Magic Travel Interview: Five Dollar Travellers

Megsy and Tommo Five Dollar Travellers
Megsy and Tommo – Five Dollar Travellers


Although we have yet to meet Tommo and Megsy from Five Dollar Travellers in physical existence, we have formed a fabulous virtual friendship that spans the globe.


 Tommo and Megsy From Five Dollar Travellers


Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Megsy: I'm an Aussie gal who loves rockabilly fashion, music (especially collecting old skool vinyl, not so easy while travelling), and anything vintage! I actually have a Musical Theatre degree which helped me start my career travelling when I got a job as entertainment staff for Princess cruises. I finished my life at sea in 2010 but I haven't stopped travelling since.

Tommo: I'm from the UK. After my first time working abroad in 2006 (3 months in the French Alps), I realised that there was more to life than staying in one place. I worked really hard to come up with an escape plan to continue a work/travel lifestyle. By 2008 I was a musician on a cruise ship and I've been living all over the world ever since!


What is your travelling style? Do you work hard for a year, save all your money and then chuck in your job? Or, do you make money as you travel and spend a lot of time in each place?

Megsy: Well as I'm an international Avon rep I try to explore new and fascinating demographics for this amazing and diverse product ….haha NOT, I haven't worn makeup in 6 months!!!

Honestly, many of our previous jobs have been international and we both worked on cruise ships…it helps when you get paid to travel!

This particular trip was funded by old fashioned hard work and saving for 9 months while living/travelling in Australia. In the future we hope to fund our travels by making money along the way. We are working on this right now with the release of our new ebook.

I personally hope one of us discovers some long lost, filthy rich relative who decides to leave their entire fortune to us so we never have to work again…..always hopeful 😉


You have both travelled extensively, what is your most favourite place in the world and why? Would you go back tomorrow if you could?

Tommo: So many! Barcelona, Rome, Hong Kong… Right now we are in Seoul and this is my favourite city in Asia so far – so, I'm already “back” 🙂 It won't be the last time I visit here.

Megsy: I really want to go back and experience Antarctica properly! I cruised there in 2008 but never touched land or had an opportunity to go out in zodiacs and really explore! Tommo reckons it doesn't count on my places visited list as I never touched land so I'm out to prove that I've REALLY been there!

Five Dollar Travellers - Meg


Tell us about your best and worst experience you have had while travelling.

Megsy: I can sum that up into just one word….Mongolia!

It was the most amazing trip and the most difficult trip i've ever done. You have to deal with crazy bumpy roads, cars constantly breaking down and a severe lack of vegetables. On the flip side, the landscape is stunning and will absolutely take your breath away!

Tommo: Riding elephants bareback in Chiang Mai and taking them for a mud bath is probably one of my top experiences. With the mahout training, you learn the Thai commands and actually direct the elephants. They are gentle giants really!

All of my worst travel experiences involve some sort of overnight transport. I find it impossible to sleep sitting up but to save money we have done a lot of night buses and night trains. The worst ones were to and from Inle Lake in Myanmar on a bus with tiny seats and broken air-con and a 19 hour, hard seat ride from Guangzhou to Hangzhou in China – horrible!


Tom, this is aimed at you… What is the single worst thing you've eaten? What was so bad about it?

Raw abalone in Hawaii. We were in the seafood market in Chinatown, Honolulu. It was a new food I'd never tried. I asked the stall owner if I could eat it raw, he shrugged and said ‘sure' in that tentative way that should have set the alarm bells ringing in my head.

The texture and taste are almost indescribable and of course, disgusting in the worst crunchy and fishy ways! It's probably the only weird food I have ever spat out – and I've eaten live octopus and insects!

 Five Dollar Travellers - Tom


What motivates you to do what you do?

Megsy: People & Food! Tommo says that my medium power (kind of like a super power but not nearly as awesome) is making random friends in bars! It's really strange but it's rare for me to go out and not meet someone new, random people just like coming up and talking to me.

If you've seen our blog you'll know how much we looooove food, we just get a kick out of getting that ultimate food porn shot!

Tommo: Life should be fun and your work should be rewarding. If it's not, then it's time for a change. Once travel is in your blood its hard to stay still, it's addictive!


Now that you have been living out of backpacks for over six months, what advice do you have for someone wanting a life like yours?

Megsy: Don't pack white clothes!!! They will be ruined!

Tommo: Don't be afraid to try this lifestyle. Life is a journey and this is one stage of it. You may love it, you may end up hating it but you have to try it!


What does your future look like? Will you be backpacking through Central America when you are 45?

Central America, hmmm not at 45! Europe maybe…you see we really like cheese and wine and we want this to be in our retirement plan!!! 45 is a good age to retire, don't you think?


What does your family think of what you are doing? Will they be angry at you if you don't come home for Christmas?

Megsy: Well to tell you the truth we think they are really after grand babies more than a Christmas visit…little do they know this will be a Christmas miracle as there are no babies in our near future! Please tell them nicely as i am sure they think we will get “this travel thing” out of our systems soon!

Haha, no, they are proud and supportive of everything we accomplish. I think they have got used to the fact that, even though we love them, we may not be home for Christmas.

Tommo: My last Christmas at home was in 2007, so I don't think they are expecting me anymore.


You've recently spent a lot of time in Myanmar (Burma) and wrote an excellent eBook about it. What will people get from this eBook?

Megsy: We found that while travelling in Myanmar that many popular guide books were terribly unreliable for accurate information….so we wrote our own!!!

This book offers budget busting tips, maps, accommodation info, packing advice, foodies guides, transport info, etiquette, currency information, attractions (both major and off-the-beaten-path) and much more. It's 40,000 words of concentrated information that will answer all your major questions and help you travel through Burma easily.

Not only is it the most recently released guide on Amazon but at only $5 it is the best balance of price and information too. Perfect for someone on a budget!

Tommo: We made it through Myanmar on $45 per day (total for two people). We did a lot, ate a lot and had a few (insert: many) beers along the way too. Myanmar is a great budget destination but when your guide says a hotel will cost $5 and it turns out to be $25, that's not very helpful for planning…

Our guide is updated for 2013/14. We actually visited multiple guesthouses in every destination on our trip in order to collect accurate prices and contact details. It was a little bit of work but it also meant we always picked our favourites to stay in after we'd checked them out!

Budget Burma Out Now


Where is next for you? Why? How are you getting there?

Next stop: The Philippines!!!

We have had many friends harass us for ages as to why we have never visited them in the Philippines, so now is the time!!! We found amazingly cheap flights from Seoul to Manila with Air Asia that we couldn't resist, so off we go!


5DT-Author-Icon-waterfall125Tommo & Megsy are the Five Dollar Travellers. They are long term travellers looking for culture on a budget: The local perspective of the places they visit, outside of the tourist bubble. The food, drink, history, the people and finding the cheapest ways to have amazing travel experiences: Maximum Adventure, Minimum Budget.They are authors of Budget Burma: A comprehensive budget travel guide for Myanmar.


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