Becoming a Digital Nomad


What lead me to the best decision of my life?

Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by different culture and how different people lived in countries all around the world. When my cousin and I played with our barbie dolls – hers would have a big white wedding, a house, a husband and lots of children. My barbie wanted to travel the world, trek through jungles, stay with tribes in the Amazon or help build houses in Africa.

I desperately wanted to travel after I left college but nobody else was interested. I barely had an ounce of self confidence when I was younger and nobody encouraged the idea if I spoke my mind out loud.

I got a job and still spent my days dreaming of travel and adventure; I settled into a mis-matched and eventually rather destructive relationship.

Things came to a head after that. The month after my relationship ended I took a 4 week break from work and backpacked with an old school friend in Thailand and Cambodia.

Once I realised it was nowhere near as terrifying as I thought it would be, I started to wonder, could I really possibly do it on my own?

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View from Mount Bromo (Java)

I scoured solo female travel blogs and met a few friends that actively encouraged me to pursue it.

I had already been planning on leaving my job for some time but I was still lacking that final push, a reason that made me take the leap.

Well, the final push I had been looking for eventually came from a series of unfortunate experiences. Some tragic incidents in my family, overworking to the the point where I felt close to a mental breakdown and with my mother chronically ill – something had to give.

I was depressed and constantly on the verge of tears. I am a very strong person, and it takes a lot for me to ask for help, a lot for me to say “I can’t cope”. When I didn’t receive the support I needed, it was the final straw that broke the camels back.

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Tegalalang Rice Terraces (Bali)

I knew I needed to leave for several reasons:

  1. For my mental health.
  2. For my physical health. 
  3. To pursue my dreams.
  4. To achieve my goals.

Little is known about my mother’s condition (a severe type of Rheumatoid Arthritis) but some research suggests that it could be hereditary. After blood tests showed my rheumatoid levels were higher than average, I knew that I was on the verge of making the best decision on my life.

What if I did what other people suggested? What if I stuck it out at a job that didn’t pay me well, overworking myself, being miserable, making myself tired and sick. What if I bought a house? What if I settled for the wrong person and had children just because I was “supposed to”?

What if I listened to people who said, do all of those things, and travel when you’re retired?

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Koh Lipe, Thailand

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What if I did all of this, and like my mother, then have a sudden onset of a progressive and chronic disease that would leave be disabled before I was even 50? 

There was no guarantee this would happen, doctors assured me there was an equally good chance that I would lead a perfectly healthy life. But the fear was still there. The fear of a life of unfulfilled dreams, and being bitter later in life for not taking that one leap of faith. For not having the courage to just do it.

I had to get over my fear of failure and accept that, maybe I would come back earlier than I wanted and broke but at least I tried. Or it could work out perfectly, the way I wanted it to, meeting amazing people, getting once in a life time opportunities, experiencing new cultures, witnessing awe inspiring beauty, traveling and working on my own business… 

Luckily it has worked out perfectly.

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The Canyon, Pai (Thailand)

I’m in my 8th month of backpacking Southeast Asia, funding my travels with my Freelance business (writing, content creating, social media management). I have seen and experienced things I never could have imagined, met the most amazing people and healed myself mentally, spiritually and physically.

The road hasn’t always been smooth but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Travel was the best decision of my life.

Read more about becoming a digital nomad here.

To me the best thing about travel is meeting people — the locals and other travelers.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve just traveled to a town 50 miles away from your home or if you’ve traveled 5000 miles to a completely different culture. Connecting with the locals is always a wonderful way to get a sense of the destination you are visiting — the history, the traditions and customs, the culture. That’s why I follow many of the best travel blogs for insightful stories.

And meeting other travelers can lead to friendships — whether they be in the moment or lifelong.

While my stories — and my memories — including seeing a place or a site, the best stories and my favorite memories are about the people — the kindness, the smiles, the laughter.

I think we forget that people are inherently kind.

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Greek man watching the sunset in Oia on the island of Santorini. Though we didn’t really speak, I felt our connection over our appreciation of the gorgeous sunset that was before us.

And travel has taught me that a complete stranger can quickly become a friend. Or at least can lend a helping hand.

I’ve seen this time and again during my travels — a complete stranger helping a fellow human being with directions, offering food or drink, or helping to change a flat tire. 

We humans have good hearts.

Yet on the news we seem to be bombarded with all the bad people out there. I always say, “If you’re losing faith in your fellow humans, go travel! Because I have no doubt your faith will be restored.

One of my favorite stories comes from traveling in Turkey.

I didn’t think quickly enough to get a photo of the man who helped us, but this Turkish man gave me directions to a site in Ayvalik.

My friend and I had rented a car and were traveling around the country staying in various small towns. The GPS had quit on us and we didn’t have a detailed map. When we arrived in this particular town we had made a very long drive and we were smoked. And we only had the street address for the hotel — no map to even know which streets to turn onto.

We drove around a bit, but couldn’t find it.

I saw some locals hanging around a small shop so I stopped the car at a corner in hopes of getting some information. Deb, my friend, got out of the car to ask where our hotel was, figuring if we at least had a general direction, we would find it. But since we only knew about 5 words in Turkish and most Turks don’t speak that much English, we knew it was a long shot.

Deb approached the small group of people as I looked on.

The next thing I knew some man (maybe in his mid-50’s) was opening up the back door of the car, pushing our belongings on the seat over and sitting in the back seat. Deb, in the meantime, had taken her position in the passenger seat and looked at me as I looked at her. I knew we were both thinking, “Is this a car jacking?”

But the kind man in the back seat directed us — giving back seat driving a whole new meaning for me — using hand gestures. And we arrived at our hotel — safely.

We offered him a ride back to the point where we had picked him up. He refused.

Deb offered him money. He shook his head “no.”

This wonderful Turkish man did this out of the kindness of his heart — helping complete strangers find their way to their hotel. I have seen this over and over as I have traveled.

