While it may sound pretty appealing to just up and leave your job and life to take off on an adventure, here’s the truth: You need to get a lot of stuff in order—and do a lot of saving, unless you’ve got access to a sweet trust fund—in order to make your travel dreams a reality. 

I worked three jobs over the course of two years and saved every penny I could. That meant no going out to bars and clubs, no drinking, no shopping for non-necessities, and cooking at home instead of eating out. Since my full-time job as an assistant at a law firm was just enough to cover my bills, I picked up two extra jobs (waitressing, and working promotional events for a beer company) so I could save as much as possible.

Then, there was the reality of knowing that I was going to have to work once I landed abroad. Even though I was able to save $16,000 in two years, I knew I wanted to pay off all of my debts before leaving, which left around $6,000. Impressive, but not enough to survive while traveling.

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After a lot of research, I discovered that getting certified to teach English as a second language was probably my best bet for finding work in Thailand, where I knew I wanted to start my journey because living costs are low. So, while I was working those extra jobs and saving my money, I also managed to take an online course to get certified to teach. 

Two years and a ton of work later, I bought my one-way ticket to Bangkok. 

Related: How 11 Real Women Achieved Their Money Goals