2012: 8 Countries and 20,000 Miles

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When I sat down to write this post, I thought Gee Nora. What are you going to write about? You haven’t traveled THAT much this year. That was, until I tallied up my travels and realized I visited 8 countries this year, and I flew/sailed/rode/drove/walked 20,000 miles! For a slow traveler, that’s a pretty good sum.

Here’s a quick summary of the full-time travel adventures of The Professional Hobo in 2012.

Prefer to watch the video version? Here it is.

This post was originally published in 2012. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.

January: Grenada, St Martin

The Professional Hobo in Grenada, Setting sail for other Caribbean shores

Shortly after ringing in the new year, I packed my bags after a three-month stint of house-sitting on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

But I left my main traveling bag behind, since I had already arranged to return for another tour of duty of house-sitting. With my laptop and a small bag, I flew to St. Martin – home to the most dangerous beach in the world – to live on a sailboat and work on my (complete lack of) sea legs.

February: St Martin, BVIs

Nora Dunn Sailing in St Martin

I spent a few weeks getting my feet wet on a sailboat anchored in St Martin and making a few day sails here and there, before meeting another captain who was headed for the BVIs and needed some help cooking for some charter guests.

So I jumped ship(!), and made the 14 hour sail to the BVIs for a week of island hopping, snorkeling, swimming, liming, and preparing delicious meals (which on a boat, requires a dose of creativity).

Here’s a summary and video of my Caribbean sailing experiences.

March: St Martin, USA

The Professional Hobo in Philipsburg, in St Martin

Once I finished the charter in the BVIs, I hopped back over to St Martin spent a few weeks on three different boats around the island. By this point I was quite accustomed to boat life, and I hadn’t spent a night on land in months. I was no longer seasick every time we lifted anchor, and I had learned a few tricks to sailing and living on boats.

But my next destination was on terra firma, as I headed to Florida to visit some friends in Hollywood, and then further north near Destin. I was shocked by the cold temperatures on the Gulf Coast, which contributed to a very surprising sense of culture shock.

Florida's (chilly) Gulf Coast

Incidentally, I also discovered that the best and cheapest doctor I ever visited was in the US. Who knew.

April: Grenada

House-Sitting in Grenada

By the end of March I settled back into my house-sitting job in Grenada, where the sun shines hot year-round.

Although the territory was becoming familiar, I still had a few interesting discoveries on Easter Sunday, and I further eased into the art of Grenada’s unofficial national pastime: Liming.

May: Grenada

Sampling Cocoa at Sulphur Springs

I continued to lime and explore this cool (in the proverbial sense only) Caribbean island by checking out the all-natural Sulphur Springs, and studying grunting turtles on the north side of the island (where I realized that turtle volunteering is just not for me).

June: Grenada, Switzerland

The Professional Hobo (Nora Dunn) In the Swiss Alps

I wrapped up my house-sitting gig in early June and hopped on a plane to Zurich to embark on another house-sitting gig. My arrival was a bit rough, but I quickly settled into my awesome house in Zurich and cottage in the Alps, and started learning about The Swiss Life.

July: Switzerland, France

Nora Dunn In Lucerne

In fact, my accommodation in Switzerland was so lush and comfortable, I was hard-pressed to leave the house. But despite my struggle of traveling without moving, I visited the gorgeous city of Lucerne, and went crazy on the side of a mountain.

Oh yeah, and I had a weekend in Paris, but as it was my third visit, I didn’t have much new to write about. (Let’s call it a holiday from being The Professional Hobo).

Paris - Ooh La La!

August: Switzerland, England

Stepping onto a London Bus

In my final weeks of house-sitting in Switzerland, I was blown away by the warm hospitality on Swiss National Day (and yes, I think yodelling is totally cool), and I attended the world’s largest techno party: Street Parade (where yodelling was nowhere to be found).

Then it was a quick jump over to London, where I found many redeeming qualities in this city where (for me) there was previously no love lost.

September: Grenada

Nora Dunn on a blue scooter in Grenada

I returned to Grenada in September to mark my third visit, this time to try my hand at – gasp, blink blink setting up a home base with my new love and his daughter.

This has marked a significant change in lifestyle for me after six years of full-time wandering with no home, however I expect to continue to travel regularly – simply in a different way.

For my first month back in Grenada, I really enjoyed getting to know the public bus system, but eventually, I enjoyed getting a scooter even more (more on that in the new year).

