4 Lessons Learned from 4 Years of Full Time Travel

Are you dreaming of starting your own business and being able to work from anywhere? If so, this episode is for you! In this heart to heart, I share 4 lessons I’ve learned from building my online business to multiple six figures while traveling the world. This is advice I give to my clients, and my intention is to expand your frame of reference of what is possible for you!

If you have ever wanted to travel full time this is the episode for you! I run through my journey to full time travel (02:25), how you can travel full time too, the best way to make income while travelling (11:10) and the meaning and amazingness of ‘Geoarbitrage’ (19:30).

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Audio Transcript

Intro (5s):
The Wanderlover podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu business mentor, content creator, and founder of The Wanderlover tune in every week for episodes about travel online business, social media, and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. If you’ve been enjoying the Wanderlover podcast, if you’ve been tuning in and finding inspiration and taking away value, it would mean so much to me. If you could take a second to leave us a review on apple podcasts, I continue to record these episodes for you every single week and take all of your comments and feedback to heart.

Danielle (52s):
Thank you guys so, so much. Hello my loves! Welcome back to The Wanderlover Podcast. We are still in Rote and I am recording this from our bedroom, overlooking the beautiful Indian ocean with the clearest blue waters. Rags just went out for a surf and I felt really inspired to be recording this episode. And so today I really just want to have a heart to heart with you of four lessons learned from four years of full-time travel. So this environment is very familiar to me. I’ve been recording these episodes nonstop for the past year.

Danielle (1m 34s):
I’ve been working online for the past almost four years. And so setting up my office space by a beach and choosing my location in this world, I realized just comes very naturally to me. And at this point, it’s what I know to be my life. And so in this episode, I really want to share and reflect on the steps in my life that have gotten me here and also share my way of thinking different experiences to expand your frame of reference and to expand what you think is possible. And if parts of my life are like, oh my God, that sounds really cool. I had no idea.

Danielle (2m 15s):
You could even do that. I hope you take this inspiration, take this intuitive calling and integrate it into your own life. Because for me, I truly believe that there is no better way to live that I know of. I’m obviously constantly expanding my frame of reference as well, but this is a life I had always imagined for myself. And to backtrack a little, for those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, I started my career working in corporate America. So I graduated university with an economics degree. I landed a full-time job with a bank in New York city.

Danielle (2m 55s):
And you know, at a point in my life, I thought that’s what I wanted. That’s why I worked so hard to land. I went to like five different super days for all different banks. And I dedicated so much time and resources and energy securing a full time offer because I thought working for a bank was something I really wanted. Maybe you’re going through the same thing. You work so hard to get something. And then all of a sudden you’re in it. And you’re like, holy shit, this is not what I want. And then you start questioning yourself. You’re like, but am I supposed to like this? Everyone around me seems to like it. And then maybe you like tell your coworkers about some doubts that you’re having.

Danielle (3m 36s):
And then they’re just like, oh, I don’t understand. I’ve been here for like 10 years and they have great benefits and you’re just questioning like, are the benefits that great? Like, can I really see myself in this position for the next five years, the next 10 years for the rest of my life, especially when society has this conditioning that you must stay with a company for ever, right? Like I spoke with my parents and both of them work for big American corporations. And they’ve both been there for more than 20 years. So it’s so normal for you and for me to have questioned my reality.

Danielle (4m 18s):
So I just remember nothing really making sense. I was saving all of my vacation days to go on these weekend trips or to go on these one week trips halfway around the world, really maximizing my vacation days with public holidays. And I remember every day, the highlight of my day would be going out for lunch. And then we would talk about, you know, what are we having for lunch before lunch? And then we would have lunch. And then we would talk about the lunch that we had just had, like up to two hours later. Like I just remember that being so funny because it was really just the one thing that was a little different in our monotonous days. And I’m not saying like, all corporate jobs are like this, obviously there’s different company culture.

Danielle (5m 3s):
There’s different industries, but for me, I was at a bank and that’s just what I remember in my experience in it. So that is all to say, I have experienced a reality that was in no way, shape or form aligned with what I was passionate about, what got me excited. And so to be recording this podcast episode in rotate island, a remote island in Indonesia, for those of you listening around the world, you know, some of you might be in New York, some of you in Australia, some of you in France, it’s just surreal. And so I’ve obviously gone through many mindset shifts, many different life experiences to get me to where I am today.

