Female Indonesian World Traveler Shares How to Travel and Freelance Successfully

Jack and Jill Travel

Hi, I’m Jill. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia but I now live in California, US. I love traveling, going on roadtrips, and rock climbing. I got into rock climbing in 2014 and I felt like I finally found a type of exercise that I actually like! I’ve always loved traveling and taking road trips so climbing is just a yet another reason for me to go on the road.

I love meeting new people but I’m quite independent as a traveler. As an introvert, I value my alone time but I’m also down to hang out with fellow travelers at the hostel or the local bar.

How and why did you get into adventuring and traveling?

Well, my husband and I quit our jobs to travel for one year in 2011 and ever since then, I realized that I’d never go back to the traditional 9-5 jobs. I built up my web development freelance work with the goal of financing my travel and the ability to travel more then 2-3 weeks of the year and well, here I am. Now I travel about 3-4 months out of the year, mostly by myself. But in 2015, I managed to convince my husband to buy and retrofit a Sprinter van to travel and climb full time. We had such a blast!

Jack and Jill Travel
Photo credit: Kelly Lewis

How do you finance your adventures?

I fund my funventures myself. My travel blog Jack and Jill Travel earns a little bit of income from advertising. I also work as a web developer and I chase short-term contracts because I love the flexibility. Even though my work is what one can call “location independent”, most of the time I work off my dining table in San Francisco. I set a fixed amount of budget every month and I work with that budget. So that means in one year I can do one or two big adventures, or many smaller/local ones.

If you want something to document your travel, starting a blog on wordpress.com would be the easiest thing to do. Later on if you decide to be more serious, you can choose to move your blog to your own domain. But the most important thing is to make sure that you actually enjoy the process: the writing part, the social media part, etc. I love connecting with fellow travelers around the world and having a blog (and a Facebook page connected to it), has helped me do that.

Jack and Jill Travel

How do you eat and sleep on the road?

It depends on what kind of trip I’m on. On a “normal” trip, I prefer to stay in hostels or Airbnb. When I’m camping, I either sleep in a car or in my trusty, Kelty 2-person tent, snuggled inside my warm Marmot Helium sleeping bag. I’m not picky about food but I do love to try out local craft beers whenever I travel. Eating and sleeping are at the bottom of my priorities when I travel, I prefer to spend my money on going further or deeper into a location (e.g. car rental, hiring a local guide, etc).

Jack and Jill Travel

How do you bring your things and organize them in your bags?

I have an Osprey Farpoint 45 and I’ve been very happy with it. In general, I love Osprey bags – they have this incredible suspension system that makes their bags miraculously feel lighter on your back than on the ground.

I put most of my clothes in packing cubes. It’s been a game changer. I also never leave without a small waterproof bag, a 1 L sized even when I’m only going hiking. Big enough to put all my electronics when caught in a rain.

Jack and Jill Travel

How do your bags and gear hold up? Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

They hold up superbly well. I buy well-known brands that are known for their quality so in general my equipment has lasted me years. I’ve had my Jetboil for almost 8 years.

I’ve lost 2 phones in separate occasions when I got caught in a sudden storm, so now I never leave without my lightweight dry sack.

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

I recently purchased a Thermarest basecamp sleeping pad. It’s one of the thickest sleeping pads you can get and is perfect for car camping when you don’t have to skimp on weight. It’s sooooo comfortable and is such a game changer.

Jack and Jill Travel

What is your favorite country so far?

I’ve been to 40+ countries. It’s hard to pick favorite countries, but I can give you my favorite regions. I really enjoyed the Balkans (Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, etc). Such great sceneries, with welcoming people, fascinating (and very recent) histories. The tourist infrastructure is established. Plus, your dollars go far there. I also really like the Latin countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, etc. The scenery is superb and since I speak a little Spanish, I just felt that I could really take advantage of the openness of the people there.

Jack and Jill Travel

How supportive your relative and friends about your travels?

Everyone is very supportive. When we went on our around the world trip and our van roadtrip, we utilized a network of families and friends to help out. They let use their driveway while we worked on our van. They let us store our stuff in their basement. One of our friends even took in our cat for one year! Some of them would travel to meet us on our travel. It was great. I’m grateful we have such a strong support network.

What is your best advice for other adventurers?

My best advice is don’t overthink it and just go. If you’re new to outdoor adventures, borrow gear as much as you can until you learn what works best for you. A beanie, a pair of gloves, balaclava, and good socks are just as important to keep you warm as good down jacket for cold weather camping.

Jack and Jill Travel

What will the future bring?

I’m leaving for Guatemala at the end of October and Argentina in December to do the W trek. I can’t wait!

Visit Jill on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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