When people find out that I’ve been traveling internationally for the better part of the last 3 years a few questions arise. I recently flew back to the USA from The Netherlands and it gave me some time to think, as my current around the world trip is coming to a close. I thought it would be nice answer a few of these questions and provide insight into the life of a digital nomad.
Where is your favorite place?
This, like many questions related to travel – is a tough one. I have so many favorite places! If I had to choose 3 places I would say, Ireland (both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), Spain, and The Netherlands. Ireland hands down is the real winner for the following reasons: the people, the landscape, and the music. I love Spain because it’s the place I walked the Camino de Santiago and Barcelona will always leave you wanting more. The Netherlands is a special place for me because I have many friends there and I admire the Dutch way of life.
Why do you travel so much?
Traveling is something that was instilled in me at a young age. I’ve been fascinated with faraway places for many years and have always had an urge to see and discover new places. I travel because I think seeing and meeting people in different cultures is fundamental to having a well-rounded world view. I travel because it’s opened up new opportunities and taken me to places I never would have expected. Travel continues to challenge me and inspire me in multiple ways, which is why I live my life the way I do.
What’s your method for planning trips?
I generally have a rough idea of where I am going to be and what I’ll be doing there about 1-2 months in advance. I find that it’s important to have a general framework for my location so I can book accommodation or arrange dates for housesitting or staying with friends. It’s also nice to have about a month to do research on the next location. I like to use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration for my next location. At the end of the day I listen to my gut and what some people might refer to my “inner compass”, as it typically tells me where to go next.
Do you feel safe traveling alone?
Knock on wood, I have felt safe and have been safe during the bulk of my travels. There have been a few instances such as that time someone followed me down a street in Rome, but other than that I have been just fine. Mind you I don’t go out much at night or drink excess amounts of alcohol which is one of the reasons I think I’ve been safe. I take the time to research locations and neighborhoods before arrival which has kept me safe. And once again, if I don’t feel safe somewhere, I leave. Here’s a few tips on staying safe which I outlined based on my experiences on the road.
How do you afford it? (ahem, do you have a trust fund?)
I afford travel in multiple ways. 1) I’m a cheapskate. When I was saving up for my trip to Spain I cooked nearly all my meals at home for 6 months which allowed me to save heaps of money. I typically stay with friends, housesit, or find cheap hostels to keep costs low. 2) I work online. As the Marketing Manager for www.punchlist.net I am able to work on the road, so long as I have a decent Internet connection. And no, I don’t have a trust fund. My travels are funded by my work online. Before I had my job online I saved money while traveling by volunteering for a place to stay and for meals. Not having enough money is a poor excuse not to travel.
How do you pack?
I typically travel with my trusty Gregory Z40 backpack (my Gregory pack is from 2013) and Minal Daily pack for all of my electronics. With these two bags I typically can do carry-on only during flights. Depending on the season, I might need more gear which exceeds these bags, like when I was recently traveling in New Zealand. Generally speaking I will pick up an extra few layers or heavy footwear such as boots and use them at the destination and leave them there. Places like charity shops or trading gear with other travelers makes it feasible. I travel light, but not ultra-light. Having a pair of jeans is important to me and I don’t want to be doing laundry every 5 days. At the end of the day I pack enough to sustain my travels, but not so much that it holds me back.
When are you going to stop traveling?
I honestly hope I never stop traveling. I think that you can travel in many ways, even if that’s not international travel. I’m genuinely interested in discovering my own country for awhile before setting out on any further grand adventures. When I see older women traveling abroad, whether solo or with a partner I find myself hoping that I’ll be lucky enough to keep traveling well up into my later years in life.
How many countries have you been to?
As of September 2016 I have traveled to 19 countries, mind you I’ve traveled to places like The Netherlands and Ireland multiple times. If I was really trying to amp up my country count, I’ve truly failed. I find that going to places multiple times create a rich experience. I’m not interested in trying to visit as many countries as I can, although I of course would like to visit new places. I decided on my 31st birthday when I was traveling in New Zealand that I would travel to a new country every year. This promise to myself will hopefully give me new inspiration to travel to places I might not have traveled to otherwise.
Where to next?
This is one of my favorite questions! For the moment I am in the states currently catching up with family and friends. I’d like to spend a bit of time regrouping from my around the world trip before I plan any more international adventures. While traveling the globe truly is a dream, there’s something pretty special about coming home.
What did I miss? If you have any other questions, please add them in the comments or on the Making Her Way Facebook page!
Written in: Millville, New Jersey, USA