A family-of-four ditched their life in the States to backpack around South America – and have been lodging for free.
The adventurous Frias family – made up of Stephanie, her husband Carlos and two young children – sold their home and most of their belongings to travel.
Currently passing through Peru, their trip through the Andes has seen them learn how to net fish, shoot poison darts, become master chefs of the local cuisines, eat ants and live with indigenous families.
And they receive free lodging in return for blogging. Their writing success has allowed them to fulfil their dreams of freedom and they say they haven’t looked back since.
“Individually we always had the need for adventure, and once we got together it only amplified the need to search and conquer new horizons,” Stephanie said.
“Becoming parents at first made us fall into what society expects of everyone. But, less than a year into it, we knew that there was something missing.
“We kept searching for answers by changing habits, buying a new home, and taking short trips close to home. After our second child was born and only a year after buying our "dream home", we came to the realization that our souls were made to be free. We immediately started implementing our plan to move abroad.”
The couple have been helped massively by the free lodging.
Carlos manages his business while travelling and Stephanie – a former stay-at-home mum – writes travel guides for hotels via a new platform, Arrivedo.com.
In return for her writing, Stephanie is given hotel rooms for free. She has so far managed to stay in seven different hotels for free.
The children are homeschooled and have adapted to the lifestyle well – as it is all they really know.
Stephanie said: “The kids are happy, alive, and enthusiastic about the world around them. Travel is ingrained in their veins.
“Since we left when our children were very young, they don't really remember another way of life.
“The changes have been subtle, like learning a new language and developing incredible social skills. But overall we are all much more adaptable to daily nuances.
“Our best travel experiences have been very localized, personal experiences like on our trip to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. Many of our best memories are also from time spent in nature, when we have been secluded from the modern world. Camping under the Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador was a big deal for us, and so was the time we spent camping in the spectacular Paracas National Reserve in Peru. Our biggest milestones revolve around deeper personal connections between ourselves, with local people or with mother nature herself.”
The family say they have only one regret – not being able to do it sooner.
And those inspired by the family’s story can do the same.
Arrivedo, a technological startup based in Peru and San Francisco, allows travellers to connect with different places and local cultures.
The platform offers hotels globally an online platform to organize their knowledge via Neighborhood Guides.
Experienced travel writers put together the guides and are in turn granted accomodation in the hotels.
The platform is not only helpful for travellers looking for hotel recommendations but for those who are advancing their writing careers. Writers who want to get involved can do, here.