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)...
“How can you afford to travel?” is something I hear fairly often, and to be honest, as an American without a job and a home, traveling is the only thing I CAN afford! The USA is the 15th-most expensive country in the world. Compare that to Mexico, where the same lifestyle generally costs about half as much, and compare it to central and eastern Europe, where almost everything is a degree or two cheaper than what Americans are used to… and traveling is a bargain! If you’re new to my blog, I published spending updates every month during my six months in Mexico… and the purpose of those and future updates is only to inform and educate on what my lifestyle choices cost in varying parts of the world. This is not “how to do it on a shoestring” content — I’m drinking the wine, eating the gelato, and going on some tours, but I’m definitely creative when it comes to maximizing my budget. Drumroll please. In my first 30 days in Europe, I spent $2,009.09, or $67 a day. “Wait, Julie, what?!” — I’m sure you’re thinking — “That’s less per day than you spent in Mexico!” It is, and I’ll explain why…
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.
Well guys, my six months in Mexico have sadly come to a close. To say my time there was incredible is an understatement… and I’m still processing! At the time of this writing, I’m in Austin, TX for the 4th of July weekend to get some of my USA errands handled before I head up to Kansas to see family. Then, I'll head overseas in late July. (First stop, Slovenia!)
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.
In May 2022, this little retired nomad went to Mexico City… staying in CDMX’s Condesa neighborhood (May 1-23) and Oaxaca (May 23-31 and ongoing)! Mexico City reminds of New York City, and according to this cost-of-living index, it’s 60% less expensive than NYC. And in general, Mexico is 47.21% lower than the United States. That math seems to check out with my experience!
When you’ve been traveling full-time for almost two years and part-time ever since your first international trip at age 17, you pick up a tip or two. Whether you’re traveling by air or by car, here are some of my top tips for digital nomads and long-term travelers. Read on… I guarantee you’ll learn something!
Is it possible to be a fashionable minimalist? I really don’t know, but I think I look pretty put-together most days, and many of you seem to agree! So how do I look so “chic” without breaking the bank and without collecting too much stuff, especially since I’ve been living out of my SUV (one suitcase and three bins) for almost 2 years while traveling North America? Let's get into it.
Boy, does time fly. I’ve now been in Mexico for four months, and I have a number of new cities under my belt! After leaving Puerto Vallarta in early April, I went to La Mazanilla, Melaque, Mazamitla, Morelia, and Patzcuaro. I spent the long Easter weekend in San Miguel de Allende, a night in Querétaro, and the rest of the month in Mexico City. I have now traveled over 4,200 kilometers in Mexico!
Hola mis amigos, I am back with another spending recap for my THIRD month living in Mexico after quitting my job and taking an early (temporary) retirement to travel!! Damn, time flies! My January spending was just a bit inflated since I had some immigration and vehicle import costs and a 6-month policy for Mexican [...]
Hola mis amigos, I am back with another spending recap for my second month living in Mexico. As you know, month one was just a bit inflated since I had some immigration and vehicle import costs and a 6-month policy for Mexican car insurance. So, how did I fare in my second month (segundo mes)? [...]
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.
I’ve never believed in living a life of restriction and deferred enjoyment, of saving up your money for a luxurious retirement that may never come. It’s just not me, nor is it what this blog is about. I’m ok without designer purses, new cars, and brand name clothes. I don’t stay or eat at the [...]
Over the last few years, through much research, trial, and error, I've found my must-have apps and favorite things for nomads and frequent travelers/expats... including an international no-fee ATM card, my favorite travel points credit card, health insurance for expats, renter's insurance, and where I get free audiobooks, to name a few. Since you guys often ask me, "What do you use for _____?"... here you go!
How am I able to do what I’m doing — quit my job at age 36 to travel the world? Critics call it privilege, and I’m not denying certain benefits I’ve had, but I want to get real for a second. There’s privilege, there’s luck, and there’s choice, and the differences are distinct.
As you all know if you’re reading this blog, 2021 was my first full year of full-time nomadic living. And since there are a lot of you who tell me, “Julie, I wish I could do what you’re doing!” and cite cost as a factor, I want to bare my actual spending to you so you can: - See what I chose to spend money on and compare to your own spending - See where you could cut or make adjustments - See where you could share costs with a friend or partner and how that could significantly affect the numbers - See how I plan to cut in 2022, since as of mid-December 2021 I don’t have a job and will be in Mexico starting January. Read on...
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...
Dining is one of the biggest categories people spend money on. Being nomadic and mobile, I don't have the same ability to buy groceries in bulk, stock my pantry, and make a ton of meals at home. But comparing my spending last year to this year, I’ve spent less in 2021 — by about $4,000. Here are some of the travel hacks to keeping my dining budget in check.
I call myself a minimalist a bit reluctantly. Sure, from 2017 to 2019, I went on weeks-long backpacking trips with nothing but a carry-on... but back then, I had an entire house to come home to. Now, nomadic since 2020, I travel with a few bins of clothes, quite a few outfits and shoes to [...]