After Making The Switch To Remote Work Lydia Is Finally Able To Travel Full Time & Has Over 1000+ Destinations Pinned On Her Google Maps
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GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

21st Jul | 7 min read

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    At GAFFL, we love to publish inspiring travel stories from adventurers around the world. You can connect with travelers from 190+ countries on GAFFL, meet up, and explore destinations together. In this post, we'll be highlighting Lydia, a travel blogger and digital nomad who loves exploring the outdoors.

    After graduating from college, Lydia relocated to Dallas, Texas where she worked as a full-time employee. She was finally able to make the switch to remote work and travel full time after years of short weekend vacations and utilizing her PTO! Short-term rentals are where she stays while traveling around the US. 

    As part of her trip plans, she wants to visit and walk in all 50 states, as well as all of the national parks in the United States

    Check out her Instagram to see what she's up to and for her detailed travel guides be sure to visit her blog Lost With Lydia.

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    What Sparked My Interest In Traveling & Why I Keep Doing It

    I grew up in Ohio and developed a love for traveling on family vacation road trips. When I went to college, I had the opportunity to live in new cities like New York City and London for fashion design internships. These experiences really fueled my desire to see the world because I would spend 4 months in a new city and try to experience as much as I could while I was there.

    After working in the fashion design field for a few years and taking as many weekend trips as I could, the pandemic inspired me to make some big changes. I started my travel blog, quit my job, and began figuring out how I could work fully remote and travel full time.

    I have recently started traveling between long-term stays across the United States and am enjoying the chance to spend longer in each destination.

    How I Decide Where To Travel Next

    One of the biggest factors I consider when deciding where to travel is the proximity to national parks and hiking destinations. But I also love exploring more underrated areas and have a goal to discover the most beautiful areas of all 50 states. I love variety and like to stay flexible and open to traveling anywhere that makes sense.

    How I Prepare For My Trips

    Currently, I am traveling full time, but prior to that most of my trips were for 2-3 days. I do a lot of planning before a trip and love to research a destination. Some of the ways I prepare include reading blogs about the area, using All Trails to discover the best nearby trails, and using Google Maps to save interesting locations.

    I always make sure to have anything I need booked ahead of time (rental car, hotel, etc) and typically create a flexible itinerary for the trip. 

    How I Pack For My Trips

    When I am flying, I always try to fit everything in my carry-on no matter the length. I prefer to have everything with me and don’t like to wait for baggage claims. Some of my must-haves besides the necessities are packing cubes, my camera, headphones, a reusable water bottle, and a portable charger.

    Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Them

    One of my favorite ways to meet people while traveling abroad is by joining a group tour. I always love taking free walking tours and have met some incredible other travelers on these tours.

    In Japan, I met someone on the tour and ended up spending the rest of the day together eating ramen and going to a karaoke bar.

    My Inspiration For Starting A Blog
    I was inspired to start my blog because of my love of trip planning. I was getting so many questions about how I was able to travel so much and wanted to share my experiences so that others would be more equipped to travel more often, no matter how busy they are.

    In addition to travel planning, I want to help people get started in the outdoors. I did not have a lot of hiking experience until a few years ago and it can be intimidating to get started. I share hiking tips and resources to help people get started in enjoying the outdoors in a safe and responsible way. 

    Countries I've Visited So Far & My Travel Bucket List

    I have been to 20 countries so far and have a very long list of bucket list destinations! Some places that are at the top of my bucket list include New Zealand, Antarctica, Peru, and Argentina.

    While I have big goals for international travel in the future, I’m currently mostly staying in the US. I have been to 35 US States and 22 US National Parks so far. 

    One Of My Most Memorable Travel Experiences

    One of my most exciting experiences was snorkeling between two tectonic plates at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland. I visited in the winter, which wasn’t an issue for me because the water stays at a temperature of about 35-39°F year round and you are given a dry suit to wear. The water was some of the clearest water I have ever seen.

    Below you, there are jagged rocks that make you feel like you’re on a mountain top. The snorkeling is easy but the freezing cold water made for an adrenaline rush. This was a bucket list experience that I will never forget!

    How I Think GAFFL Can Help Solo Travelers & Other Travel Apps I Use

    Even if you travel solo, you don’t have to be alone. GAFFL is a great online resource that helps to connect travelers so that you can find fellow travelers and meet like-minded people.

    I use Google Maps on my trips to save locations and get around. I also use Instagram to meet people, Pinterest to find blogs with destination guides, and Google translate.

    How I Budget For My Travels

    Currently, I am traveling around the United States and living out of short-term rentals. To prepare, I sold and donated most of my furniture and a lot of my things. I am storing a few things with my family for free and carrying everything else with me on the road. This way, I only am paying for wherever I am currently staying instead of also paying for a home or a storage unit.

    I keep costs low by cooking my own food instead of eating out, using credit card points to pay for some hotels and flights, and searching for discount tickets whenever possible.

    Obstacles That Prevent Me From Traveling More

    Now that I am traveling full time, there isn’t a lot other than the time that prevents me from traveling more. One thing that requires extra consideration for me is my cat. My cat is a super important part of my life and I am currently bringing him along on my travels.

    However, making sure he is comfortable and happy means that I don’t always get full freedom to go anywhere at any time. When I bring my cat, I drive instead of fly, stay in pet-friendly accommodations and try to minimize his time in the car. I don’t see this as a major obstacle but it definitely requires extra planning.

    Advice For Travelers Who Work Full-Time & Also Travel

    If you want to travel more and don’t have a lot of time, I definitely recommend making the most out of your weekends. You would be surprised by how much you can see in two days if you get up early, plan ahead, and really make the most of your time.

    I also recommend searching for local destinations nearby. Sometimes we assume we have to jump on a plane to see incredible places, but there might be somewhere nearby that is waiting to be explored.

    Finally, there are many great ways to maximize your PTO. I recommend taking longer trips over holidays so that you don’t have to use as much PTO and always make sure you use all of it, it’s part of your earnings! 

    Things I Wished I Had Known Before I Started Traveling

    There is more to discover beyond the city center of famous cities - I have learned to put more focus on getting off the beaten path and exploring the best natural destinations nearby. I also have learned that you can never see everything and that’s okay.

    In addition, I have struggled with the idea that I always have to check a certain amount of things off a list while traveling. I would rather enjoy the moment and not only travel to say that I went, or to take a photo. I have learned that the experiences I have and the memories I make are much more important than taking the perfect photo for Instagram. 

    Other exciting travel stories you might enjoy!

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