The goodness of people.

The kindness of humans.

This is Nanna, grandmother in Italian. She was working hard harvesting the grapes as I took a tour of the small vineyard, Sante Marie di Vignoni. She humored me and let me take her photo.

This wasn’t my first encounter with the kindness of strangers.

his man ran the farm attached to the agriturismo I stayed at in Umbria, Italy. His name is Corrado. And even though he didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak much Italian, we communicated through smiles, hand gestures and a love of nature.

On my first trip abroad I traveled to Andalucía, Spain — without any set reservations or plans. I knew I wanted to begin in the seaside town of Nerja so I took the bus from the airport in Malaga to this Mediterranean village. With my guidebook in hand I made my way to one of the hostels recommended and was promptly greeted by a lovely Dutch woman who told me she didn’t have a room but that her friend might.

So she stopped what she was doing, locked up her hostel and walked me to her friend’s hostel — who did have a room for me. I was stunned that this kind woman took the time out of her day to walk me over and not simply give me directions. I kept thinking that this would NOT happen in the USA.

And on this first trip I encountered more good-hearted people — Spaniards, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Brits — who helped with directions, invited me to join them on a drive and offered their conversation over dinner.

It was that first trip that I fell in love with international travel.

Not simply because of the fun of exploring and being somewhere new (although that’s certainly part of it) but because of the people.

And there are more moments.

I saw these Turkish people every day for a week as I ran by this little store. They always waved hello to me and had big smiles on their faces.

The couple in Ireland who stopped to help me change a flat tire.

An Aussie couple who invited me to join them for dinner at Lake Como, Italy.

The young man who walked my friend and I to our guesthouse (all uphill!) in Turkey. We didn’t know where it was!

The ladies at the hotel in Castelrotto, Italy who called my room, worried about me when I didn’t come out of my room — I was sick in bed.

Chatting with the workers at the boutique hotel in Bozburun, Turkey and laughing and connecting even though we didn’t completely understand each other.

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These are the 3 men I walked with on the final day of the West Highland Way in Scotland. What a fabulous way to end the journey!

Planning a hike? Read the 2022 Guide: Best Vegan Hiking Boots For Her & Him

Joining a man and his 3 adult children for a drink to celebrate his birthday in Dunfanaghy, Ireland.

Walking with 3 men — 2 Scotsmen and an Englishman — on the final day of the West Highland Way.

All these moments and more that remind me of the power of travel — the best reason for travel. And that is the power of connecting with another human being.

Travel really is about the people you meet.

Turkish hotel owner in Bozburun, Turkey. We became friends during my stay.

And something to think about as you plan your travel.

  • Don’t pack your time so much that you don’t have time to slow down and talk to the locals or other travelers.
  • Be open to starting a conversation with someone.
  • Don’t be afraid to say yes to an offer of help or to join someone for a drink or a meal.

You won’t regret it.

And these moments of connecting with another person will be the moments that become the memories that will be forever etched in your mind.

Thinking about being a Digital Nomad in Colombia?

There are many reasons why Colombia is emerging as the go-to travel destination for digital nomads. Before the dreaded C-Word, people have been flying, driving, and even boating to what’s now beginning to feel like the ‘Promised Land’ for Digital Nomads. However, when you get here from where you were coming from. You will realise that this Shangri-La is not the hidden secret you might have thought it was.

In fact, according to immigration Colombia has been experiencing large waves of immigration from other Latin American countries, Europe, East Asia, and North America over the past five years.

Medellin, Colombia

Why is it so popular to be a Digital Nomad in Colombia?

With top quality of life, improvements in security, and economic opportunities Colombia is a top contender for Digital Nomads. Added to that is the fact that the international airports in all the major cities (Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena and Cali) have direct flights from major U.S cities, making access in and out of Colombia super easy. AND there are clear paths to securing a long-term visa

You may even start to feel – not like you’re discovering a Mecca – but more like you’re the last to find out about that secret your older siblings have been keeping from you.

It’s human nature to want to dissect and analyze how Colombia transformed from the conflict-ridden zone to the heartbeat of Latin America that it is now. After a decades-long war, the dedication of an entire country to rebrand the image and attract more wholesome visitors has started to turn things around. But what makes Colombia, especially Medellin, so unique for Digital Nomads? 

In this post, we will be touching on three key elements and one bonus element to explain why cities like Medellin are exceptional cities for Digital Nomads.

The top reasons for being a Digital Nomad in Colombia are: 

  • Cost of Living
  • Easy access to International and domestic flights
  • The Opportunity to explore the second-most biodiverse country in the world
  • Infrastructure

Cost of Living 

It is no secret that Digital Nomads want to save in certain areas of life to traverse the globe more often.

One of the best parts of Colombia is that you, even in the metropolitan cities like Medellin or Bogota, can live great on a lower budget compared to other cities like New York and London. Although you would be surprised by some of the prices for a 3-bedroom penthouse duplex in El Poblado. Don’t get me wrong – you can find someone to rent you a place above market value; for the most part, you can grab a steal of a deal in Laureles which is very close to the nightlife and restaurant zone of La 70 for $600.00.

Save on Food

On your first day, take a walk around the Barrio in search of restaurants catering to locals. You’ll find that they all offer a menu of the day that consists of Rice, some soup of the day (usually frijoles), and your meat choices, like beef, pork, or chicken. Although some people enjoy cooking their meals themselves, we highly recommend the menu del dia.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Cartagena, you may even see fish on the menu, which is always a nice treat. 

Inexpensive drinks with friends… 

The farther you go from the ex-pat/tourist centres, the cheaper things will be. Imagine having 2×1 beers with your amigos when beers are only 50 cents. In Colombia, that is an actual possibility. The nightlife in cities like Medellin is second to none. There are 5 principal zones to party in Medellín: Lleras, Barrio Colombia, La 33, La 70 and Las Palmas. 

