Interview with EnSquAredaired – Nomads Around The World Series

“I’ve always loved blogging and started devoting more time to the hobby in 2016. I do a lot of research for my trips and I use enSquaredAired as a place to share tips I wish I had known before my travels. My hope is that it helps people who are in the pre-trip planning stages for their next adventure”.

Sometime in University, I developed a strong wanderlust to travel Asia. As I was born in Canada, I did not know enough about the Asian culture. At the time, it felt important to me to learn more about my heritage as a way to better understand myself. But, I knew that travelling could not be a priority at the time because I needed to focus on my career.

After many years of working and building career capital, I was ready to pursue my dream of slow travel. In 2017, I took a leap of faith to pursue that dream. I quit my job, sold my stuff and convinced my love to join me during this one life changing year

enSquaredAired is where we share our travels, photography, and stories about our adventures.

 

Name Of Your Blog & Link: enSquaredAired 

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What can our readers find on your blog?

Readers can read about my slow travel journeys by starting with One Life Changing Year.

My full collection of stories about nomad life can be found here: Nomad Life . You can also find travel tips and stories about my travels.

Some favourites are about the Elephant Nature Park

My blog is still new and I hope that it will grow to something that will help people plan their journeys or inspire them to pursue their dreams. Or, a place that they come back to because they enjoy reading my posts.

 

When did you start your blog and why?

Blogging has always been a way to express myself and my “creativity”. I never got around to working on my blog until 2016 where I put in the effort to learn the ins and outs of blogging.

I love how I can integrate photography with writing in this hobby. I also do tons of research on pretty much anything that requires a decision to be made. At some point, figured I might as well share it with the world or write it somewhere in case I need to reference it one day.

For example, I wrote a post about good food to eat in Bangkok – last year. A year later, I find myself back in Bangkok, trying to remember the name of the restaurant until I realized, I blogged about it! So I whipped out my phone, scrolled to my post, and found the name of the place I want to eat at again.

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How difficult or easy is it to run a blog whilst living the nomad life? Any challenges?

It is so hard for me! Each blog post I write takes hours of editing and thinking! Because writing is not one of my strengths, I struggle to combine the right words to express myself. Then, there are the photos to go through and edit, which takes a lot of time too. As I am always on the go, it is hard to sit down and focus on putting a blog post together. I’m also balancing the fact that I am exploring a new area with this hobby and so it’s been a struggle for me.

I am also working in places that aren’t very comfortable and that slows down my process too (I miss my computer monitor, ergonomic mouse and keyboard!).

But, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Nothing worth having comes easy and I’d like to think that my blogging skills are (very very slowly!) improving.

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Where was home prior to you starting the nomad life? 

Home is in Canada, Toronto to be exact and I have no plans to go back in the upcoming year. I have budgeted a return flight ticket home if I needed to go back at a moment’s notice.

How would you describe the term nomad life in your own words?

The nomad life is about living in the present and stepping way out of your comfort zone. There’s no physical attachment to a location, and having too much stuff weighs you down. Almost nothing ever goes as planned, and I’ve learned to take things one day at a time.  

When did you start the nomad lifestyle and why?  Also, how long have you been living this lifestyle? How long do you see yourself doing this?

My nomad lifestyle started earlier this year, where I realised I’m not getting any younger and there is never a perfect time to travel. I’ve always dreamed of moving to Australia for a year but realized that travelling and exploring is what I really wanted.

It’s been four months so far but I am embracing every moment and evolving to be a better (I hope!) person.

For now, my nomad life is going to last just for a year. But who knows, ask me again in a few months and I’ll likely have a different answer.

ensquaredaired-life-as-a-nomad-digital-travel-guru-7-ayutthayaWhat are some of the pro’s and cons of being a nomad?

The pros: Not being tied to a physical location is awesome. Home really is where I travel to and I find that this type of slow travel allows me to get to know the countries and people I’m visiting at a deeper level.

The cons: Everything is a learning curve and takes four times as much time to figure out. I also miss certain comforts of home, namely the ability to cook my own meals. Sometimes I ask myself if I miss my bed and pillow, but then realize I can’t because I’ve sold almost everything in my condo!

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What types of places do you stay in when travelling? 

We’ve stayed in many types of accommodations so far. We’ve stayed in villas, resorts, hostels, hotels and serviced apartments.

