We quit our jobs and we’re traveling South-East Asia on a tight budget.
Cos we’re cheap.
We’re Lionel & Emma.
Lionel was born in Lucerne, Switzerland and has been living in Melbourne, on and off for the past nine years.
Emma was born in Melbourne after her parents, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore, met in Australia and settled there.
And here we are!
We quit our awesome jobs in Feb 2013, as a Video Producer in the advertising industry, and a VFX post-production artist in Melbourne, who also dabbled in side projects such as this little film, Endzone, and booked a one way ticket to Asia.
It sounds a bit silly, but we both felt we were a bit too comfortable with our lives. We had great jobs, lived in a nice area, had close friends and family around us, but still felt something was missing. After a trip to Switzerland to visit Lionel’s parents Christmas 2011 (our first overseas trip together), we came back to Melbourne, and thought ‘damn, we would love to travel together again’ and that set the little idea off.
We decided to sell or store or give away everything we own in order to travel around overseas, to see/learn about the world and to gain some all-important “life experience”. Here’s a post we later wrote on why we traveled, and why there’s no excuse to not travel!
We’ve always been pretty good savers. We tried to bring our lunches from home to work as often as we could. A big pot of soup or stew in the winter was a life saver, and tuna salads (usually literally just a can of tuna and half a head of lettuce) in the summer helped our budgeting.
We also rarely splurged on things, our main expenses were slabs of beers, clothes (just Emma actually) and lots of breakfasts and dinners out (Melbourne has an abundance of great restaurants, bars & cafes, especially in Port Melbourne where we lived).
So when we finally decided to go ahead with our trip, we stopped buying new clothes, we didn’t go out to eat and we cut back on beer (much to Lionel’s dismay). We still spent, still needed to buy beer occasionally, but cutting back made a difference. No more buying coffees every day, no more random road trips (petrol is hella’ expensive), and cooking more cheapo dinners more often; eight tasty genetically modified chicken wings from the supermarket is usually about 3 bucks!
We left on the 9th of April, 2013!
We traveled through Singapore, Malaysia, South Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, North Thailand from April 2013 to December 2013.
Since December 2013, we have been living on Koh Tao, an island off Thailand working within the diving industry as Dive Masters, and dabbling in video and photography.
Crazy considering Emma had a fear of water and couldn’t swim…
We also got engaged during our travels. We were naked, and diving in Thailand. You can read about the shenanigans in this post!
Read about why we named our blog Two Green Backpacks
Fun blog! I was curious how you can just settle down somewhere! Is it more difficult for an american to do that. We are going on a 4 month backpacking trip next week to Southeast Asia and I have a feeling I won’t want to come back…:) Can you give me more info about this in my email?
Thank you, Keira
You just need to be open to change and embrace what is right there in front of you. It is not easy, but possible if you are dedicated! Happy travels!
Peter 'Pedro' Clarke
Great Blog guys.
Was researching working in Koh Tao and thought about Diving as an option. Would you recommend it? I am looking to work and settle for 6-12 months rather than travel for the time being.
I can only recommend Koh Tao. It’s a great place to live and dive.
Hey Pedro, we definitely recommend it! Settling somewhere is the best way of experiencing a different way of life, and a different culture in a different country! Koh Tao is very Westernised, (more Westerners and Burmese than ‘local’ Thais), but it’s still very different to what we know at home! Good luck!
You guys are awesome! I was living the same nomadic life for 2 to 3 years but have just moved to Melbourne. When you guys head back, I would LOVE to grab a coffee to hear about your travel adventures. 🙂
Thanks Melissa! Would love to compare notes and hear about your travels too! We’re so jealous that you’re in Melbourne, I do miss it a lot but life is just too good at the moment to come home!
Found your blog while looking up stuff about the Perhentians at work. You guys sound awesome! Congrats on your engagement 🙂
leaf (the indolent cook)
I just discovered your blog and it’s been fun to read! Keep up the great work. My boyfriend and I are planning something similar and it’s nice to see how other people are doing on their journey. 🙂
Glad you enjoy our blog! Have a fantastic trip.
Happened to chance on your blog while reading about the perhentians. Sounds like a great journey! Enjoy 🙂 It’s been an year already for you two…
You guys will have a blast,make sure you do some things that don’t always feel right but will be a great memory.If you need a hot shower and you make it back to Hong Kong,let me know and i will hook you up with my brother and wife at Sheko Beach.
I whish you all the best! Have a very good trip and stay in good health. See you in Switzerland. Theo