The most popular, by far, is Lleras. Each zone corresponds to a different budget, so whatever the state of your bank account, you’ll find somewhere to party.

If you want American style music go to Lleras. For the best reggaeton, try Barrio Colombia, and for Salsa – head directly to La 70. 

Easy access to International Flights…

If you are a Digital Nomad launching off from Miami, you might be thrilled to know that you can fly DIRECT from home to the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in under 4 hours. If you book your flight in advance, you’ll be surprised at how much you save on your airfare. 

Suppose it’s your first time in Colombia. We suggest stopping into Cartagena first and passing through the Walled City for some coastal excitement. Otherwise, go directly to your final destination and save the trip to Cartagena for a weekend getaway, which leads us to the next point. 

Inexpensive Domestic Flights…

With over 20 airlines like Viva, Avianca, and Latam operating in Colombia, it’s easy to understand why flights around the country are so reasonably priced. You can get from Medellin to San Andres for less than $100.00 on ViVa Air. 

Explore the biodiversity

Colombia’s location is fantastic.

The country is located at the tip of South America, and it is characterized by a wide distribution of animals and plants due to the varying environmental conditions of each region and the development of the continents over time. One thing that Digital Nomads in Medellin like is to explore all that this region has to offer. 

Additionally, Colombia is surrounded by three huge mountains, which split the country into five natural regions: Andes, Pacific, Caribbean, Amazon, and the Llanos (plains). These regions offer an impressive range of climates and beautiful landscapes at varying altitudes. If you’re a bird watcher, you’d be thrilled to know that more than 1,920 bird species are to observe. Not your scene? There are 528 types of mammals and 1,521 species of fish that exist in the country.


Transportation and Getting Around…

When you think of the benefits of being a digital nomad in Medellin, or the lifestyle in general. The ease of public transportation is a must mention. Most nomads and ex-pats tend to rely on transportation apps like Didi, InDriver and even Uber, which are all reasonably easy to use. But, you can save a lot by taking the Metro to popular spots. It is much easier than you’d think! If all else fails, you can always ask one of the Bilingual support transit guides for support. 

Although this only touches on some of the benefits of living in Colombia as a digital nomad, the beautiful thing is that if you decide to take that lead, you will discover a whole host of other advantages.

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Slow travel brings back the original essence of travelling: intentionally enjoying and embracing the experiences and places we visit. See below how you can adopt this philosophy and go back to being fully present on all your future trips.

Travel is one of life’s most nourishing activities. The variety and diversity all around the world offer many unique places to visit and live new and exciting experiences. The goal of travelling is to enjoy and immerse yourself on a new journey. But, many travellers have drifted away from this purpose thanks to the fast-paced society we live in. Nowadays, we forget to enjoy the moment because we’re too caught up in capturing the best photos and videos or feeling overwhelmed that we’ll return home soon. If you relate to this but want to change it, here’s where slow travel comes in.

What is Slow Travel?

You are probably wondering, what exactly is slow travel? The definition is quite simple. It means connecting in-depth with the culture, local people, food, music, traditions, and scene of the place you’re visiting. Travelling slowly is taking your time to experience all that for a more extended period without the rush of a short vacation and other tensions.

This mindset encourages travellers to interact personally with the people who live at the destination, support the local economy and become part of the place instead of just a visitor. Since a slow travel experience is usually done independently or in small groups away from very touristic zones, the experience is entirely different and in our opinion, way better than going on a travel tour.

The History Behind Slow Travel

This trend, or should we say movement, is a branch of the Slow Food Movement, which originated back in the 1980s in Italy to protest against fast food; it intended to preserve regional traditions, local farming and artisans, traditional cooking, a slow life pace. The movement’s expansion led the travel industry to develop its own way of slow enjoyment. How interesting, right?

Benefits of Slow Travel

Leaning towards slow travel is a great idea if you intend to have a meaningful experience instead of a hasty touristy one. By travelling this way, without the hassle of getting the perfect Instagram photo . Or with limited time to visit all the spots on your bucket list, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the moment and everything around you. Here are a few other reasons why you should consider a slow travel experience:

You’ll Save Money

Slow travel may be a more affordable option than the typical hotel experience. Nowadays, it’s straightforward to find reasonable prices on long-term stays at platforms such as Airbnb. Or, if you want to live like a true local, there are also homestay options available that you can find online; if you go for the last option, be sure to stay with someone trustworthy and with good references. Renting an Airbnb or staying with someone can also help you save money on food since you won’t have to eat out all the time.

No More Tourist Burnout

Visiting and doing as many things as possible with a limited amount of time can be exhausting and turn into a bad memory instead of a good one. Getting back from a trip more tired than when you left is what travellers call “tourist burnout”.

By switching from the traditional hectic tour mindset where you are only focused on checking off places from your bucket list to a slow and mindful one. You’ll be able to enjoy, grow, learn, and expand your way of thinking. There’s no need to be under pressure during a trip. You can always return another time to see the spots you missed.

New Connections

Stepping out of the hotel and high-speed travel dynamic will allow you to get to know the local world from a first-person perspective and therefore connect with local citizens and learn about the culture, history and traditions. It could even turn into new opportunities to experience regional day-to-day life more in-depth.

How to Enjoy Slow Travel the Most?

Now that you are familiar with the slow travel movement and its benefits, let’s see how you can make the most out of it.

Make a budget

If you plan in advance and save the money you need for the trip, you’ll have the freedom to do and try everything you want without stressing out about not having enough funds during or after the expedition.

Live like a local

Interacting with the people you meet at your destination, getting to know them and discovering more about the site from a different perspective will open doors to unparalleled experiences. The more you adapt, the deeper the slow travel experience will be. By living like a local, you’ll have the chance to get to know hidden gems that often go unnoticed by tourists.

