Happy two years to my traveling!
Thank you for supporting my journey and also for submitting questions last month for this post! I'm featuring 30 of them below with my answers.
1. Did something happen in your life where you just woke up one morning and wanted to be a nomad or did that love evolve over time?
I woke up (figuratively) and realized that my dreams were important too. Prior to leaving, I was in a relationship with a great person but his career / personal dreams prevented us (or just me) from doing what I wanted to do. SEE THE WORLD. So once we broke up, I found my independence again, worked hard for this traveling goal and set off to be free and wild.
2. What were your fears when leaving?
I’m sure I had fears but I was also SO ready and eager to start the adventure that I wasn't even nervous. I really needed it. I think the one doubt on my mind was.. what if I don’t like it? What if backpacking is not what I imagine it to be and I want to go home?
3. What was the most difficult, domestic thing you had to leave behind when you decided to be a nomad?
Does my gym membership count? I forever miss LA Fitness. I still make an effort to stay in shape, but the gym routine is what I miss most about living in one place.
4. At what point did you realize you made the right decision to travel?
Day 1. Shayna dropped me off at the airport and I forgot my unread Lonely Planet book about backpacking IN HER CAR along with my Nike sneakers and pillow. I hadn't booked a place to stay in Bangkok yet so I arrived with no information or phone service thinking “Yoooo this life is about to be crazy…"
5. What country did you love most in SE Asia?
Laos for the local people and travelers I met along the way.
Indonesia for the scenery and vibes.
6. What tattoos have you gotten while traveling?
"Om Namah Shivaya" above my eyebrow and some geometric work on my calf at the Nepal Tattoo Convention.
7. Do you do psychedelics on your journey?
Yes. I trip maybe 4 or 5 times a year. For my birthday in Hampi, India, some friends and I dropped acid out on the rock formations. So far from a major city, the full moon was our guide that night. I also did acid (from Switzerland) in Varanasi, India for Holi festival. A bit too crazy at times, but an artist’s visual dream. This is why I barely have any pictures from Holi, because I abandon technology while tripping. Not even on purpose. And Burning Man.. we did a few enhancers. We tripped in Nepal too. I prefer to be in nature or immersed in an art scene. Ayahuasca 2018.
8. What about sex on your journey?
Nomads have sex too, yes. Lol.
9. Have you come across people that you have cared about that didn’t support your decision to travel?
For the most part, my close people are very supportive. I had a few of my relationships struggle and some end, not because they don’t want me to live this way, but because me being so far away makes it difficult on our communication. I do my best to stay in touch, but with the changing time zones and me off grid sometimes, it can be challenging. I have a much different day than most people back home and sometimes we lose the understanding we once had. I think this is also a part of growing up, I just happen to have different variables at this time in my life.
10. What about cell phone service going from country to country like you do?
My phone is unlocked so I can buy sim cards in each country and pay a few dollars a month for data. I did this throughout SE Asia but now, not so much. Decent wifi is pretty abundant around most countries. Maybe when I’m trekking or staying in villages, I have less chance of connection but I like it this way.
11. Have you met any people along the way that you think you’ll meet again?
Of course! Connecting with people is one of the greatest blessings about backpacking. I have more friends right now than I have ever had in my life. We may not be able to hangout like normal people because we are spread around the world, but mini reunions, staying in touch, visiting each other’s home countries, all of it is dope. I feel like I have a global family.
12. How do you take care of your dog (Buddha) while you travel?
Long story, short.. friends help me out.
13. What is Buddha’s favorite snack?
He likes eating treats, but he’s more into destroying rope toys.
14. In what ways do you think your travels/adventures would’ve been impacted if you had brought Buddha along with you from the get-go?
Backpacking multiple countries would have been nearly impossible, more expensive and extremely stressful on Buddha.
Hostels do not allows pets, nor do most taxis, buses, or other forms of transport I’m on everyday. Yes he can fly, but the quarantine regulations in place for a lot of countries would only be worth it if my dog and I planned to stay. I travel to new places so often that it would be inhumane to have him locked in facilities for weeks at a time. Some borders won’t allow foreign dogs in at all and I also would worry about his clearance when returning to the States, his health and his safety. Street dogs are all over Asia, for example. They’re very territorial and this would have been unsafe for both Buddha and myself. I travel alone so who would watch Buddha when I go inside restaurants or other establishments where dogs are not permitted? I’d be worried about him getting sick from exposure to new lands and animals. I could not carry enough of his food to keep him on a regular diet so he’d constantly be eating new things. Buddha loves me but I am not worth all that he would have to overcome. He is much better living in the States, thriving on routine, comfort and love.
15. Would you say traveling is better alone or better shared with someone?
I’d say sharing the moment with someone is better but only because I’m now comfortable alone. I think that was important to conquer first and it also exposed me to opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I was with other people.
16. Do you welcome travel buddies?
I’m pretty willing to link up, yes. Especially with solo female travelers. I feel like I should plan a big meet up sometime and invite my followers to another country with me. Would you go?
