How I Afford To Travel And Move (& How You Can Too)

If it wasn’t for my dad I would probably think of traveling as something expensive, something that you do once a year and that’s it. In one of my recent YouTube videos, I shared with you my travel story. Travel was always something that fascinated me and wherever I went I brought an old-school analog camera, and later a digital one, that I loved to bits. Exploring new places, taking in new sceneries and tasting the local cuisine is something that brings me great joy.

How I Afford To Travel the minimalist ninja

How to travel & move more

In 2013 I decided to move to Berlin for three months and ended up leaving Austria for good, prior to even getting my degree, at the beginning of 2014. That initial move to London scared the s*** out of me and I just knew I had to do it. The thought of staying and not making the move had become scarier than moving. Since then I’ve lived in Berlin, London and two times in New York City. Years ago I made the conscious decision to make moving and travel my priority and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I oftentimes get asked what I went to school for and where I work, implying that what I studied or where I work/ed is what “allows” me to travel, move and to live the life that I am living. I went to school for 40 hours a week, had a 1.5-hour long commute each way, worked as many as three jobs simultaneously and interned or worked every single summer. When I left Austria in 2014 I was looking forward to pursuing unpaid internships for six months and I just knew in my bones (dramatic, I know) that I had to get myself out there.

I’ve since lived in London and two times in New York City and have always found work within a couple weeks. I was able to work in London thanks to the EU and was able to work in New York City, because I was able to apply for a green card with the help of my babe. The thing is that it’s not about the school I went to or the places I work/ed at. What made all the difference was making travel and moving my priority. The minute I made travel and moving my priority, things fell into place and opportunities popped up that I would have otherwise dismissed or worse, not even noticed. It’s that easy and there’s no magic to it.

“You get what you focus on” is something that always comes to mind when I get asked how I manage to travel and move as much as I do. For me, it all started with a copy of “The success principles” by Jack Canfield. It must have been in 2010 that I first read it. I did almost every single exercise of the book and for the first time in my life I set my priorities, defined my values and wrote down my goals. To my surprise, years later in 2014, I stumbled upon a piece of paper from 2010 that listed my goals and almost everything on it became reality.

That’s the power of living in accordance with your values, setting your priorities straight and defining your goals.

How I Afford To Travel the minimalist ninja

1. Take responsibility for your life

You are responsible for your life and no one else is. You are living in a country you don’t really want to be living, you are working 60 hours a week in a job you dislike and you are in the process of getting married although you the concept of marriage doesn’t really appeal to you. Who’s to blame? Your friends who keep telling you that the place you are from, is the best in the world, your dad who would be devastated if you were to quit your job and your mom because she thinks marriage is the way to go. Not taking responsibility by blaming whatever you are going through on someone else is easy – it’s comforting even.

β€œWhen you blame others, you give up your power to change.” – Robert Anthony

However, not taking responsibility for your life comes at a cost that I personally, wouldn’t be willing to pay. By not taking responsibility for your life you are giving away all your power, your options, and opportunities. In order to live the life that you truly want to be living, you need to first take responsibility for your life and current life situation. There’s no one to blame for your current life situation or missed opportunities. It’s all on you.

By taking responsibility for your life you are taking back your power – your power to take action and make things happen. Just remember that, while you can control your actions, you can’t control their results. Just taking responsibility for your life situation and actively working towards making it better is all you really need to do. Once you get into the swing of things, taking action and doing you becomes natural. However, taking that first step and taking responsibility for it all is key.

How I Afford To Travel the minimalist ninja

2. Live in accordance with your values

Living in accordance with one’s values should not be underestimated. What are values? Values are what’s important to you in life and this can of course, dependent on your life situation and goals, change. While you may be aware of your values, it holds tremendous power to simply write them down. Not sure what your values are?

Whether you are consciously aware of them or not, your values are the guiding force behind everything you do.

It’s true! Everything you do is, in one way or the other, determined by what you believe in, by what’s important to you in life, in short, by your values. There’s no getting around it and given that your values greatly impact your life they are worth being put into writing.

the minimalist ninja core values
My core values

If you want to travel the world and are spending $200 every single weekend on just-drinks, then you may want to sit down and get clear on what’s truly important to you in life. Once you’ve determined what’s truly important in your life you can move on to step #3.

