David and Cayleigh are the ambitious Canadian couple behind Made to Travel, a travel blog specializing in value travel and making the most of your trips. They’ve been travelling the world together since 2013. Now, at 27, they strike the perfect balance between life at home with a mortgage and long-term travel on their days off.
We caught up with the dynamic duo between trips to ask them how they juggle it all so successfully.
1. What Do You Do for a Living to Be Able to Travel so Much?
Cayleigh: “I work as an X-ray Technologist in a few hospitals in Calgary. I have worked part-time or casually for my entire career, allowing a ton of freedom and flexibility to travel. I can’t tell you how many times I have worked 9, 12, or 14 day stretches just to take off for a month or two the next day. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it works perfectly for me!”
David: “I work as an irrigation designer for a small consulting company. Having a career in the irrigation industry allows me to take long periods of time off during the winter when our fieldwork slows down. Working for a smaller company also allows for more flexibility. Most of my work is computer-based, so it also allows for more freedom.
2. What Drove You to Adopt a Nomadic Lifestyle?
“We came to the realization quite a few years ago that we weren’t all that interested in the “conventional life” as it seems to be expected of us. Going to school, getting a good job, buying a house, settling down and working on setting ourselves up for retirement sounded all fine and dandy, but not exactly what we envisioned for ourselves. We wanted to find a way to start living the life we dreamed of in the present. We needed to find a way to live that way throughout our entire lives.
For us, those dreams were primarily made up of travel. Seeing the world, experiencing new cultures, and pushing ourselves to try new things. We started jumping on every opportunity we had to travel and created our blog as a way to share our passion with the world.
In the beginning, the goal was to save up a lump sum of money to travel the world for 1 year. But then we realized that we could actually make this balance work long term. We learned we could build a life at home while travelling for 2-6 months per year, every year. That’s when the real magic happened.
Over the past 3 years, we have travelled to 12 different countries over a total of about 14 months while maintaining careers and a mortgage at home in Canada. It is a constant work-in-progress to build this sustainable balance in our lives, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
3. What Does Your Entourage Think of Your Lifestyle?
“Most of our friends and family are unconditionally supportive of our decisions and admire how we are approaching our dreams. We consider ourselves truly lucky to have such an outstanding inner circle that gets on board with all of our crazy adventures (even if it takes them a minute to wrap their heads around it at first.)
It’s wild to say, but when we think of our entourage now, it also includes a huge circle of like-minded people we’ve met online. It’s funny, we were so nervous to start putting ourselves out there through our website and social media initially, but today I can honestly tell you that our online community is the bomb! They support us, share their thoughts and experiences and teach us new things every day. It’s something we never dreamed we would be apart of, and we could not be more thankful for each and every one of these amazing people.”
“Honestly, though, we think our community perceives our lifestyle as a little more glamorous than it actually is. They are always seeing us hiking a volcano in Guatemala or diving on a 5-day liveaboard in Thailand, but what they don’t see is the work we put in to make it all happen.
They see us travelling the world for 3 months at a time, but they don’t see the 60-hour work weeks leading up to that trip. They see us starting to make a portion of our income online, but they don’t see the days and weeks and months spent creating our blog and online business. That’s why we think it’s so important to keep it real and try to share the good, the bad, and the ugly instead of just the Instagram highlight reel!”
4. Which Countries Have You Visited So Far, and Which One Is Your Favourite?
“We have travelled to Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, as well as tons of places throughout Canada and the United States. Cayleigh has visited a lot of Europe with family and friends, and we’re actually planning a trip to Scotland!
While there is a special place in our hearts for every country we have been to, Panama stands out as one of our very favourites. The opportunities for adventure are endless, the country is jaw-dropping and we were able to avoid most of the “tourist hotspots” (which is how we love to travel!)”
5. What’s Your Life’s Motto?
Stop dreaming about your bucket list and go do it!
“It’s so common to fall into the habit of saying, “when this, then that.” For example, some people say, “when I finally get my raise next year, then we can go on that trip” or “when I lose 15 pounds, then I will be happy” or “when we pay off the house, then we can start doing all those things on our bucket list.” This is a pitfall that we, like everyone else, have fallen into several times in our lives. The sad reality is: there will never be a perfect time.
You can plan and save and do everything “right,” but at the end of the day, you don’t know what your future holds. You don’t even know exactly what tomorrow holds. So do it. Make it happen. Because if not now, then when? Whatever it is that brings you joy in life, do as much of that as you possibly can. Unapologetically.”
6. What Advice Would You Give to Anyone Wanting to Travel Long-Term?
“We get comments from people all the time along the lines of “I wish I could do something like that” or “it must be nice to be able to afford to travel that much.” And while we completely understand their point of view, we also want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them a little.
We don’t have extravagant bank accounts that allow us to travel luxuriously at our leisure worldwide. We make travel a priority because it’s important to us. And guess what? If we can do it, so can you!
Most people can travel long-term. When it comes down to it, it’s all about priorities. We don’t drive brand new vehicles, and we don’t own the latest electronics. We live in an older home and rent out our basement to help cover the mortgage while we’re away. We choose to spend our money on experiences that make us happy instead of material things. We choose to work for companies that allow us to travel more freely than most.
There is always a way to make it happen. Will it be the same for you as it is for us? Probably not. But there is always a way for you to make it work; you just have to find it!”
7. What Can We Wish You for the Future?
“More adventures and safe travels! We plan on continuing to experience the world for as long as we can. We really appreciate everything the travel community has done for us so far. We will continue to share travel tips, adventures, and a few funny stories along the way.”
David and Cayleigh are a living example of how to follow your passion and make your travel dreams come true. And they do it all without giving up the security of full-time careers!