So you wanna be a nomad and travel the world? Take it from me, as someone who’s been “nomading” full-time across North America, Europe, and soon-to-be South America for three years now… here are my top pieces of advice, the biggest surprises, and the things I wish I knew earlier — from a nomad, to a nomad.
People look at what I did — downsized my entire life into a few boxes and suitcases — and think: "Wow, good for her, but I never could!" and that doesn't surprise me. When the seeds were first planted, I thought the same. But my transformation boils down to ONE single quality that I nurtured to become a minimalist, and that is...
I’m a nomad, who sold her house, quit her job, and is traveling the world... and I want to tell YOU, and anyone else who looks at me in AWE of my rebellious and fearless escape: I am not a superhero. I’m an average woman, WHO DID AN UNAVERAGE THING. I see money and time differently than most folks, as a result of some pivotal and life-changing experiences. Read all about it.
I've been slow-traveling across the country of Mexico since early 2022, discovering its many towns, cities, landscapes, bodies of water, natural and historic attractions, and cultural and culinary traditions. ... So naturally I tend to encounter a lot of myths, biases, and falsehoods from people who just don’t have the firsthand experience with Mexico that I do. So, here we go — let’s bust some myths!
I’ve quit jobs that stopped fulfilling me and left employers that didn’t value my contributions. I’ve quit relationships that were unhealthy and emotionally burdensome. I’ve quit responding to or engaging with people that demand emotional labor from me, cause me negativity, or give nothing back. I’ve quit allowing things I don’t like and don’t interest me to consume my time and my mental energy. I’m proud to be a quitter... because you know what is worse? Sticking with something that’s not fulfilling, fruitful, or dysfunctional.
Six years ago, I was unintentionally jobless. My severance package had run out, I hadn’t found another suitable job, and my emergency fund was all but drained. It took awhile, but I turned it around — and now, I’m semi-retired, working on my own terms and own timeline, and traveling the world. Let me tell you how.
Last week, in Chapter 1 of my latest blog series, “How Did I Get Here?” I told you: I’ve always been a writer... the page my canvas, the written word my medium. But, did I ever dream of nomadism? Nope. That later came to me as a complete surprise. Like many of you, I went on vacations, both domestic and abroad... and over the years, each trip nourished my soul and whetted my appetite for more. Read on for Chapter 2.
I’ve been on the road in Mexico (this time around) for three and a half weeks now, and since I always tend to get the questions, “But, how do you look so cute when you travel, Julie?” and “And, what do people actually pack on a months-long nomadic sabbatical?” — I thought it prime time to give you a look into my trunk when it comes to my earthly possessions in this world. Plus, I’m sharing a few fun facts you just may not know about me, along with my best packing and organization tips for long-term travel. Read on!
“Are you running from something?” they ask me, quizzically, after learning that I’ve been traveling the world for two and a half years as a full-time nomad and solo traveler. I kinda get it: I had all the stability and security and comfort in the world, and I gave it all up. And here's why.
I like to run for exercise. Running can be done just about anywhere, it doesn’t require equipment, I can do it solo, and there’s no special ability required (I just adjust my pace accordingly). In fact, I've ran five half-marathons (none of them very fast, mind you). When I train, I work on improving my physical endurance, my speed, AND my mental fortitude. These three mindset shifts have revolutionized my running performance AND, interestingly enough, my financial well-being.
It's not sorcery... it's one great suitcase, some smart clothing choices, and a few packing hacks.
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.
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!
My third month in Europe has rolled to an end, and I'm here to share another spending recap. But first, in the last month, I’ve been in five countries, I’ve taken buses or ferries in between 10 cities, I’ve spent 20 nights in hotels or Airbnbs, and I’ve dined out about once per day… What do you think I spent? Please, close your eyes and guess. (All will be revealed momentarily!)
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).
I have another 30-day, full-time-traveler, nomad-in-Europe spending update for you! I spent most of my second month of my stint in Europe in the Balkans and Mediterranean, so you'd think my mini-retirement spending would be lower than western Europe, buuuuuuut... I had a couple bills come due and a few "splurges," like my 7-day sailing trip in Turkey. So, in days 31-60 in Europe, I spent (and please excuse me while I mentally cringe)...
Two years ago and some… my life was very different. I was living what had been dictated to me during the course of my childhood and young adulthood. Go to college, get a job, buy a house, find a partner, have a family, and go on a few vacations a year until you retire at 65 — and then enjoy yourself. (I was stuck at the house and few vacations a year part.) And so I decided to turn all of that on its head. Two years later, I am still going strong on the nomad life... and I feel so blessed.
If you're new here (or just catching up!), I'm Julie, I've been a full-time nomad for about 2 years, and in this blog, I'm answering 16 of YOUR most frequently asked questions... about money, my sleeping arrangements, making friends, and the challenges I've faced as a full-time nomad. P.S.: What else do you want to know?
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.
I may WANT to work again, should my choices dictate. But probably, definitely, not in the way that a lot of people work — because they have to, because they're trapped in a debt cycle, because the lifestyle they've chosen comes with a never-ending financial responsibility, because they care about status and appearances and bigger and better and more. Not me.