Going Broke in a Foreign Country

The view from the beach

The truth about going broke on the road

This is a photo of me, standing on the edge of a boat looking out at the lake

Hey guys, today I want to talk to you about something a little bit more serious. I got the idea from a group I am in on Facebook where someone was chatting about their fears of going broke somewhere, so far away from home. That inspired me to share my story, as someone who is currently broke AF in a foreign country. This isn’t about to be some gofundme campaign, or a pity me story. This is the truth about being a digital nomad and trying to find that balance between living my dream of traveling full time, and actually making time to work while I do it. It is me, finding my balance between work and life on the road.

Paragliding over Montenegro

The personal stuff

This is about to get pretty personal yo.

So what signifies broke in a foreign country? Money is different to every person, and people may consider themselves broke even when they still have hundreds or sometimes even thousands of dollars. I am just sharing my personal side of things.

Over the past two years I have basically been traveling full time and never working. That means that I had A LOT of money in my savings account. I never stressed about money because I just assumed that one day I would go home, get a real job and go back to college. 2,5 years later and that is not happening. And that savings account that used to look so good, is down to about $0.

Going home or sticking it out?

If you asked me if I could go home right now, or if something came up and I HAD to go home right now, I wouldn’t be able to buy a plane ticket. I would have to put it on my credit card, and then I would have to get home and get a job to pay that off. Having no money to get home is a terrifying prospect. I reached out to my parents and chatted with them, over many tears, about whether or not I should give up and head home.

Instead, I decided to do something even scarier and invest all of none existent money in learning how to code. You can read about my coding experience, but that’s not what this is about either. Since I did the coding course I have had a million, and I do mean 1 MILLION people ask me if the course was worth the money.

Everyone keeps saying to me, “But Justyn, I can’t afford this, I have NO money. I can’t even afford my doctors appointment, or lunch with friends or whatever it is”. I am telling you right now, I HAD $75 WHEN I DECIDED TO INVEST IN IOC. Literally I could not afford to go home, I could not afford a place to stay. I couldn’t afford ANYTHING. So yes, I fully believe with all my heart that IOC is worth it.Β Enough about that, the point is that I foudn something to invest myself in, for the future.

Jono sitting on the edge of a cliff right in front of the 12 apostles

What to do if you go broke on the road

I feel like I am a bit of an expert in this area, since I have and am experiencing it as we speak. I want to share with you some tips to help you destress and find work.

Step 1 Baby Don’t Worry, About a Thing

Don’t worry too much. The more stressed you are, the less money you are going to have. Why? Because if you are so stressed out, you are going to make yourself sick. If you are sick, you aren’t going to be able to work very hard. Also you run the risk of having to go to the doctor which costs a lot of money, which will stress you out even more. So let’s not stress. Meditate daily, do some yoga, look for jobs. Attract the money that you need into your life.

Step 2 Twerk it gurl

No I am not telling you to sell yourself or join a strip club or anything crazy. I just mean work really hard. But not too hard. I spend a little time each day looking for jobs. It takes a little longer because I am trying to find jobs that are actually going to pay me a decent amount of money. I time block my days so that I know when I can look for jobs, when I can work on those jobs, when I can work on the blog, etc. IT HELPS SO MUCH.

Step 3 Upskill

Can’t find any skills that you might have, that could make you money digitally? Try upskilling. Institute of Code is a great choice of course, as it worked so well for me. It’s not the only choice though. Ever heard of a Virtual Assistant? Basically an assistant that works from ANYWHERE. THIS COULD BE YOU. Head over to http://virtualassitantinternship.com for some info on how you can do this for work.


Remember, you are doing this for a reason. Whether you love living abroad, want to travel more, or just want to work from home. THERE IS A REASON YOU ARE DOING THIS. Make sure that you are taking the time to enjoy yourself. Don’t work so hard that you never get to enjoy what is around you. And don’t work so hard that you get frustrated and never do what you actually love. For me that is traveling. I started stressing so much, that I stopped traveling and taking days off and I WORKED NONSTOP. Then I realised that I hated my life and I had an amazing life so it was STUPID. And sometimes it still is because I get into these ruts where I just feel like it isn’t even worth it.

Me and Keirsten from the Blonde Abroad

Getting over it

I did not even know that going broke on the road was something that I should be afraid of. I never assumed that it would happen to me. And here I am, broke in a foreign country. Honestly, this probably scares my mom more than it scares me. I believe that things are going to work out for me. Work is out there everywhere for digital nomads. You just have to put the time into finding it.

I know that right now, things might be a little tight, but at least they’re a little tight in Bali. At least I get to be broke in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, surrounded by people who love me.

The point is, and this is what I am still trying to remind myself of daily, going broke so far away from home isn’t the scary part. The scary part is letting that lack of money keep you from enjoying the little tihngs in life. At the end of our lives, we are not going to care about how much money our blog made, and we aren’t going to care what our job title was. We are going to care about all the little things along the way. So don’t let money stop you from doing what you love.

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  • Chiera
    September 29, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Great advice! I can imagine it being scary to literally not be able to go home, but also think how good it will be when you are topping up your money again, and still travelling. You’ll be glad you stuck it out!

  • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    September 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Kudos to you for letting bravery trump the fear!

  • Lyne
    September 29, 2017 at 3:18 am

    This was inspriring to read and your mindset seems great. I never really thought about going broke on the road I guess I stress too much to stay in my budget and with extra just in case, must be why ahah.

  • Josephine
    September 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Cool! Good to hear that you stuck it out and actually made it all for the better!

  • Liya Panayotova
    September 28, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I love your tip about taking the time to enjoy yourself. No matter what happens on the road, or at home, life is what’s going on right at this moment and I always want to make the most of it.

  • Lina
    September 28, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I love you’re positive attitude. I’m sure everything will work out fine for you with this spirit and it seams like you know what you are doing. Goodluck!
    Reading the post it gives me a feeling that these things are what distinguish who makes it or not as a digital nomad.

  • sabrina trevisan
    September 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

    True and inspiring. Finding a good balance is already difficult when “at home” let alone when living as a digital nomad. Good on you that you managed to upskill and be back on tracks! keep it up guurrrl! Definitely following you (I’m also going nomad from January and planning to take my job as a freelance social media and content marketer with me). Lot of luv.

  • Maria Angelova
    September 28, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Yeah, enjoying life is the best advice. However, it’s useless to think about what might or could happen – it’s easier to live fully in the here and now. πŸ™‚

  • Lauren Brandon
    September 27, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Seriously inspiring! I have money struggles much different from yours but they are still keeping me up at night and away from the enjoyment of the things I do have. You are awesome and I love this blog.

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