One half of a perfectly matched pair, Meg Rulli is always on the move, passionate about about travelling and embracing everything that life throws at her. Together with her fun and loving husband, Tony, they have vowed to get as much out of life as they can while they are still young.
Meg studied entrepreneurship in College, then left the corporate world to pursue her dreams of travelling. Now she travels the world with Tony, delighting in the cultural differences, the local foods, and the weird and wonderful things that happen along the way.
However, in spite of the fun side of the adventures, Meg is aware that living life successfully and happily is the result of saving hard and planning thoroughly. Without the work that she and Tony put into their preparations, their travel may never have eventuated. Now they are planning to start a business while they are travelling and are looking forward to this new challenge.
1. You were obviously interested in entrepreneurship from quite a young age. What started you off in this direction?
My parents started a forestry company when I was little and successfully ran it together out of our home in Upstate, NY for 20 years. Growing up, I always saw how happy they were waking up every morning to work on the family business. Their company was their baby and they loved having the freedom to make their own hours and work on something they loved with each other.
Seeing this passion on a daily basis at a young age gave me the itch to someday be an entrepreneur myself. It was virtually impossible not to be inspired by their story!
2. If you had not made the decision to travel, what do you think you would be doing now – and would you have felt fulfilled?
When we decided to travel, we were not ready to settle down and buy a or home or have kids, so it seemed like the perfect time to explore our passions and explore the world.
If Tony and I made the decision not to travel, today we would have been doing the same exact thing we did last year... and the year before that: Working in our jobs as a business management consultant (me) and a commercial banker (Tony).
We were content in our living and working situation, but we yearned for more excitement out of life... I am so glad we decided to take the leap because I have never felt more fulfilled in my life as I do now!
3. Your wedding planning is a great example of budgeting in order to achieve your goal. What other sacrifices did you have to make in order to save?
To be honest, we didn’t make many sacrifices at all. A year before our RTW trip began, we decided to downsize from our two bedroom apartment in Miami to a one bedroom apartment, which saved us several hundred dollar each month. But beyond that, Tony and I have never been big spenders and have always lived modestly.
We don’t view ways to save money as sacrificing anything. In reality, we choose to consciously spend our cash. The money we saved in one year by moving into a one bed apartment saved us the equivalent of 3 months of living expenses in Thailand.
It is when you don’t prioritize your spending that you end up sacrificing life’s great adventures.
4. What sort of negativity did you experience from friends, relatives or colleagues regarding your travel plans, and how did it make you feel?
Our closest friends and family members were surprisingly very supportive when we told them about our plans to take a year off to travel the world. A lot of people we talked to said that they wished they could do something similar, but that they never would be able to due to career obligations, fear, indecision, and anything else they could think of.
Our goal at LandingStanding is to inspire our audience and to show people how to make this life a reality... No matter what their situation is!
5. During the planning and preparation phase, what did you find was the most difficult aspect to manage?
The preparation phase was fun and pretty easy, but our most difficult aspect of it was finding the proper medical coverage and travel insurance provider. It was one of those tasks that is time consuming, mundane, and annoying... but incredibly NECESSARY!
6. What have been the most difficult aspects of travelling through many countries?
Travelling for us has been pretty smooth, all things considered.
For me, I would say the hardest thing when you are bouncing around from country to country is staying flexible when your daily schedule or routines need to change. I always stuck to a strict routine back home of working out, eating healthy, getting 8 hours of sleep each night, etc. On the road, you don’t always get that luxury and you sometimes just have to roll with the punches!
7. You intend to start up a business while you are travelling. How far have you come with your ideas?
Not as far as we want to be, that’s for sure! We are in the process of reaching out to potential customers for feedback on our current idea and we have several other ideas we have been brainstorming as well.
We are trying to accomplish more and more everyday and hope to have something off the ground by the end of this year... We are also periodically updating our readers about our progress, so if you’re interested in our successes (and epic failures), stop by our site!
8. How do you reconcile your plans for working while travelling with the knowledge that inevitably your travels must come to an end?
