How I Went from Broke New Yorker to World Traveler: I saved $20,000 in less than a year to quit my job and travel.
I knew I wanted to travel long-term for years but I was too scared and too comfortable. Up until 2017, I spent the last five years living in my dream city–NYC. As a manager at a tech company I was earning a solid income, and traveling every few weeks–I’d spend two weeks in Dublin four times a year, and was going to conferences and leadership seminars in places like Barcelona and Las Vegas. I’d even relocated to Sydney for 6 months when my employer opened an office there. I loved the company’s values, worked with some wickedly smart people, and lots of my colleagues were (and still are) my friends.
But I’d worked at the same place for seven years and wanted to know what else was out there. The longer I worked there, the more I felt like my personal life was taking a backseat. And I wanted to travel freely–without the pressure of feeling like I had to cram a whole country into a one-week trip or between work events. I wanted to get know other cities the way I know NYC (pizza rat and all). And I wanted to see if I could make it as a digital nomad.
I knew I wanted to travel, but for a long time I didn’t know where to start. And I see this from a lot of others in solo travel forums and Facebook groups: ‘I want to travel but I don’t know how to save’; ‘I’m afraid of what others will think if I quit my job to travel’; ‘Will I have a hard time getting hired again if I take a career break?’; ‘Am I crazy for wanting to do something so risky?’ Continue reading “How I Went from Broke New Yorker to World Traveler in a Year”
How to Find Your First House Sitting Job and get Free Accommodation
My First House Sitting Experience
I’ve been in Christchurch, New Zealand, for several weeks and decided I want to stay longer. I fell in love with the trekking, Kiwi lifestyle, and never being too far from both the mountains and the beach. The problem is it’s peak season here, and on my budget I can’t afford to pay $25+ per night for an Airbnb. A hostel is out of the question (I need my re-charge time), and since I’m planning to stay a while and work (more on that later), I either want roommates or a place to myself.
I explained my situation to an American friend who lives here, and the first thing she recommended was house sitting. Before committing to a long-term rental, she used house sitting to try out different neighborhoods. I couldn’t believe some of the amazing places she’d stayed at for free.
My First House Sitting Job with Kiwi House Sitters
Continue reading “How to Find Your First House Sitting Job and get Free Accommodation”
If you visit Ho Chi Minh City, prepare for an adventure in this beautiful, chaotic city full of amazing food and buzzing with millions of motorbikes. My city guide below is a collection of cultural attractions and experiences, nightlife, and–most importantly–local-recommended foods and restaurants I’ve checked out over my three trips to HCMC. I recommend spending at least four days here to really get to know HCMC.
Budgeting & Where to Stay
In my guide I focus mainly on District 1, the tourist area, and District 3, where I usually stay. D3 is just north of D1, so it’s only a quick Uber ride to downtown but you get a much better feel for the local lifestyle. Since it’s a way from the tourist sites, D3 is also much less expensive than D1, so it’s a good spot for those of you who are on a tighter budget, like me.
D3: You can get a comfortable Airbnb from $20-30/night here and easily spend no more than $15 a day on food if you stick mostly to street vendors–more if you plan to drink. My go-to Airbnb is here.
D1: In D1, an Airbnb costs ~$35-50/night, and a decent budget hotel costs around $50/night. Expect to pay $65-90 for a nicer, mid-range hotel. I’ve stayed at and recommend the Bay Hotel (booking.com).
For meals in this district, budget $5-15 USD per person, per meal if you’re keeping it on the casual side (without alcohol).
Continue reading “Ho Chi Minh City: A Guide”