This week marks 3 years since I started this blog. This is also my 200th post on the blog.
In commemoration of this occasion, I have decided to get completely real with you all. Before this point, there were parts of my story I did not fully reveal publicly. But now it's time I share a huge part of why travel and why this blog was so important for me.
For 2 years before I graduated with my doctorate and departed for world travel, I was cyber stalked and threatened to the point of paranoid terror. The creation of this blog was my big re-emergence. It was as much a part of putting myself back out into the world (through travel) as it was about being public online again.
I am finally ready to open up about this period of my life.
The is an unedited interview I did in 2015 with Ronny from Israeli magazine, Masa Acher (meaning, "A Different Journey").
I have been reflecting a lot on my "settled" life lately. Next Monday marks one full year that I have been back in the United States and exactly 6 months at my full-time job living in a new location.
There was a time last year when I was decidedly happy with my constant "deviation" as a traveler. Since returning to the States, I have found similar happiness in a full-time job, my own place to live, and the acquiring of "things" again. In short, my life no longer fits in my backpack and it's starting to resemble much of what I originally deviated from when I hopped on a plane to Iceland in 2014.
So, am I still "deviating the norm?" Or have I fallen back in line with the sheep? Have I sold my soul for conformity and given up on the nomadic lifestyle? I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. And I found my answer buried in an interview I did over a year ago with Israeli magazine, Masa Acher.
My experiences traveling long-term resulted in many different reflections about the world and the people in it.
Some of these reflections have emerged since being back in the United States for several months. My thoughts are different now when I hear stories about other countries in the news or consider taking a flight from point A to B in my own country.
I find that my perspective has changed on some topics or has taken root more strongly in others. The following are 5 of the most significant reflections I've had.
There’s something incredibly meaningful when your friends and family make a special effort to stay connected to you when you’re apart. This is true for relationships you leave behind back home and in the places you visit after you move on or return home.
I lost touch with many people after traveling or while traveling because I was traveling. But there are many individuals with whom I remain very closely bonded. How did those close bonds stay close? Reciprocal gestures of loyalty—large and small—sustained those relationships.
Drawing on an example from my recent trip to Nashville, this post explores when loyalty is revealed especially as a traveler and after travel.
I have an update: I started a new job this week—yay! And there's even more to celebrate: This week marks 6 months that I have been back in the United States! In all of my blogging and reading other people’s travel blogs, I rarely hear people write about the adaptation back into the job market after an extended period of travel. So I've decided to write about it in this post.
I will in no way sugar coat this: Job hunting post-travel is not easy. To give yourself the best possible chance of returning to a job, I will share in this post the tricks I used before, during, and after nearly 2 years of travel without official employment. These tricks include thinking carefully about your reasons for traveling, staying connected to your contacts along the way, and having a "product" to show for your absence.
The best way to avoid roaming charges and other heightened fees for talk, text, and data overseas is to use a local SIM card at your destination. SIM cards give you access to a local phone number and the plans are usually pretty cheap, e.g. $10-$30 for 30 days.
Many people opt to use Wi-Fi while they are abroad. This is certainly an option to consider—especially if you're only going to be at your destination for a few days. But even for those few days, you may want to consider a local SIM card for some of the benefits it offers.
I used local SIM cards in most of the countries to which I traveled during my 15 month trip around the world. Along the way, I learned a lot about when it is and is not a good idea to get one and what to do to make life easier when setting up and using a SIM card abroad.
Hi everyone! I've been itching to update the design of the blog for a while now. I finally got around to giving it a fresh makeover this week. Maybe you've already noticed it! I got rid of the old home page in favor of a welcome page and a page outlining my journey. There's also an about section, a contact form, and a photo gallery on the site now.
You'll see the blog is still there in its usual form. The travel hacking page is also still there and the itinerary page is, too, but it's now incorporated into the story of my journey. Take a look around when you have a few minutes. And if you feel like it, let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you!
Wow. 2015 was a year full of incredible travel experiences. I gazed upon some of the most stunning natural scenery in locations well off the beaten path, connected with humanity in dozens of unexpected ways, and was pushed far beyond my comfort zone both voluntarily and involuntarily. It's going to be quite difficult to look back and try to narrow things down to the top moments!
I've decided to limit myself to describing 15 for 2015. I will highlight 15 travel experiences from 11 months of travel in this post. If you recall my New Years post last year, I wrote about my 10 favorite travel moments. I had only been traveling for less than 4 months and keeping my list of favorite experiences down to 10 was a struggle! So this is going to be tough. But I'm up to the challenge. Read on for my top 15 awesome travel experiences from 2015.
First of all, hiiii!! I'm back in the USA! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends and family who celebrate! Since I am back in New York, I've decided to do an update on my packing list after 14+ months of traveling around the world. I first posted about the contents of my one bag over a year ago. Looking back, it's actually amazing how little the contents changed. I suppose this speaks to how well I did my research before I left! *Patting self on back*
The items that did change are quite interesting. Well, I think they're interesting. Anyway, bear with me as I describe the contents of my bag. What's been added. What's been removed. Then I'll give you a downloadable finalized packing list for long-term world travel. It's in checklist format so you can easily use it to help you prepare for your own trip! Yay!
