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.
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.
“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’ve been a nomad for over two years now, traveling the world and dating, and this is what I’ve found… · I meet more viable men while traveling abroad, compared to when I lived in one place or traveled full-time in the U.S. · Even with the capability to screen/filter, I meet more men I’m actually interested in in-real-life, vs. on dating apps · Even though I’m currently single, the fleeting connections I’ve experienced this year give me hope that I’ll find my future long-term partner out there in the world But a thriving dating life means I’ve also met some busters (in the wise words of TLC). From the (relatively) benign to the bad, these are the three types of “busters” I keep encountering over and over again on the nomad life...
“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...
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).
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?
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.
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!)
Here's my experience visiting Huasteca Potosina, the extensive waterfall and cave region deep in the jungle of Mexico... that you've never heard of but definitely have to visit! Use this as a guide to planning your visit (with or without a dog)!
I’ve spent the past six years largely single. I’ve been on too many first dates to count. I’ve had a couple brief romantic attachments. I even thought I was falling in love once or twice — that there was serious long-term potential — ready to go all-in. I’ve been over-the-moon in rose-colored bliss, and I’ve [...]
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.
"Uh oh, I better maximize my vacation and have all the fun because the clock is ticking!" "Uh oh, my free time on vacation is finite so I better choose all the best activities and nothing better go wrong!" "Uh oh, sleeping in or just taking it easy while on vacation means I'm wasting my precious time!" See how the scarcity mindset sets you up to fail? I have since learned to think of time in abundance to find balance while traveling, and you should too.
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...
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.
If I'm to organize my nomad life journey into chapters, this is the end of one: going back to Phoenix to clear out my storage unit in November 2021. My trip marked a decision: the nomad life will continue indefinitely.
I’ve been at the nomad life for over one year in the U.S., and it suits me. It does! But I’ve made a point to be honest with you guys. I see people on the web glamorizing this life. And it’s not for everyone. I think it’s important to have as many facts as you can, and be honest with yourself. Here are some truths you need to face if you want to be a nomad...