Danielle (5m 53s):
And that is why I want to share with you in this episode to share those different ways of thinking to share the different experiences. And this is how we enter in new chapters in our life, right? Because if we were just thinking the same way and acting the same way we would be in the same exact chapter. So the first lesson that I learned from four years of full-time travel is to start as soon as possible, whether this be starting your travels, whether this be starting your online business, start something that you want to do as soon as possible. And of course, this is easier said than done, but trust me, you are the only person holding yourself back between whatever it is that you want to do and where you are right now.

Danielle (6m 41s):
You are the only person getting in your way. So my brother, my younger brother, Gary, he is 21 and he is in his final semester of college. He’s going backpacking cause he’s graduating a semester early. So he graduates next month. And he’s going on a solo backpacking trip down to Columbia, over to Peru and then probably over to Europe after which is amazing. And it makes me so happy because that is exactly what I did after university as well. So I also graduated a semester early backpacked through Columbia, Peru, and then over to Europe.

Danielle (7m 29s):
So I think this was originally, he really wanted to just go to Europe, but he didn’t want to go there in January because it’s cold. And so he decided on south America and that’s, I think the train of thought I had seven years ago when I was like, Hmm, I want to go to Europe, but it’s really cold. So I’m going to start with south America. He’s staying at hostels. I helped him look at different hostels on Hostelworld. They are literally like $10 a night. They have activities. They have group events. They have nights to go out with travelers and meet locals. And everything is just really fun. And experiential. This trip is all self-funded. He is using his savings that he saved up from his summer internship last year.

Danielle (8m 12s):
And I personally believe this is the best way he can be using his time before he gets into a corporate role, just experiencing and expanding his frame of reference. I also encourage backpacking and traveling when you are younger. So when you’re in your teenage years in your twenties, because I truly believe that the whole backpacking movement has an expiration date and same thing with going to festivals or going to parties. A lot of these things you wouldn’t necessarily do when you’re older or find the same joy in it, at least from personal experience. I think back to the day when I was 21 and I was in Columbia and I remember just walking down the beach at this one beach shack, and they said that there was a free shower.

Danielle (8m 60s):
And so at night when I asked for the shower, the guy took a milk jug, like an empty milk jug, poked a hole in it, using a knife, build up those milk jug with some water from this big bucket, and then put it on top of these bamboo like poles and the water started dripping out. And that was my shower. I thought it was awesome. I thought it was so cool. And now looking back, like I probably would have done that for a night, but I believe I stayed there for a week and I just loved it. I don’t know if I could do that now. It would definitely be roughing it, but that isn’t to say, you know, I wouldn’t get the same amount of enjoyment.

Danielle (9m 45s):
It’s just, you get to experience what you like when you’re younger and decide, Hey, you know what? I actually don’t like that. So you make decisions based on what you’ve experienced, whether you like it, or you don’t like it sooner. So that also ties into running a business and starting a business. You want to start as soon as possible because that’s how you learn. That’s how you learn what works for you. What doesn’t work for you, what you like doing what you don’t like doing instead of just theorizing, you know, oh, I think this could work, right. I think that’s what Japan is going to be. Like. I think that’s what Columbia is going to be like. It’s not about thinking and theorizing.

Danielle (10m 26s):
It’s actually learning from experience and experience is always, always, always going to be the thing that changes your mindset, changes your actions and changes your life because it’s your new reality, right? You’re experiencing it in front of you. And so how can you not change after seeing your new reality? How can you be in this completely foreign country, seeing how other people live and still be like, you know what I think corporate America is the only way to live, right? And when you go through these experiences and learn new ways of living new ways of banking, that is how you close one chapter in your life and move onto another one.

Danielle (11m 10s):
Okay. The next lesson I learned after four years of full-time travel is that if you love traveling so much, like I did, and I do the best way to do it full-time is with an online business. I talk about this, am I free case study that you can download in the episode description about my different chapters in my career. So going from corporate into drop shipping into Amazon FBA, into selling shout-outs on Instagram, into my influencer days and now into coaching. And what I have learned from experientially, trying, starting, and running these businesses is that online businesses are the way to go.

