Nora Dunn

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Nora Dunn sold everything she owned in 2006 (including a busy financial planning practice) to embrace her dreams of travelling the world full-time. She has been on the road ever since, living in and travelling through 50+ countries.

8 Myths about the Full-Time Travel Lifestyle

When I sold everything to travel, I couldn’t imagine a time when I’d say I’ve been on the road for 10 years. But here we are, 10 years later. I’ve travelled through and/or lived in over 50 countries in that time. And I’ve learned a lot about what “full-time travel” really means. Here are eight myths about the full-time travel lifestyle that I’ve learned along the way (often the hard way!). Myth: Full-Time Travel Is an Extended Vacation Full-time travel is a lifestyle rather than a trip or vacation. When travelling full-time, there’s no “regular life” or “home” to return to, like there is if you are travelling for a limited time. This creates a different mindset around foundational ideas like what home is, and ultimately, how to create that sense of home abroad. Myth: Full-Time Travel Is for Rich People Most full-time travellers work in some way…

Travel Fatigue and How to Avoid It

I’ve been proverbially homeless for 10 years, travelling through and living in over 50 countries. Over the years, I’ve experimented with many different styles—and paces—of travel. In 2010, embracing a “backpacker” moniker, I breezed through a dizzying number of countries. In that entire year, the longest I spent in one place was three weeks; on average I “moved house” every five nights. After this fevered travel pace, I spent the first six months of 2011 in a near-comatose state of recovery. Something wasn’t right. I couldn’t quite define what was wrong, but I had an unsettled feeling. I was fundamentally tired, like I hadn’t slept well in months. On reflection, this was true; too many late nights, early mornings, unfamiliar beds, and communal living quarters had taken a toll. I was dizzyingly confused; the whirlwind of travel in the previous year left me feeling like the world was spinning around…

A Zen Guide to Heartbreak while Travelling

A heart-wrenching breakup is agonizing under any circumstances. But doing it while travelling adds a whole new set of complications. I’ve had a few cracks at breaking up while travelling. The first was three years into my full-time travel lifestyle; my boyfriend and I had been together for a year when we sold everything to travel. I learned some key lessons about travelling with a partner during our three years on the road: Travelling accelerates the natural progression of a relationship. Travel’s inherent stressors create interpersonal tension. It’s imperative to claim your space, since you’re together 24/7. You might stay together longer than you should. This last point was the most difficult for me: our relationship was over long before we broke up. But we were in Australia, my boyfriend had run out of money, and he was working to replenish it. I couldn’t just leave him on the other…

What Is “Home” to a Lifestyle Traveller?

Lily and I had a great chat during our podcast recording. Despite our lifestyle differences, I think we found a lot of common ground with regards to the way we think, feel, and approach our lives. One of the lessons I’ve learned through my 10 years of travelling and living around the world is that, for the most part, we’re all programmed similarly. It may not appear so at first glance, but I’ll use the idea of “home” as an example. I am “The Professional Hobo”; by definition, I’m homeless. But ask any lifestyle traveller, and even though they may staunchly defend their homeless moniker, talk to them long enough and you may hear the word “home” creep into the conversation. “Home” could be the place you grew up, or where your parents live. Many lifestyle travellers also love to say “home is where I lay my head for the…

Alternatives to Travellers Cheques

At one time, travellers cheques were the preferred way to carry foreign currency. They were secure, low on fees, and in some cases were the only way to pay for things abroad. But they’ve been going steadily out of favour since the 1990s. They pose security risks and cause extra work for retailers, the commissions and fees aren’t competitive, and even banks abroad are hesitant to cash them. A reader told me about a European vacation during which she visited 12 banks, none of which were willing or able to cash her travellers cheques. These days, there are other, more secure and cost-effective ways to access your money while travelling, such as the following: Credit Cards In most Western countries, you can pay for almost everything with credit cards. Many of my North American friends don’t even carry cash any more. Credit cards are convenient, they provide a record…

Getting Free Accommodation by Volunteering Abroad

Accommodation is usually the heftiest travel expense, but that’s no reason to stay home. If you want to save money, consider volunteering abroad—it’ll give you a fabulous cultural experience, and you can often get free accommodation along with it. The volunteer (also known as “work-trade”) movement began in the organic farming industry with an organization called WWOOF (Worldwide Work on Organic Farms), which allows volunteers to get their hands dirty (literally) in trade for accommodation and sometimes meals as well. These days, volunteer jobs are as varied as the places they’re offered. Here’s a selection of volunteer gigs I’ve done in trade for free accommodation: Milking goats (Hawaii) Painting murals and hostel management (Hawaii) Tending to a country estate and B&B (Australia) Leading eco-treks on llamas (Australia) Cooking, cleaning, and designing marketing plans at a spiritual retreat and conference centre (New Zealand) Speaking conversational English (Spain) Helping out on sailboats…

16 Tips for Carrying Cash

This financial travel tip comes to you courtesy of pickpockets, petty thieves, and absent-minded travellers. Cash comes and goes easily on the road, and to preserve it involves stashing and managing it wisely. Here are 16 tips for carrying cash safely and securely while you travel the world. General Tips for Carrying Cash For some travellers, the question is not where or how to carry cash, but whether to use cash at all. In most western countries, you can pay for almost everything with debit and credit cards. (See also: How Many Debit/Credit Cards to Carry). However even in these countries, it’s prudent to have cash available for tips, transportation (taxis and buses), and emergency needs (if your cards don’t work). In many other countries, cash is king. Debit purchases are almost unheard of, and credit card purchases entail extra fees. In both cases, these tips below will enhance…

Using ATMs Abroad: 12 Things You Need to Know

Using ATMs (cash machines) while you’re abroad is not as simple as it is at home. I know travellers with horror stories about being strapped and unable to get cash due to various ATM blunders. That’s why it’s best to be informed about overseas banking before you depart! Here are 12 tips for using ATMs abroad and effectively managing your travel cash. 1. Get Online First and foremost, register for online banking before travelling. This allows you to manage your accounts and bills easily, and if there’s a problem with your ATM card or one of your accounts, you can fix it from wherever you are. 2. Foreign ATMs Offer Limited Services At home, you can use ATMs to change your PIN, see account information, transfer money between accounts, and more. Abroad, you generally can only view your balance and withdraw cash. For the rest, you’ll need to…

Financial Travel Tips: Will That Be Credit or Debit?

This article is the first of the Financial Travel Tips series by Nora Dunn (The Professional Hobo), a former financial planner who has been travelling the world full time since 2006. We trust you’ll enjoy her experience-based tips and tricks for managing finances and travelling the world smartly! How many credit/debit cards to carry when you travel A number of factors may weigh into this decision, including the following: Your destination (credit cards aren’t widely used or accepted in some places) The length of your trip (a weekend getaway won’t require as much forethought on this topic as a long-term trip will) Payment method for the trip (if you’ve already paid for an all-inclusive vacation, your credit/debit cards will be almost redundant on the road) Other things to consider include reducing risk (against theft or card problems), minimizing fees, and keeping your finances running smoothly. Travelling with credit…