I’m Will Hatton, adventurer, entrepreneur and the original Broke Backpacker.
For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about real adventures in far flung lands. I like raw, challenging travel that pushes me to learn about the place I am in, the people I am meeting and myself.
For a long time, I traveled the world on $10 a day, living rough, picking up random jobs, hitchhiking, couchsurfing… It was an incredible experience. Today, I live in Bali where I am building my first Tribal hostel – a rather special hostel aimed at backpackers and online entrepreneurs.
I still travel often – usually to places with no phone signal and no distractions. For me right now, travel is about resetting away from my busy work life running multiple online businesses and spending time in the raw beauty of the mountains.
Welcome to The Broke Backpacker
The goal of The Broke Backpacker is to show budding adventurers how to ditch their desks, hit the road and discover the intoxicating levels of freedom that can only be found while traveling the world.
I believe that travel is the ultimate learning experience and that when you are out of your comfort zone, this is when you learn the most.
10 YEARS OF TRAVEL
I had my first taste of backpacking when I was eighteen and was instantly hooked by the chance for a fresh start, the chance to be somebody new whilst hitching, camping and couchsurfing my way around Europe.
Since then, I have trekked deep into the Venezuelan jungle, worked on bars in Laos, herded goats in the Holy Land and conquered the highest navigable pass in the world armed with a poorly drawn map and some beef jerky.
I have experienced and survived knife-point robberies in Nepal, guerrilla encounters in Myanmar, motorbike crashes in Vietnam, marriage proposals in Iran, arrests in India, love triangles in Colombia and numerous other mis-adventures. Check out this post to find out about some of the lessons I learnt on the road.
Why did I choose a life of travel?
When I was nineteen, I became seriously injured whilst trekking in Costa Rica and spent two weeks in a hospital before being shipped back to the UK. I spent a year recovering from a truly unpleasant ordeal. It was not a good time.
I had always wanted to be a Royal Marine but on account of my injury that dream was abruptly over.
I did what any sane person would do; made my way to India and travelled around Asia on a budget of fifty bucks a week, I traveled for two years before returning to the UK to visit my family.
Being in India alone at such a young age was one hell of a culture shock but it ignited my passion for adventure and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Crucially, spending time with myself whilst exploring nature gave me the tools and insight I needed to recover from some traumatic events and I realised fairly quickly that raw travel gives you a chance to heal and to grow. The opportunities one can encounter on the road are truly endless.
How do I pay for my adventures?
Originally, I had the world’s worst job unloading lorries at 5am for minimum wage. I worked sixty hours a week to save some cash and then quit, hitting the road for three years and not looking back.
I stretched my money as far as possible by hitchhiking and couchsurfing everywhere and picking up odd jobs on farms and in bars and hostels, whenever I could.
I have worked dozens of weird and wonderful jobs all around the world but today I make my entire income online. I am currently building my first hostel in Bali.
In a nutshell, I travelled super cheap in super cheap countries.
These days, I make five figures a month through my online ventures, the majority of that income comes from affiliate marketing on this blog. My plan is to stop working online in the future so that I can focus exclusively on passion projects and traveling the way travel is meant to be done – without a phone!
Do you have to be rich to travel?
Hell no. I’ve been gallivanting around the globe on a budget of $10 a day for years.
I learned pretty quickly that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. All I ever wanted to do was see the world and if that meant sacrificing a ton of comfort then it was a trade I was willing to make. I travelled like a hobo for seven years, sur-thriving on crackers and kindness.
I often camp out and I found that travelling broke is simply the best adventure experience – when you’re broke you’re forced out of your comfort zone, you learn, you evolve and you make friends all over the world.
Travel is for everyone; it doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are from or where you are going; at the end of the day, to travel is a basic human impulse and everybody should have the opportunity to travel at least once in their life.
I am passionate about teaching others to ditch their desks, make money online and hit the road in search of a better life.
THE STORY OF THE BLOG
The Broke Backpacker officially sprung into existence in September 2014.
After being on the road for nearly six years, and being constantly inundated with questions on how I managed to travel with limited money, I wanted to share my experiences of how to travel the world on a budget.
When it comes to my own adventures, I enjoy exploring lesser-visited countries such as Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan or Venezuela… I also like getting off the beaten path in pretty much any country and hell, I enjoy partying in backpacker meccas too.
I started The Broke Backpacker with the aim of teaching others how to to hit the road in search of a real adventure and how to travel on the cheap.
