Awesome question Chris! I've thought about it quite a bit prior to hearing you ask it.
Personally for me, having a financial safety net makes me feel a lot better, secure overall perhaps. Is it necessary for everyone? Probably not! But overall I think it depends on the person. For many, having no safety net can help to force them into high gear and make mobile income happen! This motivation could be invaluable. For others and including myself, having a safety net helps to avoid financial anxiety and allows us to enjoy our travel more and be less stressed overall. There's definitely pros and cons of each path for someone determining if they should save or take the plunge sooner!
Personally I had about $10,000 CAD in savings before I embarked on my trip. This was the amount I had at the time of leaving, I had it for a while before I even considered travelling so I did not have to delay my travel plans to save more. I would have left with less, maybe a minimum of $3,000 - $5,000 CAD. However having the safety net has not made me too lazy, as I constantly aim to ensure I keep above the $10k mark. Kind of a personal way of proving my independence. This might not work for everyone though!
In addition I keep in mind that if anything crazy messed up happens financially (especially medically), absolute worst case could be resorting to my credit cards, friends or family. I would avoid these options at all cost, but if it was a life or death matter kind of thing, then logically I think I have support beyond my savings for worse case scenarios. Keeping this in mind is a good way for many to realize they won't become truly destitute while travelling haha.
Hope this was helpful!
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