Eight Years of Full-Time Travel: Life is a Journey. Live It.

by Nora on December 4, 2014

Exactly eight years ago, I sold everything I owned to embrace my dream of full-time travel. (See also: How I Became The Professional Hobo). At the time I had no idea where I’d go, what I’d do, or how I’d be able to make it work financially. I just knew I had to go.

And you know what? It all worked out okay. In fact, it worked out better than I could have imagined.


Before arriving at that big turning point in my life, I’d found myself “putting in time” and going through the motions of life, uninspired by what I was was doing, knowing there was something else “out there” for me.

Life is for the living. It’s a journey, and I felt that I’d lost my way in that journey. I knew the changes ahead involved a giant leap of faith, and although that leap was scary and full of unknowns, I was also excited by the adventure. The journey.

In the last eight years and 50 or so countries, I’ve embraced that journey fully, inspired by the twists and turns (and not always good ones) that took me on a meandering path around the world and through life. I learned to be impulsive on the road – and was rewarded for it repeatedly. (For some examples, check out How Travel Rewards You For Being Impulsive).


As a metaphor for travel and life itself, I even wrote a book called Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination – which is now available in both ebook and paperback for you to enjoy! (Hint: order now for Christmas delivery – it’s a perfect present for train travel and armchair travel enthusiasts).TalesOfTrainsCover


Life Keeps Changing

Although I gracefully embraced my identity as “The Professional Hobo”, I’ve also recently realized that life keeps changing, and the journey continues. After all these years of nomadic wandering, I discovered Peru earlier this year, and realized that I’d found a place to call home…at least for now. Travel is still in my blood, but the way that I want to travel is evolving.

And the way I want to live life is also evolving. I’ve struggled in recent months, knowing that another change is coming, but not knowing what that change would look like, and ultimately feeling scared of it.

Imagine that! The woman who sold everything to travel is scared of change, set in her ways (as unconventional as those ways may be), and afraid of unknowns. Yes, it happens to all of us.

But change is in the air, and my own definitions of travel, and life, and what this journey is all about, is shifting. I’m still embracing and understanding this change, but rest assured you’ll be among the first to know when I better understand and am ready to talk about what lays ahead for me.


Live Your Life as a Hero

In the meantime, I recently discovered this inspiring video, which sent shivers down my spine. If you feel something is amiss in your life, or you have a dream you don’t know how to realize, you will want to watch it.

Click here to watch on Youtube.



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jo December 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm

8 years – that’s very impressive, I’m really hoping you’ll still be in Peru by the time we get there next year!
We’ve travelled sooo slowly and only got as far as Nica so far.


2 Nora Dunn December 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

Hey Jo,
Well, depending on when you come to Peru, I’ll be here! I’ve got a few trips already planned for 2015, so let’s synchronize our watches when the time comes!
I love slow travel…it’s the best way to integrate and understand the place you’re visiting. So keep traveling slowly – life is long! 🙂


3 Elena December 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Well lived, Nora


4 Nora Dunn December 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

Thank you, Elena!


5 Rebekah Voss December 7, 2014 at 9:39 am

Nora, your story is really inspiring. I’ve been a digital nomad for just over a year and am loving every single second of it. If you have any unique travel destinations or adventures I should set my sights on, please send them my way!


6 Nora Dunn December 7, 2014 at 11:01 am

Hi Rebekah,
Glad you’re loving the digital nomadic life! I tend not to choose my destinations – rather they choose me, through unique volunteer/house-sitting opportunities, friends to visit, and more.
But if you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are some highlights from my first 7 years on the road:

Happy travels!


7 Amanda Kendle December 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

So today at school a school mum came up to me and said “I read about that professional hobo on your Facebook page. She sounds really cool”. You’re famous at my son’s kindergarten now! xx


8 Nora Dunn December 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

Amanda – LOL! Awesome….I love how these things work!
(Thanks for all your support, comments, and shares – it’s because of you that I’m a kindergarten superstar now!) 😉


9 Sheralyn December 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

Great post, and that video at the end was flipping fantastic! LOVED it! 🙂


10 Nora Dunn December 9, 2014 at 9:29 am

Glad you enjoyed the video, Sheralyn! I found it quite inspiring.


11 Brittney December 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

WOW amazing video! I love to travel, but I just wish I could do it more often like you. Maybe if I simplify my life, that will become more of a possibility.


12 Nora Dunn December 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Simplifying things never hurts, no matter what your lifestyle is! Glad you like the video.


13 Dan December 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm

8 years is well beyond what most people could ever imagine! That is truly outstanding. I love reading success stories like this, about people actually going out and doing what they want. Very cool! Great YouTube video … and one more thing; I liked your interview with Chris Guille Beau – that’s how I worked my way over here! Super great site!


14 Nora Dunn December 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Hey Dan,
I’m glad you found my site! And I’m thrilled you enjoyed the interview with Chris – he and I have been online colleagues for years now; with any luck we’ll meet in person next year! Happy travels…


15 Dan December 13, 2014 at 6:26 am

Ah, very cool 🙂 that’s great to hear! Thanks for the response and happy blogging/traveling!


16 Hannah December 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hi Nora! Just discovered your blog today after looking for inspiration for 2015. Read your 7 years of adventures – link and here I was thinking my travels were dangerous! But you had spider bites!
Interestingly you make reference to live life like a hero. That’s pretty close to my motto of Living life like it’s a movie… with me as the main character, stunning cinematography, quasi action-rom-com plot and a soundtrack to match.


17 Nora Dunn December 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hi Hannah,
Glad you found my site – and thanks for the kind words! I like the idea of living your life like a movie (I often feel that way too); it’s even more fun when we realize we can write the movie script ourselves! 😉


18 Madhu December 22, 2014 at 3:26 am

While exploring the travel blogs, came through you site and amazed to see that you spent eight years with your dream. hats off to you. You are the inspiration for the young travelers & defiantly they will learn a lot from your experience. Really a beautiful expression of your travel experience by your words, images & videos.


19 Nora Dunn December 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Thank you, Madhu! Happy travels…


20 Natalie Deduck January 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Congrats Nora! 8 Years on the road is not for everyone!

You know I´m a big fan of you and your journey… And I really admire you for being so honest about your everyday challenges and also your fears… I´m really glad to know that Peru and South America is treating you well and you are considering settle (for a while) around there. Wish you all the best and keep the inspiring work!
Have a great 2015!



21 Nora Dunn January 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Hi Nat,
Thank you so much for the kind words and support! I’m truly loving life, and the meandering journey (literally and figuratively) that it bestows…..
Happy travels in 2015!


22 vince P mayne January 7, 2015 at 11:07 am

Nora — you inspired me to do a trip from Canada to Italy in Oct. 2014. I cycled through the Tuscany region. The adventure included mixed up train schedules, rental cars and way too much Italian culture.

I am off to Costa Rica next month for a similar adventure.

You are an inspiration to us aspiring world travelers.




23 Nora Dunn January 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Oh my, Vince – thank you!
It still amazes me that lil’ ol’ me could inspire people to take such amazing and adventurous trips.
Looks like I’ll be Costa Rica-bound myself in Feb/March. Enjoy the weather, the critters, the ocean, the forests, and I hope you see a sloth! 😉


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