By Rachel Wilson
Aaron Bradford is a full-time traveler from Norfolk, England. He first left home in March 2008 to travel, when he decided he needed to see what he was missing. His first trip was to Thailand, and it was so different from what he had known that it was like jumping right in the deep end. The one big obstacle he faced before going on his trip was selling his house because everything relied on selling his house for a profit in a crashing market. It was also hard saying goodbye to his amazing bunch of friends and family. Other than that, he feels that there are no real obstacles stopping anyone from traveling abroad. Aaron is currently living in a little slice of heaven in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, which has brought him many opportunities. He plans on staying for a few years, but that doesn’t mean he won’t get out and about.
The interesting thing about Aaron’s style of travel is that he is location independent—meaning he makes his living making an income while he travels. He knew in the first week of traveling that he couldn’t go back to living and working in the UK. It just wouldn’t make sense to be there at that point in his life. It took Aaron two years to do it, but he finally found a way to become location independent, and he put everything he had into it. He focused on the Internet and more importantly, his travel blog, happytimeblog.co.uk. It is a lot of hard work, but it is possible. Aaron is currently mentoring four others and when he is finished passing on the pitfalls and experience, he hopes they will do the same. Now Aaron uses his website to share what he’s learned, the mistakes he’s made, and the successes he’s had with becoming location independent and living a life less ordinary.
Aaron has also started a bucket list on his website of everything he has always wanted to do and things he’s already done. He feels it is important to remind yourself how far you’ve come already. He also believes that it is better to regret something you did than to regret something you didn’t do. When asked about the items he felt were most important to him, he said actually writing the bucket list was the most important. He feels that having it up on his website for the world to see puts into perspective what he’s already achieved and what he’s got to look forward to. He recommends that everyone do the same. His favorite item that he has crossed off so far is riding across Laos by motorbike. After a year of being on the road, when he thought he knew it all, this is what really opened his eyes to travel. It is all about the journey and the people along the way, not the destination. His next item to check off of the personal side of his list is trek to Everest base camp. The item he wants to check off of the business side of his list is develop his online business, “the Firm,” to become entirely contained in a laptop and make $100,000 a year.
The hostel life to Aaron is getting to meet cool people and having fun times—what traveling is all about. Hostels often have so many characters from all around the world, and a good hostel can really make the difference. His first hostel experience was on Bangkok’s infamous Khao San Road, and his favorite is Monkey Republic in Sihanoukville. He loves it so much, he moved there!
One of Aaron’s favorite places to visit is Bamboo Island, a little island about 45 minutes from the overcrowded buzz of Koh Phi Phi. He first visited there about two years ago with a group of friends and camped the night. They had the island to themselves and had never seen such a beautiful sunset and sunrise. He plans to go back often. Another favorite of his is the road between Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in Laos. Riding this road on a motorbike changed his whole opinion of travel. The road itself is sleepy and winding but the scenery is epic and the small villages along the way are as authentic as it gets. He went to Cambodia and bought his own motorbike just so he could do it one more time.
The next stop for Aaron is Burma. It’s right nearby and from what he’s seen already, it looks like a beautiful, if not a little uneasy country. He likes cities, but loves rural life. If he could give advice to a first-time traveler, it would be to forget the guidebook. Living and working in a tourist destination, he sees so man people using them like bibles. They plan everything to death and end up hopping from destination to destination watching the real world go by from a bus window with their faces in a book. He knows it must be daunting for first-time travelers, especially since he was one. However, just remember why you left home in the first place…and bring a sense of humor!
To learn more about Aaron’s travels and location independent lifestyle check out his website happytimeblog.co.uk