Go with the flow

Being flexible can turn unexpected events and stressful situations into opportunities. Setbacks such as missing the bus, taking the wrong route, etc., can be easily handled and overcome when you’re going with the flow.

Be open and ready to grow

In addition to visiting new places, travelling can be an opportunity to discover unique aspects of yourself, gain confidence in problem-solving skills, and learn valuable lessons. The experiences one acquires by travelling like this will give you knowledge, wisdom, and a whole new outlook.

Take home the slow travel mindset

Travelling slow doesn’t have to be a philosophy you use exclusively when out of town. Being more mindful while travelling and on regular days can improve your life. You can integrate the slow travel practices into your daily life by enjoying the little things, stopping to smell the flowers, trying new things and interacting more with people around you.

What do you think?

Travelling slow sounds like a relaxing and enjoyable experience, doesn’t it? Slow travel might not be for everyone, but if you want to give it a try on your next trip, we are sure you’ll enjoy it. You can find more about this movement on our other slow travel and digital nomad blog posts or slow travel forums.

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For most, accomodation is the biggest expense (flights aside) when we travel. So what if I told you, you could get free accomodation, and good accomodation at that. 

Here are two ways you can get FREE accomodation all over the world!


Workaways is a platform that connects hosts with workers – the idea is you work for a set amount of hours per week in exchange for free accommodation or board. Easy right?

Pros of Workaways: 

➕ there are a lot of opportunities all over the world

➕ you can experience life like a local 

➕ the opportunity to meet new people 

Cons of Workaways:

➖ you usually have to work 4 – 5 hours a day

➖ there is a $44/year fee to join the platform

➖depending on the Workaway you could be in a dorm room or sharing space with others 

The jobs and hosts vary widely from marketing and video editing to farming and teaching – the list is endless and so are the country’s you can work in.

Tips & considerations for using Workaways

  1. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to travel long term and save some $$ BUT if you’re working online (like us) with a decent workload you’ll need to weigh up if it’s worth it for you. Doing 15 – 20 hours per week for your hosts and then a regular workload can be tough going and leaves little time for exploring.
  2. Just like any job, you want to put your best foot forward but always be open and honest.
  3. Be flexible. If you’ve got a set destination and timeframe in mind you’ll be narrowing your possibilities a lot and could miss out on some great opportunities. 
  4. Reviews are Workaway currency. Just like most things online today, a glowing review can really help you seal the deal so be prepared to take some opportunities that may not be your ‘ideal’ situation to build up your profile.

Another option is…

House Sitting 

House sitting is a type of volunteering where a volunteer stays in an owner’s home while they are away on holiday or traveling.

With housesitting you are almost always actually PETsitting so you will have responsibilities but it’s usually less of a time commitment than Workaways

Pros of housesitting:

➕  also opportunities all over the world although we’ve seen limited opportunities in South America 

➕ you generally don’t have to work other than looking after pets, gardens and the home 

➕ usually you’ll have the whole place to yourself 

Cons of housesitting:

➖ if you don’t like pets this isn’t for you

➖ you need to be home to look after the animals so can’t get so big/long day trips 

➖ the subscription fee is $119/year

➖ can be isolating being on your own

Tips & considerations for using House Sitting

Be transparent. Like Workaway, reviews are super important for a house-sitter. Being honest and make sure you are upfront about any time you may need to spend away from the home and/or pets you’re supposed to be watching goes a long way.

Stay in communication and be open to meeting your hosts before you sit that start. That could mean arriving a day early in your house sit city or location. By setting up a meet and greet before your trip, you can make sure you both feel comfortable with each other. During the stay, should anything come up that either of you need to address, be sure to contact the other party as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to enter into a pet sitting contract to ensure both sides respect each other’s needs and wishes while they are separate.

Think about what you are willing to do in exchange for free accomodation in someones home. Pets will often have strict routines, need medication, exercise etc so if you aren’t comfortable with the requirements it’s probably not for you as tempting as it may be to ‘give it a go’.

Ready to get free accomodation? Sign up for Trusted House Sitters here and get 25% OFF

If you are considering a one year trip around the world, then you have come to the right place. If your most burning question is ‘I want to travel the world. Where do I start?’ Then this post is for you.

If you aren’t quite there yet and are wondering what the benefits of a round the world trip are, then let me convince you by telling you about all the things you can learn from traveling around the world.

In this post, I will teach you where to start with your considerations and your planning by thinking about and answering 10 easy questions.

Recommended for you: How I plan my trip around the world (including 41 planning tasks)

Planning a year of travel can be very overwhelming. I know that.

There are probably a lot of scary questions swirling around in your mind right now:

  • How will I pay for this?
  • What do I need to prepare?
  • How do I decide when to go?
  • What will my parents/friends/colleagues say?

These are just some of the questions you probably have. There are many more you will need to answer before you can start your trip around the world. But you need to start somewhere, and answering all questions at once can be very overwhelming.

For this reason, I put together a list of 10 question you need to answer so you can start planning a trip around the world.

10 questions you need to answer if you are thinking about a trip around the world

1. Should you do a RTW trip now? [Updated April 2021]

My simple opinion on this question is “NO” now is NOT the time to do it with borders still closed and many countries struggling to get on top of Covid-19.

BUT I do suggest you start planning now. Why? Because if you don’t do it now, you might never do it.

That is the problem with the ‘I will do it when I have more money’ or ‘I will do it when I am 30’ or ‘I will do everything when I am retired’ mentality. You don’t know the future, the magical time you are waiting for might never come. So, if you can do it now, do it now!

Of course, I know it is not as simple as that. So, take the time and evaluate your personal situation. Write a pro and con list if necessary. Talk to your parents, or friends, or partner (or all of them). Ask other people who have done a trip around the world about their experiences, challenges, and fears before they went.

