Friday Folks: Simon and Erin, Never Ending Voyage

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Simon Fairbairn & Erin McNeany of Never Ending Voyage

The subjects of this Friday Folks instalment are just a bit different to the artists, craftspeople and creative business owners we normally feature. Simon & Erin, founders of Never Ending Voyage, are a couple who are almost 3 years into a lifetime of travel – they are the epitome of the term “free spirits”.

Adelle & Erin met when they worked together for a few years at Community Arts North West in Manchester. We’ve been following the blog she writes (and the gorgeous photos she takes) from the very start – it fills us with pangs of wanderlust of our own!

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Who are you & what do you do?

We are Erin McNeaney and Simon Fairbairn a digital nomad couple who sold everything we owned and left the UK in March 2010 to travel the world forever. Since then we’ve travelled to South America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, working online as we go.

We fund our travels through our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage and through our web design & development business. Recently we’ve moved away from client work and have begun to create our own digital products. Our first iPhone app will be out soon – it’s called Trail Wallet and helps travellers track their travel expenses easily and quickly.

Simon & Erin floating in the Dead Sea

How did you plan for and continue to maintain a life of long term travelling?

We cut our expenses right down and saved enough money to keep us going for the first year while we got the business off the ground. We sold almost everything we owned except for a few personal items like photo albums that we left with Simon’s mum, and what we could fit into a carry-on size backpack each.

We didn’t really get the business started until we’d left the UK. We started our travel blog 10 days before we left and it took about 18 months of regular updating and marketing through social media, guest posts etc before we made a regular income from it through advertising and affiliate commissions.

Simon started out doing web design & development projects for family & friends and got more jobs through word of mouth. We also had a lot of clients find us through our travel blog.

Simon & Erin with their rucksacks on their backs

Who or what inspires you?

We’ve been travelling for two years and eight months now and our travels continue to inspire us. We love learning about different cultures, trying new food and enjoying amazing landscapes.

Simon & Erin outside a monastery in Petra

What has been your greatest success?

Taking command of our own lives and taking the step to sell everything and travel permanently. And that through writing about it on Never Ending Voyage we’ve inspired others to travel too.

Simon & Erin launching a paper lantern in Yee Peng, Thailand

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to do the same?

Cut down your expenses, get out of debt and start saving. Figure out the skills you have that you could do online – writers, designers and developers are the most obvious digital nomad friendly careers but we know people who teach, consult and coach online.

We’d recommend doing what we didn’t do and getting your business up & running before you start travelling. It’s hard to balance work & travel and if you’ve already got some income coming in from your business it’ll make things easier.

  • Ali

    Great interview with a great traveling couple! Traveling is such an amazing thing, and if you're really passionate about it and you really want to see the world, there are ways to make it happen. Good advice about starting your business before you start traveling. I imagine traveling permanently is an adjustment all on its own, and trying to start a business at the same time probably did add a lot of stress. Glad you made it work though!

    • Thanks for your comments Ali. Yes, you don't want to be worrying about launching a new venture, you want to be exploring the world!