This Digital Nomad Is Able To Explore The World While Also Running Her Two Businesses By Embracing "Slow Travel"
What is GAFFL?

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.

Maddy is a food-obsessed world explorer
21st May | 10 min read

Table of Contents

    Maddy is a food-obsessed world explorer who has been blogging about travel & food since 2014 over at Maddy’s Avenue. She is originally from Southern California, but in recent years, has also lived in Australia and New Zealand. Since travel is back, she has completely embraced the digital nomad lifestyle. In 2022, she split her time “slow traveling” in Mexico and Costa Rica.

    You can learn more about her adventures by following her on Instagram & Pinterest. You can also connect with Maddy on GAFFL

    Join The GAFFL Newsletter

    Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.


    Why I Travel

    Growing up in Southern California, we’d often take road trips down to Mexico, as my dad is an avid surfer and fisherman.

    I started studying Spanish in middle school and eventually fell in love with the language; when my high school offered students the opportunity to go on an immersion trip to Argentina, I got a job to fund it. On that trip, we went to Buenos Aires and the magnificent Iguazú waterfalls. Those waterfalls really stirred up something inside me, I just had this awe-struck feeling of, “Wow, if there’s more out there like this, I want to see it.”

    After that, I took every possible opportunity to travel during long weekends, summer, winter, and spring breaks until I graduated from university in 2017.

    I’ve lived overseas ever since, because nothing excites me more than constantly discovering new things, meeting new people, trying new foods, and experiencing different ways of life.

    I think that getting out of your comfort zone is synonymous with personal growth. You meet a lot of challenges out on the road that you have to find a way to overcome.

    I’m also a Sagittarius, so I don’t know if that’s why, but I’m definitely wired to explore and make life an adventure - and a constant exercise in following my passions and pursuing freedom at all costs. 

    Read more: 10 Expert Travel Tips For Mexico You Should Know Before Visiting

    Maddy Digital Nomad

    How I Decide My Next Destination

    There are a lot of factors that help me determine where to go next. Obviously, I’ve had an ever-growing list of places I want to go (or re-visit) for as long as I can remember.

    At the top of it are countries like Colombia, Perú, Bolivia, South Africa, and India. Right now, I’m in Latin America, so my focus is here. That narrows it down. Things like COVID restrictions, inflation, and political unrest rule out certain places as well. In 2023, I’m looking forward to spending time in Colombia, Perú, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua… And maybe elsewhere. We’ll see!

    Worth Reading: Here's How Léa Spent A Few Snowy Nights In Peru

    Duration Of My Trips

    These days, I am perpetually traveling, fully embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. I tend to stay in a location for 1 month, so that I can really get to know a place, make friends, find the best places to eat, and all of the best things to do. This also allows me to have more of a stable work routine, and to create the best possible content for my readers!

    Traveling is exhausting. Back in 2018, I tried to juggle full-time backpacking through Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Australia, and New Zealand while trying to keep up with blogging, social media, and meeting client deadlines, and it led to burnout! 

    Because I’m already abroad - with all of my things packed into one giant suitcase and a backpack - I don’t have to prepare too much for my trips! I just have to decide where I want to go, find a house or apartment online (and confirm that there is high-speed internet!), book the transportation, and go!

    Read more: 10 Best Countries In Asia To Live For Cheap - Digital Nomads, Expats, & Retirees (Cost Breakdown)

    Maddy Digital Nomad

    Countries I Have Traveled To So Far

    I’ve traveled to roughly 40 countries so far. There are way too many to list, but some of my favorite adventures around the world include:

    • Hiking to magical Machu Picchu, Peru with my parents

    • Going on a luxurious European river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam

    • Embarking on a three-day, self-guided river rapids canoe trip in New Zealand with my best friend

    • Volunteering with elephants for a week in Chiang Mai, Thailand

    • Taking a one-month snowboarding expedition in Hokkaido, Japan with my boyfriend and 2 friends

    • Hot air ballooning over ancient temples in Bagan, Myanmar at sunrise

    • Eating my way through Mexico City

    • Moving to Byron Bay, Australia without knowing a soul and creating a life for myself

      Maddy Digital Nomad

      Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Them 

      Yes! One memory that comes to mind is when my best friend and I were scootering down dirt roads in a rural village in Myanmar. A man came out of his home to say hello to us, and we just couldn’t believe he spoke English (we hadn’t really encountered any locals who did). We spoke for a while, and he ended up inviting us inside to eat with him and his family. His wife made us all kinds of delicious food - including different curries and salads (the salads in Myanmar are incredible, especially the tea leaf salad!) - as he regaled us with tales of life in Myanmar. His family’s kindness and generosity sticks with me to this day. They didn’t have much - the floors were dirt, and the walls, just bamboo - but what they did have, they wanted to share with us. His name is Ymg Mon, and I’ll never forget that day.

      Read more: Tina Was Tired Of Waiting Around For Her Friends So She Decided To Tackle The World Solo And She Hasn't Looked Back Since

      How I Manage Work & Travel

      I manage my work and travel at the same time by fully embracing the concept of “slow travel.” I stay in a place for at least 4 weeks so that I can explore fully, while still having time to get my work done. 