In November 2015, I began a new adventure. This is a journey which changed my life.
UK TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA
I aimed to travel from the UK to Papua New Guinea without the use of flights, I began this journey in 2015.
I hitchhiked my way across Europe, sleeping in the rock-cut caves of Cappadocia, before making my way into mysterious Iran where I met Nina.
From Iran, I travelled to Pakistan, hiking deep into the Himalayas and Couchsurfing with locals in some truly far-flung places.
Next up, I drove a multicoloured Tuk Tuk, Tinkerbell, 2000km across India.
Nina flew out to meet me in India and we travelled together before doing a u-turn and heading back to Iran via Pakistan for another crazy Iranian adventure…
After a year on the road, I paused UK to PNG in India (which is as far as I made it without flying from the UK) and prepared to face a new challenge…
Falling in love with Nina was an unexpected development on my travels and it changed the objective of my trip big time. Nina’s Iranian passport makes it tough for her to get into some countries and our combined bank balances was less than $1000.
In order for me and Nina to stay together, I needed to scale The Broke Backpacker to a point where it could sustain the travels of two people. In need of a base, we moved to Chiang Mai in Thailand and spent two years grinding it out online. By the end of 2018, we were making six figures a month… Pretty fucking unreal.
In 2018, I bought land in Bali and started to build a truly unique, very special backpacker hostel – swing by and say hey if you’re in town 🙂
In 2020, Covid hit us hard and decimated our income. We had to cancel all of our Epic Backpacker Tours. We made some tough decisions but I’m confident in the future of the travel industry and happy with the direction we are moving in. You can read my thoughts on Covid and travel blogging here. Over the last six months I’ve been focussing on passion projects, getting super fit, mentoring awesome people, making videos on Youtube and writing short stories online.
IN SEARCH OF FINANCIAL FREEDOM
Throughout 2016 and 2017, I tested almost constantly, I launched numerous online ventures and experimented with different models of monetisation. We were almost always nearly bankrupt as I invested everything I made into new online experiments.
We went through a very tough time and I experienced some of the lowest moments of my life as I desperately scrambled to make something work – we needed cash to survive.
I started an adventure tour company – running tours to Pakistan – to raise funds to plow into new ideas.
My goal was simple – build a series of online businesses than run on autopilot and fund our life of adventures.
Two years since I met Nina, my life had changed completely. After investing my time and sweat into building multiple businesses, I could now earn a ton of money (by broke backpacker standards) whilst traveling the world – I truly am living the dream.
I have learnt a huge amount over the last four years and I now know what works when it comes to building an online business. I want to teach fellow dreamers and doers what it takes to build an online income.
Introducing: A passion project where I occasionally post case studies of what is and isn’t working for me online – Ditch Your Desk
This is where I SHARE with you my tips and tactics for you to live a meaningful, rewarding life through career freedom and epic adventures.
In a nutshell; This free resource provides some great info for those interested in working online whilst traveling…
THE BROKE BACKPACKER TEAM
Since 2017, we’ve expanded rapidly and have built an awesome team of incredible people who share a passion for adventure and financial freedom. Find out more about the team here.
THE BROKE BACKPACKER MISSION
Our mission is to provide a blueprint for others to ditch their desks and discover the world. We want to show you that it’s possible to travel the world on a budget of $10 a day whilst you set up an online income.
SUPPORT THE SITE
We work hard to put out top-quality information for free for our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Find out how you can support the site here.
And that’s The Broke Backpacker! Have an explore of some of my favourite adventure tales from the road…
My favourite posts
- From the road: 72 Lessons from my Adventures
- From the road: My Goals for 2020 and Lessons from 2019
- From the road: From Broke Backpacker to Online Entrepreneur
- Turkey: Hiding a Geocache in Cappadocia
- Iran: Hitchhiking Iran with a chick I met on Tinder
- Iran: Camping On The Rainbow Island
- Pakistan: An Underground Rave In Pakistan
- India: LSD and Monkeys
- India: Driving a Multicoloured Rickshaw Across India
- India: Arrested in Bombay
- The Philippines: A Tribal Tattoo From A Living Legend
- Venezuela: Changing Money on The Black Market
- Colombia: Trekking to The Lost City
- Travel Resources: Everything You Need to Know to Hit the Road
Work with me
Feel free to inquire about working with me, collaborating with me or sponsoring the site.