0048 – Cycling Through Europe – Interview with Nicolas Berube

Imagine that you have a magic marker. It looks like the usual whiteboard companion, but it has secret that only you know about. You see, with this marker, you can go into any store, pick any item off the shelf, and write your own price on it. And when you go to the checkout, they accept your price, no matter what it is, and everybody walks away happy.

Where can you get this magic marker? You already own it! It’s called creativity. It’s also called adventurousness. Or flexibility. With those tools, you can name your own price for almost anything, especially travel.

In this episode we are talking about a great strategy for frugal travel for the bold and time-rich.

Travel is a prominent goal for most people in the personal development community. And while travel in itself isn’t personal development, many people have found the change in surroundings to be a powerful stimulant of creativity, finding new angles on old problems, inspiration and introspection.

That is why it’s an important topic for Valiant Growth – especially how do it in a way that is light on your finances. Burning through your savings can take the fun out of a lot of things, travel included. I’ve talked previously about my own story of hitchhiking through Europe, both as part of an interview on Radical Personal Finance (which went into a lot more strategies, and has been released just before this episode on the feed) and also in episode 32 of Valiant Growth.

At the end of that episode, I invited listeners to get in touch if the have an interesting and informative travel story to tell. That’s the offer that Nicolas, a listener and supporter of the show has taken on and he’s got a strategy that I’m convinced many of you will find quite appealing.

Nicola has taken upon himself to travel in South-Western Europe with nothing but a (well-equipped) bike, his tent and good fortune on his side.

Nicola’s story has left me with a lot to think about. That it’s not unreasonable to say that adventure is truly a matter of creativity and daring and not of money. That we often underestimate the kindness of strangers, and thus miss out on opportunities that could really positively influence our outlook on the species in general. That for the cost of a fancier gym membership, you could do what Nicola did, and make getting in shape and staying active an organic part of your life rather than a jarring interruption of the day in a sterile, artificial environment.

You may think that this kind of stuff is not something you can do, that there’s no way you could take the brake, or convince your family, or bike the distance. To that I say – it’s up to you. If this sounds like an adventure worth remembering, you can make it happen.

If you have any questions on the subject, please post them in the comments section of this episode at valiantgrowth.philipfrey.co.uk/48 – Nicola assured me that he’d be very happy to give you some pointers to get you on the road!

I was also interested to hear Nicola’s tactics for staying frugal given his different life station and circumstances – that will be the subject of our next episode.

See Nicola’s interview with Mister Money Mustache (French)

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Out and About – Radical Personal Finance – Tips to Hitchhike Europe (or Anywhere Else) on $40 a Week (with a Food Budget of $2 Per Day!) Interview with Philip Frey from Valiant Growth

I’ve started releasing guest appearances I’ve made on other podcasts. The first one is an interview with Joshua Sheats on Radical Personal Finance about hitchhiking and budget travel in general. I share my experiences and we both go in depth on tactics around hitchhiking, housing, transport and ultralight backpacking.

Here are Joshua’s show notes:

Do you wish to set out and travel but feel like you lack the money? Well, what if you did it anyway and just adjusted your style of travel to fit a more modest budget?

My guest today is long-time listener of the show, Philip Frey. A few years ago he did exactly that.

He set out across Europe with a schoolmate and they managed to cobble together a very fun trip on a very modest budget!

In today’s show we discuss Philip’s experiences and advice for how to replicate a trip like his.

I also share some of my tips and ideas for how I would approach a trip like this for myself.

Enjoy the show!



032 – Extreme Travel: My Story of Hitchhiking Through Europe on Under $40 a Week

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Probably the coolest thing I did in my early twenties was hitchhiking through Europe from Hungary to Paris! I also did this on what was my Romanian student’s budget – under 40$ a week.

I describe, in detail, the financial strategies employed (accommodation and transport) as well as the personal experience of being on the road: the good, bad and the ugly.
Also see my $2/day food budget!

Note: The person on the left is my travelling companion, and the one on the right is me, 3 years ago. Yes, travelling was a transformative experience, but not that much!