No matter how unique we are, we can always learn something new about money and about life from other people. And listening to other people tell their money stories helps to support them in reaching their personal finance goals. We’ve gotten so much out of our money conversations that we decided to start our Talking Money interview series. Rather than focusing on income and investing in our conversations, we’re interested in the emotional side of personal finance. And we’re thrilled to share stories from some of our friends.
Everyone, meet Peta and Jonas from Exit45 Travels! They’re full time travelers from Australia and Sweden, living their own version of a full time travel lifestyle. Though we’ve pulled over from our own full time travels, we’re excited to keep getting to know people from all over the world like Peta and Jonas. We’re inspired by them and we know you’ll find something encouraging in their money stories…
1. What were your childhood money experiences? Did you learn useful money lessons from your family?
Peta: I grew up in a dual income family in a very tight budget. I learnt the value of money from a very early age and was encouraged to save more than I spent. I had my first part-time job at 13 years of age and at times throughout high school and university, juggled 4 jobs at the same time. The value of earning, saving and living within my means has allowed us to live our fulltime travel lifestyle.
Jonas: My father worked for a large company and regularly travelled overseas for weeks at a time, while my mum stayed at home and looked after myself and my two brothers. I was also taught the value of money from an early age and if I wanted something, I was encouraged to earn my own money to buy it. As a result, I started babysitting kids in the street from the age of 12, as well as doing a paper run every Sunday even in Winter when the snow could be up to 1 metre deep.
2. What kinds of experiences have you had with debt?
Peta: I have grown up understanding one of the few ways to own your own house in Australia is by borrowing money from a bank. However, any loans / debts through the bank have been paid back as soon as possible. If the minimum repayment was $500 per month, I would pay $1000, and at the end of each quarter, I would also make an additional bulk payment of all extra money saved.
Jonas: Amazingly, my experiences with debt are the same as Peta’s. Any money owing should be paid off as quickly as possible with as little interest paid as possible. Both Peta and I also have never had credit card debt.
3. What’s your investing style, and what kinds of individual and joint accounts do you have?
Peta: Growing up in Australia, I have always understood the value of land and property. As such, in addition to a home, I have also invested in property.
Jonas: I have never understood Australian’s passion for property investment. From an early age I have concentrated on stocks and shares, and I am currently lying by a pool in Phuket, Thailand investing / trading to help subsidise our way of life.
4. What kind of work for pay did you do? Do you think you’re done working for income forever?
Peta: I was a high school teacher and in educational management for 20 years plus both in Australia and in Tokyo. I am a very passionate educator however, politics got in the way of allowing me to do my job at a level I was satisfied with. As a result, I reached a point in my career where I was stressed and exhausted, and it was at this point we started looking at different alternatives.
Jonas: My career has comprised of an interesting mix of managerial positions in sales and marketing in Sweden and Norway, resulting in a position in Australia in the steel industry, and later with my own business in the aquarium industry. Whilst I loved my aquarium business, it was long hours 7 days a week which allowed little time to go away for weekends or travel for extended periods of time.
Both: What started out as an “Adult Gap Year” turned into something else… We are both extremely happy with our life of full time travel, so we have no plans on returning to full time jobs and careers. We are happy to slow travel the world and work the hours we want to.
5. Do you have a home base to return to between travels? Do you plan to change your housing situation in the future?
Both: We are very fortunate to have two great, but opposing bases for our travels; Queensland, Australia in the South where we used to live and where Peta’s family still live. This has been our December/Christmas stop. Then we have Västerås, Sweden in the North where Jonas’ grew up and his family lives. Sweden has been our perfect mid-year stop.
We currently have no plans on settling anywhere, but we do keep an eye on market trends in various countries around the world and changes to long term visa requirements.
6. How do your full time travels to different locations impact your money? Do you design your travel plans based on money?
Both: Contrary to the “you guys must have won the lottery theory,” unfortunately, we do have to stick to a budget to be able to continue doing what we do long term. Some destinations cost more and others cost less. We may spend more in Europe than our monthly budget dictates but this is balanced out by time spent in cheaper destinations like South America and Asia. Seasonal travel also greatly impacts our travel plans and we avoid peak season travel not just for the cost, but also the amount of tourists at those times.
7. Do you have people you can talk openly with about money? Does talking about money impact your confidence?
Both: We have found many people do not understand our thinking when it comes to money or the lifestyle we choose to lead. Luckily for us, we are both 100% on the same page when it comes to money and are both very financially literate.
8. What are your personal money goals at this point in your life?
Both: Our personal financial goals are simply to live within our allocated budget so we can continue living this lifestyle indefinitely.
9. How do you feel about money at this point in your life?
Both: We are very comfortable financially and regularly monitor our investments to ensure we are where we need to be. Our budget is generally considered to be on the lower end for a full time travel couple but we have met those with a lot higher budget, and those with a lot lower budget. But, we make it work and have never sacrificed on comfort, safety or amazing food and beverage experiences.
10. What kinds of activities do you love? How do your favorite activities impact your spending?
Both: We have chosen to slow our travels down aiming to spend 1 month or more in various destinations. This allows us to immerse ourselves more fully in the local culture and see all the sights at a leisurely pace. We also love walking in the backstreets to discover more local and “real” experiences and find hidden little cafes, restaurants and bars.
We are currently in Phuket in Thailand and can happily fill our days lying by the pool reading and working, exploring the island on a motorbike, finding hidden snorkeling spots, walking or riding around the backstreets in more local areas, taking photographs, eating amazing Thai food at cheap and cheerful restaurants, and watching the sunset over tasty cocktails.
11. Last question – what are you most excited about right now?
Both: We are most excited to be back on the road and traveling full time again! After spending the last 2 years during Covid in Australia living with family, we were more than ready to start “living” our lives again.
Our future travel plans include visiting family in Sweden who we haven’t seen in 3 years, a Mediterranean cruise and seeing more of Turkey and Spain. In October we have booked a Transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Florida and we plan on spending the remaining part of the year and 2023 discovering more of Mexico, Central and South America.
That’s it for now from Peta and Jonas from Exit45 Travels! We’re excited to include them in our Talking Money series. Perhaps we’ll meet these online friends in real life in the future somewhere in the world. Thank you for reading their story, we’re all looking forward to your comments!