While our current around-the-world trip is scheduled to end in December, we don’t think we will ever stop traveling.
We have met so many people on the road who have created a professional life that incorporates travel: The couple that started a marketing and website agency that has a homebase in San Francisco, but travels to a new city every 5 months to live there for 2 months; The self-taught marine biologist who alternates between 5 weeks on a boat in the South Pacific working for an oil & gas company and 5 weeks traveling wherever he wants in the world; the dozens of traveling writers we have met that are making a name for themselves as legitimate authors.
All of these people have inspired us to create the life we want instead of trying to fit into the classic 9-5 work model. For us, the life we want definitely involves travel.
9. What do you think will be the greatest difficulties in running a business and staying true to your passion for travel and adventure? Will there be any compromises?
I think it will be all about balance for us... Work hard, play hard! Throughout our RTW trip, we have learned that we enjoy travelling slow and staying in one destination for a month or so at a time. I think that this travelling style will make it easier for us to dedicate quality time to our business, while still having time to explore and feed our wanderlust!
10. What lessons have you learned from your previous employment that you aim to avoid when your new business is up and running?
I actually loved the management consulting company I worked for back in the states. They conducted business professionally and admirably and treated their employees very well. For me, I just became burnt out from the domestic travelling demands of my job, as I was on the road and away from Tony Monday through Friday every single week for four years.
More than anything, I aim to leverage the values and business practices that I learned from my previous employer and apply them to my future business with Tony.
11. Your present website is very personal to you and Tony. What ideas do you have for your business website?
Our goal is to just keep our business website clean, simple, and straightforward. When people visit our business website, we want them to have a clear idea right out of the gates on exactly what we do as a company and how we can provide value to our customers.
Throughout our business planning process, we have learned that crystal clear communication is the most important thing you can do and we hope the messaging on our website reflects this.
12. You have learned a lot during your travels. How will you apply this new knowledge to your future business?
The biggest thing that we have learned while travelling (that we will be able to leverage in our future business) is how to properly communicate with others. When travelling to foreign countries where English is not spoken (or is a second language), you learn that constant and clear communication is the biggest part of survival... And I think the same is true in the business world.
Through our blog, we have also worked with different travel companies in the places we have visited to get sponsored trips. Working with these companies has taught me a great deal on how to conduct myself in a professional manner and how to successfully represent a brand. This knowledge will definitely be invaluable as Tony and I move forward in our start-up.
13. Have you found any other businesses run by travellers, and what do you think of them?
We have found plenty! And I am insanely jealous and inspired.
More than anything, we have learned that there are so many ways that you can run a business, live for free, or make money while travelling - Whether it’s from doing a volunteer work exchange gig, house sitting, developing a iPhone App, doing freelance consulting work... The possibilities are endless. Now Tony and I just need to figure out how we can make the digital nomad lifestyle work for us!
A few of our favorite businesses run by travellers are: WanderTours, Eat The World, and Career Break Secrets.
14. If you had to stop travelling and run your business from a specific location, what would be your ideal location and why?
Oh gosh, there are so many locations I would love to set up roots in.
Italy for the food and relaxed lifestyle, Thailand for the food and low cost of living, Berlin for just plain liveability in a hip city... The international list goes on.
But we are looking into some places in the U.S. to eventually move to and at the top of our list are Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, and Charleston.
15. How will you define yourself as ‘successful’ in the future, say, in ten years time?
I used to think that money was the driver of success but I think this whole process of travelling the world and trying to start our own business venture has really changed that.
I will consider myself successful in ten years if Tony and I are excited to wake up every morning to work together on a common goal.
I will consider myself successful in ten years if we set up roots in some great location that we love to call home, while still finding the time to travel and explore the world.
I will consider myself successful in ten years if I can still take risks and laugh at myself when things don’t go as planned.
Success is not about money. Success is about being able to live life on your terms. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!
Amen. Thanks Meg
Meg Rulli is a world traveler and blogger at www.landingstanding.com. Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant, she took a year off to explore the world with her partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony. You can also find them on twittter at @LandingStanding