Things happen in life that change you in a really, really big way. Sometimes, you see the asteroid coming, and you know the impact is gonna be huge. Other times, it's just a small, average snowball... from that, you would never anticipate the avalanche. While I’ve talked about some of the various big moments I’ve experienced on my website, I’m going to try something different — chronological order! — in a new 4-part blog series called "How Did I Get Here?" This is Chapter 1.
My career trajectory, layoffs, and pivots; remote work and digital nomadism; sabbaticals and early retirement.
Why Your Favorite Nomad Blogger Became a Travel Coach (and What That Is)
I launched my blog in 2017, borne out of a passion for travel, a desire to express myself, and the joy of educating and inspiring others. Now, I'm excited to announce the next natural step in my evolution — I'm partnering with one of the most well-regarded travel agencies in Arizona, Boutique Travel Advisors, as their newest (and only) travel coach. I'm super excited about this new endeavor and how I can serve a whole new batch of wanderlusters. Find out what I'll be up to and read the FAQ!
Unpopular Opinion: Why Are So Many People Scared to Retire? GUILT
In the year-plus since I semi-retired, I’ve noticed something unexpected: just how polarizing and controversial the word “retire” is. (Especially among the generation older than I.) And it’s really no wonder that some people straight up scoff at retiring early, in a nation where busy-ness and overwork is a badge of honor... and when the first question we are asked when we meet someone new is, “So what do you do?" But many of those reactions confuse me. Here's why.
I’m One Year Into My Sabbatical — How It’s Going
December 10, 2021 was my last day of full-time employment, and if I were to sum up my first year of semi-retirement in one statement, it’s this: I am prioritizing myself like I’ve never done before. And while this could be a side effect of the fact that no employer owns my workday, this is also me making a conscious choice… I’ve chosen this. I’ve re-prioritized. I’ve identified what matters to me, decided how I’m going to live my life, and I’m doing it. And ever since then, this choice has shown up in my life in several ways.
You CAN Afford It: How to Travel When You Don’t Have Tons of Savings
Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. Trading and bartering has been around for centuries, and the internet has made it more possible than ever to exchange work, expertise, and camaraderie for lodging. So here are four actual, real-life, TACTICAL ways to travel without spending bucket loads of money... and all you need is a keyboard and a mouse to get started!
7 Surprising Realizations I’ve Had Since Quitting My Job at 36
I was 15 years old when I got my first job working at Panera Bread for $5.25 an hour. Like most people, I’ve been working ever since, without so much as a few weeks off or a few months between jobs — until my “great resignation” at age 36. I’ve worked at coffee shops, restaurants, big box retailers, golf courses… and then post-college, in two TV newsrooms and a few big corporate organizations. Sometimes, I worked side gigs and temp jobs simultaneously with my salaried job, to the tune of 60-70 hours a week, just to pay the bills or get ahead. (Damn, those days were rough.) Then, I quit. I took a chance on myself and my future: to grow and monetize this blog, publish a memoir about my journey, and THOROUGHLY ENJOY MY LIFE. I call this Julie’s Financial Independence Recreational Employment (my take on FI/RE)! Hereby, these are 7 confessions of a corporate job escapee... who's never been happier (spoiler alert).
My Money Mindset: How Living Off Savings Has Changed My Thinking
After I quit my job, transitioning from an earner to a spender was not emotionally easy for me… but this is how I adjusted, and now, I'm at peace with it.
Homeless, Jobless, and Happy: But I Still Feel ‘Successful’
Success isn’t linear. (Nor is financial gain an absolute indicator of success — or happiness.) Case in point: I won a National Emmy Award at age 20 and a Regional Emmy Award at age 21. (Best college newscast while I was news director, and best advanced media for content my team and I produced.) Then I was laid off from my newsroom job in Minneapolis at age 22 and had to move back in with my parents. There's more...
The Three Mantras I Adopted That Inspired Me to Leave My Traditional Life Behind
Three-bedroom house and 2-car garage. Six-figure salary and company-sponsored health care. My family, friends, and country of origin. I had all the stability and security and comfort in the world, and I gave it all up. I wrestled with my decision for a really long time, and I ran through scenarios, numbers, and options. Sure, it didn't make logical sense. Who would throw away a money-making asset such as a house? Why leave a job that more than paid the bills, that allowed me to live nomadically and travel the U.S. while working remotely? Who would drive to Mexico and stay for 6 months, leaving her family, friends, language, and way of life behind? It didn't make sense, but I kept on dreaming. My longings for a life of adventure, of discovery, of escaping tradition and societal expectations — couldn't be silenced. And so I adopted these three mantras, which I hold dear to me and share with you now.
