In 2012, Jason Vitug found himself on top of a temple in Myanmar.

"I realized I was living a childhood dream," he says of that moment, near the beginning of his year-long, 21-country travel adventure. "And I started wondering why I was the only one there. "

That epiphany became the first seed of his financial education website, Phroogal, which crowdsources high-quality answers to anyone's burning financial questions in order to help them afford the lives they want to lead.

Vitug returned from his trip ready to help others have their own top-of-temple moments.

Traveling through countries including the Phillippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Brunei, Timor L'Este, and Belize, "relates a lot to how I view finances now, and what it truly means to live life rich," he says.

Here, Vitug shares the personal finance lessons he absorbed on his way — along with photos of some memorable moments from his trip.

A goal is the first step.

"Everything starts with a goal in mind," says Vitug, whether that's a trip around the world or paying off $80,000 of student loans and credit card debt, a project he had partially accomplished when he set off on his global tour.

"Your goal needs to be clear and stated. I started backpacking with a goal to see 20 countries in 12 months, and I exceeded it." Twenty-one countries later, he's also debt-free.

A plan is crucial to achieve your goals.

A goal is the first step, but it's nothing without a plan, Vitug explains. "Even with backpacking, you need to plan to get from one part of the country to the next."

A plan keeps you on track to to accomplish your goals, he says, and "a financial plan can help you achieve the lifestyle you dream."

When you don't know the answer, seek out advice.

"I learned the value of seeking advice from locals and fellow travelers," remembers Vitug. "I discovered the best places to eat, cheapest accommodations, and the most beautiful places hidden from many tourists. In general, people are willing and happy to help."

The same applies to money: "Ask experts, or even people who lived through what you're currently going through, for guidance. You're not expected to know everything."

Establish a budget.

Before his travels, Vitug had never used a budget, but turning $10,000 of the money he always thought he would use for a down payment on a house into a year's travel budget taught him to accomplish his goals using only available resources.

"It's important to identify your lifestyle goal, and underneath that, the financial goals that are attached," he explains — and then to use your budget as a tool to reach those goals.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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