Danielle (11m 53s):
So if you really want to travel full-time and work from anywhere, and that is your end goal, you need to make sure that whatever business you are pursuing enables you to do that. Long-term right. If you wanted to start a boutique in your hometown, that is perfectly fine, and that is your own business, but it’s going to be harder for you to get the freedom, to be able to work from anywhere. Because most likely you’re going to have staff. You’re going to have inventory. You’re going to be somewhat confined to that one location. So before you start a business, it’s really important to analyze what exactly your goals are and what exactly this business entails and do the two align.

Danielle (12m 39s):
This is exactly what I teach you inside Wanderlover business academy, 2.0, because after all of those trial and error, I have perfected the formula of starting an impactful, influential, and profitable on online business from scratch. It’s what I funnel all of my clients through. It’s like, I know this is going to work for you. It’s going to combine your passions, your expertise, and where there’s a market for whatever it is that you want to do. And this is how you make money online using this formula. It works. And if you are just starting out, you’re looking for guidance. You’re looking for community. Check out WBA 2.0 in the episode description.

Danielle (13m 21s):
So of course I no longer have my drop shipping business. I no longer have my Amazon FBA business. And that’s partially because the crypto market crashed in 2017. And so I had to liquidate all of my inventory. I was importing Bitcoin wallets, but through all that, you know, through actually making sales online, actually getting my business up and running, setting up LLCs, going through web design, going through marketing, going through advertising, you learn so much through that. I had no idea what it even entailed before I started. And you will always learn so much more by doing it. And what helps is doing it right from the beginning, learning from someone who is living your reality and learning from them.

Danielle (14m 7s):
So I made the mistake of learning from business owners who weren’t traveling full-time and they’ve really thrived being in one location, being in their own office. And so that’s where the disconnect happened. I was like, well, I’m learning a lot about this, but you’re still not living the life that I want. And if you’re listening to this episode and traveling full-time is something that you want. Then I’m here to tell you that the best way to do this lifestyle, right, make a lot of money online, create an impact, work with clients that you absolutely adored. I am telling you the start your own online business and start your own online brand. Do not work for anyone else.

Danielle (14m 48s):
Do not get a remote job. Do not get a job at a hotel on this beautiful island, because then you’re confined, you’re out of beautiful hotel on this beautiful island, but you’re still confined to that beautiful hotel on that beautiful island. Right? And so with a lot of trial and error, I truly believe that I have found the pinnacle of time, freedom, location, freedom and financial freedom. And this is what I teach you inside of the academy. The third lesson I’ve learned is that you never know what to expect and because of this, you need to be bold. So I first remember going back to, when I landed in Columbia, in Carta henna, I had a one-way flight from New York city to Gartha Hanna Columbia.

Danielle (15m 35s):
I was dropped off in front of my hostel and as I was walking along the streets, it was very Spanish, very quaint beach town. I don’t think I looked at, I don’t think Google street view was a thing back then it was 2011. So I don’t remember, you know, looking at the street and being like, oh, that’s what it looked like. I literally thought it would be suburban New York. For some reason. I just thought it was like bigger streets, you know, paved roads, typical houses. But when I got there, it was so colorful, so quaint. And I just remember, wow, this was not what I had expected at all.

Danielle (16m 19s):
Like, holy shit, I am in a completely different place than I had imagined. I thought there would be skyscrapers hall buildings. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it sure as hell was not what that view of my pretty pink hostel looks like in front of me. And that is also something that I’ve grown used to. And I’ve adopted. I really thrive in the excitement of the unknown. So even though I may think it will play out a certain way or I think it will look a certain way. There is a huge chance that no matter how much preparation, no matter how much research goes into a place, the reality will still completely overwhelm and surprise you.

Danielle (17m 9s):
And of course, this starts with the boldness of making that decision in the first place, right? And even when you make the decision, you still have expectations of how it’s going to play out, but it’s completely okay to just surrender to the unknown, surrender to the outcome and let it play out in front of you. So I personally just get so, so excited at the unknown. I love when things are different. I love when I wake up and I don’t know what emails are going to be in my inbox, what’s going to happen in the day. It’s so exciting. And that is the excitement I was chasing when I was in corporate because every day was so predictable. So mundane, that was just not aligned at all with my personality.

Danielle (17m 53s):
So through travel and through experiential learning and through making these bold decisions, I now am so excited by the unknown of the day to day. And this is the mindset that you should adopt, or you must adopt if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, because there is no way that you can predict what is going to happen. There’s no way that you can learn everything that you need to know at once. It’s going to be so much learning on the go. When you’re launching a course, when you’re learning online marketing, when you’re building your business, all of these are so transferrable. So in travel and in business, you just never know what to expect.