I Looked Before I Leapt: How I Spent The Last 4 1/2 Years Getting Ready to Quit My Job and Travel the World
Before you say, "I’m one of those people who will never get ahead, who will never be able to save, who will never be able to not work"... in 2017, I had no job, a car I owed on, a $1,350 house payment on a house full of stuff I never used, peanuts in my 401K, and only $1,500 in cash. That was my situation, and I made changes. You can too.
Why I Decided to Start My Sabbatical With 6 Months in Mexico
When I announced that I was quitting my job after 14 years in the workforce and taking a 180-day sabbatical in Mexico on savings, “Why Mexico?” was one of my frequently asked questions. My answer is three-fold...
Upping the Ante: I’m 36 and I’m Retiring (Temporarily)
The average person works super hard for ~45 years and hopes all his efforts have paid off; that he will still have physical health and presence of mind (and financial security) to enjoy the time he has left. It doesn’t always work out that way. Case in point: my father. I’m young (36). I’m healthy. I’m single, un-obligated and uninhibited, with only a pup to care for. So to my employer: it's over. It’s not you, it’s me. Call it a sabbatical or a mini retirement or a temporary early retirement, I need to put my priorities, passions, and purpose first. I’m going where the creativity takes me, while I have the blessing of mental prowess, physical health, and minimal obligations.
I’m a Digital Nomad Traveling the U.S.: A Day in My Life
Hi, I'm Julie! I'm a female digital nomad and blogger, working remotely and traveling the U.S. by car. Here's what my average day looks like!
Ask Me Anything: Your Frequently Asked Questions About Nomad Life (USA Edition)
I'm officially one year in to nomad life, and I figured it was high time to compile answers to some of my readers' most frequently asked questions... about what brought me to this decision, how I'm traveling, what my job is, how I afford this, and dating on the road, to name a few.
Month #11 of Nomad Life is a Wrap: What I’ve Learned So Far
Today, Aug. 4, 2021, marks 11 months since I left Phoenix — sold my house, 99% of my things, and embraced a nomadic lifestyle. I figured there was no better time to summarize some of the learnings and lessons from these past 11 months than today. Using the categories on my website (travel, finance, career, and love) as a guide, read on...
What Financial Freedom Means to Me
Take two people who make the same income: one of them saves 50% of their salary and lives simply. The other saves nothing; their salary funds their lifestyle of cars, renovations, luxury trips, expensive brunches and nights out. Who is wealthier?
How to Get a Kick-Ass Job in Social Media
I’ve made a long and lucrative career in social media. It’s taken an incredible amount of knowledge, experience, and dedication — trial and error, sweat, stress and some tears — to get to where I am today. And I’m STILL learning! You've reached out to me asking how to break into social media and/or health care marketing, and I so appreciate the opportunity to be a mentor to others! Here are my 4 must-dos:
The Love, Career and Finance Advice I’d Give to My Younger Self (From a Single Woman in Her 30s)
Dear impressionable 20-somethings: DON'T get married just because you’re “supposed to" or "it's time." Don’t choose your career on “suitability,” choose a CALLING. Forget the things that'll make you look rich, INVEST in what truly enriches your life. Let everything you do be best for you; for now or for later, and for the betterment of what really matters in this life.
Your Employment Status Does Not Define You
As I see many of my friends, acquaintances, and connections getting laid off, taking mandated furloughs, or receiving pay cuts, I just wanted to leave this here: Your employment status does not define you, and your salary does not equal your value. What does define you? A willingness to embrace change and adapt. Generosity of time, heart and spirit. Persistence and determination. A desire for personal growth and betterment. Humility. Appreciation for the gifts you do have in life. Because, this:
What I Know To Be True In Times of Struggle
Usually, when we're in the midst of a struggle, whatever it may be, we’re only able to see the overwhelming negative. Only when the struggle is won do we realize how it’s changed us.