October: Grenada

Nora Dunn on a boat in Grenada: The Land and Sea Life

October was spent working on a few writing projects and getting used to my new “home” in Grenada (despite the regular sensation of being on another planet at times with the very different culture and communication), and coming to realize that living as an expat is a travel adventure unto itself. October also marked the end of hurricane season, and I watched the country get a face lift in preparation for some upcoming celebrations, and ultimately – tourist season.

November: Grenada, Canada

playing with the kids

Right after I launched the wildly popular free intensive series How to Travel Full-Time in a Financially Sustainable Way, I popped up to my home town of Toronto to check in on family and friends and share my joy of having a new home in the Caribbean. (What a dream come true)!

Toronto downtown skyline at night

The trip was a touch dreary (weather – and otherwise; more to come on this in a future post), but my return to Grenada was marked with a colourful random street parade (no, it wasn’t for me, but that would have been cool too) that picked my spirits right back up.

December: Grenada

Grenada dramatic panorama

Although Christmas in the Caribbean is a far cry from the white Christmases I grew up with, the holiday season started early with the arrival of some friends from Norway. I met them a year ago when they visited Grenada, and although they’ve been here a few times, I realized just how much more “local” I’ve become in the time I’ve been here, and ultimately, just how far I’ve come in the last year – literally and figuratively.

I’ve been traveling full-time for six years, and my style of travel and living has evolved a few times over. Let’s see what 2013 will bring!

Happy Holidays, and Happy Travels.

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21 thoughts on “2012: 8 Countries and 20,000 Miles”

  1. So, do you secretly travel with a photographer to take all those awesome pictures of you? Either that or you have gotten really good at the self-shot (which I am terrible at)!

    Congrats on a pretty grand year! All the best for 2013!

  2. Hi Nora,

    very nice photos as usual!! Congratulations!!

    Anyway, in the end we’ve uncovered the secret identity of your new boyfriend!!

    In the photo about May, you and the man looked like enjoying yourselves like a new couple when they fall in love each other!!

    Merry Christmas!!

    All the best!

    Fab, greetings from Malta.

    • Fab – Do you think I’d let the cat out of the bag like that? Sorry – you’ve got the wrong guy.
      The man in the picture is a wonderful kind well-loved man called Roger, who was among my first friends in Grenada, and became a good friend to me and many others. Unfortunately he died suddenly last May. This is one of my favourite pictures to remember him by.

  3. Delightful post! Fantastic pictures – chock full of personality as well as the locale – and a great summary of your travels. I look forward to seeing what 2013 brings!

  4. Hi Nora,

    I’ve just checked it on the web and unfortunately you told us the truth about the man called Roger! I’m very sorry for his family !!

    You know what? By now I have to check any kind of news about popular persons on the web because I’ve recently discovered that some of them who are considered very skilled, very smart, the best of the best and so on.. are only fakes!!

    They only want to sell their personal brands to make money at any cost and nothing else!!

    A couple of them even went to the “Domination Summit 2012” by Chris Guillebeau!!

    In other words: they talk the talk but they can’t walk the walk at all!!

    Thank you very much for your best wishes for the new year!!

    All the best!!


    PS Kick butt?? I don’t know what it means, I can imagine it but I’ll look it up a.s.a.p.!!

  5. you had a wonderful year, Nora! Excited to see what 2013 will bring as well. Happy new year! 🙂

    – Maria Alexandra

  6. I was about to write the same what Dalene has written but then read your reply to her. 🙂

    Seriously, you are great at self clicking if that is really the case. Have been reading your blog for a few months now and I very much like the Financial travel tip series.

    And last but not the least, you had a gorgeous year in terms of travel. I wish you even more for 2013.

  7. I still have not traveled to the Caribbean as of yet, and can’t wait to go. I am a HUGE water fan, and the blue water looks amazing. The pictures of the water above look amazing.

    • Hi Ryan – The Caribbean is just about as idyllic as you might imagine it to be! I really love exploring these little island nations packed with personality and natural beauty.

  8. Hi Nora,
    I’ve just discovered your blog and read 2012 overview…. Magnificent!
    Hope the year 2013 has been splendid for you at least as 2012,
    Looking forward to your new adventures 🙂

    • Hi Ivana,
      Thanks for your lovely comment, and I’m so glad you found my site! The adventures continue….that’s for sure! 😉

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