3. Set your priorities straight

If you want to travel the world, then you need to make saving for travel your #1 priority. If you want to finally make the move to that country you always dreamed of living in, save up a little, pack your bags and go. It’s that simple. If you are spending $100 per month on your phone bill because you needed the newest iPhone which you’ll now be paying off for years and want to travel then something’s gotta give.

If you are spending $500 per month on food because you are getting take-out every single day consider cooking food at home and going to a low-key eatery once a week. I think you get the idea. Whatever it is that you are spending your money on, take a closer look. For me, that means living a “suitable life” according to my values and favoring experiences over stuff, which brings me to step #4.

4. Define your goals

How much money do you need to finally take the leap and move to the country of your dreams? How much money do you need to save for your epic adventure? Could you travel on $1,000 per month or less? Do you want to work remotely? Do you want to pick up work wherever you are living? Do you want to take an epic trip without needing to work? What steps do you need to take to finally do it?

It’s time to get real and calculate what you expect to spend and need on your adventure. Get clear on your biggest expenditures while traveling and moving, leave a little wiggle room and add them all up – this should be the amount that you need to travel and move.Β  Once you’ve defined the amount you need it’s time to put it into writing. Make your goal measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.


  • “I will have $12,000 in savings for my 1 year-long trip around the world by 01/01/2019”
  • “I will have $5,000 in savings for my move to New York City by 01/01/2019”
  • “I will speak German at level B2 by 01/01/2019”
  • “I will intern at a tech startup in Berlin in August, July and September 2019”

At the end of every year, I sit down for a couple of hours and set my goals for the next year. My goals focus on three areas of my life “BE” (What do I want to embody?), “DO” (What do I want to do?) and “HAVE” (What do I want to own?). I usually set up a list of all my goals and save it as a .jpg. I then use it as my desktop background and/or hang it up on a wall. That way I am reminded of my goals every single day.

the minimalist ninja seoul

5. Keep track of all your expenses

I know what you might be thinking. That sounds painful. Too much effort. Rest assured, it’s easier than you think it is. I’ve been keeping track of all my expenses since 2014 and it’s seriously one of the best habits I’ve ever gotten into. I use a google sheets template that helps me with keeping track of every single penny that I am spending. If you want to save money for travel then you need to know where your money is really going.

Make sure that your spending habits, are in alignment with your values and reflect your priorities.

All those expenses on snacks, take-out, drinks, and unnecessary high phone bills really add up. After a couple of months, you should have a clear picture of where your money is really going and can take the appropriate steps. After months of keeping track of all my expenses in 2014 I realized that while I was setting aside heaps of money for travel and moving, I was also spending quite a bit on clothing and going out and while on paper traveling was my #1 priority, my spending habits didn’t really reflect that.

6. Create a vision board

Back in 2011, after reading “The Success Principles”, I created a compelling vision of my future self by making a beautiful “goals board” (a paper featuring all my goals in writing) and later I added a “vision board” to it all. Creating a vision board can be an incredibly powerful exercise. There are two ways to go about it, you can create a physical one or a digital one. I recommend the latter because it’s much easier to update it and you can take it with you wherever you go.

I searched the internet for motivating photos and threw some of my own into the mix. I then compiled them all on an A4 InDesign document. Every year I create a new vision board and fill it with photos based on my goals for the year. I then usually print it out and put it in a very prominent place in my room where I get to look at it every single day.

the minimalist ninja vision board

7. Focus and do you

Focus on what it is that you truly want to be doing and just go for it. Easier said than done, I know, and so is everything. While it may seem daunting in the beginning, I’ve met so many wonderful people who simply made traveling and moving their priority in life and that’s what they’ve been doing ever since. Getting clear on what it is that you want, knowing your values, setting your priorities straight and defining your goals can help you get there. There’s no magic formula and everyone’s situation is different. At a fairly young age, I decided to make moving and traveling my priority and I’ve arranged my life around it. It’s as simple as that.


