Loneliness. As a full-time nomad and solo traveler, I am asked about this often — so here's my long-winded answer: I have never felt deep isolation or prolonged loneliness... but what about *sustained* connections?
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)...
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.
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.
“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…
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 15 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)!
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!
Success isn’t linear. (Nor is financial gain an absolute indicator of success — or happiness.) Case in point: I won a National Emmy Award at age 20 and a Regional Emmy Award at age 21. (Best college newscast while I was news director, and best advanced media for content my team and I produced.) Then I was laid off from my newsroom job in Minneapolis at age 22 and had to move back in with my parents. There's more...
I’m back in San Miguel de Allende for Easter. It's the first city I visited when I arrived in Mexico over 3 months ago, and the first city I’ve come back to… and I’m seeing it in a whole different light. Why? Because I was a different person back then; I didn't have the confidence and the know-how I have now.
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 [...]
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.
This week marked a few milestones on my epic 180-day Mexico road trip: my 9th week in Mexico (17 weeks to go!), 2,500 kilometers driven in Mexico, AND my 9th home base (Puerto Vallarta). So, now that I feel really very comfortable in Mexico — getting around, conversing, the ways of doing things — I feel much better suited to answer that persistent question: “How safe do you *really* feel in Mexico?”
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'm a sucker for murals and wall art — I deliberately seek them out when I travel. Lucky for me, San Miguel de Allende is positively littered with them, as I discovered during my five weeks in the city. Here's a few of my favorite murals. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, whether you're visiting SMA or living vicariously through my photos!