I am sure you will find many reasons not to plan your around the world trip now, but there are probably as many good reasons to do it RIGHT NOW.

Sometimes an ‘as soon as possible’ is also a right answer, as long as you make a real plan to go 1 or 2 years from now and start planning now. Beginning to plan right now is one way to hold yourself accountable and not chicken out of your decision to quit (or pause) your job for a year. I know it can be scary, I have been there.

2. How long do you want to travel?

Actually, you don’t have to travel for a year to go see the world, it could as well be 3 months or half a year, or even two years. So, think about how long you want to travel.

Keep in mind traveling can be tiring depending on the speed you want to move from location to location.

Also, remind yourself that you will be gone from family, friends and your comfort at home. Will you miss it? Do you even want to go for one whole year? Or maybe, is one year even enough? Think it through.

3. Who are you traveling with?

This should be one of the most straightforward questions. Are you traveling alone (which would make this a solo trip)? Are you going with a friend or your partner? There are also people who travel with their parents. And of course, many people who travel all around the world with their family, husband, wife, and kids.

4. What’s your preferred travel style?

Let’s say you want to travel the world in one year, 12 months. What do you want to do in that time? There are basically two ways to travel with many small variations: 

You either travel fast, or you travel slow. 

Fast travel means trying to experience as many countries as you can in as short a time as possible.

Slow travel means staying in only a couple of select locations during the year and getting to know live in another country in depth.

There is no better or worse way. Just figure it out for yourself, and talk about your expectations with your fellow travellers.

5. Where do you want to go?

Now that you know how long and how fast you want to travel it is time to think about locations. There are many considerations you will need to think off once your planning gets more into detail, but for the purpose right now make a list of the countries you would want to visit during your trip.

This should be a list without judgment. Just write down from your heart. And when you are done try to rank them by how much you want to visit each country. 1 is your first-choice country, 2 is the next choice and so on.

If you are more than one person in your travel party, each person should make a list, and then you can compare your choices. Prioritize the destinations that were high on everyone’s list.

6. How long do you want to go to each destination?

This again depends on the answers to the questions above. If you want to travel for 1 year and travel slowly about 4 countries, you can spend a maximum of 3 months in each country. If you plan to see 20 countries, then each country will be about 2.5 weeks, so about 17 days.

Of course, there will be countries you want to spend more time in and in other places a couple of days (or weeks) will be enough.

Look again at your answers and figure out how long you want to stay in each destination you wrote down in response to question number 6. Start from the top.

7. When do you want to leave?

This is a difficult question to answer. Do you want to leave right away? In half a year? Or can you wait another year or two? There is a lot you have to consider to answer this question with a final answer.

How fast can you prepare for the trip? Do you already have the necessary money or will you need to save first? Is it a good time to quit your job now? How about other responsibilities? All of these questions will play a role in finding a start date for your trip round the world.

I had more than one year between the decision to travel to actually going on the trip. It was the best time to leave after my rental contract had finished and I had gotten my half-yearly company bonus, which is a huge part of my around the world budget.

8. What’s your travel budget?

The most common question when it comes to planning a year of travel is probably ‘how much does it cost to travel the world’ and the answer is: It depends.

It depends entirely on you and your travel style, what level of comfort you want and where in the world you want to go.

9. Why do you want to travel the world?

This might be the most philosophical question of my 10 questions you need to answer for yourself.

I will tell you why a ‘why’ is important. I recently read about a blogger who saved about 30.000 US dollar to travel the world and then decided not to do it and do a master’s degree instead. What does this tell you? When she started saving money to do a sabbatical to travel around the world, she didn’t think about her why.

What are you looking for?

10. What other burning questions do you have?

Write down all your questions and fears. You will need to work through each and every one of these questions before you are ready to go. I already wrote a couple of examples in the introduction.

Here are a couple more:

  • What will I do with my house?
  • Do I need health insurance?
  • How to save money to travel the world?
  • How can I travel for free?
  • How do I convince my parents to let me go?
  • And probably many more.

Just add to this list whenever you think of a new question.

Ready to go? Start planning now with our How I plan my trip around the world (including 41 planning tasks)

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To carry on or not to carry on – that is the big question lots of long terms travellers ask themselves. For us it was a no-brainer! We didn’t want to be weighed down (literally and figuratively) so set out to travel as light as possible. Read about how we sold ALL of our stuff here.

We’ve swapped stuff in and out and picked up – not one, but two cameras along the way.

But I think over the last 12 months we’ve finally found the sweet spot. So, what is in our bags?

Tech: this is split between the two of us

  • Laptop (1 each)
  • iPad
  • Video camera
  • Camera
  • GoPro
  • Ring light
  • External hard drive
  • Hotspots x 2
  • UE Boom/Alexa
  • Router 
  • A lot of charging cables

Clothes: we both pretty much carry the same

  • Knickers x 5
  • Swimsuit x 1
  • Socks x 3
  • T-shirts x 3 
  • Shirts/nice-ish tops x 2 
  • Shorts x 1 
  • Long pants x 1
  • Dresses x 3 (Addison doesn’t have any dresses and has extra shorts instead)
  • Long sleeve top/Henley x 1
  • Sweater/jumper x 1 
  • Jacket x 1 
  • Hat x 1
  • Sandals x 1
  • Sneakers x 1

Other bits and bobs:

  • Minimal makeup and toiletries
  • Probiotic and Pepto Bismol
  • Antibacterial wipes and sanitizer
  • Masks x 2
  • Passports and copies of visas
  • Monopoly Deal for game nights

We spent a 12 months working remotely and travelling around Mexico, here’s where we went:

Sayulita > Puerto Vallarta > Guanajuato City > San Miguel de Allende > Oaxaca City > San Cristóbal de Las Casas > Merida > Playa del Carmen > San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Our first stop was technically Guadalajara but we were only there for 9 days at the beginning of Covid-19 so don’t have enough information to make an accurate assessment. For the purpose of this guide we are only including cities we’ve spent a minimum of one month in.

