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’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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
"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.
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...
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 traveling solo full-time since September 2020, moving from place to place every few weeks. And sure, I travel alone, but I'm not usually alone! So how do I end up making friends while on the road? These are my top six friend-finding tactics.
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...
For anyone who’s contemplating a dream trip, a dream destination, a dream activity, or just something you’ve never done before — identify what’s holding you back. If it’s fear, how can you address that? Consider research and planning. Consider groupthink, chaperones, and safety in numbers. It’s fine to lean on resources before you become fully resourceful yourself. You’ll grow, you’ll practice, and you’ll graduate over time. The important thing is getting started. The important thing is trying something you’ve never tried.
When I made the decision in 2020 to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, there was no question that I would bring my miniature Australian shepherd Penny with me… even knowing that traveling with a dog will make my full-time vagabond life much more complicated. Here are some of the realities I’ve encountered.
"When two people seek to understand each other, they build bridges of meaning. One person’s rope reaches out and ties up with the other person’s cable, and even while materially different, even while coming from different places, a link is formed. When we ask questions, when we listen, when we quietly absorb, when we seek to understand, when we empathize, we are showing people the highest love and most ultimate respect. A precursor, of course, to any budding courtship."
Most people are good. I’ve met so many helpful, hospitable, generous people while traveling, of all nationalities and sexes and ages, and I know this to be true: most people are good. While I’m not naturally distrusting or fearful, I AM self-aware, prepared, and I trust my intuition. From someone who’s been solo traveling for 15 years, and 100% full-time for the past 9-plus months, here’s my advice to you...
Solo travel is no longer just a pre- or post-college, gap year kind of thing — it's for remote employees, early retirees, sabbatical-takers, or the deliberately unemployed — the ones who are not waiting for that magical "retirement" age of 65+ to see the world.
At best, I’ve been questioned, and at worst, criticized for my decision to sell my house and travel full-time (while in the middle of a pandemic). Why 2020? Why, when the world is blowing up, would I want to hit the road like Mad Max into hell? I had a choice: safe, easy, and lazy... or uncertain, unknown, and life-changing. Would you choose the same?
Boise, Idaho was my first temporary home after embracing the nomad life. Check out my favorite dining, drinking, and outdoor activity spots in and around Boise (dog-friendly, of course) — with plenty of photos!
Christmas: whether one is single or in a couple, whether traveling to family or vice versa; typically, it’s a holiday one spends with loved ones. But this year, my Christmas looks a little different. And I love the flexibility and freedom.