I’m Alyssa – Professional travel designer for AlyssaAllDay Adventures, travel blogger, and permanent nomad. I live for adventures, diving, food, photography, music, tattoos, and most of all… travel. I’ve traveled to over 65 countries and I have no intention of stopping. My passion (and obsession really) is to help others discover the beauty in travel and inspire those to explore out of their comfort zone and beyond the ordinary.
What can our readers find on your blog?
My blog is the home base for my travel planning business – AlyssaAllDay Adventures. It’s also where I provide inspiration and travel tips from my personal travels and soon, other likeminded, inspirational travel figures.
When did you start your blog and why?
I technically started alyssaallday about 4 years ago but didn’t really get into it until about 2 years back. I had been traveling the world and so many friends and family members were asking me the same questions, so I decided to keep a site where they could keep up with me.
How difficult or easy is it to run a blog whilst living the nomad life? Any challenges?
Blogging while traveling was insanely difficult when I was hardcore backpacking, especially in hostels. I was always meeting new people and socializing so I’d hardly have time to sit by myself and write let alone schedule future posts. Of course there was the issue of wifi as well. That’s why there has been such a lapse in my articles over the years. Now, I’m an entrepreneur and take my work seriously, so I’ve gotten a bit better about time management.
Where was home prior to you starting the nomad life? Do you still go back? How often? How easy is it to return home whilst roaming the world?
Home for me was Northern Virginia/Washington DC. I grew up there and I still pop back for a month or 2 a year to visit family and friends. I’m finding it more and more difficult to return because I’m always comparing the cost of that flight to a flight to say, Ghana or the Philippines… Which one do I reeeeally want to spend my money on… decisions.
How would you describe the term nomad life in your own words?
Nomad life means that my heart is never settled in one place. A home is where I’m happy and feel love and I’ve made that in places all over the globe. It’s always craving adventure, change, and exploring new places. It’s moving, learning, soaking in the surroundings. I give up routine, monetary security, and a lot of family milestones to chase the unknown and now I can’t imagine life any other way.
When did you start the nomad lifestyle and why? Also how long have you been living this lifestyle? How long do you see your self doing this?
I’ve traveled since I was young, even doing study abroad to Cambodia in uni. But the turning point was a month trip to South Africa where I just became hooked and gradually my trips got longer and more abundant. After 2 half years of working for 6 months, traveling for 6 months, I finally sacked it all and moved to Stockholm where I officially embarked on my nomad life.
What are some of the pro’s and cons of being a nomad?
The pros? I do exactly what I LOVE and live the life I’ve always dreamt of. The cons? I miss my friends and family quite often.
What types of places do you stay in when travelling?
I love hostels with a passion because I love meeting new people! I met my now boyfriend at a hostel in Zambia! However, homestays have become the way to go because I’ve finetuned my travels towards getting to know more locals and the culture.
The big question everyone wants to know (how do you earn an income to travel full time?)
Well, I was planning travel so often while on the road that a light bulb switched on – this is my calling. So I researched independent travel agents and that’s what I became! That was a year and a half ago and my business – AlyssaAllDay Adventures – is booming! I was voted in Top 30 Agents Under 30 for 2016 by Travel Agent Central and recently did an interview about millennials in travel for CNNMoney! My website has more details.
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? Or what countries you started with and how you found them.
JUST GO! I always tell my clients [and anyone really] to jump right in and go for the place they’ve always dreamt of. Often, newer travelers want to wean into it by visiting “easier” places first, but I say there’s no time like the present! If you’ve been eyeing a country, book your flight and go – who knows who you’ll meet or where you’ll end up. It seems scary, but just committing is the first step. Get a one way because chances are, you’ll want to keep on going! South Africa is my number one pick for any type of travel because it has something for everyone!
What types of things do people need to plan prior to starting the nomad life? (back up money, health insurance, visas). How did you plan the nomad life?
Gosh I’m not sure you plan it – I just fell into it and went where the wind took me. I suppose the best way to plan is to save up enough to sustain yourself while you’re looking for income on the road. Another great idea would be to set up a mobile business before embarking. For insurance, I use a Chase Sapphire Preferred which includes travel insurance.
Have you had any scary or funny experiences whilst travelling?
Too many! The scariest was while living in Madagascar on a diving program. One of the girls had Malaria targeted in the lungs (from a previous trip) and had a bad episode from it. We all went to the hospital (a broken down building) to get checked for it because a few people were getting sick and I was told I had Salmonella-Typhoid (later to be proven false in the US). The night before flying home on that trip, I ate a whole container of peanut butter (long story) and uncontrollably vomited the whole plane ride. I was almost quarantined and my friend was brutally questioned. That was pretty scary but now funny to reminisce about.
