You Want Adventure Travel? Takeoff with $1.37 in Your Pocket and Nothing Else

Most of you probably make your way to BoardingArea, or to the online travel community of your choosing, primarily to learn about ways you can travel more extensively and luxuriously at less expense.

That is a perfectly valid reason to visit – though I hope and expect you also find a fair share of entertainment along the way. In fact, in my mind the sheer entertainment value of reading discussions among travelers greatly outweighs the tips and tricks you will learn along the way (though those are immensely valuable in and of themselves). That’s why I started ThreadTripping – to highlight some of these conversations that provide me with such enjoyable entertainment so that they might brighten your day as well.

But I digress…

Recently, while reading the forums over at TravBuddy I found a thread started by reikunboy in which he links to a blog post on in which Jeremy Foster makes a case for traveling with absolutely no money:

…those times when I’ve traveled and been broke, when I’ve been stripped down to zero, have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have been diminished down to nothing more than a living element of the world, forced to accept the brutality of life, revel in the beauty of that sentiment, and build my way back up.


Without money or material possessions you become unimportant in a world that revolves around these two things. You become nobody. You are forced into solitude, bewilderment and appreciation.


It is absolutely glorious.

Um, ok, in the continuing spirit of Judgment Week on ThreadTripping I’m going to have to call ‘stupid’ on this one. In the blog post he goes on to more fully explain the value he finds in traveling with no money, no idea how you will get from there to there, and no backup plan.

In short, he explains why he thinks people should travel in approximately the opposite way most readers of this blog, and sane people in general, travel.

What do TravBuddy travelers think about Jeremy’s proposed approach to travel?

Personally, I would hate to “live off the kindness of street vendors”- they work really hard for what they have and sponging off people so I can grow as a person seems kind of unfair. … Also, I’m a coward. The thought of sleeping in the street or actually going hungry strikes me as horrible, and I don’t actually care how much I’d learn from the experience ~sarahelaine

…’a load of croc’ pretty much sums it up for me. Romanticising poverty in this way is not only irresponsible … but extremely disrespectful to those people around the world who live in extreme poverty not through choice but through unfortunate circumstance. ~joseph98

Living from a few dollars requires special skills: intelligence, foreign language skills and a positive attention to risk. Of course, not everybody can do that, as not everybody can become a millionaire. ~FK27

I understand what it is like to work from the ground up. To start with nothing and struggle and discover that I was stronger than I thought originally. I understand how these times can cause one to gain integrity and strong since of confidence.


But I did not seek out these adventures. I did not purposely put myself in those situations. The idea of traveling to a foreign country with only $100 in your pocket is ridiculous and irresponsible. I am a budget traveler and I have made the most of my trips by making my dollars stretch. Although each trip I have learned loads more about myself and my place in this world, I do not see the point in putting yourself in difficult or possibly unsafe situations. ~trinademattei

A really interesting blog post, and conversation about the mindset of extreme low-budget travel.

Out of curiosity, have you ever found yourself on a trip and nearly penniless? If so, how did you handle the situation? Did you find it exhilarating, or just plain frightening? Would you do it again … on purpose?

And what do you think of Jeremy’s approach to travel and life?

Read the thread that inspired this judgmental rant in its entirety: Travel without money

Image: “Empty Pockets” by Dan Moyle. CC BY 2.0.

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