Make Money and Travel – Bumfuzzle

I am living the dream…my life on my terms. Making a living, no fixed office and the freedom to move and work from wherever I like.  So can you.

This Make Money and Travel series exists as a source of inspiration.  By sharing examples of real people around the world making money from anywhere and living the lifestyle they want, proves where there is a will, there is a way.

Meet Bumfuzzle!  As one of my all time favorite blogs I couldn’t wait to share their story with you.    Pat and Ali sailed around the world, then raced across America, then drove from Alaska to Argentina, then drove all over Europe, finally had two kids in Mexico, moved onto another sailboat and for now are sailing around Mexico.


Pat is the breadwinner, dad, anti sailor, writer, stock market guru and hesitant boat mechanic.  Ali is the mom and takes care of all of the pink jobs.  Ouest and Lowe are just kids for now….really, really cute kids.

bum kids

Bumfuzzle has been bumming around now for 10 years!  If this crazy group of full time sailors doesn’t leave you inspired and wanting to take off around the world…well…nothing will.  So let’s get to it!



The Job(s)

Describe your working situation and what line of work you’re in; If you have multiple streams of income that fund your lifestyle, tell us what they are. 

I like to answer this question by claiming to be a writer. But the truth is that I still derive most of my income from options trading in the stock market.  I do less and less of that these days though because it just doesn’t interest me like it used to, and also because I’ve been able to generate a decent little income from writing.

Basically I am a trader when an opportunity presents itself, and a writer when the urge strikes.

Have you always had this job?  At what point did you realize that you could bring in enough income to continually fund a location independent lifestyle?

I made my traveling nut by trading Soybean Options at the Chicago Board of Trade. So being self-employed and flying by the seat of my pants has always been my way. Writing is just something that grew out of my travels. I’ve always known I could make a decent living trading online, but being the true slacker that I am it wasn’t something I put much effort into until the past couple of years.


The Hours

How many hours do you put in a week and what does a typical workday look like for you?

I’d like to reach a point that I can forget about trading and earn a living through writing—or even something else that I haven’t thought of yet. I’m a true wanderer at heart, and I guess that sense sort of carries over into how I make money.

Trading doesn’t stretch me much timewise. I follow the market news daily (30 minutes a day). When I am actively trading I put in maybe ten hours a week on top of that. This is when I see something interesting happening. Most of the time I don’t see any opportunities that pique my interest, and during those times I spend zero additional hours a week. Sometimes I go six weeks without making a trade, sometimes I can’t go six hours. It really depends. But either way you can see it isn’t a lot of time.

Most of my time is spent on my blog. I put in an hour a day on average for that. I don’t earn any money directly from my site, but because of the site, and the people who choose to follow it, I make money from book sales and magazine articles.


The Pay

If you are willing to say, what is the average yearly salary for someone in your line of work? How long did it take for you to start earning a comfortable/typical living for this line of work?  If you don’t feel comfortable giving numbers tell us, are you scraping by, are you able to put money in savings and pay your bills or are you raking it in?  

Because I’ve written Live on the Margin—a lifestyle/investing book—I hesitate to give exact numbers for fear of sounding as if I’m saying, “Follow my trading method and YOU TOO can earn X% annually.” The SEC might not look kindly on that. Suffice it to say we’ve covered our burn rate (our monthly expenditures) for the past couple of years at least.

Writing crept into the five-digit category last year, but is still a long way from paying our way around the world.


The Tools

What are the most essential pieces of equipment or programs you need for working while traveling?

My MacBook Pro is really all it takes to earn a living.

But since no blog post would be complete without good pictures, our other indispensable piece of equipment is our Canon t3i camera and assortment of lenses.

I only trade when I’ve got good internet and know I will be in one place for at least a few days. We’ve lived in Mexico the past three years now, and while internet reliability is getting better, it can still be a little sketchy down here.


The Client

Who are your clients?  Do you find them or do they find you and how?  What is your rejection rate?  How many clients do you pitch to finally win over one?  You don’t have tell us who your clients are directly, just how you go about getting the work.

I guess my only clients are the magazines I sell the occasional magazine article to. Because of our blog we’ve obtained a small bit of fame in both the sailing and the VW communities which I’m sure is the only reason I’ve never submitted a magazine article that’s been turned down.

And now that I actually put that down in words I’m struck by the complete lack of effort I’ve put into that line of income generation. I really need to work harder.


The Up’s

What are the best things about working while traveling?  Those things that make you think wow; I really am living the dream.

  1. After spending yet another year traveling the world—basically screwing off—doing my taxes on April 14th and realizing that yet again I’ve managed to earn enough to owe the Feds some dough. (It’s when you don’t owe taxes that you need to worry about your finances.)
  2. Closing out a winning trade while wearing boardshorts in a Mexican beach town.
  3. Writing, getting positive feedback from readers, and making money from that.


The Down’s

What are the most frustrating things about working while traveling? Any ways you’ve found to avoid or cope with this frustration?

I spend so little time working that it’d be silly for me to complain about it. The only issue I’ve ever run into is when I hang onto a trading position even while knowing that I’m going to be out of internet range for a few days. Invariably I get back online to find a losing trade. Worse still is that usually at some point the trade was a winner that I would have exited with a profit if I had been online. I’ve learned to deal with this by being strict about not putting myself in that position. Simple as that.



If you could go back in time and give yourself advice about starting in this line of work, what would it be?

I’m not good at looking back. Look forward, run with the business ideas that are rattling around in your mind, and don’t worry too much about the distant future.


The Fantasy Job

What is one of the most creative ways you’ve heard of someone funding a location independent lifestyle?  The one that made you wish you had thought of it first!