How many countries approx have you lived the nomad life in? Did you encounter any visas or immigration issues?
I’ve traveled to 65 and lived in the US, Sweden, and Spain (Madagascar for 2 months but that’s a bit more temporary). I’ve spent my whole nomad life playing the in/out of the Schengen game but I’m currently getting my residency visa for Spain and it’s such a pain!
My advice: have a job to sponsor you, get married, or get a visa lawyer!
As a full time nomad (what is your back up plan) if the money or work runs low?
Haha if?! I have no backup plan which makes me push harder and harder every day to accomplish my goals. I refuse to give up and go back to something easy just because times got hard.
Do you do use any freelance work sites to obtain work from?
Not yet but I hope to start!
When you reach a particular destination – how do you find work? Do you have a strategy or do you try and secure work before you arrive?
I’ve done a bit of both but I mostly just rock up and if I like the city or hostel, I start working there in exchange for room and board. I also use workaway to schedule work in advance but I like getting a feel for a place before committing.
What factors do you consider prior to travelling to a country for the nomad life?
I’ll start by picking a place that just calls to me somehow. Then, I’ll hang out until I feel it’s time to move. Mostly, I’ll meet an amazing group of people at a hostel and we’ll all float along to another city. I can’t count how many places I’ve been just because I went with the flow: Russia, Germany, Malaysia – my trips are hardly ever planned past the first city. I wrote an article about Picking the Best First Trip for any newbies out there!
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?
No place has been too overwhelming [yet] but traveling through India and Turkey (because I was quite young) was a bit of a culture shock for me – mostly because of the notorious, uncomfortable stares. Language barriers aren’t an issue because a smile and hand gestures tend to do the trick. I haven’t been in any bind that I’d consider the language barrier being a true issue, but I’m just a pretty laid back traveler.
Do you travel solo as a nomad? if so what are the pros and cons of this?
Definitely! (though now my fellow nomad boyfriend comes with on most) I prefer being solo because I can go at my own pace, take as many photos as I want and eat where I want!
Has been easy to make friends and socialise – whilst travelling around as a nomad?
Absolutely!! My 4ish years of solo travel were never really solo because I met some of the most amazing people during that time. Most people think it’s lonely but imagine a hostel of all solo travelers – you’re all in the same boat and most people will just plop down next to you and have a chat. It’s sad that if that happened anywhere else it’d be a bit weird, but that’s the nomad way of life.
Do you have any money saving tips for flights / accommodation? Any recommended sites to book on?
My tip would be to consult me for your travel needs. I spend 99% of my time doing this research so it’s safe to say I’m a pro at getting the best deals and planning the best trips. Check out my questionnaire!
Optional question – : (what equipment do you use for your blog or as part of your nomad lifestyle e.g: drones, cameras, computers, editing software, tablets phones etc)
I use an iPhone 6s, an old Nikon D3000 (soon to be upgraded), and an old gopro 3 for all my photos. I ALWAYS backup my work on an external hard drive and my macbook air is essential for editing, writing, and managing clients bookings.
What country are you in at present? How have you found the nomad life there? Any recommendation for places to check out or places to hang out for nomads?
I’m currently living in Madrid, Spain! I love the Girls Gone International Madrid facebook group for meetups and recommendations! I’m partnering with the Cool Cousins app to provide all my favorite spots in Madrid for travelers and expats. Check it out and find me there soon!
What has been some of your top highlights from travelling?
My top highlight has been the lifelong friends I’ve made. A few others would be diving in Madagascar, standing in awe over the fjords in Norway, and learning to love myself and my life while in South Africa.
What is on your bucket list?
I have a full list on the about page of my site, but the top ones include staying in a yurt in Mongolia or Kyrgyzstan, skydive and land on a yacht, become fluent in over 3 languages, and open my own hostel/cat café.
How do you see the future of nomadism?
The amount of people becoming nomads is growing drastically. The majority of millennials are not saving for houses and cars anymore, they’re saving for trips which turn into quitting and being a nomad! I hope majority of people will learn to break their ties to material possessions and change the negative mindset of thinking they’ll never be able to live this life or even travel in general. It’s completely attainable if you put your effort into it. Of course it’s not the life for everyone, but I believe people are better understanding and respecting it.
Has being a nomad taught you any life lessons? If so please elaborate.
The most important thing being a nomad has taught me is to never take life too seriously. We have such a short time on this earth and it should be spent working towards a greater good, putting out more than you take in, and generally loving. Loving life, people, stillness, simplicity – that is what I’ve learned from being a nomad and try to practice everyday.
Please share one quote you love.
“Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to be truly affected by things. Whether it’s a song, a stranger, a mountain, a rain drop, a tea kettle, an article, a sentence, a footstep, feel it all. Look around you – all of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love.” – Zooey Deschanel
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