Traveling and moving is what I love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want to travel and move more, you need to make it a priority. There’s tremendous power in taking responsibility for your life, setting your priorities straight, defining your goals, keeping track of your expenses, creating a compelling vision and most importantly doing you. Remember, there’s only so much preparation you can do. Eventually, if you really want to do something, you need to take the leap and just do it. No one can do it for you – taking that final step and leap into the unknown is all on you.

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Updated: November 2018



  1. Sarah
    February 23, 2018 / 5:59 PM

    Great article, Nina. Well thought out and articulated. Thank you so much for taking the time to putting your thoughts to (e-)paper. Will be referring back to it more than once!

    • Nina
      February 24, 2018 / 8:13 AM

      I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment πŸ™‚

  2. Nicole
    February 23, 2018 / 9:42 PM

    Fantastic post! Inspirational and practical:)

    • Nina
      February 24, 2018 / 8:12 AM

      Thank you so much!! πŸ™‚

  3. February 25, 2018 / 6:22 AM

    Yay to more travel. While what you are doing is truly inspiring, for some of us, maybe it would be best to start small. One country per season or out of town. Cheers!

    • Nina
      February 25, 2018 / 6:48 AM

      Wohooo! πŸ˜€ More travel it is! πŸ™‚ It’s all dependent on what one wants! πŸ™‚

  4. Michelle
    February 25, 2018 / 7:20 AM

    I came across your post in an ashtanga yoga YouTube video, and found that we have so much in common. I am so fond of traveling (visited 11 countries last year, all during weekends as I have to work during weekdays). The only difference was I didn’t record any of it, which makes me really appreciate your effort in keeping all your experience here. It’s definitely worth your effort and definitely opens eyes for people would love to have the same experience!

    • Nina
      February 25, 2018 / 8:19 AM

      I am so glad that you stumbled upon my channel through my ashtanga yoga video! Awesome that you managed to visit 11 countries just by doing weekend trips, that’s incredible! I’ve been wanting to create a blog for so long and I am so glad that I did it. Thank you so much for saying that! πŸ™‚ I really just want to spread the love and write about places in the hope of inspiring others to travel and go places! πŸ™‚

  5. February 25, 2018 / 9:44 PM

    Hi Nina,
    Always great to read your blog and watch your videos..You are wise beyond your years. The thing is you have developed clarity. Thats really all you need. And then of course a plan. Its refreshing to read and hear from someone who not only knows what they want but also is level headed. I also sense serenity and joy in your life.
    Thank you for being you and sharing your stories..xo
    ps…glad you enjoyed – A year with Eleanor..i knew you would like it!

    • Nina
      February 26, 2018 / 9:07 AM

      I am so happy that you are enjoying what I am putting out there, Deborah! πŸ™‚ I love that – clarity – that’s totally what it is! While I still have lots to work through, I consider myself fairly content, most of the time πŸ™‚ I absolutely loved the book! Her year of fear and stories resonated so much with me! Thank you again for the recommendation! πŸ™‚

  6. March 17, 2018 / 9:02 AM

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So i am happy to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this site and give it a look on a constant basis.

    • Nina
      March 18, 2018 / 4:11 AM

      I am so thrilled to hear that you are finding the information I am putting up of use! I have so much fun writing and taking photos for my blog. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see, do not hesitate and let me know! πŸ™‚

  7. zalina ahmad
    December 9, 2018 / 2:30 PM

    I am so inspired with all your minimalism writings and ideas. Since i read those tips i am feeling great to start it until now im using all the tips that you’ve shared on Youtube and here and of course still struggling haha. Thanks God bless you. Keep it up Nina!!! we love it!!! Looking forward for more content!!! Hugs πŸ™‚

    • Nina
      December 10, 2018 / 7:06 AM

      Hi Zalina,

      I am so thrilled to hear that! πŸ˜€
      I’d just take it step by step. Focus on what you can do as opposed to what you are unable to do. There’s so much power in that! πŸ™‚
      Have a lovely Monday!!!! πŸ™‚

      Much love from Bulgaria! πŸ™‚

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