Each location has been rated on cost of living, wifi, food and things to do. Please note these are our experiences and opinions only.

Sayulita 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

Sayulita sign in the plaza

Sayulita was our first real stop in Mexico and we ended up staying here for three months! 

It was the perfect laid back place to get our feet wet (literally) it it’s a small town so easy to get around, English is widely spoken and the locals and helpful and friendly. 

Plus it’s got that cool, surfy-beach vibe.

Cost of Living 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

We spent three months in Sayulita at the beginning of the pandemic and a lot was closed which forced us to cook and stay in, this help us to keep costs low. However looking back the price of eating out and activities in Sayulita is higher than other cities or towns we lived in. We also got veeerrry lucky with our AirBnB and got it for a steal.

Wifi 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Our Wifi was phenomenal, some of the fastest we’ve had in Mexico although we’ve heard some horror stories so be sure to check if your AirBnB host before booking. See our post on booking the perfect AirBnB here.

Food 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

There are some GREAT food options in Sayulita, some of our favourites were:

🌮 @yeikame_sayulita
you’re checking this place out the chicken quesadilla is a must try. They use a blue corn tortilla which was a first for Zahn and did not disappoint. We also love the breakfast burritos here, they are a nice, cheap, grab and go for a breakfast on the beach.

🍕 @larusticasayulita
We ordered pizza from here more than we should probably admit but anyone that knows Addison knows that he could eat pepperoni pizza everyday for the rest of his life and be happy but if you want something a little different try the La Rustica pizza (chicken, pineapple, tamarind BBQ and coriander/cilantro, yum).

🌯 @burrito.revolution
Not only are these guys some of the nicest people we’ve met they also make an amazing burrito and sauces I wish I could bottle and take home to put on everything. All of the burritos are good, all of the sauces are good.

🍛 @achara_sayulita
If you get over Mexican and pizza and feel like Thai this please is great. Our favourites here are the Penang (Zahn’s favourite) and the pumpkin fried rice 😋

Things to do 3.0 out of 5.0 stars

Again, due to Covid-19 a lot was closed while we were but regardless, the main things to do here are beach, eat and drink. Not that we are complaining!

We did also try horse riding, and snorkeling in Sayulita with Mi Chaparrita

Check out more on Sayulita here.

Puerto Vallarta 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

We fell unexpectedly in love with Puerto Vallarta. Yes there is a very touristy vibe. But once again the people were so lovely and helpful and there’s a whole other side to this place beyond the usual tourist and resort scene.

Cost of Living 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Puerto Vallarta was much more affordable than we expected, we were able to get a really rate on our AirBnB which helped.

Wifi 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

The Wifi was good, although we did have the occasional drop out it was quick enough for us to both make video calls at the same time without a drop in speed.

Food 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

This was our first real introduction to tacos, oh-em-ge, the tacos! Plus there was such a wide variety of international options and beachside restaurants, you can’t go wrong in Vallarta.

Things to do 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Within Puerto Vallarta itself there is plenty of art galleries, shopping and beaches to keep you occupied. There’s also plenty of day trips to do in the area including Mayto, San Sebastián, Talpa de Allende and more! 

Watch more videos from our time in Puerto Vallarta here

Guanajuato City 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Guanajuato is one of our top three cities and we wouldn’t hesitate to come back, from the beautiful colourful buildings adorning the hills to the active city squares. Guanajuato is a must see.

Cost of Living 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Guanajuato was were we really saw how cheap Mexico could be. We had an incredible 3-story house, with a breath taking view in town for roughly $600 per month. 

Wifi 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

No complaints here with the internet but as usual we recommend you check with your host.
Download Mbps 19.23, Upload Mbps 6.43

Food 2.0 out of 5.0 stars

Probably the only downside in Guanajuanto City; the food just wasn’t that good! But, it was very cheap. For example you could order a package breakfast which consists of fresh bread, fruit, coffee, juice and a main dish such as chilaquilles for about $85 pesos 

Things to do 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

You can’t walk around the streets of Centro Guanajuato without tripping over a beautiful gallery or museum. There’s also mines, tunnels, and mummies to explore. 

San Miguel de Allende 2.0 out of 5.0 stars

This was our first taste of disappointment in Mexico.  Our experience was seriously tainted by the absolutely atrocious internet speeds and high cost of living.

Cost of Living 2.0 out of 5.0 stars

Everything in San Miguel felt more expensive, from taxis to activities and everything in between.

Wifi 1.0 out of 5.0 stars

The wifi did not work at all in our AirBnB. We ended up hotspotting through a Telcel sim card. BUT, there is currently no unlimited data plans in Mexico! That’s what we said. So we had to top-up a couple times a day which was stressful and expensive.

Download 1.66 Mbps , Upload 1.23 Mbps 

Food 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Although the food was more expensive than other places in Mexico – it was delicious. The restaurants in downtown San Miguel de Allende were on par with some of the best you’ll find all over the world. Plus, on the other end of the scale there were also fantastic taco and torta stands dotted around the neighbourhoods.

Things to do 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

San Miguel de Allende is one of those cities that is so beautiful you could happily just walk around and enjoy the sites but there is also plenty of more formal activities including food tours, archeological ruins and museums.

Read about some of our favourite things to do in San Miguel de Allende here

Oaxaca City 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Oaxaca is known as one of the gastronomical hubs of Mexico and this city did not disappoint.

We spent a month here in November and could’ve spent many more. We were only able to scratch the surface of what Oaxaca has to offer because of Covid-19 restrictions but we’d gladly come back.

Cost of Living 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

The cost of living is reasonable in Oaxaca, you can find everything from cheap street food to high-end restaurants. We spent a lot of time dining out to take advantage of the amazing food scene which did push our monthly expenses up but you could easily live here on a budget.