In my past travels, I’ve stayed with local hosts in Cambodia and family in Vietnam and China. Vietnam was definitely my most authentic experience where I stayed in the home my father grew up in. Before he renovated the family home, our beds were a really thin mattress on the ground where rats would watch us sleep! The bathroom was an outhouse shared with my chicken pets (my pets turned into food after I left! *cries*) so that the rats couldn’t attack and kill them! We had no fridge so my aunt and I would go to the market every morning by taking a tiny bamboo raft so that we can buy groceries across the river. Because water and electricity would shut off at any given time, my uncle used huge barrels to store water. As you can imagine, this is the perfect place for breeding ground for mosquitoes… hence, I showered with mosquito larvae for months!

 

The big question everyone wants to know – How do you earn an income to travel full time? 

Our ability to travel full time for the year comes from savings, investments and using rewards points for flights and hotels. We also track our budget on a daily basis and re-forecast to ensure that we are able to cover our obligations.

Do you have any tips for people that want to start the nomad way of living? Can you recommend any particular countries to start with? 

It doesn’t hurt to test out the nomadic life first before jumping into this lifestyle. This step will help you determine if this way of living is for you and will help you in your nomadic life.

Looking back, I would not have been able to live a nomadic life without my previous travel experiences. Travelling was a way to see how far out I could go from my comfort zone. Travelling also gave me the confidence to know that I can figure out any problem that comes my way.

What that being said, I am more risk averse than most of the nomads out there. I have met a few people on the road are 30, have never travelled and then one day decided to buy a one-way ticket to India. Now that is fearless in my mind!

Another tip is to stay in areas where nomads have started so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Chiang Mai and Bali are great places to start so I highly recommend passing through these places.

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What types of things do people need to plan prior to starting the nomad life?  How did you plan the nomad life?

We spent over a year planning for our trip. We started by getting rid of our stuff and increasing our savings and investments. We then started doing light planning to get a feel for where we wanted to go.

About six months before the trip, we researched on every little detail and working out the logistics of our trip. Defining constraints is also very important before you start booking. For example, budget plays a huge role in the pre-trip planning process and spreadsheets will help you. We track our spend daily (breaking down the spend into categories!) and re-forecast on a weekly basis.

Health insurance is a must and visas are something you should try to sort out while you are still in your home country.

 

Have you had any scary or funny experiences whilst travelling?

 Our scariest moment happened while were in Ao Nang during my second month on the road. I can’t write about it yet until I come back to Canada so you’ll have to wait for a year.

Another runner-up for scariest moments was almost trampling on a three-foot long Asian monitor lizard in Bangkok during my third month of travelling. It would have been more frightening had I stepped on the lizard.  As for funny moments, I suppose showing up at a five-star restaurant drenched to the bone was a funny incident. There is a backstory to it, which I will share when I am back in Canada.

 

How many countries approx have you lived the nomad life in? Did you encounter any visas or immigration issues? 

So far, we’ve lived in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand. We plan to live in Vietnam, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

No visa or immigration issues, but I’d suggest having a printout of your onward departure ticket before landing to the country.

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As a full time nomad (what is your back up plan) if the money or work runs low?

We won’t run out of money because we are frugal as heck and we are constantly monitoring our spend. But, if we do run out of money for whatever reason, the backup plan is to move back home at an earlier date or stay in a longer location.

 

What factors do you consider prior to travelling to a country for the nomad life? 

Food, affordability, and desire to visit the destination are the top three factors. Safety is also very important.

 

Have you encountered any issues with adjusting to local customs or the culture whilst you have been travelling? What about language barriers has this been an issue anywhere?

I have no issues adjusting to the customs and culture, likely because I am Asian and I understand the underlying reason behind their actions. Language barrier can be a struggle but I use Google translate or act out my gestures as a way to communicate.

 

Do you travel solo as a nomad? if so what are the pros and cons of this? 

No, I don’t travel solo as a nomad, although I did travel alone briefly a few years ago. The biggest con that I remember is wishing someone was there to watch my stuff while I use the bathroom, haha. Sometimes, it was a struggle to fit myself and my backpack into the tiny stalls.

Has been easy to make friends and socialise – whilst travelling around as a nomad?

It can be easy, but I haven’t tried, to be honest. I’ve met acquaintance’s and I’ve connected with locals where I still stay in touch with them via social media.

ensquaredaired-life-as-a-nomad-digital-travel-guru-8-siem-reap

Do you have any money saving tips for flights / accommodation? Any recommended sites to book on?

