Remember your lifelong dream of traveling the world? This couple is actually doing it. Here’s how.

Maybe it's not as impossible as you thought.

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  • When Shazia and Taylor got married in 2013, they both knew taking a gap year to travel was in their future. How they were going to do that was a tougher question. Taylor is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and database engineer. Shazia recently graduated with a bachelor of arts in public relations. They're a normal couple, with average resources, but a strong determination to make things happen.

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  • While most people only dream of traveling, the Chius took steps to make that dream a reality. Fast-forward just a few years. The couple has visited Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and Poland — and they're still going strong.

  • One thing the Chius make very clear on their blog is that their yearlong adventure is not meant to be solely a vacation. They consider their travels an educational, learning-by-doing experience. They want to experience language, people and culture as opposed to lazy days on an exotic beach (although that's a nice perk).

  • The question on everyone's mind is: How can an average couple afford to travel the world for a whole year? I chatted with Shazia Chiu about it.

  • Funding

  • "Our trip is entirely self-funded from our earnings at our jobs, the money we've made from our small businesses and savings that we built up before leaving. We've had to deal with some costly mistakes along the way. But we've actually found that traveling doesn't cost us any more than living at home did," she said.

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  • While their families have been extremely supportive of their plans, the Chius aren't funded by them or from other donations.

  • "Originally we planned to use Workaway.info to find arrangements where we could work for people in exchange for room and board. There are all sorts of gigs for travelers there, from toilet cleaning to farm management," she said.

  • There are plenty of resources available to travelers that want to work as they go. Luckily the Chius haven't had to do that — fortunately for them, Taylor was able to keep his previous job and work remotely away from home. Shazia has been able to work as a freelance writer, also allowing her to work regardless of her location.

  • Sacrifices

  • Of course, their traveling does require some serious budgeting and sacrifices. They don't stay in fancy hotels, and eating out is a rare occurrence. Traveling is expensive, but there are cheaper ways to make it happen. Shazia mentioned 30-hour-long bus rides, 10-hour-long flights and way too much time on humid, cramped minibuses.

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  • Though the year has not been luxurious, Shazia was sure to mention, "The sacrifices we've had to make in order for this trip to happen are tiny in comparison to the joy and adventure that it's brought into my life so far."

  • Planning

  • A gap year doesn't happen without a plan, and planning in and of itself may (and probably will) take years. Part of planning means organizing a budget and savings plan. The Chius weren't tied down by car payments or debt in their hometown, which allowed them to invest much more in their travel plans each month.

  • So, save, save, save! You may be surprised how far you can get. The Chius expected their whole gap year to cost a total of about $25,000. Yes, you read that right. That's the price of great planning and budgetary strategy.

  • Speaking of strategy and planning — hit up the internet. Find the cheapest and most effective ways to travel. Shazia said resources like skyscanner.com, tripadvisor.com, wikitravel.org and even just Google Maps all came in handy during different stages of planning.

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  • What they want YOU to know

  • I asked Shazia what she wants our travel-hungry readers to know about making their dreams a reality.

  • "The main thing I'd say to other people considering a trip like this is you can do it! It's easy to get disheartened about the costs of travel when you hear someone say they dropped $5,000 for a week in Hawaii, but it's completely possible to spend far less than that for a longer and equally exciting trip.

  • Gap years are taken by thousands of travelers, including broke students, young couples, families and people with disabilities. If you make saving and preparing for long-term travel a priority, you'll be on the road before you know it," she said.

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  • The Chius started their trip in August, 2015, returned home that winter to celebrate the holidays, started traveling again in January, 2016, and will be home again for good this November. You can follow their adventures on their blog and Instagram account.

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David Snell is a writer for the FamilyShare team. He's trilingual (English, Spanish and Movie Quotes). He's got a BA in communications and is married to one incredibly fantastic girl.

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