A couple who have been traveling the world for 4 years explain how they built a business on the road
Courtesy of Kach and Jonathan Howe
They'd each recently quit their corporate jobs at home, in the Philippines for Kach and the UK for Jonathan, to travel full-time.Since then, the couple - who wed in the UK in July 2016 - have launched a successful blog and online business while traveling to over 70 countries together.
Read on to learn about how Kach and Jonathan balance work and full-time travel.Follow their adventures on their Instagram pages, @2monkeystravel and @mrandmrshowe.
Kach emphasizes that people who want to travel long-term need a plan to generate income as they go. "If you want to sustain your travels, you really need to invest in your skills. Jon was already invested in his certification to teach English before quitting his job — aside from savings, you need to invest in skills."
Jonathan and Kach stress the importance of balancing work and exploration. "Environment is very important, so if we decide to stay in a hostel or anywhere with a big social atmosphere, then we try to get ahead with our work beforehand," Jonathan said. They plan to continue working as much as possible from their boat once they set sail.Advertisement
"Our plans for life aboard Empress are to start in the Caribbean, where we will sail from island to island, before taking the Panama Canal in order to cross the Pacific in early 2018," Jonathan said.
Shortly after, they set off for Miami in search of their next home. "Our 37-foot sail boat, Empress, is the single biggest investment we have ever made and the purchase price was just the beginning," Jonathan said, who is currently living on the boat and refurbishing it in the Florida Keys, while Kach completes a two-month tour around Africa.Advertisement
"This trip to the extreme south of the planet was kind of like the Holy Grail for us and also marked a major milestone in our travel blogging career," Jonathan said.
"During our two years of full time travel since , we have had invitations from tourism boards and private companies to travel around Europe, USA, Morocco, Australia, and many more," Jonathan said. Last December, they visited their seventh continent together: Antarctica. It was a sponsored press trip with Hurtigruten Cruises.Advertisement
The Howes say they have invested almost half of their total income back into their travel blogging business, which covers non-sponsored travel expenses, Facebook advertising, website redesigns, SEO, and hiring staff.
After two years of building readership, the Howes main focus is their online business. Their various income streams include affiliate marketing for accommodation bookings, tours, travel gear, and courses, and social media campaigns. They also do paid "influencer trips," earning as much as $500 per day or up to $5,000 a week to visit and promote a destination, Jonathan said.Advertisement
"Wherever we are, we're trying to figure out which business is best to focus on," Kach said. "Before blogging I spent most of my time doing massage. I usually had five clients a day for 60 minutes each, so I'd work all day and be free at night."
"Usually we take our time and find somewhere to stop for a while, to learn about the place and enjoy it, and set up some kind of income," Jonathan explained. "In Peru we had the massage business, and I was teaching donation-only yoga." In Costa Rica, Kach worked in a hostel.Advertisement
From there, they headed to South America, where they started using their new skills to support themselves.
While in India during the early summer of 2014, they started their blog, Two Monkeys Travel. At first, they didn't devote much energy to the site, as they were training up to 10 hours per day for their certifications.Advertisement
Next, they headed to India to get certified in Ayurveda massage and Tantra Yoga, a process that took about three months.
"I only knew what I was doing as far as teaching English," Jonathan said. "I didn't have a long-term plan. I didn't know what would happen."Advertisement
Kach and Jonathan started their nomadic lifestyle together in Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching English for about $3,500 a month.
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