Figuring out how to live life on my own terms- here, there and anywhere.
Welcome to my blog!
I’m Rachel, I’m a somewhat mischievous and sarcastic brunette. I love travel, writing and figuring out how to build the life I’ve dreamed about.
Over the past six years, I’ve traveled to 35 different countries, all self-funded by working a typical 9-5. I have a few websites I run to make a little money on the side to get me by. In the mean time, I’m taking a look at what’s out there and finding what fits.
This past year, I looked at my life and my options and how I felt I “should” live. It appeared that a career, mortgage and sensible shoes were the popular choice. So, I started to investigate those options. I worked a corporate job as the head of a department. I looked into buying house that would take 30 years of working 55+ hour weeks to pay off. I supposed I could start counting down to retirement now, like my coworkers had. I’d just live on a few weeks of vacation a year. That works, right?
I just couldn’t get excited about it. I didn’t want to get trapped in an endless cycle of mortgages, car payments and work cell phone I was never allowed to turn off.
I didn’t want the sensible shoes either.
So, I’m out on the road, looking at my options and learning about the world.
If you want to do something similar, there are a lot of creative ways to make travel a reality. It’s not just for digital nomads or trust fund babies in their 20’s. We can all see more of the world, sometimes you just need some tools and ideas to help. If so, you can email me here.
If you don’t believe me, you can read a bit more on my background below.
Trust me, if I can do this, anyone can.
I grew up in the booming metropolis of Anaconda, Montana. My dad was a logger and my mom was a housewife. They have built a home and a business over the years but still have the same roles and the same home I grew up in. I am the second of four kids. I have an older sister and a younger brother. My younger sister tragically died in a car accident a few years ago.
I love coming from a big family and I love my home state. It was a really wholesome and free way to grow up.
As kids, we all learned to work in my dad’s logging business. Hard work was very important to my family. We worked and we played together. My parents typically had a full house full of family, neighbors, friends and the guys that worked with my dad. Everyone was welcome and there was always extra food on the table for dinner. My siblings and I spent a lot of time together since we lived 10 miles out of town and because of that, we have a lot of inside jokes and stories.
We didn’t go on elaborate vacations growing up but one of my fondest memories was of a trip to Disneyland we all took together. I didn’t leave the country until I went to Canada in high school. I think my interest in travel came from reading and from my mom. I was completely enchanted with anything British and spent a lot of my adolescence speaking in an English accent with my older sister. My mom loved National Geographic and always encouraged us to travel. I remember thinking about the time I graduated from high school that if I could go to London someday, my life would be pretty cool. I have now been there a few times and I still think it’s pretty cool.
I naturally gravitated towards writing and I loved drama and theatre but when I graduated I went into engineering. I chose it because I knew it would make enough money that I could travel. I also knew I’d have to pay my own way through college so I chose a field that had a lot of opportunities. I went to school at Montana Tech, a small engineering school with great placement rates. I had really good experiences there.
During my time in college, I got married, bought a house, got divorced, sold my house and had a lot of personal ups and downs. I think I tried to squeeze 10 years of adulthood into 5 years. By the time I graduated at 24, I had learned a lot about myself and life. Despite all I had experienced, I still hadn’t done the one that I had always dreamed about; travel. So after graduation, I took a three week trip to Europe. I had no idea how to travel and to be honest, that’s probably still one of my most expensive trips to date. But I got to live my dream and I learned from that experience. It opened the world up to me and I realized how much was possible.
After that, I started my first job in Portland, Oregon where I’ve lived for the last 5 years.
I was hooked on travel and it became what sustained me between hours of spreadsheets and meetings. Eventually, I took another 3-week vacation to go to Europe again and my boss at the time told me, “It’s going to be hard to get the approval but this is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation so I’ll ask for you.” I remember thinking, “God, I hope it’s not just once in a lifetime” But it was better left unsaid.
During that second trip to Europe I traveled alone for the first time and loved the freedom and the confidence it gave me to go where I wanted and to know that I could go on my own. I remember vividly flying back into the US and thinking, “I’m going to go around the world. I’ve just got to figure out how.” Five months later, I left to travel for 8 months going from Bolivia to China.
It felt like such an enormous risk at the time but it is one of the decisions I am most proud of. I gained so much more from those 8 months than I ever thought possible. I also was lucky enough to have a job offer when I came back. I did it through staying engaged on LinkedIn and maintaining my work network while abroad. I came back and continued to take every chance I could to travel. Now I’m out on the road again, figuring out how to live a life that allows for some freedom, fun and a pursuit of a life that makes sense to me.
When I’m not travelling, you will find me reading, working, and quoting movies. My favorite movies are generally comedies like Nacho Libre, any of the Austin Powers, the original Dumb and Dumber, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or for a more serious side, Moonrise Kingdom and Finding Neverland. Some of my favorite books are Gone with the Wind and Sometimes a Great Notion or anything by Malcolm Gladwell.
What I’ve learned from all this travel, is that people are generally good and there is so much more beauty than I ever thought possible. I think that the most important thing to keep in mind when traveling is to be open to your experiences and environment. Be cautious and be kind and the world will open itself up to you.
And as for you, reader, I hope that you find the pages of this blog interesting and honest. Living as a nomad is just living life with different scenery. There are incredible days and there are bad days. There’s exploration and cultures that open your mind and heart; and then there are times when you throw up in the cab. If you are looking to experience life in all it’s grit and glory though, travel is a good way to do it. It’s also a good way to contemplate your next step while living on $50/day. It’s not always about the destination, but it’s about being where you are right now and seeing the beauty that’s all around.