I’ve heard of a ton of people who funded their location independent lifestyle by paying a small amount of money each week for forty years into something called Social Security. Nah, just kidding, nobody has done that. Truth is I don’t know anybody who has managed to fully fund a full-on location independent lifestyle by doing something completely unrelated to what they did for work before leaving.  Most people find a way to take what they’ve always done on the road with them. If your work doesn’t translate into something that can make money on a boat or in an RV then the most common way of living a life of travel is to part-time it. A lot of people—of all ages—work for a few months to pay for their freedom the rest of the year. If a life of travel and adventure is what you truly want, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

In our book Live on the Margin we talk a lot about mini-retirements. How none of this needs to be “for life.” It is possible to cash out, go live your dreams, and return to do it all over again. And while I realize that may be the opposite of what this question is asking me to say, I still think it is probably the best option for most people out there. Don’t put off anything for the dream of 65—I beg of you.


Now it’s time for you to think outside the box.  There’s no set of guidelines and anything is possible.  Of course, some jobs are naturally easier to perform remotely such as webmasters, software developers, writers, and bloggers.  While doctors, teachers and firemen will have to do some creative thinking, there is always a possibility.

If you like this article, want to shower us with love, have more questions or just want to say hey yo, please do so in the comment box below.

If you want to join in on my time consuming obsession with the Bumfuzzle website, facebook, pinterest, or twitter….don’t ever say I didn’t warn you.  If you just want to start off simple, pick up one of Pats books, Bumfuzzle – Just Out Looking For Pirates or Live On The Margin.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (21)

  • It’s very interesting to see how different people make ends meet to achieve their goals of leaving their 9-5 and adventuring! We have been saving up and renting out our apartment on Airbnb and we’re getting close to being ready for our cirucmnavigation! If anyone’s curious, here’s some Airbnb tips that anyone with a home could follow!

  • Hi guys – My wife and I are enjoying your blog and videos. I’ve been following Bumfuzzle for years and they inspired us to sell our house and quit our jobs to enjoy a mini-retirement of sailing the NW Caribbean, exploring Mexico and Central America and RVing around the West.
    If your are interested in sailing/cruising you can probably find an opportunity to crew by going down to Isla Mujeres, Mexico or Rio Dulce Guatemala. A lot of guys buy boats and the wife ends up hating it (like my father in law) so they need help.

  • BoxinTheCompass

    Hi Wynns,

    Thanks for the link here from the other post … I thought you guys would meet up someday, just didn’t know it happened already.

    Interesting that you guys want to transition to water and the Schulte’s have transitioned to land. Swapping transportation paradigm!

    Easiest way to learn to sail, relocate to Daytona Beach FL and join Halifax Sailing association for like $150 a year. Start with sailing lessons for $80 on sunfishes and then get checked out on larger and larger boats up to 35′ long… All for the same price of just $150 a year

    Learning to sail on Halifax river in Daytona is safe and great sailing adventure. Let me also point you to a UK sailing blog with Mr Dylan Winters with Keep Turning Left.

    Have fun!

    • Thanks for sharing, Daytona sounds like a perfect place to ‘get our feet wet’!

  • Michael Fischer

    I think their parents are rich and support the bummfuzzle family!

  • Brian


    Options trading is a lot like day trading stocks. You can lose money at both, but options investing is generally considered more sophisticated. Like most things that have good earnings potential…there is no free lunch. It’s a risk vs. reward kind of thing.

  • Awesome as always guys..

  • Love this article!
    That is my dream I am working on now. Learning to sail. I have just moved to a beach side sunny location and plan to start taking courses to see if I can do it.
    Also plan to try and build up a sustainable income that is offline. Seems the “on the road” lifestyle requires constant “hey don’t forget about me” type posts on blog or emails to a “list” But sounds like the bumfuzzles got it down!
    Wonder how many people read this blog post and googled “how I made X dollars trading 10 hrs a week though ” 🙂

    • haha, Dave. Have fun sailing, and please let us know how it goes ’cause we don’t know a darn thing about sailing…yet.

  • Dougie

    I was just dreaming a few months ago about full time RV’ing with my wife and 3 dogs. Only way I could think of to generate income was to trade stocks and options and pursue my writing talents more.
    Now lo and behold. Here is an interview about that very thing. Thanks for publishing it. I really enjoyed it. Now I’m thinking about doing it rather than fantasizing about it. Love your posts.

  • Redds

    Well I am always a positive thinker and love you guys but for some reason I don’t feel for the common person this would be very inspiring. To me it’s like saying I have a million dollars and going to travel around the world and hope I can afford it. For most it would be more depressing as to think they would need lots of money to do this and since we don’t have it we will never live the dream. But thats just my oppinion. Myself I am the a little above average guy with what I feel had a sound job before retiring and could do this if I had the money to get the RV. Thanks for your stories I like reading your guys posts. Be safe

  • Thanks for this great post! I am a new(er) reader to your blog and have really been enjoying it. The lifestyle you (and Bumfuzzle) lead is incredible to me. I hope to do the same someday. Although, I live in AK so I need to find a city with a road system first, ha ha. Keep up the inspiration!

    • AK is a beautiful place to call home…during the summer at least. Sounds like the perfect reason for you to hit the road during the colder months.

  • Since your recommendation/meet-up with Bumfuzzle a few weeks ago, I’ve become an avid fan of theirs. I like these types of posts. It’s fun to see how people can afford the adventure lifestyle I wish I had!

    (maybe someday!)

  • Wow! What brave souls!!!! Very cool! That was a very interesting read. I wonder if options trading is the same as day trading. We met some friends last year in Florida who do day trading to make a living.

    • Jenn, stocks, trading, bonds, etc. are all foreign to me 🙂 I hate those numbers constantly scrolling across the screen 🙂 I do know if you can master it there is a ton of money to be made…or lost!


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