Wifi 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Oaxaca was a wifi dream with super fast speeds: Download 63 Mbps, Upload 19.26 Mbps

Food 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

There’s a really good reason Oaxaca is known for its food. The moles, the memelas, molotes plus the mezcal scene make this a foodies dream. 

Check out our food recommendations for Oaxaca City here

Things to do 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Besides eating and drinking there’s plenty to do, and lots of culture in Oaxaca. In fact there are 16 indigenous languages spoken in Oaxaca.

Some of the top things to do are:

  • Visit the daily markets 
  • Go to Monteban 
  • Visit workshops of local artisans

San Cristóbal de Las Casas. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Probably our favourite place in Mexico. This small, colonial city in Chiapas, 2200 meters above sea level is a real treat.

Cost of Living 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

San Cristobal de las Casas is hands down the cheapest place we’ve lived in Mexico.
See a breakdown of our costs here

Wifi 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

We stayed in two different houses in San Cristobal and both times the wifi was excellent.
Download 46.69 Mbps, Upload 14.2 Mbps

Food 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

There are some great food options in San Cristobal de las Casas, all very reasonably priced. You can get a good meal at a nice restaurant for roughly $600 pesos for two people – including drinks!

Things to do 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

This is another one of those places that’s beautiful you could happily walk around all day and not get bored.

But if that doesn’t sound like you, can can also easily travel to waterfalls, lakes, indigenous villages or even the Palenque ruins.

Check out some of our favourite things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas here

Merida 3.0 out of 5.0 stars

Merida was another city we left feeling a little underwhelmed by. The city itself is reasonably large and modern but lacked flavour for us. Most people spoke great English and used that to try and sell us on tours and trinkets, which is normally fine – we are used to it. But, here it came off a little cheesy and people would often follow us as we walked, under the guise of trying to help.

Cost of Living 3.0 out of 5.0 stars

Although the prices weren’t as high as we were expecting it certainly wasn’t cheap! 

We paid double what we normally would for accommodation, we had a private pool but were in the suburbs and needed to taxi to the city. 

See a full breakdown of what we spent in Merida here

Wifi 2.0 out of 5.0 stars

We stayed her over the Christmas holiday period and didn’t plan on working so I didn’t check the internet speed but it was not great and dropped out often with frequent power outages.

Another thing to note is that there is free wifi downtown that you can connect to.

Food 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

Like all modern cities, you get the full range in food options, from street food to fast food and high end restaurants.

While we didn’t find the food bad here it didn’t wow us.

Things to do 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

In the city itself there’s not a lot to do, there are museums, galleries and churches you can visit. However, the real reason most people visit Merida is for what’s just outside the city. 

There’s a plethora of ruins to visit; thousands of public/private cenotes (swimming holes) + beaches close by.

Playa del Carmen 3.5 out of 5.0 stars

Playa del Carmen has a reputation as a digital nomad hub and it’s easy to see the appeal, plenty of modern amenities – apartments, restaurants and bars and of course the beautiful weather and beaches. But, we felt a little old here and the found the overall costs too high. 

Cost of Living 3.0 out of 5.0 stars

The cost of living in Playa del Carmen was significantly higher than other parts of Mexico: food, taxis, and activities were all on the higher end of what we’ve experienced in Mexico. We ended up having to book accommodations quite far outside of the city centre to get something we could afford. Taxis back and forth were expensive!

Side note, if you need to take a taxi DO NOT take it from within the tourist zone, you may receive a fare up to 4 or 5 times the price. Just walk a few extra blocks before hailing a cab and save yourself some $$

See a full breakdown of what we spent in Playa del Carmen here

Wifi 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Another excellent wifi spot.
Download 64 Mbps, Upload 20 Mbps

Food 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

We didn’t eat out a lot in Playa del Carmen but what we did eat was pretty average.  

Things to do 5.0 out of 5.0 stars

There’s a lot going on in Playa del Carmen – a large digital nomad scene to chill; beaches to relax at. We particularly enjoyed getting out of Playa del Carmen and taking trips to nearby Akumal, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.

Thinking of moving to Mexico but not sure about finances. Read our full breakdown on cost of living in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

In December we spent most of the month in San Cristobal de las Casas (we were in San Cristobal de las Casas from 23 November – 19 December) and, moved to Merida towards the end of the month.

The cost of living in San Cristobal was comparatively cheaper to other places we’ve been in Mexico however that last week or so of the month our costs up.

Eating out was a big expense for us this month with $358.67 of the total falling into San Cristóbal de las Casas and $336.28 over only 11 days in Merida! Oops.

We also spent a significant amount on activities while we took a few weeks off work. The below total for activities includes:

December 2020: Income and Expense Report

Rent (AirBnB Merida, paid in December for 19 Dec – 16 Jan) $1,000.29
Cellphone $20.00
Groceries $151.01
Eating Out $694.95
Activities $577.86
Toiletries/Pharmacy $14.14
Laundry $15.26
Laptop Repayments $91.00
Taxi (San Cris) & Uber (Merida) $50.85
Travel (flight) San Cris to Merida $112.31
Total expenses $2,727.67
Income $6,120.71


Our income and expenses is for x 2 people and is made up of multiple streams (and excludes business expenses such as VAs, other. contractors, software etc.)

All $ mentioned are converted to USD using the latest exchange rate at the time of reporting.

In December our income was made up of:

  • $207.71 Teaching English Online
  • $3,934 Freelance (in December 2 x clients were late paying invoices for work that had been completed to the value of $1,410 which will be transferred to the month it is paid)
  • $1,979 – Part-time employment income

Planning a trip to San Cris? We hope you found this post on the cost of living in San Cristóbal de las Casas valuable – let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed.

