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 “moving” to Mexico for 180 days 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 [...]
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.
My worst financial mistake ever was not shopping. Not new cars. Not salon and spa outings. Not extravagant vacations. My worst financial mistake ever was SAVING... when I could've been INVESTING. - Confessions of a former shopaholic and reformed current minimalist/full-time nomad
I’ve been a full-time nomad traveling the U.S. since September 2020, and I’ve learned (and surely nobody is surprised): that hotels, housing, and accommodations are by far the biggest expense of nomad life. I have a $2,000 monthly budget for lodging, but my actual spending in that area depends on the cost of living in the city that I’m visiting and the type of accommodations I choose (which, hooray, I have complete control over)! Fellow travelers, you have a lot of choice if you do a little research. The first question: Airbnb or hotel? Let me share my methods and we can explore a few aspects of each.
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?
I had a great conversation recently with a new friend. As we were swapping downsizing stories, she threw this word out there — OVERHEAD — which immediately struck me. You business people know what ‘overhead’ is. But ‘life overhead,’ as I’ve decided to call it, is ongoing expenditures (whether money, time or emotional energy) that do not directly contribute or bring value or profit to YOUR LIFE — THE LIFE YOU DESIRE.
“Experiences over possessions.” Idealistic, perhaps. But controversial, no. Most people would agree with this mantra. But would they live it?
When I tell people I’m a nomad that travels full-time, they either think I’m a vanlifer who only eats ramen (the cheap kind, not the good kind) or that I must be staying in posh places and spending a lot of money. Well, false on both counts! I’m here to say: it can, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to be a vagabond. So, let’s talk comparisons, facts, and figures… time to break out the spreadsheet!
International travel does not need to be expensive or out of reach. It’s about choices. These are the choices I made, which freed up hundreds of dollars in disposable income per month.
I’m not a financial expert, nor can I predict the future. But I knew that I had significant equity and I had a willing buyer. Combine that with motive (excitement and eagerness for change) and opportunity (remote employment)... and it was an easy decision to sell my home of 7 years and become a full-time nomad.
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.
Two years ago I was filing for unemployment and down to my last $1,500. Well, I turned things around by re-shuffling where my money was going, making full use of my assets, and prioritizing experiences over possessions.
Would you rather pay $245, $233.50, or $228 for the same €200? When every dollar counts, I'll help you choose wisely when it comes to spending money overseas.
If you have elite status on one airline, there's no reason you shouldn't use this travel hack to get status on a competing airline. It worked for me...
It’s the ever-present traveling conundrum: with a finite budget, the more you spend to lay your head, the less you can spend on everything else.