travel deals. Some of the trips were partially or fully paid for by someone else. I’ve “won” free hotel stays by playing games online. Sometimes I tag along with family, and they foot my bill. Again, it really depends. I haven’t paid full price for anywhere I’ve been in a while.

  7. Hey sister! I was truly blessed by your blog. As a guy, we find ourselves struggling with the decision of leaping into unfamiliar territories daily. But that is called FAITH. As I look at where God has brought me from to where I am today, I know/knew that there was so much me He had called me to do. Thanks for this encouragement this morning. Walking into your future is very difficult without faith/God. But as the bible says, with God, all things are possible if you only believe. Well I believe!!! God bless!!! Keep the faith.

  8. As I read this under the hair dryer in the beauty salon this morning my eyes fill with tears l, because 5 his was the confirmation I needed. Obedience to God…. I often wondered if my desires were not in line with God’s plan for my life but, as I reflect on your blog God is saying yes. I just need you to be obedient and follow me in faith. Such a powerful testamony.

  9. Thank you so much! This article was a great read. I am an educator on Spring Break and I have been feeling that pull for more. I cannot wait to read the book and find where my obedience will lead me! 🙂

  10. You are truly blessed and highly favored! Please continue to spread your story because it has truly touched me and opened up my eyes.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I’ve had an idea in the back of my mind for years but was too afraid to act on it out of fear of failing. Your blog, along with all the other signs I’ve been receiving lately, has helped me to make the decision to take that leap of faith and I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you.

  12. I cried reading this. I felt God calling me back to graduate school, but it was the last thing on my mind. Other desired were on my mind, like a career and a family, but He had different plans. He brought me to a job that I live but it came with a 30k salary, which meant even more sacrifice. I moved out of my apartment, moved in with my godmother, said yes to the lesser paying job, and enrolled into school. These sacrifices sometimes leave me with questions and tears, but this right here is God reassuring me that my obedience will be rewarded if I faint not. Thank you sister for these words, they were meant for me. Take heart in knowing that your gift of writing is blessing someone!

    1. Thank you so much, Meka! I truly appreciate you taking the time out to share. So often we can’t see what God is doing, but know that He is working in and through you. I pray that you have much success in school and beyond!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing! So inspiring as I currently face a crossroads in my life. Can you please share what your obedience was? What is it in your life that is reflecting the will of God? The reason I ask is because in my decision to step out, I don’t want it to be a step into what I desire but what God desires. Not what I want to do, but what God wants me to do for His glory to be reflected in my life. Other than the awesome travel blessings, how were you certain you were stepping out in God’s will? What is God’s will in all that you are doing in your life now? Didn’t mean to bombard you with so many questions.

    1. Hi Kelly, feel free to ask away! As I mentioned, my “obedience” was stepping away from the job that I had. My undergraduate degree was in accounting, and I was working in that field. It was a comfortable job in the oil and gas industry. When I made the decision to go back to school for social work, my plan was to stay at the job until I finished school. It didn’t work out that way. I was unsettled there. It was a good job, and I loved the people, but it was not fulfilling. That’s when I ran across the job working with high school students. It was exactly what I wanted to do, it just didn’t pay what I thought I needed. I knew that I was walking in the will of God way before the travel came along. There was peace in my soul with the decision. I love my students and the people I work with. I enjoy being there. I get to bring together people that can support one another. I get to mentor students and help them get through high school. Everything about it is just right… for me.

      Only you can know whether it is your own desire or God’s will. You may ask yourself this: “Why do I want to do this?” and “Who will benefit from it?” God’s will for our life is always about so much more than ourselves. So if you are the only one benefiting, it may not be God’s will. Again, that is something that only you and God know. I pray that you find clarity with your decision. 🙂

  14. I can’t tell you how unexpected and utterly delightful this article is…and so timely as I contemplate my next move. At 65 years old, I feel compelled to live my remaining years fully, with passionate and on purpose…and on the road as much as possible. Thank you so very much for the inspiration you have so generously shared. Your wise words go into my file of words to read regularly and live by daily.

    1. God is not finished with you yet! I know that it pleases Him so much when we embrace and enjoy every moment He gives to us. You will be an inspiration to many who believe that their best days are behind them. I pray for safe travels as you embark on the next phase of life!

  15. You are so inspiring! I am going into the “real world” after I graduate in May and won’t be making a lot of money at first. I really want to travel and I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to cut it! But your post is so helpful!

  16. You are truly a blessing,I can’t tell you how reading this article has brought tears to my eyes, My God has asked me to say YES many times in my life, and now finally at 44 years of age can I say that I am saying Yes to God and I can’t tell you enough how joyous it has been, your blog says that you waited, had faith, when you say yes that means you are giving up your you, and allowing God. Letting go of my past was the biggest thing hindering me from saying Yes. Soon as you let go he starts showing you why you absolutely had to let go, because where he is taking you was not intended for your past to go with you.All I can say now is Glory, Glory to King, Hallejuah!! He is awesome, Women don’t ever be afraid to let things go that are not growing in your life, if it is dead let it go God has given us life more abundantly. We only have to first say Yes, secondly have faith, and lastly wait patiently. God is a rewarder of those who deligently seek him.I’m am sorry I got so winded on your blog, but I am excited as you, enjoying the SAY YES.

    1. Amen, amen and AMEN!!!!! “When you say yes that means you are giving up your you.” I LOVE that. He is so much better than I. Thank you so much for your comment!

  17. Love love love the article and title. I just returned from a trip to Asia. I never imagined, but the experience and memories were phenomenal! God can put people in your life to pay for your plane tickets, hotel and more. God can do exceedingly abundantly above all we can think or imagine. He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. He has not given us the spirit of fear. Continue to walk in faith!

  18. You are truly a blessing! Before reading this article, I was very sad and had several deaths in my family and different financial situations to happy to keep me from doing what I love, travel. I felt that I wasn’t doing everything that God requires of me and this is why everything happening in life at this time. I ask God why but after reading your article, I will stand on the promises of God. Continue to tithe and do his will by continuing to allow God to show in my life. I don’t make a lot of money, but I instruct teachers online and help them in the profession everyday. Again you inspire me to continue this life journey. God bless you

    1. Thank you Lisa. I believe in His promise that as we remain faithful to Him that He will cause us to prosper. Many blessings to you too!

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