Interview with The Road Forks

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The following is our complete interview with Akila and Patrick of The Road Forks who were featured in our How to Make a Living on the Road article.

Wand’rly:
First, can you give us the basics – name and ages of people in your family?
Akila:
Akila – 33. Patrick – 33
Wand’rly:
Do you travel full or part time?
Akila:
Full time
Wand’rly:
How do you make a living while traveling?
Akila:
I work as a writer and legal consultant, Patrick works as a software architect, and we make some side money and get sponsorships through our blogs.
Wand’rly:
How does working from other countries differ from doing so in the US? Are most of your clients still US-based?
Akila:
All of our clients are US based.
Wand’rly:
Is that what you did before you began traveling, or did your career change when you began?
Akila:
We kind of made a career change. I was a lawyer before I started traveling and Patrick is continuing to work for the same company he worked for before we left the U.S.
Wand’rly:
Before you began traveling, what kind of preplanning did you do to get ready to make income on the road?
Akila:
None. We didn’t really think that we would be able to make an income while traveling — we have been pleasantly surprised that people like our work enough that they keep wanting to hire us while we travel.
Wand’rly:
Did you hit the road with a nest egg or a safety net of some type, or did you just trust you’d figure it out as you went?
Akila:
A huge nest egg, though a good chunk of that was in a CD that we don’t plan to touch until we go back to the U.S. to buy a house.
Wand’rly:
How do your expenses while on the road compare to when you had a fixed address?
Akila:
We spend about the same on the road as we did when living in the U.S. full-time, though we aren’t gaining any equity because when we lived in the U.S., we had a house that we put our mortgage money toward. Now, we rent as we travel. We could travel much cheaper by staying in Southeast Asia or South America and we try to balance expensive countries with cheaper countries (for example, in the last six months, we spent 1 month in Croatia, 1 month in Bulgaria, and 2 months in Turkey to offset 5 earlier months in England, Spain, France, and Italy.)
Wand’rly:
Has your career changed over the years you’ve been on the road? If so, what was behi
Akila:
We keep getting more and more work, meaning that we find that we need more time to sit down and work and fast Internet has become one of our highest necessities. When we don’t have fast Internet for a few days, we start to get very nervous.
Wand’rly:
I know that the traveling lifestyle can mean there is no “typical” work week, but could you give us an estimate of about how many hours you work per week?
Akila:
About 30 hours per week, on average. During busy periods, we’ll spend closer to 60 hours/week working or we might take an entire week off from traveling and sightseeing just to work. When we have friends or family staying with us or we have limited time in a particularly expensive location (for example, we spent one week in Cappadocia), we end up working less than 10 hours/week.
Wand’rly:
Do you ever have difficulty staying focused on work when there’s always something new and exciting out your window?
Akila:
Never. After three years of doing this, we know that there’s always going to be something exciting out the window and we can’t see and do everything, no matter how hard we try. We always create a list of priority attractions when we first reach a new destination and spend our time seeing those. Normally, we split up our days so that we sightsee in the morning and work in the afternoons and evenings with a break for dinner.
Wand’rly:
How do you find new work?
Akila:
We have steady companies we work with and we get in touch with them when we’re running short on work. They always have more things for us to do!
Wand’rly:
How do you travel, an RV, a bus, your own two feet…?
Akila:
Patrick and I initially traveled mostly by plane, bus, and car, but in this last year, we are traveling with our two dogs, so we shipped our SUV from the United States and are roadtripping through Europe with them in our own car.
Wand’rly:
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us or our readers about your experiences with making a living to support your travels?
Akila:
If you want to make a living while traveling, make sure that you do exceptional work every single time you get a contracting gig. That’s the only way to survive as a freelancer.