6 Countries and 35,000 Miles: This was 2015!

by Nora on January 18, 2016

When I sat down to write this post, I thought “Gee….I didn’t travel so much in 2015. Maybe I should stop writing these annual summary posts.” Now that I’ve found a home (base) in Peru, the idiom of full-time traveler doesn’t resonate as much with me as it did over the prior eight years of living on the road.

But after I tallied my country and mileage count, I realized that in the grander scheme of things, I covered some decent ground in 2015…including three new countries in my repertoire, and a couple of new locations within pre-visited countries.

All in all, I hit up six countries and traveled 55,760kms (just shy of 35,000 miles): This was 2015!

 

January: Peru, Colombia

Pisac Ruins

I rang in the new year in Peru with a bunch of friends, dancing the night away in Cusco. Over the next few weeks I continued to explore my backyard in the sacred valley leisurely, including visiting Pisac Ruins which are practically on my doorstep but which I hadn’t seen up close and personal yet.

Towards the end of the month, I hopped on a plane to Colombia, where I visited a family friend (and her giant Colombian posse of a family) in and around Bogota.

 

February: Colombia, USA (Florida, Colorado)

Bogota

I spent the first half of February exploring Bogota and its surrounds. My Dad was a wee bit concerned about my safety in Colombia given its former reputation as the murder capital of the world, so I wrote a post publishing my humourous correspondence with him while I discovered this country that has changed dramatically over the last few decades.

Then, I briefly visited a friend of mine in Hollywood Florida enroute to a new US destination for me: Boulder Colorado. Boulder was a curious and quirky place, and it was my first taste of winter in almost 10 years (and the last one I need for another 10 years), so I even strapped on some skis and tumbled down some of Colorado’s most famous peaks.skiing in Colorado

 

In February, I also launched my latest book: Working on the Road: The Unconventional Guide to Full-Time Freedom. It was a fabulous launch, and the book continues to be a great success that makes the 18 months it took me to write it well worthwhile.

 

March: Costa Rica, USA, Peru

Costa Rica

I spent most of March visiting friends on the Osa peninsula in Costa Rica. After my slightly chaotic month of February (with a fair bit of travel and a book launch), I took advantage of the beautiful and serene setting to enjoy a bit of a vacation (yes, even full-time travelers need vacations). I tried my hand at surfing (I suck at it), went on nature walks (I’m better at those), and just plain relaxed (even better yet).

At the end of March, I returned to Peru, again via my hospitable friend in Hollywood Florida.

Hollywood Beach, Florida

Chillin’ on Hollywood Beach in Florida

 

April: Peru

Peru

There is seemingly no end of things to discover in my little (big) backyard in Peru, so I took April to do just that, with the general theme of the month being an exploration of street food in Peru.

 

May: Peru

Peru, with san pedro

Part of my Peruvian explorations all the while had been of the inner/spiritual nature, as I was doing some intensive work with a shaman working with plant medicines such as san pedro and ayahuasca. In May, I announced something I’d been doing for a while already, but for which I’d been trying to find the right words: I’m apprenticing with a shaman. This is a new direction in life for me (and continues to be one), and I’m transitioning from being a full-time traveler to having a home base in Peru while exploring this new career and lifestyle.

 

June: Peru (A Month in the Jungle)

Iquitos, Amazon river

Peru is an amazing country of contrast, with beaches, deserts, high plains, deep canyons, (really) high mountains, and jungle. So I took the month of June to live in the jungle near Iquitos, while furthering my shamanic studies with a plant diet. If you’re headed to the jungle any time soon, check out my post on what to bring and expect from the experience.

 

July: Peru

Peru waterfall

Yes, Peru is officially a theme in my travels and life on the road, and July held the pattern. I needed a couple of weeks to recover from my time in the jungle – which was not only intense for my body and spirit, but also devoid of any internet connection or time on my laptop. After that, I participated in a plant medicine retreat with my teacher, which involved 12 days of intensive work and plant medicine ceremonies.

 

August: Peru, Canada

Toronto downtown

Just in time for the “winter” chill to set in in the Peruvian Andes, I took an opportunity to enjoy some summer heat by popping back up to Canada to visit my hometown family and friends. After all those months in Peru, I noticed some curious differences in daily life between Peru and Canada. For example, I actually felt guilty throwing toilet paper in the toilet in Canada (something you can’t do in Peru). Who knew.

 

September: Peru, Bolivia

Copacabana, Bolivia

Since the only South American countries in my repertoire were Peru and Colombia, I decided to expand my horizons with a quick trip to Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. It was a gorgeous trip, and I enjoyed some of the subtle differences between Bolivian and Peruvian culture.

Unfortunately on my return from Bolivia I got a little bit of grief from Peruvian immigration authorities and decided I needed to expedite my plans to apply for Peruvian residency.

 

October: Canada

autumn in Canada

The first step to my application for Peruvian residency entailed another trip back to Canada to organize some paperwork, and thus I spent the month of October back in my hometown doing just that. It was an unexpected surprise for my family and friends who had just seen me less than two months prior, but lovely for all involved. After all these years on the road, I know the scoop on how to get the most out of hometown visits without going crazy, so it was a good month all around.

