What Enabled These Couple To Travel Full Time Was Being Debt-free

Samantha Khoo and her spouse Rene Sullivan

As humans, we only live once, subsequently Rene Sullivan and Samantha Khoo are living a life worth the effort before anything else.

Rene Sullivan and Samantha Khoo, otherwise called “24 Hour Travellers,” has their own boat, and have headed out around several beautiful and interesting places to fulfill their traveling dreams.

“What if I were to die tomorrow, what would you do for the rest of your life?”

That is the very thing Malaysian Samantha Khoo asked her Singaporean spouse Rene Sullivan in 2017, when he returned home late from a hard workday.

“It was really sudden and it took me some time before I answered her,” he said, ‘Well, if that happens, then I just take my guitar … and then travel the world’.

Khoo replied, “Why are we waiting for me to die for you to do this?”

Living in a sailboat together has allowed Rene Sullivan and Samantha Khoo to work on their communication skills. “In a house, if you get pissed off at each other, you can just leave … Here you can’t. You have to make up and say you’re sorry,” said Khoo.

The couple, who are now in their late 40s, were running businesses of their own in those days.

At this stages, money was no longer their currency, because they think, it’s rarely enough. Time then, became their currency — ie. always planning how they will invest their time doing what they need.

The couple started this entire thing by selling the greater part of their assets, including their businesses and real estate.

“We start cutting everything,” he said. “You realize you don’t really need a lot of money — because you’re not paying your staff, you’re not paying your rent, you’re not paying for a property, you’re not paying for your [credit] cards. They have since become “small-time investors,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan and Khoo, who’ve been married for a considerable length of time (22 years), said the main thing that empowered them to travel full time was being without debts.

“We are not rich,” Khoo insisted. “It was very important [to be debt-free]. For example, for properties that we bought, we made sure that [they were] paid off within five years.”

The couple purchased an ex-military van for $3,600 and changed it over into a campervan. For three years, they traversed Malaysia and won the entire of Thailand.

As per Samantha Khoo and her Singaporean spouse Rene Sullivan, the most awesome aspect of van life for them is the opportunity of not having to pre-book air tickets or trains, transports or hotels. We travel every which way when we like, she added.

In 2019, they began arranging a six-month journey to the U.K., which would have taken them through China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe.

They were all set when the Coronavirus pandemic hit. So they put their arrangements on pause.

With their plans foiled, the couple began dreaming about their next adventure. Khoo invested a ton of energy watching videos on YouTube, and she risked upon one about living in a small boat.

“I was like, ‘Oh, I can do this,’” she said. Sullivan, however, was not so keen.

“I was skeptical of everything — [dealing with] the weather and then being in the ocean all by yourself. I’m kind of chicken that way,” he said with a laugh.

Sullivan consented to try things out of sail life prior to focusing on purchasing a boat. They burned through four months at Pangkor Marina in Malaysia, where they worked for boat owners without pay to acquire information about boat life and upkeep.

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Sullivan in the end went gaga for the lifestyle. In April 2022, the couple purchased a handed down full-fall boat for $15,000.

“There’s really a lot of hard work that goes into it. We are learning new skills every day,” said Khoo. “This boat is not just our home, but it’s also our university, our dormitory, our office..There is a common saying that “boat” stands for “bring on another thousand. It means that when something breaks, you’re going to spend $1,000 on it.” said Khoo.

A sailboat is “not just our home, but it’s also our university,” said Samantha Khoo. The couple added that they are learning new skills everyday — like fixing the water pump of a boat.

As per the couple, they don’t pressure themselves because they just want to be like 1% better than yesterday.

Khoo and Sullivan also run a YouTube channel called 24 Hour Travellers, where they document their adventures and interview other travelers.

Until further notice, the couple are centered around taking it on a sluggish speed to accomplish their objective — to become skilled mariners and travel to Thailand one year from now. Their fantasy is to moor their boat in blue water and be encircled by islands.

Credit: CNN

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