This Digital Nomad's Dream Got Started In December 2019 And Since Then She's Never Been Happier!
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21st Jul | 6 min read

Karolina is a 27-year-old Polish girl who used to live in Germany for almost all of her life. Traveling always was and always will be a big part of Karolina’s life, she particularly loves to explore foreign cultures and chat with new people. For more of Karolina’s adventures, be sure to follow her on Instagram @lolinatravels.

Why I Started Traveling Solo As A Digital Nomad

To be honest – my journey did not start solo. I was in a very long relationship until April 2020. I was already struggling before that for quite some time because our life goals just did not match anymore. To understand my story, we need to go back to 2018. I’ve always dreamt of living abroad since I can think. I’ve always felt deep down in my heart, that I just don’t belong to Germany. I have some family in Mexico (my aunt, who is Polish, married a Mexican) and through them, I got a job in Mexico. My (now ex) boyfriend joined me to work for my Mexican uncle. So we lived there for three months. It was a good job, but my boyfriend needed to go back to Germany to finish his studies. I went back with him, but already had built a dream in my head: I will go back to Mexico asap, make good money and then travel the world. That was my big dream. Unfortunately, there were some problems with getting a work visa at that time, so my plans didn’t work out. So I needed to find a way to get a remote job. I knew that if others can do that, why shouldn’t I? I only have one life and I want to make the most of it. I worked hard, learned a lot, and finally fulfilled my dream in December 2019 when I started my journey.

How I Manage Work And Travel

The most important thing: To be successful and not stressed out all the time, you have to travel slowly. Usually, I stay in one place for at least a month. This has various advantages: You have the feeling of “being at home” at least a little, you’re not stressed by constantly packing and unpacking all the time, and you can truly bond with other people. My everyday life consists of working, cooking, going to the beach (that’s where you will find me in my free time usually), and meeting people.

My Travel History

I have traveled to 26 countries so far. I like both tourist spots and hidden gems – the tourist spots are mostly famous for a reason! But I like to avoid the crowds. So I sometimes travel to places in low seasons to avoid that. 

When I travel, I like to truly dip my toes into the local life. Local activities, learn at least the languages a little bit and enjoy and try local food. I am a true foodie and love to eat – even when I don’t look like it.

I can’t really tell what’s my favorite, there are so many! But I remember for example that I had a really good and long talk with a Buddhist monk last year in Thailand. We talked about religions and about life in general. Very inspiring.

I technically travel all the time. I don’t have a permanent residence anymore. But you still could consider Germany my home base, because my family lives there and I like to visit family and friends at least 1-2 times per year. I usually stay in one place/country for at least a month. I hate the cold – so I usually travel to places which are warm and sunny. I fell in love with Asia – so that’s the continent I would like to explore more in the next time.

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My South East Asia Itinerary Before The Pandemic

I traveled from Germany to Thailand in December. I arrived in Bangkok, went from there to Chiang Mai – Pattaya – Ko Chang for Christmas. Then back to Bangkok. In the beginning of January, I flew to Shanghai – it was a business trip, because I worked for an American businessman who is selling products on Amazon, and I assisted him. He wanted to go with me to the factory in China to have a look around. It was really interesting. After some days I flew to Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Kampot, Ko Rong Sanloem, Siem Reap. In February I flew to Vietnam, where I met up with my parents. We traveled together for 3 weeks. First Hanoi, then Halong Bay, after that Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc for some beach time. Then my parents left and I went back to Ho Chi Minh City to extend my visa. After 2 weeks I went to the coastal city of Da Nang. I stayed there until the end of march, when the whole pandemic thing hit hard and I decided to go back to Germany just to be safe.

Again – so many great memories made: From the beautiful cruise in the Halong Bay, to the crazy experiences in Shanghai, to beautiful beaches in Cambodia. I am so grateful for all the memories I made.

What I can fully recommend is to take a cruise on Halong Bay in Vietnam, to go see the beautiful island of Ko Rong Sanloem in Cambodia, and also go to the cute town of Kampot in Cambodia. Additionally, I really liked hiking in the national parks in Thailand. Khao Sok national park is stunning.

There is always more to see and more to explore. So I always feel like I did not have enough time and I am always sad to leave places. But I am sure I will have a lot of time to return there to see even more.

My Favorite Countries In Europe

Europe is so diverse and different from Asia. I haven’t been everywhere yet, but here are the countries that I like most in Europe:

Croatia for the beautiful nature and nice people

Greece for the beaches and the fresh food

Poland for the cities (Krakow and Gdansk) and for the great people

How I Manage My Costs

I'm not really on a budget, as I make money while I travel, and this is my life now. I think you should enjoy life, and not turn around every penny before you spend it. But I still have a close eye on my expenses and write down everything that I spend my money on. That really helps to focus! I use apps like TrailWallet or also a simple excel sheet.

Some Things That Prevent Me From Traveling More

Right now there is nothing that’s keeping me from traveling more besides the pandemic. Of course, I am not in a position where I can travel to super expensive places yet, but I sure will in the future as my business grows.

The biggest challenge of traveling solo is sometimes I get a little lonely from time to time, but I’m quite good at managing that. Also, it is sometimes a little dangerous when it comes to serious illnesses where you would need to rely on a second person to take care of you. But that didn’t happen to me yet and I’m sure it won’t in the future (fingers crossed!) Besides that, there is nothing that I can’t handle!

Tips For Aspiring Digital Nomads Who Want To Travel Full-Time

Think of something you already are good at or that you like to do and monetize it. Offer your expertise as a service, sell stuff online, there are so many options! You just have to start somewhere. Nobody is perfect, and being self-employed is a constant process of “learning-by-doing”. Be brave and just do it. I honestly have never ever been so happy in my life as I am now since I started traveling. Don’t be afraid to be lonely, because you will always meet people if you want to. At the beginning of your journey, I would suggest you go to digital nomad hotspots like Bali in Indonesia or Chiang Mai in Thailand. Once you get to know some people, you will have friends all over the world!

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