What Sparked My Interest To Start Traveling
About 9 years ago, I was feeling quite empty and stuck. I always felt life was supposed to be more than studying, getting a job, renting a flat, etc. I would go to bed at night thinking of all the adventures I was missing out on, and all the friends from around the world I wasn't meeting. I've always been a super fan of learning about cultures and living experiences.
So, eventually, this feeling of "there's something else out there for me" took over my days until I had no more choice than to act on it! I've now been living overseas for 8 years. What started with a short trip to Europe became a full-time expat frenzy. I continue to travel and explore because it fills my soul!
How I Pick My Next Destination
As it's been two years without leaving New Zealand, I've been choosing my trips based on either hiking trips I want to go on or visiting friends.
In normal circumstances, my partner and I would sit with our laptops open in Google maps and start designing our trips. As we are both from South America, every trip begins with a visit to our families. And then, we just go with what we feel - and fits our budget and stage in life.
For example, we decided to go to Japan before having children because it's a destination with a higher cost, and we felt it was the right time to do it. Another big one for choosing is that we love to travel with friends. So every time we have an idea for a trip, we talk to them and start planning from there!
How I Plan After Choosing A Destination
When traveling overseas, we devote around 4 months to each trip. Once we have an idea of the countries, we contact our travel agent to find the best stopovers and fares.
I am not a big fan of flying, but we can't avoid it as every time we travel, we visit South America from New Zealand. We also check for Visa requirements, travel conditions, vaccines, and costs. What follows then is all about making decisions! I am not a set planner, but I do like to have some things in place.
Are we staying with friends? Are we renting a car? Are we staying in hostels? Are we doing a road trip or a camping trip?
All these questions guide our planning. Above all, we research a lot about things to see and do in each destination.
How I Pack For My Trips
I pack as lightly as ever possible. I strive to only travel with hand luggage. My laptop is a must because I'm a business owner and work while traveling. Our phones have become fundamental, of course. But on top of that, I always like to have all paperwork for our trip printed and ready to go should we need it. Other than that, I bring just 2 or 3 outfits, sunscreen - and that's it!
My Great Memories Of Meeting New People
One of my fondest memories is from the time we spent a few months in Italy doing my Italian Citizenship. We stayed with a friend we met in New Zealand, and her family welcomed us into their lives as if we were family. The best part was that we got so close that they even invited my mother to stay with them! It was a dream trip.
Another amazing memory is from the week we spent in Gili Trawangan, in Indonesia, sharing with the local Rasta community. They are all artists and musicians and invited my partner to drum with them. It was absolutely amazing, and we can't wait to go back!
Motivation To Start Blogging
Getting my New Zealand Residency and Italian Citizenship within a year inspired me to start my blog to share experiences and tips for expats. However, as time went by, I found myself eager to write guides that would help newbie adventurers get ready to go hiking. My blog's mission is to show you don't need to be an extreme adventurer to hit the trails and have a spectacular time.
Countries I Have Visited So Far
I've been to 30 countries. More than destinations, I have experiences on my bucket list. Going to Ghana to learn West African Drumming, navigating the Mekong River, experience the solitude of the Iberá Wetlands in Argentina, sleeping in the Sahara. Of course! I have many more, but I am blessed that I've already lived incredible experiences I will always treasure.
Compromises I Made To Become An Expat
I am not a nomad, but identify more as an expat that travels for a solid 4 to 6 months a year. Considering all we've been through in the last 2 years, it's been extremely challenging not being able to travel to Argentina.
New Zealand completely closed its borders since the start of the pandemic, so even though we always felt safe here, it's still been hard.
Quitting my job back in 2013 was challenging because I was so super scared that living overseas was too big of a project for me! I was terrified, but in the end, took the leap and jumped into a life of travel, adventures, experiences, and amazing friends.
At this point, what I love the most is the flexibility of being able not to just work remotely (which I've been doing for the past 3.5 years) but also being my own boss and owning my business. Having a flexible lifestyle had always been a dream, and I'm doing it, which feels great.
On the flip side, even when we are traveling I am still working a few hours a day, which means I barely have any real holidays. I am much better at boundaries now, but before, I would keep myself busy 7 days a week which proved to be very unhealthy.
Factors Full-Time Travelers Should Know About
Think outside of the box. Don't be attached to the paradigms of society telling you what you can and can't do. Think for yourself, allow yourself to come up with your own ideas. And trust them!
Also! Think that everything goes and keep your mind open! Before starting my business, I was doing random office jobs, cleaning about 30 toilets a day, planting grass, packing kiwis. And I literally had no drama around it. I knew those jobs were serving my purpose of achieving my dream of traveling the globe.
My Favorite Travel Experiences
My first multi-day hike in New Zealand is one of my favorite travel experiences so far. The track is called the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds - New Zealand.
I quit my job in August and decided to plan this week-long, 75-km hiking trip right away and headed there in September. It felt amazing to be able to balance my love for traveling with becoming "my own boss."
The best part was I didn't have to ask anyone to take a holiday! I wasn't tied to an office or asking for permission. Overall, I felt I was owning my time. And sure, I still worked a lot! But the difference is I learned to enjoy my independence.
It was an experience that connected me with nature and was like a passing rite to the next stage of my life being a freelancer!
How I Budget While Traveling
I plan some things ahead. Do tons of research (to avoid scams and paying higher prices). I create a budget and allocate each item an amount divided by day. The sections of my budget are:
Local Tickets - from town to town
General transport - within the same place, i.e., taking the metro
Others (vaccines, visas, medical insurance)
Why It's Important To Find Like-Minded Travel Companions
I think tools that can facilitate travel connections are great! We all have different backgrounds and interests, hence finding a travel companion can magnify our travel experiences. They can take you to places you would've not found on your own, motivate you to try something new, share costs, and help you feel safe.
To me, my friends are just beyond important. I pride myself on having people I love across the world, so I wouldn't let go of an opportunity to connect and learn from someone new! Of course, it can be challenging. But the takeaway is that you will always learn and gain experience as you go.
I've used CouchSurfing, CamperMate, Airbnb, local Facebook groups, and MeetUp.
Advice For Readers Looking To Travel Full-Time
I'd say a phrase one of my favorite bloggers always says "if you can dream it, you can do it." I know it may seem impossible sometimes, but once you get to it, the pieces of the puzzle start to fit. It's true magic at its best.
You may end up unexpectedly living in Europe, hitchhiking in New Zealand with your bestie, swimming in a natural hot spring at 4300 meters of altitude, hiking in Japan, wild camping by a beach in Croatia - or on the side of the road in Sicily... All these things are part of my own story. I share them with you to show you a world of possibilities that are waiting for you!
Life is truly amazing. We just need to believe it and get to it! That said, of course, planning, saving money, and sorting your work situation are all very important. But! It all starts with a decision.
Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Traveling
I learned to live my life differently. By sharing and hanging out with people from different cultures, I learned to see life through their lenses, which deeply impacted me. I wish I'd known I didn't need heaps of money. Also, how important staying healthy on the road is.
Sometimes you are exposed to food and routines that don't sit well with you, so you need to have insurance, travel buddies, and a bit of the "lay of the land" to know how things are where you are heading to.
One of the best things I gathered from my travels is that our perceptions can shift and change as we gain more experience. I also learned time is relative, airport security checks are dreadful, never drink tap water in a foreign country, pack light, and take the time to wind down - more so if you are traveling AND working.
I guess another lesson would be that you need to own your decisions. Accept suggestions gracefully, and then decide what you REALLY want to do. If you go to Paris, you don't need to go up the Eiffel Tower. It's up to you! Above all! Have FUN.
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