Travel Advice From A 20-Something Who Ditched Wall Street To See The World

Kesi Irvin

More than three years ago, Kesi Irvin left on vacation from her New York job in finance. She had one hell of a vacation. It was such a good trip, in fact, it motivated her to leave Wall Street to see the world. After some serious planning and saving, Kesi started chronicling her adventures around the world on Instagram and on her personal blog and couch surfing from country to country.

To Kesi, travel isn’t some impenetrable realm that only the wealthy get to experience. Despite her background in finance, she isn’t traveling in luxury. She relies on smart decisions and travel hacks learned through experience. Like a one-woman Loney Planet guide.

This week, we asked Kesi to drop a little of that hard-earned wisdom on us. She started with talk of how travel is changing (for the better!) and later we pivoted to focus on one of her favorite destinations: Australia. The worldwide vagabond didn’t disappoint, bringing serious knowledge, delivered with wit and humor.

Kesi Irvin

You’re an Ivy-grad who left the world of finance, how did you come to be traveling the world for over three years now?

It was never my plan to be gone for this long. I liked my job in finance, the only thing I did not like was the two-week vacation. How am I supposed to see the world if I only have two weeks of holiday each year? I planned and saved money for two years to embark on an around the world journey for one year. Well, that one year has turned into 3.5+ years. I’m still on the road because I have learned to live a different lifestyle. I am a budget backpacker. I rarely pay for accommodation since I couch surf or stay with my global network of friends.

I’m very good at living within my means, too. I’ll take a 17-hour bus over a flight or sleep in an airport overnight to save money. Long term travel is not luxurious, but it is gratifying. I’m also able to sustain my travels by working as a hostess for The Yacht Week over the summer, which is probably the most fun job in the world.