How we finance our PCT-Thru-Hike
The financial challenges of planning a thru-hike abroad
There’s a saying, that the adventure begins when the planning ends. That phrase might be true in some cases, but if you plan a thru-hike hike as a foreigner from abroad, even the planning seems to be an adventure. In the following text, I would like to talk about the financial challenges to go abroad for a longer period.
Germanies holy cow: A safe Job
When I look at TikTok, Germany seems well known for its so-called “social network”. Like health insurance, pension, and unemployment benefit. As soon as you get sick, lose your Job, or have to be cared for or even retire, the health insurance and/or social network come into action and help you out, so you won’t go broke. Thing is, this money doesn’t grow on trees. So everyone has to pay into the system every month. If you are employed, this happens automatically before you get paid. Your claim may be lowered or even denied if you do not pay into the system.
Germans are also well known for their German Angst (Fear). That means, you always plan financial questions (the reason why shares are not very popular in Germany, no kidding). That’s why people mainly ask us:
But what about the job!?
When we started to plan for our PCT Thru-hike, there were two options for financing the trip:
– Saving lots of money and quitting our jobs (German security super MCA) seriously, the typical German couldn’t even think about quitting their Job, just to travel for half a year.
– sign a sabbatical contract (The pipe dream of all Germans who want to leave work for more than 3 weeks)
Ok, but what is a “sabbatical”?
Most of you might know the sabbatical, as I believe, it was originally an American invention. It is a part-time contract, where you keep on working full-time and receive just a part of your salary. after a certain time, you stay away from work full-time and keep on receiving the cut salary. In my case, I worked full-time for 18 months while receiving a 70% salary and I will stay off work for 7 months from mid-March on.
The main benefits are, that I remain in my job. When I come back to work in November, my former full-time contract will reactivate automatically. Also, all my compulsory charges will get paid automatically by my company. So I officially never left the “social network”.
With the main fear of every German being solved, now people get over to asking:
But what about the house and car?
That’s simple, we never bought a house, but rented one. It is very common in Germany to rent a house or apartment. It is also common nowadays to rent the rented home to someone else if your landlord gives his/hers OK. So we’ll simply rent the house to my brother-in-law, as he needs a new flat during that time anyways. By this, we also get coverage for gas, electricity, internet, etc.
The car was leased and the contract is simply running out in march. Perfect fit!
The importance of tracking your finances
With the big costs in Germany being eliminated, our Thur-hike is probably going to be very relaxed on the financial site. We had 18 months to get used to a smaller salary and cut our costs.
It might be a little frightening at first to track every expense, but trust me, taking a peek into the bank account has never been easier for me, as I know exactly what’s on there. Every day.
Generally, I would advise anyone planning a thru-hike, even in the distant future, not to make unnecessary large purchases that tie you to the purchase. It might be of interest for some of you, to check the FIRE Principles, track your monthly expenses, and read blogs about finances, just to learn the basics and not spend money on unnecessary stuff. But that’s just my honest opinion, do whatever you want with your money! 😀
You might also want to check this episode of Backpacker Radio on how to afford a thru-hike
Thanks again for reading this text. Let me know how you liked it, as it is a bit far off the typical hiking topics. But on the other hand, I heard many bad stories about hikers who had to quit their thru-hike because of financial problems. If you liked or disliked the text, it doesn’t matter. Leave me a comment about your thoughts here or text me on Instagram (@django_hikes).
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