Meet The 'Broke Backpacker' Who Proves You Don't Need Money To Enrich Your Life Through Travel

"I love to travel because, for me, it represents freedom."

Backpacker-turned-entrepreneur Will Hatton is on a self-described "quest to live an awesome life of adventure." For him, the focus has always been on the journey, not the destination. (Though, after traveling more than 100 countries, those destinations are pretty great, too.)

That journey began unexpectedly at age 19 after an injury forced Hatton to give up his lifelong dream of becoming a Royal Marine in his home country of the United Kingdom. "I did what any sane person would do; made my way to India and traveled around Asia on a budget of 50 bucks a week," he wrote on his blog, The Broke Backpacker. "Being in India, by myself, at such a young age, was one hell of a culture shock but it ignited my passion for adventure, pushing myself out of my comfort zone." 


Nine years and countless miles later, he's taking time to reflect on those early days in an interview with MightyGoods. "When I first hit the road, I had no money, no plan, and just a battered tent for company. "I learnt a ton by traveling broke," he tells the publication. "It proved to be the greatest opportunity for personal development I had ever come across and it forced me to think on my think, to spot opportunity and to solve problems." 

All those lessons have turned him into a budget travel expert who believes everyone can go after their globe-trotting dreams without breaking the bank. "It's always possible to travel even without much cash — it really comes down to how much you want it!" he tells A Plus. "If you believe travel is a valuable experience, you'll put yourself through a certain amount of discomfort — whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger! — to achieve your dream." 

To achieve his dreams, Hatton has picked up random jobs on the road, Couchsurfed, camped, and hitchhiked. 

"If you don't want to cook your own food or camp but you still want to travel cheap, it's probably time to consider picking up some work on the road!" he tells A Plus. "There's lots of temporary job opportunities out there — whether it's working in hostels, on farms or behind bars — and it's easy to find work on the road."

He also recommends trying Workaway or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farmis (WWOFFing) placements, where you receive food and lodging in exchange for twenty hours of work a week on a "kick-ass" project. Those platforms have allowed Hatton to enrich his life, not just through travel, but through work on permaculture projects, construction gigs and community outreach programs. 

The key, Hatton believes, is thinking (and living) outside the box. "Even if you have no money, it's totally possible to survive on the road — you just have to be willing to put yourself out of your comfort zone and to work hard when the opportunity arises to do so," he adds to MightyGoods. "...If you want to travel, just go for it. It's very easy to make excuses but just get out there and make it work – if you want it bad enough, you can always make it happen." 

Besides teaching others "how to ditch their desks and hit the road" through his travel blog, Hatton also started his own tour company leading explorers through the Pakistani mountains and launched an adventure travel gear company. All his ventures go toward providing a fulfilling life of travel for him and his wife, who he met while hitchhiking across Iran, of course. 

"My favorite part about backpacking, and about being a digital nomad, is choosing my own schedule... I work hard, and I love my work, but I can take time out to go backpacking for six weeks in the mountains if I want to," he explains to MightyGoods. "Ultimately, to travel and to work for yourself is to be properly free." 

That's exactly why Hatton has built his livelihood on making this kind of freedom accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it. "I highly recommend that everybody travels on the cheap at least once in their life," he tells us. "It's an amazing character-building experience, which will allow you to develop problem-solving skills, gain confidence, and re-evaluate what's really important to you." 

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