In 2010, we were down and out. We were struggling to find work, borrowing money, and even had to get on food stamps. A few years later, we set off on a gap year to travel the world. We’ve lived in three different countries and traveled to 14 others together. We want to help you do the same. Read on to find out how!
Who Are the Grateful Gypsies
Teaching English Abroad Changed Our Lives
We’re Sasha and Rachel, and we’re here to show you that a life of travel and adventure is possible, even if it seems otherwise. It’s true that we were living on food stamps just a few years ago and seemed to have no way out. With few opportunities at home, we moved to Beijing with what very little money we had.
We lived with a friend and took whatever work we could get teaching English. Within a year, we had our own 3-bedroom place in a great part of the city and were heading off to backpack Thailand and Laos for a month. Whoever said teachers don’t make any money? Head over to our About page to read the full story.
Since then, we’ve enjoyed a comfortable life in Beijing, Kunming, Bali, and Puerto Vallarta and done a ton of traveling.
Our list of travel experiences is quite extensive but here are some highlights:
- Trekking 13,000 ft. to the top of a Sacred Tibetan mountain over 3 days in JuiZhaiGou park
- Camping on the Great Wall of China
- Hiking Tiger Leaping Gorge
- Seeing Elton John live in Beijing
- Motorbiking through the karst mountains around Yangshuo
- Backpacking in Yunnan province
- Motorbiking through Vietnam
- Seeing one of our favorite American bands (Lotus) in Tokyo
- Taking a 14-month gap year across the US, SE Asia, and China
- Getting SCUBA certified on Ko Tao, Thailand
- Climbing Indonesia’s active volcanoes including Kawah Ijen where the lava burns bright blue at night
- Getting paid to study in Bali
- Skydiving over Canyonlands and Arches National Park in Moab, UT
- Road tripping through America
- Following our favorite band (Phish) around the US
- Being the only two people on Borobudur – the biggest Buddhist temple in the world
- Drinking out of buckets at Thailand’s Full Moon Party
- Partying all over SE Asia
- Motorbiking around all 1,864 curves of the Mae Hong Son loop in Thailand
- Seeing sunrise at Angor Wat
These are just the first things that come to mind, and they barely scratch the surface. Now, we’ve got our sights set on Central and South America. We might go back to the homeless backpacker life or we might use Puerto Vallarta as a base.
That’s the best thing about this lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves – the freedom. We can hit the beach on a Wednesday afternoon, take a 3-4 day weekend with no trouble, and even plan to spend a few weeks to a month in another country. Life isn’t meant to be lived inside of a cube, and we’re living proof that it doesn’t have to be.
If a couple of jam band following hippies like us can do it, so can you! We moved to the other side of the world with almost nothing, and look where we’ve ended up just a few years later. We’ve lived in places people dream of visiting and have created a life we absolutely love.