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Kiwis' lives as full-time travellers: How a couple quit their jobs to see the world

Kiwis' lives as full-time travellers: How a couple quit their jobs to see the world

/ Kiwis' lives as full-time travellers: How a couple quit their jobs to see the world

Watching the sunset from the crater of a live volcano off the coast of Sicily, swimming in a geothermal waterfall in Tuscany before being offered dinner by Jamie Oliver (who just happened to be filming nearby) and swimming with giant Manta Rays in the Maldives are all in an (admittedly good) day's work for Brook Sabin and Radha Engling; a Kiwi couple who have made world travel both a business and a lifestyle. 
The couple, both originally from Northland, were just a few days away from buying a house when, after a particularly poignant late-night soul-searching session, they did a complete u-turn. 

 "Shouldn't we be travelling the world instead of getting into huge debt? Life is about experiences, not buying as much as you can and then sitting around and admiring it," Sabin, 28, said.
 So the pair quit their jobs (he as a political reporter for TV3 and she as a flight attendant ) and booked one-way tickets to Paris. 
Sabin admits that it was he who was most worried about taking the plunge, having finally landed his dream job. But his heart told him it was the right decision. 
"I was already asking myself, is this really the best life has to offer: work, eat, sleep, weekend. Repeat. I needed a circuit breaker and selling everything and buying a one-way ticket breaks the circuit pretty quick."

Their risk (some might say recklessness) paid off and these days the pair enjoy a lifestyle likely to inspire envy in even the most experienced globetrotter. 
Their social media feeds are full of shots of them admiring sunsets on deserted beaches; eating, drinking and making merry in luxury resorts; exploring the cobbled backstreets of quaint European cities; and "working" from a string of  scenic al fresco "offices" from Croatia to Sri Lanka. 
Their home deposit funded their adventures at first, but they now make money from selling photo and video packages, reviewing the luxury accommodation they stay at, writing articles for their website, and providing social media services for small companies. 
"We basically grab every travel-related project that comes our way," he says. 
Partnering with brands to take photos of their products has proved particularly lucrative (and enjoyable). A recent job for Citroen EuroPass, which leases cars to drive around Europe, saw them head out on a four-month jaunt through France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. Their task: to take photos and videos of their adventures along the way. 

But it's not all sunshine and road trips. 
Almost falling for a mafia scam in Italy, thinking Sabin had caught rabies from a kitten in Montenegro, and stepping on a snake in the deep dark of the Sri Lankan night are among the job hazards they have encountered so far. 
"We've also had some pretty epic lost-in-translation moments. My favourite was at a Sri Lankan hotel where I asked reception about where to  get some eye drops. A few minutes later we heard a siren; an ambulance turned up with two nurses and a doctor!" Sabin said. 
While he's well aware of how lucky they are to call the world their office, Sabin noted that this does mean they have to take their office wherever they go. Which - with a camera, two lenses, a drone, a stabliser for smooth video footage, two laptops, four hard-drives and a knot of cables - is not as easy as it may seem. 
The couple have now travelled to more than 40 countries, choosing places where they can legally fly their drone - Sabin said it's an expensive piece of equipment to leave just sitting around - and get business visas to sell their photos and videos. 
After settling on a shortlist of destinations, they shoot off dozens of emails and go where the best prospects. 
Sabin said he has no doubt that the home deposit was well-spent, even if his parents, who had enjoyed watching him on television every night, would have preferred him to get on the property ladder. 
"For older generations, the goal was traditionally about having assets. Now, the world has opened up and travel is cheaper than ever. To younger generations, a life well lived isn't about assets – it's about experiences."
The accommodation he and Engling, 27, have called their temporary home has been far fancier than anything they could have afforded to buy, with recent abodes including a hotel in the Sri Lankan mountains which Vogue named as one of the world's top 10 wellness resorts and a luxury safari tent circled by elephants at night. 
The pair plan to continue travelling for as long as possible, believing that choosing a lifetime of adventure over "staying at work and playing it safe" is a no-brainer. 
The only caveat he'd give to those considering doing the same is to be prepared for a steep learning curve. 
"Just over a year ago I had no idea how to work the manual focus on my camera or edit a video. So we've learnt a lot at the 'University of YouTube' watching heaps of tutorials - and we still have so much more to improve on. So, if you'd rather have a relaxing trip around the world - perhaps it's not the best lifestyle."

For those who think they're up to it, Sabin has these words of advice:

1. Try to come up with a unique concept like riding a donkey from Moscow to Mongolia, things like that tend to get social media attention and a lot of traction quickly. 
2. Have a game plan. Are you just going to focus on social media, YouTube, blogging or all of them?

3. Look at people already doing it, and find topics they aren't focusing on.

4. Before you leave, start your blog. It will take at least six months for Google to start ranking you high enough to get search hits. In that time, write about your own backyard: that's an exotic location for everyone on the opposite side of the earth.