This is how WE make money to support our travels. There are so many ways to make a living on the road with modern technology. It may take a little elbow grease and creativity but there are endless opportunities out there. If you're not pleased, you can always create your own!
First off, lets start with a side note... (read this)
A life of full-time travel tends to be viewed as a privileged lifestyle, something unattainable to the average person. While this may hold true in some instances, it certainly does not have to be that way for everyone. We are not "rich" or "trustafarians" (even though we've been labeled as such from time to time and we pray everyday that it will rain money so we can swim in some cash but that's probably never going to happen so werk, werk, werk). When we first hit the road we had no more than $40 to our names. We chose to pay off all our debts and that meant clearing the bank account. A scary but VERY fulfilling decision we made. The money we spend to live, travel and experience life in the way we see best for ourselves is money we have earned through our own small business we launched before hitting the road. We never in a million years expected this small hobby would support our family.
How it all began
Before moving into our first van, we were both working full-time jobs. We felt stuck as I'm sure many do. We weren't doing the things we wanted to and didn't feel like we were growing or expanding ourselves at all. We started to brainstorm how we could do the things we were passionate about, yet still be able to support ourselves. During this time Giddi had started a new hobby: jewelry fabrication. She had used her previous years tax returns to purchase tools and supplies and started experimenting with making her own jewelry (with the help of instructional YouTube videos to learn techniques) as a fun new hobby. That soon led to friends and family wanting pieces made, which then led to a small Etsy shop being opened up. Giddi left her full time job and was making jewelry full time. We had no van at this time and no idea what a rad blessing this jewelry shop was to become in our lives.
What started as a new, fun thing to do in the evenings after work has since become (with a lot of effort) our main source of income. We named our shop Carteo Handmade, which is a mashup of our two last names and is a reflection of the hard work we've put into it together. May sounds cheesy but we like it and it has stuck. Carteo is what feeds us and our baby. It is how we are able to afford traveling around from one place to another together as a family. It wasn't intentional to turn this new hobby into a small business, it just sort of happened slowly. We saw the potential to grasp the lives we felt we were missing. It took a leap of faith, but we both quit our jobs and moved into the van, debt free (yay!) but broke as could be. We decided to invest our time into developing ourselves and this newfound passion and small business.
Where we are today
Our shop has grown and we've recently left the Etsy platform. We have started a new shop and hired some helping hands. As a new member entered our lives it seemed our business was becoming a burden as we tried to work during nap time and it just wasn't happening. Tiny baby and hammering don't work too well together. We've just launched our new website with a fresh new look to our shop. The new hands we've added have been amazing and they work hard to keep Carteo orders fulfilled and beautiful. New things are still being added and updated photos are still in the works, but we are happy to be on our own and creating pieces for people all around the world.
Are we rich now? Not even close!! But we feel rich in time. Rich in freedom. Rich in happiness. After all, time is the only real commodity we have in life. We don't make a lot of money, but we live a lifestyle that does not require a lot of money and the amount we do make allows us to continue on. We have time to be together as a family and to do the things we love and that's why we are so grateful for the time and effort we have spent to get Carteo Handmade started.
Check out www.carteo-handmade.com if you'd like to help us buy our next round of tacos or our next tank of gas for the van. :)
For a limited time, shipping is free (USA only) and you can save 10% off your order by signing up for the Carteo Handmade newsletter!
If you have been following us for awhile you will have heard all about our small business by now. And thank you to those who have supported! You will also know that we are slowly starting to renovate vans for sale, have started @yourhomeonwheels on Instagram as a platform to buy/sell vehicles and also occasionally work alongside brands that we know and trust on various sponsored campaigns and posts. While this does supplement some amount of money, we rely nearly entirely on our success in the jewelry sales currently, and only have you guys to thank!
Thank you so much!