How to Take 3 Years Off to See the World — with Betsy and Warren Talbot

  • July 7, 2010 by Corbett Barr
  • 16 Comments

Betsy and Warren TalbotIf you’ve thought traveling the world for a few years is only possible for 20-somethings or retirees, this story is for you.

Betsy and Warren Talbot from Married with Luggage are about to embark on a 3-year trip around the world. What makes their story unique is that they aren’t rich, retired, 20-somethings or even minimalists. They’re a married couple who are leaving successful big-company careers to see the world and celebrate their 40th birthdays abroad.

I caught up with Betsy and Warren earlier this year to talk about how they’ve changed their lives and saved enough to take 3 years off. They have managed to plan, prepare and save enough for the trip in just 2 years by focusing on what matters and restructuring their lives to make it possible.

If you’ve ever suspected that living large doesn’t mean living well, check out this interview. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How they decided the lives they were living weren’t working for them (3:56)
  • Why Betsy didn’t even have time to join a book club in her “old life” (4:35)
  • How getting out of debt is the key to opening up your lifestyle options (9:01)
  • How much they plan to spend while on the 3-year trip (10:57)
  • Which expenses they decided to give up to save for the trip (11:30)
  • How they got on the same page about money as a couple (12:05)
  • What percentage of their income they have been able to save (12:29)

Here’s the audio interview (just click the play arrow):

I originally interviewed Warren and Betsy back in February for a different project I was working on. I’ve since scrapped that project and apologize to the Talbots for taking so long to run this interview.

Since our interview, Warren and Betsy sold their house and moved in with a friend. They used a lot of social media to help sell the house, and even in this market it sold in 3 weeks for 98% of their asking price. Pretty cool.

They are also hosting a free event on September 14 (just 2 weeks before they leave) in Seattle called Meet, Plan, Go! where they will show other people how to take a career break for travel. It should be a really fun event (and part of a nationwide event in 13 cities). The grand prize is an “Inca Journey” trip to Peru from Gap Adventures, so check to see if there is an event in your area you can attend to be eligible.

Warren and Betsy Talbot are on a mission to redesign their lives to travel full time. Whether your dream is halfway around the world or in your own backyard, you’ll find information on goal-setting, living well, managing your money, and simplifying your life every week on their blog, Married with Luggage. Follow them on Twitter (Warren and Betsy) and on Facebook.

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Michaela Potter July 7, 2010 at 8:27 am

Betsy & Warren are such a great inspiration for those Americans dreaming of a career break but don’t think it’s possible. And even if it isn’t your dream to travel the world, they show that each of us is personal for our own happiness.

And we are thrilled that they are hosting Meet, Plan, Go in Seattle. I’ve only had a digital relationship with them and their energy permeates the computer screen. I can only imagine how inspirational they are in person.

Corbett July 7, 2010 at 9:11 am

Hey Michaela, thanks for the comment. Yeah, I agree, I like their message of how we’re responsible for our own happiness too. Like it says on their blog: “Life is short. Live your dream.”

Betsy Talbot July 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

Corbett, we loved talking with you and hope other people find our experience useful. We just had dinner with someone last night who wants take some extended travel and she had all the same questions you asked us here today. I forgot how much ground we covered! Good stuff.

Corbett July 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

We definitely covered a lot in the interview. Thanks again for taking the time. You must be getting excited now that the trip is so close!

Nate July 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

This is a really interesting and inspirational interview! Thanks so much for posting this, Corbett. It just is yet another example of how if you really want to do something, all it takes is some sound decision making and dedication and it’s within reach.

Betsy Talbot July 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Hi, Nate. I would also add that telling people your dream helps. So many times we keep this information to ourselves, and by saying it out loud we get the accountability we need to motivate us and also maybe some unexpected offers of help along the way. Be loud and proud with your dreams!

Eric July 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Wow was there a lot covered in this interview and it sounds like you have everything planned out nicely. It must feel so good to be out of debt and actually have full control over your life, or at least “feel” that way.

I’m not sure if my recommendation here would help you in any way but for budgeting software to help you even more I would recommend YNAB.

Good luck on your trip and hope to hear how you’re doing as things progress.

P.S. I really have to agree about what you said about having a goal YOU want and not just about pleasing someone else. If it’s a strong enough thing you want to have/do then you’ll know because you won’t mind giving up whatever it is you have to give up in order to get it.

You have to live your life for yourself. Period.

I also think it’s GREAT advice that you mention trying something out that would be one step toward your goal and if it’s not something you feel comfortable with then maybe you should not be after that particular goal at hand.

Long but fantastic interview. You both seem very passionate about this and ready to go after a brand new life.

Good luck to both of you and congratulations with all your ventures from here on.

Take care and maybe drop by my blog sometime and say hi and let me and my audience know how you’re doing! :)

Betsy Talbot July 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Eric, being out of debt is key to living the life you love, no doubt. I’ve been in debt up to my eyeballs and completely without debt at different points in my life, and I can assure you the debt-free life is a lot better, no matter what kind of lifestyle goals you have!

We used plain-Jane Excel to map out our budget, but I encourage people to use whatever makes the most sense to them – pencil and paper, computer programs, cash in envelopes – whatever. The point is to get it done.

After that, the world is your oyster. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

amy July 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

This is great! Really inspiring! We have started taking the steps that Betsy and Warren have recommended and are looking forward to getting going on our own adventure!

Betsy Talbot July 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm

We love meeting travelers! If you have any questions about the process we’ve been pretty transparent on the blog. If you can’t find an answer there, please feel free to email us. We love helping other people do this.

Adam Beckett July 28, 2010 at 7:57 am

Hey Warren and Betsy!

I’ve got a direct relationship to what you’re doing; I work from home in a great job that can pay me a passive income whilst my girlfriend Jen and I travel for at least a year around the UK, so finally after failing 3 times in business I’m in a place where I can clear up my debts and really quickly swing into a really positive financial situation.

I’m still trying to fully understand how to earn money Online, however I’m not sure I need to know, it’s more of a semi-serious personal project where I get to help other people; if I can’t make an automated/passive income I’m not that interested.

By the way I’m planning for October 2011 escape (or 2012 as a last resort), so we’re a year or two behind you, never mind :)

Guess I’ll connect with you at some point…

Adam

Betsy Talbot July 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

The time will fly, Adam. Good luck to you on your adventure (and keep in mind that preparing for the adventure is just as life-changing as actually going on it – you’ll see what I mean). See you on the road!

Eric July 8, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Hey Betsy,

Thanks for replying. :)

Yeah being out of debt is a great feeling and allows you a world of good for sure.

Using the simplest method to get your budget in alignment with your goals is what it’s all about.

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