Last night, I walked a damp riverside alley in a Bangkok neighborhood. I gestured at vats of unrecognizable ingredients and smiled at the sweaty cook. Locals sat around me slurping bowls of broth, nibbling on fish, and chatting in a language I did not understand. Two years ago, I never would have imagined this would be my life.
From diving the reef in the Caribbean ocean, sailing through deserted tropical islands, sleeping under the stars in the Sahara desert, or eating strange foods in local markets, nothing these days feels typical. I’m traveling the world without a home, a career, or the securities of domesticity. My worldly possessions fit into a backpack and a few boxes in my mother’s basement. Yet, not so long ago, I had a full-time career, a car, a boyfriend, a fancy apartment, and rarely traveled.
In February of 2012, I began an adventure that changed my life. The plan was to live abroad in Costa Rica for a few months while I finished my graduate school applications to transition into a career in Interior Design. However as I’ve learned often while traveling, life rarely goes according to plan.
Living in the Caribbean jungle with sloths and snakes and backpacking in hippie surf towns on the Pacific Coast caused me to reprioritize my life dramatically. Material possessions were no longer important to me…and the freedom I felt immersed in nature without the restrictions of a timetable made me happier than I’d ever been. When I returned to the states with acceptance letters from the top universities in the country for Interior Design, I wondered whether it was still what I wanted. I wondered what I would do instead.
Shopping at flea markets, sifting through bins of fabric, and drawing floor plans hardly interested in anymore. I preferred swimming in the ocean, learning foreign languages, and listening to the sounds of animals in the jungle. But how could someone possibility create a fulfilling life and career from these interests?
Unsure of what I wanted, I delayed my enrollment in graduate school and decided to continue traveling. This time, I wanted more than vacation and relaxation, I wanted fulfillment. I wanted to see if it was possible to travel and live nomadically in remote, gorgeous places all over the world while achieving my creative potential and affecting the lives of the people I met. So I began an experiment: my blog.
That was nearly one year ago. I would be lying if I said it was easy. Blogging regularly while traveling has tested my dedication immensely. It requires time, energy, reflection, and discipline. However for me, the rewards are endless. I have received countless messages from readers telling me that I have inspired them to take risks and pursue their dreams. I cannot imagine a more fulfilling life purpose than that. This is why I love that I get paid to write a travel blog.
Blogging has also enabled me to fund my travels without returning home to work. It has opened the door to writing opportunities with various publications expanding my readership base and increasing my travel budget. I apply often to freelance online writing assignments using my blog as a writing sample for my freelance work. I also contact online travel publications, regularly inquiring about becoming a paid writer for them. As my blog has grown in popularity, travel companies have actually begun to contact me. Being compensated for doing the work that I love is just icing on the cake.
People often tell me how lucky that I am to live this way. While I feel gratitude every single day for my incredible life, it’s a choice rather than luck. Living nomadically has its hardships and I’ve made many sacrifices to be here. If you desire to live abroad, travel the world, or even become a nomad like me, I encourage you to at least give it a try. Maybe you’ll decide that is not the life for you. Or perhaps you’ll discover that life can be even better than you could possibly imagine. You owe it to yourself to find out.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]