This Full Time Traveler Discusses The Importance Of Side Hustles & Shares An Amazing Experience She Had While On The Go
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Jade, she’s a 30-something-year-old traveler, yogi, blogger, chemist, SEO analyst, freelancer, jack of all trades.
17th Jun | 6 min read

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    At GAFFL, we love to publish inspiring travel stories from adventurers around the world. You can connect with adventurers from 170+ countries on GAFFL, meet up, and explore destinations together. In this article, we are featuring Jade, a full-time traveler & blogger from the USA.

    Meet Jade, she’s a 30-something-year-old traveler, yogi, blogger, chemist, SEO analyst, freelancer, jack of all trades. She runs two websites, The MigrantYogi and TravelingTransylvania in addition to freelancing and teaching yoga. 

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    What Inspired Me To Start Traveling

    I’ve never really been satisfied with the traditional wake, work, eat, sleep, repeat the routine. The monotony and ennui were really getting to me for a while! Traveling gives a new perspective and facilitates an open mind, which I am all about. It makes me more confident in myself and my beliefs.

    My Travel Frequency And Activities I Enjoy

    Pre-pandemic, I would take about four major international trips per year. This was when I was still working an FT job as an environmental chemist back in the States. In January of 2020, I left home with my dog to travel around Europe indefinitely. The pandemic happened, and we’ve since settled in Romania.

    I’m not as into museums and attractions as I am interested in experiencing culture, food, and local life. I like getting lost in pretty neighborhoods, taking photos, befriending locals, and of course, eating.

    Picking Next Travel Destination And How I Prepare For That

    I usually choose my next destination based on either cheap plane tickets or close proximity by train.

    Before I set out to travel indefinitely, I would use Skyscanner to find cheap flights, usually to obscure places. Since leaving and traveling with my dog, I planned my next destinations based on ease of travel by train since he’s not the biggest fan of long rides (and after flying him over from the USA, I know that planes are not really an option for us).

    The Packing Manual I Follow

    I am arguably the worst packer. I have virtually no sense of style, and always pack things I don’t need and leave things that I would have used. Some things that never fail - black yoga pants, comfortable hiking shoes, portable charger.

    I also like to have ibuprofen and melatonin since they aren’t always easy to find in other countries. And a wine key! No one likes being stuck in a hotel with a bottle of wine and no way to open it!

    Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People

    I met my fiance during lockdown 2020 while in Romania, so I guess that’s a good story! We had one successful date despite living a few hours from each other (thanks, Tinder). After that one date, we continued talking and pursuing each other. Our second date was a month later when we moved in together. I had my dog with me from the States, but we also adopted a rescue pup together. In a few weeks, we’ll add a baby to the family as well.

    How I Started Earning In The Digital World To Support Full-Time Travels

    I signed up to teach English online to Chinese children through the VIPKID platform. I began in September 2019 and comfortably left the USA in January 2020. Unfortunately, over the course of the past few weeks, the Chinese government has implemented new laws that prevent foreign teachers from teaching Chinese students, so I am currently in limbo. Since I am 9 months pregnant, I’m not applying to anything now. However, a few months after the baby is born I will pursue more freelancing work in SEO and copywriting.

    How To Sustain Full-Time Travels And The Challenges To That

    I mean, an income source, obviously. If you’re a freelancer or work as an independent contractor, being able to manage your time properly is imperative. I would suggest having multiple side hustles and not relying on one source of income, as I had been, in case something happens. You don’t want to be left scrambling for a job in another country.

    The Role That GAFFL Can Play To Share Cost And Experiences

    GAFFL could be helpful in saving money and sharing expenses with fellow solo travelers, as well as cultivating new friendships. For many trips and excursions, you will end up paying more as a solo traveler, which could potentially be avoided.

    How I Manage Costs During My Travels

    I don’t necessarily travel on a budget, but there are some things I do to ensure my trips don’t cost an arm and a leg.

    For example, when possible I like to book Airbnbs for over 4 weeks - there is usually a hefty discount. Plus, you have your own apartment. This is crucial for me with work and traveling with a dog. I usually spend less than $700 USD per month on accommodation (less than my rent in the States).

    I also like traveling to places that have a weaker (or similar) currency than USD, or places that are low-cost in general. Ecuador, Romania, Hungary, etc. are some examples of great places to visit on a budget. You can live like a king without spending like one.

    Number Of Countries I Have Traveled To So Far And My Bucket List

    I think I’ve only been to 20 countries, but many of those I’ve stayed in for months or had multiple extended visits.

    Since my travels are mainly concentrated in Europe and North America, any destination in Southeast Asia or Africa would probably be on my bucket list.

    Some top contenders that come to mind include Indonesia, Vietnam, Senegal, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar.

    Yoga And Its Benefits

    To fully delve into the benefits of yoga is definitely beyond the scope of this interview, haha! Seriously, yoga can help with anything. For me, it was mostly about acceptance and learning to be with what is - not trying to escape difficult situations, but rather, learning to be nonreactive in such cases. The same goes for mindfulness. Sure, yoga has some great physical benefits as well, but for me, the draw is in what goes on inside the brain.

    Yoga helped a great deal when I was on lockdown alone with my dog in a foreign country. It also stopped me from drinking a bottle of wine every day!

    Advice For Other Full-Time Travelers

    Have a plan and have a backup plan. Part of my fearlessness in traveling full time comes from the fact that I have a great support system back home and I know my parents will help me out of any jam I find myself in - not everyone has this option and I appreciate that.

    Have multiple income sources! I wish I had solidified some other side hustles in light of recent events with the Chinese government.

    Lessons I Have Learned Through Traveling

    Expect that things will go wrong. Something surely will! But it’s not the end of the world and is almost always just a minor inconvenience.

    There are countless lessons I’ve learned through traveling. Most are somehow related to compassion, understanding, open-mindedness, and acceptance. Learning that your way of life is not the only way of life is a great lesson that everyone should learn, somehow.

    Other cool travel stories you might enjoy! 

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