How I Packed for 16 Weeks (and Two Seasons) in Europe in One Suitcase; Plus, My Monos Luggage Review

It's not sorcery... it's one great suitcase, some smart clothing choices, and a few packing hacks.

16 Weeks in Europe Recap: My “Best of” List

“Julie… where was your favorite place in Europe?” I’m not a mom, but I reckon it’s kind of like choosing your favorite child: each place I visited is unique and special in its own way, so I literally cannot pick a favorite! So, instead… how about I do superlatives, high school-yearbook-style (in a completely biased, non-scientific way, of course)? And the award for most beautiful city, prettiest old town, best food, and nicest people goes to...

A Travel Itinerary for the Foodie: Split, Croatia 

I spent half a month in Split, Croatia in October — I really needed to slow down after a whirlwind three months traveling through Eastern Europe. (Nomading is exhausting, ya'll!) And overall, I found Split to be a very nice vacation destination, with lovely weather (highs in the upper 70s) in mid-to-late October, plenty of good restaurants, and a variety of things to do... even as Split entered the off-season. Read on for a comprehensive list of my favorite things to do and the best things to eat in Split!

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!

My Third Month in Europe: How Much I Spent & Where I’ve Been

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’m a Nomad: Here’s My Experience With Global Expat Health Insurance

Health insurance! With the astronomical cost of healthcare in the U.S, I've heard from a lot of Americans that losing company-sponsored health insurance is one of the main concerns they have when it comes to quitting their job before they’re of retirement age — and that was once one of my main concerns, too. The company I used to work for paid 100% of my medical, dental and vision premiums — meaning, I did not pay anything additional out of my biweekly paycheck. Not a bad deal! And I’m a healthy person with no pre-existing conditions, so I’ve never really had to deal much with health insurers… until 2021. In May 2021, I broke my foot — and then a few months later, I tore my bicep. Minus a few co-pays, everything was covered. And so, because it was a huge relief to have my employer mostly cover my health care troubles in 2021… I wondered what I would do once I quit my job, became uninsured, and started traveling outside the U.S. Here’s my experience.

How Much This Full-Time Nomad Spent in Europe (Days 31-60)

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)...

My Travel Guide for Budapest: What to Eat and What to Do

I’ve been city and country-hopping in Europe for a month and a half now, and the single city I’ve spent the most time in has been… Budapest! And because I love to eat, I appreciate rich culture, there’s a lot to see, and I also don’t mind a party (here and there), Budapest was a welcome haven for me. I found it most convenient to stay on the Pest side of the river, as I spent most of my time there, while making fewer outings to the Buda side. Luckily, the transit in Budapest is very efficient and affordable. I was also gifted the Budapest card, a tourism card which gives the holder free public transport and free or discounted entrance to tons of museums and a number of other activities, services, and dining for a designated period of time (a 72-hour card is €56). It definitely saved me a lot of money in Budapest — a big thank you to the Budapest tourism board for the gift! So without further ado, here's my 7-day itinerary for Budapest, Hungary.

Happy 2-Year Nomadiversary to Me, and a Message: Don’t Wait for Your Life to Start

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.

It Costs How Much to Travel?! What I Spent My First 30 Days in Europe

“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…

Ask Me Anything: 2022 (International and Jobless) Edition!

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?

Lessons from an Expert International Traveler: Sharing the Early Mistakes I Made (So You Don’t Make Them Too)

Five years ago, I jetted off to Europe on a one-way ticket. A few weeks ago, I did the same again. But this trip looks A LOT different. I made a lot of mistakes back then — with transportation, bookings, planning, and spending — and now, I'm a bonafide expert traveler. Here's my stories and advice, and what I'm doing better this time around.

A Nomad Birthday in Slovenia (Plus, My Travel Guide for Bled!)

Well, I made it to Europe... and I'm kicking off my 37th year of life! After a few days in Ljubljana, Slovenia enjoying the sights and tastes, I went up to the alpine tourist town of Bled (about 45 minutes from Ljubljana by car) as a little 37th birthday outing. And what a busy and fun-filled 24-hours it was! Here's how my truly EPIC day went... read on.

Mexico Must-Do: My Favorite and Most Memorable (and Photogenic) Experiences

When people ask me about the coolest things I've done in Mexico, it's impossible to think of just one or two. I feel like I am constantly seeing beautiful, awe-inspiring, and unique things — some of them big and splashy, some of them small but impactful. Still, I knew I had to put together at least a small list of the places and moments in Mexico that will stick out in my memory forever... enjoy.

How Much I Spent in My 6th Month Traveling Mexico

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 Invited My (International Travel Hesitant) Mother to Mexico: How It Went

I could tell my mom felt out of her element when she first arrived. But then I heard a Mexican man greet her on the street, I heard her reflexive reply of “hola”, and I saw the small smile that appeared on her face. I knew she was feeling what I feel when I travel internationally: triumph. Triumph at figuring it out, at being able to learn one more thing, at feeling self-sufficient... triumph at discovering the magic trick.

One Month in Mexico City: What I Did and What I Spent!

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!