No matter where in the world you are, just know there are 10 travel tips you can use anywhere to get the most out of your time there. Make it the best experience imaginable! Don’t look back – after some time – saying, “I wish I had done this and that”.

For this reason, we have created a checklist of things to do for an in-depth look at customs and culture even if you don’t have a lot of time.

Here is our list of 10 travel tips you can use anywhere at every destination.

Let’s go into detail. We’ll use Mexico as an example, as we’ve been living here for several months now! But really, no matter what destination, if you do these 10 things your stay will be so much richer.

1.  Learn the Language

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to become fluent in all the languages of the countries you visit. Just enough to make a connection with the locals.

Learn to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’. Maybe learn how to introduce yourself, and how to order a beer (or anything else). You will see that locals open up whenever you make the effort of communicating in their native tongue!

Sometimes the local people don’t speak English, and communication can be quite challenging. What to do? Break the ice in their language to build rapport, and bust out Google translate to bridge any remaining communication gaps.

Wait, can we have two number one must tries?

The restaurants at tourist destinations are often overpriced, and have all kinds of food on the menu – just not the real deal. To really get to know the local cuisine you have to visit a restaurant that only locals frequent. How do know you’ve arrived? A place where the menu is not be written in English is a good sign. Another clue would be a slight feeling of being out of your comfort zone. I can promise it will be a great experience!

“What is your favorite restaurant” or “Where do the local families go for dinner”? These are our go to  questions when we are chatting with locals. Want a fancier dining option? Just ask, ‘Which restaurant(s) do the locals go to when they want to celebrate’. We suggest you add these Q’s to your arsenal, as well, if you are keen on trying some good, and local food.

3. Visit a Local Market

Go where the locals go to buy their groceries. Look at all the things that might be different from what is sold in your country.

In Mexico, go to the market (not the supermarket) to do your groceries, the produce is fresher and (so much) better priced. You’ll also find delicious meals ready to devour at the market and get a real look at local life. Just go, and try everything.

Apprehensive? That’s fine! Remember, they, you, and I have been carried through our respective markets – sometimes kicking and screaming – by our parents. You don’t have to call them mom or dad, but I am positive you can find an AirBnB Experience or tour guide to help calm the nerves. That’s how we got our feet wet with Mercado de Abastos in Oaxaca, Mexico (a 15 block street market known for its variety of goods, and petty crime). Now we feel at ease at any market even though we stick out like a sore thumb!

4. Use Public Transportation

To get to know a city use public transportation, like the locals – busses or Tuk-Tuks or the Metro whatever the popular mode of transport is, use it.

You will have the opportunity to learn how locals move about their city and in many cases navigating a city by yourself helps you get to know the place better.

Sometimes using public transport can be scary at first, but I promise it will be a worthwhile experience. It can be quite complicated too if you don’t have a good grasp of the language (see point one) and really is an experience in itself.

For example:

The public transport in Mexico is vastly different depending on where you are but colectivos (a.k.a Combi: a kind of shared minibus or shuttle) are popular in many small-size cities. They are the perfect (and sometimes only) option for intercity travel between smaller towns. For long distance trips (major intercity or interstate travel) you can travel ADO (the Greyhound of Mexico) at a much less expensive cost than flying – best if you don’t mind slow traveling.

5. Visit a Religious Site

At every destination you visit, there are religious sites. Get to know the culture, a little better, by visiting at least one. It can be a temple, a church, a shrine, or even a religious pilgrimage site.

In Mexico, you’d have to be trying pretty hard to not make your way to a church. Wait, what? Almost every town or city is centred around a church, but each is unique – from the architecture to the religious practice. See our post here about the indigenous villages of Chiapas

6. Participate in a Cultural Activity

​​Most everyone knows, ‘When in Rome’. So, if you have the chance, wherever you are, definitely participate in anything the locals do. Why? Well, it’s best to ‘Do as the Roman’s do’, when the goal is expand your cultural horizons! You know, not only learn and grow, but to blend in.

It can be anything from learning their dancing style to participating in ceremonies like building an altar for Dia de Muertos. Or Zen meditation, tantric yoga, and/or their go to local sport. Cultural festivals will give you a glimpse into the heritage and traditions – don’t miss out!

If you only visit the tourist sites, I am sure that will be a fun trip. But we want you to repeat the traveller’s mantra, “DMO (Don’t Miss OUT)!”

Ask around. The locals will know what kind of places are really worth a visit, and which places might not be.

If you prefer a more guided option, we highly recommend an AirBnB experiences over tour companies as you’ll usually be dealing with/having your experience with a person wanting to show you their slice of the world.

For example

In Merida, Mexico Cenotes (crater filled with water) are a popular activity but if you visit the known cenote sites you are likely to be climbing over people to get in the water – ask around, and blaze the trail less taken.

8. Walk Around Aimlessly

One of the best things you can do to really get to know a place is to walk around, and see where your feet take you. If you only go from tourist attraction to tourist attraction you will miss the most important part: The people living in the place you are currently visiting.

An additional bonus: It’s completely free! Walking around is one of the best and cheapest ways to get to know a place.

Another one of our favourite things to do when we get to a new place is take a free walking tour. Try booking on Guru Walk.

9. Ask About the Daily Routine of a Local

Not only will you have a perfect reason to start a conversation with a local, you will also probably learn something about the culture of the place in the process. Just ask your host or any random person you meet in a bar or on the streets.

A wise post once noted, ‘Get them talking about themselves and their is no limit to what you can learn’ – don’t miss out!

10. Capture all Experiences in Pictures and Text

To wrap up our 10 travel tips you can use anywhere, our advice is to capture all you memories. We write a blog about our experiences, but you don’t have to. You could just write a diary, or use an App. Or fill a scrapbook.

If you do these 10 things at every destination, your trips will be awesome and memorable.  Why? Because you didn’t leave anything undone!

What other things should people do at a destination? Tell us in the comments!

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