Whether it strikes when you're glancing over a travel blog or flipping through the latest National Geographic, most of us get hit with a case of wanderlust from time to time.
All of a sudden your imagination has you zip-lining through the Amazon and people-watching on the streets of Paris ... until a look at your bank account reels you back to reality.
Well, Polish couple Charlie Lewandowski and Alex Ślusarczyk are living proof that you don't have to be rich to travel the world. Over the last six years, they've passed through 50 countries on a budget of $8 a day.
Bit by the travel bug when they were working odd jobs in their early 20s, the daring duo set out in a renovated 1989 campervan they bought for $600 and haven't looked back since. Their travel blog chronicles the epic journey and provides readers with low-cost travel tips. (It also serves as their source of income.)
When I asked how they've managed to experience everything the world has to offer on such a strict budget, the couple told me that self-restraint is key. They don't pay for accommodation, opting instead to sleep in their van or a tent under the stars. They also research every city's cheap, local cuisine and do all of their own cooking.
The largest portion of their budget is reserved for fuel — an expense they offset by inviting friends, readers of their blog, and the occasional nomadic stranger to join in on the journey in exchange for some gas money. Their van measures in at 6 square meters (around 64 square feet) and fits up to seven passengers.
Charlie, Alex, and their travel companions immerse themselves in natural landscapes in order to spend less money on the road. They've found that busy city streets entice them to eat in elaborate restaurants or give in to billboard advertisements promoting products, but the outdoors are free of such temptations.
Though traveling in a small space on a strict budget has presented its challenges, it's still left Charlie and Alex with an unwavering sense of optimism and gratitude. Their envy-inducing list of destinations — everywhere from Australia and New Zealand to Moldova and Croatia — continues to grow as they keep exploring.
As for the couple's favorite part of traveling?
"That we wake up every day feeling free and happy," Charlie wrote in an email to mbg.
Looking over their photos, it's easy to see why. They have an incredible breadth of experiences to look back on — most of which didn't cost a dime.