How this 31-year-old journey blogger lives in France on $53 a day

Kesi Irvin by no means imagined that she would spend her life touring the world. 

“Once I was little, I used to be all the time that one who excelled in every little thing that I did,” Irvin, 31, tells CNBC Make It. “In class, I had straight A’s the whole time, I had management positions … I form of was all the time on this thoughts lure that I wish to get a very high-paying job and form of comply with what my dad and mom did, they labored in New York Metropolis on Wall Road.” 

The New Jersey native landed her first internship when she was 16, working for Morgan Stanley. “I all the time envisioned I used to be going to be that Wall Road lady,” she shares. After graduating from the College of Pennsylvania in 2012, her childhood dream got here true: she moved to New York to work as a monetary analyst. She rapidly realized, nonetheless, that “there was not a lot work life-balance in any respect” engaged on Wall Road. “I began to essentially crave the life side,” she provides. 

Irvin had all the time used her restricted trip time for worldwide journeys, however, as she notes, “it is unimaginable to see the world in two weeks.” For 2 years, she saved about $1,000 every month with the intention of taking a one-year profession break to journey around the globe. “I knew I’d remorse it if I did not do it … I used to be younger, single, had no youngsters and wasn’t making all that a lot cash, which makes all of it simpler to pack up and go,” she says. “The longer you wait, too, the extra possibilities there are for all times’s obstacles to get in the way in which.” She formally stop her job in 2015.

That one yr changed into two, then three, and now Irvin lives in Rennes, France as a full-time journey blogger and digital nomad. Her journey weblog, “Kesi To and Fro,” has almost 15,000 followers on Instagram and serves as Irvin’s primary supply of revenue. She lives together with her boyfriend, Alex, as he completes his grasp’s program on the EIT Digital Grasp College in Rennes. The pair met in 2018 whereas engaged on a ship collectively in Croatia. She moved to the town in September on a vacationer visa that lasts three months however is within the strategy of making use of for a long-term visa. 

Kesi Irvin and her boyfriend Alex exploring Croatia collectively

Photograph: Kesi Irvin

Turning her passion right into a worthwhile enterprise

Irvin began her journey weblog six years in the past for enjoyable to doc her journeys and cross on suggestions for the international locations she visited, however determined to monetize her rising platform about two years in the past throughout the begin of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“After about 4 years of fixed touring around the globe, I knew I used to be lacking one thing to work on, like I wish to use my mind in some way and problem myself,” she remembers. “I made my first funding within the weblog, which was a $500 running a blog course, and as soon as I lastly invested cash in myself, that is how I knew I used to be gonna take running a blog critically.”

As a journey blogger, Irvin makes cash by a number of avenues, although model collaborations, the place Irvin promotes merchandise, firms or different issues on her platform, have been her focus. Irvin estimates she’s paid between $300-$2,000 per collaboration, and she or he receives that cash by way of financial institution switch or her PayPal enterprise account. 

Different streams of revenue embrace group journeys she organizes and hosts; paid journey writing; internet affiliate marketing and advert income from her web site. “I do not make as a lot cash from these final two classes proper now, however my primary mission now’s to extend the advertising and marketing and advert income for my weblog,” Irvin notes. 

Earlier than monetizing her weblog, Irvin relied on her financial savings and labored as a seasonal constitution host on a ship in Croatia, Greece, Thailand and different international locations to assist her travels. Now that Irvin is producing about $1,000 monthly from her weblog, she would not need to tackle any facet hustles. “I am making a sustainable residing from my work, and residing a snug way of life in France as a journey blogger,” she says. “It offers me extra confidence to reside in different international locations as a journey blogger, and that this could actually be my primary profession.”

How she spends her cash 

Kesi Irvin’s common month-to-month spending

Gene Woo Kim | CNBC Make It

This is a month-to-month breakdown of Irvin’s spending (as of September 2021):

  • Lease and utilities: $405 
  • Meals: $609
  • Telephone/WiFi: $55
  • Medical health insurance: $40 
  • Leisure journey: $323
  • Leisure: $150 

Complete: $1,582 

Her routine in France 

“I am nonetheless studying what a typical day seems to be like for me, as a result of I am nonetheless exploring this new metropolis,” Irvin says. “One factor I like about Rennes although is it has a smaller metropolis really feel, so I do not really feel overwhelmed.”

She continues: “Normally I am going to get up, seize a tea, have breakfast in my house or discover a café, then I am going to journey my bike to a café and attempt to do some work on my laptop computer. Within the afternoon hopefully I am doing work, whether or not that is sending emails to purchasers, making a pitch deck or engaged on a bunch journey I’ve. There’s all the time 1,000,000 issues I’ve to do, so I have been determining what to prioritize for the day.”

Kesi Irvin biking round Paris

Photograph: Kesi Irvin

Irvin says it is essential for her and Alex to share a meal collectively within the night, so she often cooks for them and Alex cleans up afterward. “Then if there’s an occasion occurring like a live performance, or there was lately a free bouldering occasion, I am going to join, as a result of I wish to make new associates,” she says. 

Irvin has confronted a pair challenges as she adjusts to residing in France, specifically, that she would not communicate French. “I studied French for seven years rising up, however my French is minimal,” she says. “I actually do not know a lot, which might be one of many causes I am most excited to reside right here, as a result of I’m that stereotypical American that solely is aware of English.” Irvin has been utilizing the free model of the Memrise app to study the language. 

Studying the cultural customs has been one other battle. “[I’ve noticed] French folks work on their very own hours, so shops are solely open for a pair hours — they are often open from 11-2, then from 7-10,” she says. “I am attempting to get used to the time schedule.”

Getting a long-term visa from France 

Irvin’s vacationer visa solely permits her to remain within the nation for 90 days, so she is within the strategy of making use of for her long-term visa. That course of requires proof of revenue (making at the very least $75 per day for three hundred and sixty five days) and a slew of paperwork: scanned copies of Irvin’s passport, her start certificates, statements letters for her objective of keep, medical insurance coverage, proof of lodging, three months’ value of checking account and financial savings account statements in addition to bank card statements.

Quickly Irvin will journey again to the U.S. to use in-person as supplies should be submitted to the French embassy or consulate within the applicant’s nation of residence. She’s optimistic that her visa software course of will likely be clean as she has an American passport and is self-employed. “I am not attempting to make a monetary achieve in France, I am simply working right here for myself,” she says. 

Proper now, Irvin has about $100,000 mixed in her checking, financial savings and funding accounts. “So long as you present sufficient cash in your accounts … for my keep right here, that is usually what folks care about,” she explains. 

After spending six years residing exterior of the U.S, Irvin would not see herself ever residing there once more. “I do not assume I’ll keep in France, however you by no means know,” she says. “I by no means thought I’d reside in France within the first place … I’d find yourself actually loving my time right here!”

As for her subsequent dwelling, Irvin says she has thought-about shifting to Germany, the place Alex is from, or to Guatemala, which is one in every of her favourite international locations. “I’m open, simply give me a globe, I am going to spin it!” she says. “I am down for random adventures.”


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