When people talk about funding adventures, they tend to be thinking about grants and sponsorship. This is all well and good – and incredibly useful if you’re trying to fund an enormous expedition on a bootstrap. But, as I talk about in this post, it is rarely free kit or free money. There are usually many things required to fulfil your contract (even for grants) like writing, photography or social media. If you love doing that stuff, great, go for it.
But don’t feel like you have to. The sense of validation people seem to feel from getting external funding (“I’m a proper adventurer now”) has rather obscured the truth: you don’t need it. There are several far easier ways to secure money for adventures. The most overlooked is this: simply pay for everything yourself.
I Don’t Have Enough Money
Yes, yes okay. You can all stop objecting at me now. I know, you’re not on this page about adventure funding because you’re rolling in cash. Obviously you’d just skip this article altogether and start booking things if you could…
Well, let’s just test this assumption for a minute. You probably have some money, right? A little at least. An income of some sorts? It probably seems like too little to pay for the grand plans you’ve got in your head. But do you have even a vague idea of how much money you need? Even to the nearest hundred or thousand? Before you do anything, try to sketch out what your adventure might cost. Yes it’s hard to include all the costs, but focus on the big bits: transport, accommodation, food and kit. At least give yourself a target to aim for.
How to Fund Adventure the Easy Way
This is absolutely the easiest way to pay for an adventure. It’s slow and steady and it works. Once you have the system set up, you literally just watch and wait as the money comes in.
This method is adapted from Ramit Sethi’s book. I’m sure the idea is not uniquely his, but it’s his fault I finally implemented it myself, so he deserves a mention. He also uses a lovely, applicable mantra that we adventurers should listen to: “Would you rather be sexy or rich?”
Sexy is chasing after sponsorship. It’s saying “oh yes, my expedition is sponsored by Super Brand X” or “I won this award”. Rich is just quietly and confidently getting on with your adventure. No fuss, just doing it.
So, the system. First up, take a look at your monthly income. If you’re thinking things like “Oh, but I’m a freelancer, my income is erratic…” or anything like that, buy Ramit’s book. He covers that in detail. It does work.
Step 1: Okay, so how much can you afford to put aside each month for an adventure fund? I want a number: £10, £50, £70, £100…?
Step 2: Then work out a place to put your adventure fund. Personally, I use Revolut because it has lots of little pots/vaults you can split your money into without having to open lots of new bank accounts. Make sure it’s somewhere separate you your main bank account. This is very important.
Step 3: Next, log into the bank account that your salary comes into. Set up an automatic transfer from your account into your adventure fund. Make sure there’s time for your salary to clear (so you’re not taking out money before money’s gone in). For example, my salary comes in at the end of the month, so I have a transfer set up on the 6th of the following month.
Now that’s all you have to do! Simply watch and wait as your adventure fund fills up. You don’t have to wait and spend it all in one hit, but you do have to only spend on adventure stuff from out of that pot.
The Reverse: Saving for a Fixed Date
On the flip side, if you have an adventure coming up with a fixed deadline, just work backwards. Say you have 6 months and you’re going to need £600 to pay for it. Well, you need to save £100 a month then. That might be shockingly much, or nothing at all to you – but the point is now you know. There’s no guesswork or mystery here. It’s just a formula.
Personally, I like to set up regular savings regardless, because I know there will always be another adventure around the corner soon. (She says, having not been anywhere in 6 months… We can but dream and plan and hope.)