17. Do you speak any other languages besides English?
I know a good amount of Spanish, but I’m not fluent yet. I’m excited to improve on my communication in South America !! I also learned a small amount of Balinese while I lived on the island in Indonesia. It is not helpful anywhere else.
18. After being around so many different cultures and I’m sure seeing many megalithic structures, has it changed your perception of how old we actually are as an advanced human species?
I don’t think I could see enough to really alter my perspective here. I have, however, been introduced to more theories through conversation though. I met a Australian in India named Ollie and he recommended a book called Fingerprints Of The Gods by Graham Hancock. READ THIS. I haven’t been to the pyramids yet but those ancient monuments, for example, are what make me believe that a lost civilization is responsible for some of the unexplainable structures in our history. Aliens, if you will. I think we have many missing parts to our knowledge of how we’ve advanced this far, but I would have no basis to further assume a timeline without the research found in books/documentaries/science.
19. What advice would you give to someone that wants to build a home business but also doesn’t know what niche they could branch from. Where would you start?
I think we all seek this answer. I suggest you read the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It will make you want to be creative and passionate about your work. Maybe even inspire a possible idea for your business. It is tough for me to lead you to your niche without knowing more about your interests and skill set. Start with the things you are good at and brainstorm how they could be useful for others.
20. Apart from art, do you do anything else to finance your nomad lifestyle?
I try to always be creative here. When my bag gets too full, I sell my clothes (clean, unique pieces from different countries) and start fresh. I also buy a lot of cute things like crystals and wallets to sell as well. Currently, I have these Moroccan coin purses.
21. Do you consider yourself buddhist? If yes (or no), what does buddhism (or spirituality in general) mean to you?
I find principles of Buddhism incorporated into my way of thinking but I wouldn’t say I was a buddhist. I believe myself to be a hybrid of all of my experiences. Life is an energy exchange. You and I are energy beings and we can be on this earth to emit light and love just as easily as we can be negative and draining to those around us. Spirituality, to me, is connection to our souls. It is compassion for others, recognizing we are all one or from the same source energy. Our soul inhabits this physical form to allow us this human experience. It is only our vessel.
22. Do you do reiki?
I do not! I’ve heard great things and would like to try a class.
23. What inspires you most when painting?
Improving my craft. Spreading my art to more eyes and places. Different hues of blue and purple. Nature. Crazy patterns. Math! I love measuring and making things perfectly symmetrical. I also love to make aliens because nobody can say I paint them incorrectly. Sunlight. Moonlight. Life.
24. Favorite paintings you made this year?
25. Top 3 points to being a successful nomad?
Willingness to adapt.
Respect as a visitor.
Journal often. I would have no recollection of my travels without my journal entries. There is too much to take in everyday.
26. What are some helpful backpack necessities/items?
Packing cubes help with organization.
Microfiber, quick dry towel. I prefer a normal towel but they take up too much space and dry too slow so I have one of these instead.
Pac Safe. This security wire wrapping for my bag comes in handy on the rare occasion that there are no lockers or I’ll be on a train for a few days and want my valuables locked up.
External battery pack.
27. How do you manage to not overpack, any golden rule?
If you wouldn’t want to carry your backpack hitchhiking, then you’re bringing too much.
28. Which country provided you with the most spiritual awakening and enlightenment, and why?
India. The teachings found there are unlike anything I’ve been around. I also dedicated energy each day toward meditation, discussion and applying the new techniques.
29. What specifically brought you healing in Nepal and/or India?
There is something beautiful about India that breaks you down and repairs you. The country is very tough and chaotic and unpredictable. Some of the cities are extremely hot, dirty and congested with people, fumes, celebration and masala dosas. The food is my favorite of all the cuisines I’ve tried. Yes, third world countries can challenge your stomach sometimes. I have a strong gut, but after being in the States (now) a couple months and my digestive system returning to normal, I realize how fuxking wild my life was back in India. I got disgustingly sick only twice but there is something very humbling about this experience that if mentally done right, you can walk away feeling spiritually cleansed. As if you purged more than just the bad food you ate. This perspective interlaced with my meditation practices, my meeting of a guru, my loving friends, my painting of a wall mural, my use of psychedelics, my love for the culture of India, the music, oh the music, the art, the people, the festivals, the markets, the (holy) cows. You immerse yourself in this epic world and you come out a different person. I was exhausted after my 5 months. Still recovering from Holi color festival, I took a bus from Varanasi, India to Kathmandu, Nepal. Here I took time to reflect on my travels, life and self. I started my true painting in this city (12 pieces completed, sold and shipped out). This is where I began to accept commission pieces and bring in art money and start the business that funds everything now. Kathmandu is full of travelers that come here to settle for a while and I was one of them. I connected with great people, reuniting with some friends I had made in prior travels. I continued my meditation practice, personal study and read 10 books. I solo trekked the Annapurna Circuit, fell in love with Nepali culture, the prayer flags, the mixing of patterns, the Himalayas. True soul work happened in India and Nepal and I am thankful for everything.
30. Describe your travels with a meme.