As part of my four months in Europe traveling the Balkan Peninsula last year, I spent a week in Albania. As usual, I documented my discoveries on social media, and I had a blast — but I got some unnecessary hate about Albania as a travel destination. Here's my itinerary for Albania, which includes relaxing in the turquoise waters of the Albanian Riviera, digging into its lengthy (and discordant) history, and experiencing the country's incredible nature (lakes, waterfalls, and the Albanian Alps)! Plus, I share my thoughts on the country: ultimately, I found Albania beautiful, affordable, and full of contradictions. This Albania travel guide includes information for both budget-conscious backpackers and those (with a little more to spend) looking for a more cultivated experience.
Tag: solo female traveler
How Did I Get Here?: From Periodic Traveler to Full-Time Nomad
Last week, in Chapter 1 of my latest blog series, “How Did I Get Here?” I told you: I’ve always been a writer... the page my canvas, the written word my medium. But, did I ever dream of nomadism? Nope. That later came to me as a complete surprise. Like many of you, I went on vacations, both domestic and abroad... and over the years, each trip nourished my soul and whetted my appetite for more. Read on for Chapter 2.
How I Spent $27K as a Global Nomad in 2022
I’m coming upon the end of my first year of mini-retirement, and as usual, I’m sharing yet another spending recap with you (as I’ve done all year long as I’ve traveled across Mexico and Europe)! You’ll recall, at the end of 2021, at age 36, I participated in the great resignation/financial independence retire early (FIRE) movement. After quitting my job, my goal for my semi-retirement was to take back my time, energy, and creativity for MYSELF, vs. my employer… and to get the most out of my travels sans the demands of a job. Now that my first year “on sabbatical” is coming to a close, here’s my total spending for the year (as an unemployed person spending five-sixths of the year traveling across 14 countries): $27,014.26, or $74 a day. This is how I lived. P.S. Want to join me for a free webinar and Q&A where I dig in deep to my budget and spending? Enter to receive the details by email.
Dating Diary of a Single Nomad: The Three Most Frustrating Things I Keep Seeing from Men
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...
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 (& Adventurer): 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!
I’m a Full-Time Solo Traveler: Do I Ever Get Lonely?
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?
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.
My Money Mindset: How Living Off Savings Has Changed My Thinking
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.
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!)
Mexico’s Huasteca Potosina: My Solo Travel Experience (with a Dog)!
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)!
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!
Homeless, Jobless, and Happy: But I Still Feel ‘Successful’
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...