I know I said I was going to stop doing these. But this update seemed too important not to share! Yes, surprise! I am heading back to New York! We all knew this day had to come sometime considering this is a year(ish) of deviation tour. Well, it's about time, as it's been over 14 months since I left New York.
Three days ago, I departed from Auckland, New Zealand and began a series of flights taking me to Bali, Indonesia. Today marks my first full day in Bali! Wooo! I've had Bali in my sights since before I left NY last September. Jono and I even considered it for our destination together until we decided on Niue. I am now traveling solo again and loving it! But it's also good to be following a path that will ultimately lead me home.
That’s right, for the 10 month anniversary of my travels around the world, today marks the first day I will set foot in Australia. I am writing this post in advance of my landing and have scheduled it to appear while I am probably still in-flight over the Tasman Sea!
But this post is less about Australia, and much more about my final days in New Zealand. After over 7 months there, I still have several stories to share. This story is about leaving and why it was so difficult to go.
The Northern point of New Zealand’s North Island has great significance among the native Maori people. The land there is predominantly Maori owned and untouched with plenty of native vegetation growing wild.
Once we passed through the last town of Kaitaia and began the 100km drive up the Aupouri Peninsula, I could already see and feel its sacredness.
I can feel my blood pumping with excitement when I read about other people’s travel adventures, see photos of faraway lands, and watch videos of life abroad being lived to the fullest. I continue to feel this even as a long-term traveler myself. Whenever I get the chance, I make sure to catch up on fellow traveler’s posts online.
I follow many blogs, instagrams, facebook pages, and twitter accounts of travelers who continue to send adrenaline down to my toes and provide information that helps me decide where I will go next in my travels.
“Want to come with us to Raglan for New Years?” Jenny, my couchsurf host, asked me after less than 24 hours into staying with her and her two roommates. A couple, Calle, a Swedish guy and Mahlia, a French Canadian girl, are roommates with Jenny who is from Massachusetts. All of them have been on working holiday here in New Zealand for several months. They live together in their 3-bedroom apartment in the city center of Wellington. I had just finished a week-long housesit in Karori where I hiked and played with a kiwi family’s puppy over the holidays. Now I was trying to figure out what I would do before heading to the South Island in the New Year.
One night of playing Cards Against Humanity with these three roomies and we were quickly bonded. They reminded me of my friends back home. “Sure. I’d love to spend New Years with you guys.” I told Jenny. We left on Wednesday to make the 6+ hour drive up North to the West Coast beach town called Raglan. I had missed it on my previous two road trips around the North Island, but I heard it was a laid-back hippie town where surfers and skaters like to hang. We were just hoping the weather would hold out enough to camp, enjoy fireworks, and swim at the beach.
Five months into my travels and I am on road trip #5 in New Zealand! I road tripped the North Island three times, did some house-sitting in Wellington over the holidays, and then traveled to the south island for a second house-sit. I planned road trip #4 with a German woman around the northern part of the south island. Now I am heading further south, road-tripping with Carolina who I met 5 months ago in Iceland! I’ve mainly been camping as a means to experience the countryside first-hand and save money on accommodation.
After traveling here for over 2 months, I can honestly say I never imagined so much beautiful and diverse landscape in such a condensed space. New Zealand truly has it all: rolling green pastures, monumental glaciers, native tropical forests, pristine sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, snow-covered mountains, active volcanoes, hot springs and pools—the list could go on and on. This is what I came here for. It’s a hiker’s, camper’s, roadtripper’s dream come true. Good thing I’m all three!
At long last, I was at customs about to leave Bangkok headed for New Zealand. I was in a strange place in my head, sad to leave Thailand behind after only one month there, but excited to be headed to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.
My arrival to New Zealand happened to coincide with the premiere of the final Hobbit film. I chose Wellington as my destination city because it had been home to the film’s studio and workshop as well as the previous two film premieres. But just a few weeks before my scheduled flight, I learned the final premiere would be held in London instead. At first I was disappointed, but then I remembered why I had planned to visit New Zealand in the first place: to see the gorgeous countryside. So my plan was to get out of the city as soon as possible. Easier said than done.
It’s four months and a new year already! For this check-in, I’m going to do something a little special—a re-cap of my top 10 favorite moments from my 4 months of deviation.
This was actually really difficult to put together. There were so many awesome experiences from which to choose! But I think I narrowed it down to my liking. To make it feel right, though, I had to list some honorable mentions at the end!
I’ve been writing a lot about Thailand in their sequence of events over the last few weeks, but it’s time to mix things up! Since this blog is all about deviating the norm, I thought I’d deviate my blogging norm for a moment to wish everyone a Merry X-Mas!
I am writing from a house-sit in New Zealand. A lovely family is away for the holidays and they are allowing me the opportunity to take care of their adorable dog and relax in their home for the week.
During these last 3+ months of travel, I have found the solo travel lifestyle to be a perfect way to deviate freely and openly. Without surprise, I have spent very little time traveling alone. Even traveling between locations, like my overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I have rarely been by myself or kept to myself. I meet couples, other solo travelers, old friends from back home, and locals. I strike up conversations, exchange contact info, and sometimes I even temporarily combine travel plans. But not being tied down to people in a permanent way has led me down alternative paths to other exciting adventures.
In this post I am going to highlight one of the best parts about solo travel through a moment when I was in Thailand and my plans with another traveler went awry. Why would being a solo traveler be a good thing in this case? Read on to find out.