Yay! Finally another interview with a nomad! I met Rachel online a couple of weeks ago and she was so nice responding to my request for nomad people to interview 🙂 Thank you so much Rachel!
Read her answers and get fascinated by her super interesting life!
Which countries have you already visited?
I’ve visited Hong Kong, Greece, England, Haiti, Scotland, Italy, France, Spain, Costa Rica, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Switzerland.
When did you first move out of your country and why?
I moved from North Carolina to Hong Kong when I was 22 because I had just graduated from college and was completely unable to find a job related to my field, journalism. After sending out over 200 resumes and getting no responses, I ended up taking a job working the 6AM shift unpacking boxes at Old Navy. I stuck with it for 6 months before packing it in and moving to Hong Kong, where I had studied abroad in college.
In which countries did you live already and for how long?
I’ve lived in the US, which is my home country, as well as Hong Kong, Greece, and England over the past 7 years.
Why do you move so much? Do you enjoy moving around?
I do enjoy moving around, and I enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people. Since I run my business from my laptop, I can work pretty much anywhere there’s an Internet connection, so I take advantage of that. And we live in such a big, interesting world — I always want to experience more of it.
Is there any country where you felt like you were at home?
I’d say that there have been moments where I’ve felt at home in many countries, but no one country where I’ve felt like, “Yes, this is it, this is where I could live forever.”
What do you like the most about moving so much?
The simultaneous novelty and reassuring sameness — I love getting to see new places and meet new people, and I also love how the more I go to different places, the more I see how people all over the world are much more similar than they are different.
In your opinion what are the biggest disadvantages of moving so much?
It’s hard being apart from my close friends — of my two best friends, one lives about 600 miles away from me right now and the other is 3,500 miles away. We still talk and text all the time, but it’s not the same as living near someone. And getting visas can be insane. The last time I was getting my visa for the UK sorted, I had to get over 100 pages of documents in order — and the immigration lawyer even spelled my name wrong on the application, which of course really matters for a visa. The whole thing was a nightmare.
Regarding finding a home, do you prefer to rent a furnished place or an empty one?
It depends on how long I plan on staying in a place. If I’m just planning on living there for a couple of months or a year, then I like a furnished place. If it’s longer, part furnished is better — then I’ve got the basics, and I can upgrade anything I want to.
When you move to another country, what do you always take with you, no matter what?
My laptop, my journals and pens, and a small ceramic cat I bought in a market in Tin Shui Wai — it’s the first thing I set up wherever I go.
Is decoration important for you or you just live with what you get?
It also depends on how long I’m planning on staying in a place. That being said, it’s really important to me to live in beautiful, simple surroundings, so if I’m staying somewhere for anything longer than a month, I want the place to either look nice or to be able to decorate it myself.
Do you think you’ll ever stop moving? When?
I can’t imagine that I would — but you never know. Not for a few more years, at least!
Where do you picture yourself when you retire?
To be honest, I can’t imagine really retiring! I love writing, and I picture myself doing it until I die. But as for where I might be doing that when I’m older… somewhere warm and sunny. I’m pretty much down for anywhere in the latitudes between say, Rome and Johannesburg.
Any piece of advice for those who are just moving for the first time?
The first step is always the hardest, and this whole process seems much scarier than it actually is. You will constantly be amazed by your ability to adapt if you just throw yourself into it. Also, on a practical note, pack way, way less than you think you need.
Rachel Allen is the founder of Bolt from the Blue Copywriting, which helps small and brave business owners like you shake up the world one industry at a time with devastatingly incisive copy and content that gets right to the heart of who you are and makes your readers’ synapses sparkle.