      I am also starting to master the art of delegation. I run two businesses. There’s no way I can do it all on my own, so I have hired a few different contractors to help me!

      Read more: Kasia Has A Full-Time Career But Still Makes Her Travel Dreams Come True With The Right Combination Of Planning & Spontaneity

      My Favorite Cuisines

      Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian, and Italian are my top five favorite cuisines, in that order! I love spicy food. Every place I go, I try to take either a cooking class or a food tour so I can dive deep into that place’s cuisine, and take the knowledge with me. I am food obsessed and I love cooking.

      Read more: This Travelling Foodie Quit His Job To Pursue Full-Time Travel And Food Blogging & Shares Some Of His Favorite Restaurants From Around The World

      How I Stay Healthy While Traveling

      Health is wealth! One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new place is figuring out where the organic store is. Where possible, I buy strictly organic produce and food products. And because I stay in a place for a month, I often join a local yoga studio.

      Joining a local gym/studio is a fun way to immerse yourself in local life (ever done a yoga class in another language?), meet new people, and stay fit. If I don’t join a local place, I practice online with my favorite yoga studio in Byron Bay, Australia (my beloved home for 3 years).

      Paying for a subscription and lugging around my mat are definitely motivators to exercise! I also love a long beach walk, which I try to do most days. If there are amazing hiking trails or anything like that near me, of course, I’ll take advantage of those too.

      Read more: For Over A Decade Jessie Has Been Blogging About Her Travels While Also Starting Several New Businesses Along The Way

      Maddy's avenue

      Inspiration For Starting My Blog

      My blogging journey began back in 2014. The blogosphere was a much different place back then! Not many people had blogging businesses. I don’t even think I knew it was possible to make money blogging when I started out, but I was inspired to inspire others to travel more! I created Maddy's Avenue to share my journey navigating kitchens and countries around the world, digital nomad life, and everything that happens in between. My goal is to inspire my readers to live a bold life: to discover themselves and the world around them at greater depths – one forkful, or one plane ticket, at a time.

      I help my readers by sharing inspiring, in-depth guides about the places I visit (which are often very food-focused!). I also share guides about digital nomad life to help my readers live the lives of their wildest dreams. Lastly, I share (mostly) plant-based recipes inspired by the incredible things I’ve eaten around the world.

      Read more: Having Traveled Over 50 Countries, This Digital Nomad Has Shared Some Of Her Incredible Experiences Of Cultural Immersion And The Importance Of Responsible Traveling

      Skills That A Full-Time Traveler Should Have

      The ability to adapt. Every single place that you will go to is different. Obviously, there are big things like the food, the customs, the way people interact, and the climate. Then there are things like finding massive spiders or scorpions in your house, dealing with unruly dirt roads, not being allowed to flush toilet paper down the toilet, not having hot water in your shower, and the list goes on.

      You have to be able to go with the flow, accept things as they are, find solutions, think on your feet, and figure out how to let go. If you can’t do those things, living abroad can be a really stressful and frustrating experience.

      Read more: Maxime Moved To Australia Over 5 Years Ago To Learn English And Live New Adventures

      GAFFL In My Words

      I think being able to connect with other people when you travel is everything! The amazing adventures I’ve had around the world wouldn’t even be half as special without the people I did them with! Being able to split costs is also huge! Having to pay for everything yourself, versus splitting it 50/50 with someone else, for example, means that you can travel better, and travel longer than you could on your own! Solo travel is amazing in so many ways (and I love doing it every once in a while!), but when you have amazing people to share experiences with, why wouldn’t you?

      Some Advice That I Can Share

      Working for a company as a contractor or employee and going full remote is becoming more common these days. You may be in a position where you can go out on a limb and ask your boss if you can try working remotely for a couple of weeks. You never know! 

      There’s a little more risk involved in starting your own online business, but if you have a skill that you can monetize, do that! If you don’t, learn one. There are so many resources online (from blogs to YouTube to online courses) that can teach you to become an expert in email marketing, SEO, web design, and so on. 

      Read more: After Dreaming About Traveling For Years Martina Finally Took The Plunge, Quit Her Job, And Became A Full Time Travel Blogger

      Maddy Digital Nomad

      Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Started Traveling

      Out on the road, so many undesirable things can happen that are totally outside of your control. I have learned that you can only control what you can control... And the rest, you have to let go.

      Like a few weeks ago, when our casita in Sayulita, Mexico flash flooded at 5 AM during a hurricane. Us, and all of our things, were inside. We had to escape quickly. It was scary and dangerous. We lost stuff. But we were unharmed, and that’s what mattered. We had to find a new place to live and deal with cleaning toxic mud out of our belongings. And we didn’t get reimbursed for the rest of our stay. Traumatic and annoying, but we dealt with it calmly, and we moved on. 

      Living as a digital nomad is amazing and so enriching and you grow so much as a human being, but it certainly brings a different set of problems or challenges than what you’d come up against in a “conventional” lifestyle. Through traveling, I’ve learned how to not let small things bother me (as much as possible, that is!).

      Join The GAFFL Newsletter

      Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.