 

November: Peru

sunset in Peru

I spent November reacclimatizing to Peru (for the first time feeling a bout of altitude sickness that set me back for a few days), and assisting my teacher with a plant medicine retreat (something that will be an emerging theme for me next year, with this lifestyle change of mine). I also got as much (computer) work done ahead of time as possible, knowing that for most of December I would be offline doing another shamanic plant diet.

I published my annual Travel Gear roundup too, featuring a variety of test-driven travel gizmos, accessories, and clothing that made the cut – and that also make for excellent gifts.

 

December: Peru

llamas in Peru

I spent December furthering my shamanic training by doing another plant diet (similar to the one I did in June in the jungle, except this time from the comforts of home). It was a long and hard, but cathartic, process. After three weeks of severe dietary restrictions, I wrapped up the diet just in time to share a large Christmas pot-luck dinner with the beautiful community of people living here in the Sacred Valley. New Year’s went out with a bang – and a dance party.

 

Cusco at dusk

 

Changes at The Professional Hobo

With my announcement in May that I’m stepping into a new vein in life, I’ve made some adjustments as to how I work online so I could free up my schedule (and brain space) to embrace this new element. Thus, you may have noticed this year that I’ve reduced the number of times I post on this site to once per week from my previous 2-3 times per week.

Also, after six years of featuring 155 long-term/full-time travelers in my popular week-in-the-life series, I drew it to a close in favour of a new and exciting series that I launched in August 2015: Financial Case Studies. These bi-weekly interview posts feature full-time travelers who earn their living on the road in various fashions, and share the details of their careers and incomes with you. (If you’re interested in being featured in this groundbreaking series, feel free to contact me).

So although I’ve shifted my focus in travel (by establishing a home base), and life and career (by becoming a shaman), I’m still here, and I’m still a traveler, and most importantly – I’m still here to support you in your own travel dreams and endeavours.

The beauty of lifestyle design, as I discovered once again this year, is that you get to call the shots. What is your dream for travel, career, and lifestyle? Whatever it is, it’s yours to create (as I’ve done a few times over), and I’ll do whatever I can to help you do it too.

 

Yours, from The Professional Hobo headquarters,

Nora

 

Previous Annual Travel Summaries:

 

My First Four Years of Full-Time Travel (2007-2010, including Canada, Hawaii, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Nepal)

What I did in 2011 (13 countries, 73,000 kms, including New Zealand, Canada, USA, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, China, Vietnam, Grenada)

What I did in 2012 (8 countries and 20,000 miles, including Grenada, St. Martin, BVIs, USA, Switzerland, France, England, Canada)

What I did in 2013 (12 countries and 29,000 miles, including Grenada, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Ukraine, France, Panama)

What I did in 2014 (7 countries and 34,000 miles, including Panama, USA, Canada, Peru, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy)

 

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek Freal January 20, 2016 at 1:38 am

Ahhhh so that’s why you’ve been spending so much time in Peru. Glad you were able to get your residency all sorted, and congrats on the exciting changes that lie ahead. I may have to come visit you at some point 😉

I also had similar feelings as 2015 came to a close…having spent the entire year in six countries (and only two of them new) I can totally relate to your initial feeling of 2015 not being a big traveling year. It was only after writing about it that I realized it was a busy year, just not anywhere near what I had originally planned.

Anyway, cheers to 2016 and best wishes, always 🙂

Reply

Nora Dunn January 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Hey Derek!
I love writing these retrospective posts, since we can get caught up in the ordinances of daily life and sometimes forget how blessed we are! Glad you realized 2015 was a pretty awesome year for yourself as well.
As for my residency, it’s not a done deal yet, but hopefully soon! Maybe we’ll (finally) meet in Peru someday…. 😉

Reply

Derek Freal January 21, 2016 at 12:25 am

Finally meet? My dear Nora we met before — albeit briefly — at TBEX in Toronto. Guess I need to start making a better first impression hahaha 😛

Reply

Nora January 21, 2016 at 11:00 am

LOL – *blushing*……of course we did! TBEX was a bit of a blur for me. 😉

Reply

Bob Weisenberg January 20, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for the update, Nora. Meeting you in Pisac was one of the highlights of our two months in Cusco, Peru.

Since then we spent three months in Malaga, Spain, and now we’re in Tangier, Morocco for a couple of months. Next it’s Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic for two months, then Bergen Norway for three months. Add those to Italy, Ecuador, and Peru, where we’ve already been, and that will make seven countries in two years.

Our method of settling in to each place for 2-3 months, really suits us, as, unlike many people, we really don’t enjoy the actual process of travel itself that much. But we love having a new “home” every few months!

Thank you for all the inspiration of your blogs and posts.

Bob

Reply

Nora January 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Hey Bob,
Likewise – it was a real pleasure to connect with you in person in Pisac!
I’m glad you’ve found a good rhythm of travel for yourselves. I’m also not very fond of the actual act of travel, which made some of my more hectic travel years (ie: 2010 – where I spent an average of 5 nights in any one bed) pretty tiring overall.
I hope you enjoy Morocco (a place I haven’t been to yet) and your onward travels as well. Let’s see where our paths cross again! 🙂

Reply

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