“As a little kid, I shuttled back forth between Ohio and Kathmandu, Nepal. Which I realize might make me sound worldly, except for the fact that my worldview was so limited that I thought the whole world was no bigger than Ohio and Nepal.” 

In 2008, today’s guest quit her job and sold it all to backpack across the Middle east, Asia and Europe for two years. This set in motion the desire for a lifestyle that incorporated travel as a regular part of the no longer boring routine.

In this episode, we explore in depth how Paula could afford to this, continues to travel today and how you can do the same.

Paula Pant is the mind behind Afford Anything where she helps others master their money, buy back your life, ditch the cubicle and embark on an epic adventure. I had the fortune of meeting Paula in Las Vegas back in January, and thought her enthusiasm for what she believes, and how she lives her message, to be infectious.

I’m excited to riff with her about her location independence, why she does what she does, and her advice for you — if what you want is to set your sights on freedom, travel and adventure.

But what I like most about Paula is that she has a realistic, and intelligent approach towards reconfiguring your personal finances with the intention of building freedom.


What We Cover

  • Paula spent her years shuttling between Ohio and Nepal, which surprisingly did not give her a love of travel. It wasn’t until later that she
  • How she saved up to quit her job to take a two year trip to the Middle East, Asia and Europe that she knew travel needed to be a bigger part of her life.
  • Where the idea for her business, Afford Anything, came from.
  • How you can afford anything, according to Paula, by ruthlessly taking control of your budget and cutting out the things that society says are “normal.”
  • Nobody ever questions spending money on graduate school, weddings, or home buying by saying, “Wow! You must be rich!” But when you travel extensively, people openly question it.
  • Paula’s strategy on saving for a travel life, including her real estate investments which pay her $40,000 per year net passive income.
  • What are index funds and how can they give you a passive source of cash flow?

How to Save Confidently for a Travel Life

  1. Rather than spend money and stash what’s left over at the end of the month, pick what percentage of your income you’d like to save. Paula recommends 20-50%. “Skim it off the top, and then spend the rest.” Automate this process.
  2. Focus on paying off your high interest debt first (7-8% interest or higher). Even if you have credit card debt, pay that off before you cure your wanderlust.
  3. Focus on building an emergency fund. If you’re paying off credit card debt, then have $500-1000 in reserve. If you don’t have debt, then keep about 3-6 months of your expenses in reserve.
  4. Invest at least 10% of your income towards retirement. Think of it like a worst case scenario fund for when you’re old. Start this as early as you can.
  5. Buy investments that give you a stream of passive income, such as real estate and broad market index funds that specialize in high dividend payouts.

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Music credit: Intrepid Journey, by Aaron Static

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I’m a lifelong international traveler, the host of The Travelers podcast, and founder of Holocene, a framework and community for writing the story of your life using travel and creativity.