My Return to Full-Time Travel

As of today (June 24, 2022), I’ve kicked off full-time travel again. This decision has been a LONG time coming. When I returned home from Uganda on March 16, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that I wouldn’t be done with full-time travel forever. 

My full-time travel journey first began in the summer of 2019. It happened little by little — almost by accident. I was planning to do some post-grad travel with my friend, Caroline. Then, I suddenly had the ability to work remotely through freelance writing. Why shouldn’t I just keep it going? 

Full-time travel was something I took on feverishly. I was attempting to hit as many countries as quickly as possible while working about 30 hours per week. I cut back on work to see everything I wanted to see while docking my sleep to make sure I could still squeeze in 30 hours of work. I was an avid user of overnight buses and redeye flights to transit, so I didn’t have to pay for an extra night of accommodations. 

Naturally, this only made me more tired as the weeks wore on. Still, I loved it. I loved that I was seeing the world. It was so different from what all my other peers were doing, and I couldn’t get enough of it. 

As 2019 came to a close, I made more plans. I traveled most of Asia and a little bit of Europe. It was time for Africa next. January 2020 was upon me before I knew it, and although I didn’t quite feel recharged, my tickets were booked and I was going. During long bus rides across South Africa, I made list after list deciding the route my full-time travel would take. 

I told myself that I would settle down for a bit after this next big chunk of travel. My goal was 100 countries. I needed to reach 100 countries and then I could rest. Maybe I’d look for a different job, or I’d go back to grad school (I currently have no interest in either two years later), but I need to reach 100 first. 

Of course, we know that I didn’t reach 100. COVID-19 nearly stopped the world from spinning in March 2020, and I hopped on several flights from Entebbe to Cairo to JFK to Phoenix to get myself back to my parents’ house before airports closed. During the first year of the pandemic, I mostly hunkered down at my parents’ house or boyfriend’s apartment (with a couple of socially distanced trips in between). During the second year of the pandemic, I moved to the North Shore of Oahu, which was incredible. 

It was first during Summer 2020 that Dan and I pondered what full-time travel would look like together. It wasn’t until the second year of the pandemic in Hawaii that we began to talk about it more seriously. He switched to a fully remote job that would make it possible if we wanted to do it, and we set our sights on June 2022. 

And here I am today. Full-time travel is exhilarating and exhausting, and I’m back on my quest for 100 countries. This time, I’ll be taking it on more slowly. I’ll be taking at least a week in every country if not longer (unless there are special circumstances that pop up), and I’ll be working more. Most of these changes are to help accommodate Dan’s less flexible job, but I think they’re improvements to my travel experience. Hopefully, I won’t be so tired or burnt out by the end of it.

Stay tuned for the next destination: Country #73 El Salvador (see the preview picture above!).