It can be scary to travel the world with nothing more than optimism and good-will, but personal freedom begins with a leap of faith. You will explore new places, meet new people, try new foods, and learn things about the world — and yourself — that you never imagined were possible. The simple joy of being in a new place is just a matter of…wait for it…going someplace new. The modern American economy is built on the false premise that people need to buy new goods and services all the time. People need fresh air, healthy food, clean water, exercise, creative stimulation, companionship, self-esteem, and a safe place to sleep. Chip in with a few chores, and they will give you a free meal, too.

WWOOF connects travelers with organic farmers who want to trade room and board for an extra hand.

Many members of both Couch Surfing and WWOOF are seeking an alternative to high-impact consumer culture.

If you have a skill, such as cooking, animal husbandry, massage, musical ability, or basic carpentry, you can barter for free food and accommodation as you travel the world.

Universally appreciated skills like cooking are best, though niche skills that are in high demand, like website design, are also useful.

Native English speakers can often travel for free by teaching language classes in each destination they visit.

The slower you travel, the easier it will be to work out a mutually beneficial arrangement with a local community or host.

Although it’s possible to travel for free in a big city, it’s damn difficult.

In fact, with a little practice and effort, you can travel for free. Things like food and shelter are much cheaper once you get outside the United States.

The idea that travel is expensive and difficult is bullshit peddled by tour companies, hotel chains, and corporate media. See #5 below for ways to obtain food and shelter for free. Instead of buying a plane ticket, catch a ride out West, or remodel an old sailboat, or just hop on your bike and ride away from town. You don’t need an oven, a washer-dryer, electricity, cable TV, a gym membership, a sofa and loveseat, or a closet full of clothes.