Danielle (18m 36s):
Right? And that’s the beauty of it. That makes me so, so happy because what is the point? If you can map out your life and you guys probably know what I’m talking about, like you have plans to go somewhere or you have plans to do something. And then life is just like, Nope, Nope, Nope. That’s not how it’s going to happen. That’s not what you’re going to see. That’s not how it’s going to play out. And I know you had plans, but Nope, I’m just going to completely change all of that as that happened to you. So on one hand, you can see this as like, fuck things. Didn’t go my way, but I can guarantee you that every time something has happened, that way you’ll reflect back and you’ll be like, huh, I can see why that happened now.

Danielle (19m 21s):
Right? Huh? That’s the lesson I was meant to learn. And so trusting the process, something that I’ve learned from four years of full-time travel and four years of working remotely, and this is important lesson number three. Okay. So then the last lesson that I’ve learned from doing this and creating my current reality is the concept of geo arbitrage. And this term has been coined by Tim Ferris in his book, the four hour work week. That is the one book that I read in corporate, completely changed my life. Four hour work week talks about geo arbitrage, where you change, where you live and work to take advantage of different prices for the same assets in various markets.

Danielle (20m 7s):
So for example, last year when we were in Argentina, we had $1 steaks and $1 bottles of wine because wine is just so abundant. We flew from Mendoza active. One was Ida’s. They gave every passenger one free crate of wine allowance. So if you went to the wineries and we took back like bottles and bottles of wine, we were able to have this box of wine for free of charge. And I thought that was so funny and just so great, but because the currency in Argentina, the inflation and whatever’s going on with our government work to our favor and because they just had so much steak steaks and wines were just really cheap.

Danielle (20m 54s):
And that’s what I learned. Like, Hey, you don’t need to be spending $70 on the steak in New York city. You can just go to one of those IDAs. You can get, you know, 10 times better steak for a dollar. And when you go to different countries and then you see what you can get in other countries, what standard of living you can adopt, you realize, oh my gosh, I don’t need to be paying my New York city rent. If I can make this income online and I can live in a completely different country, my cost of living is going to go way down. And my standard of living is going to go way up.

Danielle (21m 33s):
So currently in rotate where I am here, we have staff making our meals three times a day. They’re grocery shopping for us. They’re doing our laundry. They’re cleaning up our rooms every day. And it just takes so much of the decision-making out of my day. I don’t need to worry about what are we having for breakfast? What are we having for dinner? What do we need to get from the grocery store? I don’t need to be cleaning or doing household chores. And it brings so much more time back in my day to do the things I actually love doing like surfing and working and having client calls. And I probably wouldn’t be able to have this in Manhattan.

Danielle (22m 16s):
Maybe if I got a private chef, maybe if I moved closer to the beach, but this combination of having the help I need right next to a world-class surf break, realistically, just what it really happened anywhere else. I’m trying to think then I can’t think of it, but that’s the point like when you travel, when you go to different countries, when you have an online business that enables you to do all of this, your frame of reference of what is possible with your standard of living exponentially increases, like I can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned from the past four years of where I was in that cubicle, in that corporate job, without my business in front of me, without having the ability to live abroad for the entire year and go back home for the holidays.

Danielle (23m 9s):
Like this lifestyle just seemed so impossible for me. And lo and behold, less than four years later, I have made it my reality. And there is no way I am ever going back. You know, some people are like, oh, maybe you’ll try. And if you don’t really like it, you can always go back to corporate. No, I mean, never say never, but like, honestly, there’s no way I’m going back to that. So these are the four main lessons that I’ve learned. And of course they tie in my love, travel with my love for helping others and my love for running an online business.

Danielle (23m 52s):
So let it sink in, apply it to the areas in your life that you want to change and take action. You are the only thing, holding yourself back from the life you want to be living. If you have any questions, if you want to talk to someone, if you don’t have that community around you, people who get you, my DMS are always open. All right, guys, I will see you in the next episode and have an amazing week.


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, it would mean so much if you could leave a review on Apple Podcasts. This helps us spread The Wanderlover mission to those who need a dose of inspiration today, thank you!

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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