Planning and research is key to saving money. Also, use points where you can. I’d recommend using Kayak and Google flights to do your research, and booking.com for accommodations.

 

What country are you in at present? How have you found the nomad life there? Any recommendation’s for places to check out or places to hang out for nomads? 

I am currently in Thailand and I love this country! It’s my fourth time in Thailand but I can see how any first-time traveller will fall in love with this place. I have not connected with other nomads yet, but it’s on my to-do list!

What has been some of your top highlights from travelling (experiences / places)

The top highlights have been when I released a baby sea turtle into the sea in Kuta. and my eye opening stay in Seminyak in Bali 

 

ensquaredaired-life-as-a-nomad-digital-travel-guru-4-bali-releasing-sea-turtles

What is on your bucketlist? 

Japan, Australia and New Zealand are on my bucket list for the year! If all works out well, we will be spending almost a month in each country.

How do you see the future of nomadism?

I think nomadism will rise in popularity over time. We are becoming a generation where we find meaning in experience and not material stuff. We are

Has being a nomad taught you any life lessons? 

Nomadic life is a reminder that we do not need much in life to be happy and feel free.

 

Please share one quote you love.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart”

EnSquAredaired

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Showing 14 comments
  • Marc
    Reply

    Ah I have serious wanderlust to travel Asia too! Glad I found you!

    • Nancy
      Reply

      Thanks so much Marc! I am slowly publishing more tips on Asia travel so I hope it helps you when you do make it to Asia 🙂

  • kumamonjeng
    Reply

    Your story share few similarities that I personally encounter during my travel and blogging. Such as blogging consume quite a lot of my time in a day, things like choosing picture, resizing and watermark them. I am so envy that you could spend few years traveling freely and moving pretty slow in order to get to know and understand the particular places that you are visiting. Keep it up!

    • Nancy
      Reply

      Ah yes, travelling while blogging is not easy and there’s a lot more to blogging than what meets the eye 🙂

  • Joanna
    Reply

    It was very interesting to read this interview and see how Nancy adapted to the nomad life. I was thinking for a while to become a nomad as well, and while I have been on the road about half of last year, I still do have a home where I can go back to if something happens. I have the same struggles with writing blogs when I am on the road, as it takes me a long time to write and edit the photos.

  • Alex
    Reply

    Really interesting interview… always good to hear the perspectives of other travelling creatives. Definitely makes me want to continue the nomad lifestyle 🙂

  • Luis Carrillo Coello
    Reply

    I quite like the definition here of Nomad Life. There’s something liberating about having no physical attachment to a place, which engenders the consciousness of being present – though I think being present is more of a project for all humans than a default setting. So I think Nomad Life is about being more conscious of the present. And whilst there’s no physical attachment there is definitely an emotional attachment to every place visited. What do you think?

  • Purvi Kamaliya
    Reply

    stunning pictures indeed. I was actually scrolled through EnSquaredAired and each article there is really intriguing. ” There is no reason not to follow your heart” superb girl, you are really a motivation for all those who are giving a second thought on pursuing their passion. super. Keep writing and inspiring.

  • Nicholas
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing. All the best in your endeavours and I look forward to reading about what happened in Ao Nang (hopefully nothing too serious).

  • Lance
    Reply

    I appreciate the insights into living a nomadic life. I don’t think I am cut out for that type of life, but I love reading about the experiences. I, too, would miss the creature comforts of home, and miss home-cooked meals. I had never thought about the challenges of blogging without a computer monitor, etc. Thanks for a very insightful article.

  • Melissa
    Reply

    I enjoy interview style posts and this was no exception. I’m also a fan of slow travel and a nomadic lifestyle really allows for that in a way that a quick vacation trip doesn’t. This interview does a really good job of capturing the challenges of the lifestyle as well as the benefits.

  • Marvi
    Reply

    So inspiring! Despite having no plans to travel full-time and sell everything I own, I always admire people who do, especially those who quit their jobs to pursue a digital nomad lifestyle. Love your interview with enSquaredAired. So awesome of her for wanting to know more about her heritage. 🙂 I particularly love the quote on following your heart. It really resonates my belief on living life to the fullest! 🙂

  • Reply

    I love reading about others blogs and how they got into it so thanks for sharing Eliza!

  • Mohammed Alkaf
    Reply

    This shows me how we travel bloggers are similar in many ways! Thanks for sharing your interview with her 🙂

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