A BYU couple will be traveling the world this semester.
Many students settle down to the reality of “real life” after they graduate from college by working full-time jobs, going to graduate school or trying to pay back student loans. But Shazia Chiu and her husband, Taylor Chiu have made the decision to take a year-round trip across the world once Shazia graduates this August.
Shazia Chiu, a PR major from Provo, said their interest for travel started after they got married.
“Growing up my family honestly didn’t travel very much,” she said. “So I think as I got older, I started to get a little bit more restless knowing that there is so much out there.”
Shazia Chiu wanted to experience the culture and beauty she could get in foreign countries. She believes traveling should be an outlet for education, not a vacation.
“You can sit in a classroom and learn, but unless you really get out into the world and get hands-on experience and see things with your own eyes, I don’t think that it’s the same type of education that it can be,” she said.
The Chius talked about traveling when they were first married and wanted to do something different. Shazia Chiu said it was her husband who really decided to make the trip an entire year.
“At the time we figured I’d have to leave my job to go on the trip, so I said, ‘We might as well make it a year if that’s the case,'” Taylor Chiu said.
Their complete itinerary for the trip includes Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Morocco, several European countries, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Nicaragua.
Shazia Chiu said some of her tips for saving money while traveling include staying at inexpensive locations for longer periods of time such as Central and South America, Vietnam, Taiwan and possibly Peru. They also are getting the cheapest transportation they can find and becoming educated about each place they visit to find more ways to save.
Shazia Chiu also stated that since they got married a little less than two years ago, they have continually put money into a travel account.
Taylor said they put away around $500 a month into their travel account to save up for the trip for the last two years, estimating saving roughly around $12,000.
“I think it is a really brilliant method for doing it because it’s all automatic,” Shazia Chiu said. “We don’t even think about the money that goes into the account. But now two years later, we can look at it and see that there’s actually a substantial amount of money in there that can help fund the trip.”
The Chius estimate that the total cost of the trip for the entire year will be roughly $30,000–$35,000.
Their travel account is not enough to fund the entire trip, but they have found another incredible way to make their trip happen financially. Taylor Chiu’s work will allow him to keep working while they are gone for that year, which his wife called the “catalyst” for allowing the trip to happen.
Shazia Chiu has also found some remote jobs that can be done from anywhere, such as freelance writing and transcription, to help fund some of the living expenses for the trip.
“I don’t believe in going into debt for something like travel. I don’t think that that is responsible,” she said.
She believes people can travel the world no matter what stage of life they are in. One of her biggest inspirations was a couple who traveled to 12 countries in 12 months with a baby. It may take work, but according to Shazia Chiu, anyone can make it happen.
“It really comes down to priorities,” she said. “If you set up a savings account because you want to save for a new car, that new car is your priority. If you set up a savings account to save for a trip, that trip is your priority.”
Shazia also said it may take some years to save, months to save or time searching for remote jobs like they did. She believes that if people make it a priority, they can make it happen. She said people don’t have to fit themselves into a category of waiting for the right timing but can all go now.
Taylor Chiu is most looking forward to spending this time with his wife embracing new cultures. He also said they plan on learning a few languages along the way.
The Chius started a blog back in August of 2014 entitled “Gap Year for Two” to help keep their friends and family updated and to help encourage other young couples and students to travel as well. It also helps them connect with other travelers and get their advice and experiences. Shazia Chiu said they hope to be able to one day use their blog as a tool to fund their travels and help other companies as well.