Hi! I'm Nora. In 2006 I sold everything I owned (including a financial planning practice) to travel the world. I traveled full-time for 12 years, and in 2018 I got a home base in Toronto, from which I travel for weeks/months at a time, many times a year.
I'm considered a pioneer in the travel blogging arena, and an OG digital nomad. (Though ironically if my fashion sense is any indication, I'm not generally a trend-setter).
On my travel blog (TheProfessionalHobo.com), I not only share my adventures and mis-adventures alike, but I am radically honest about the full-time/long-term travel lifestyle and the realities of working remotely while traveling.
As a former financial planner, I demonstrate that full-time travel can be financially sustainable, and I help people design their ideal travel/work lifestyles. With a knack for details, I love helping people with all the lifestyle logistics and ensuring people know the things they don’t know they didn’t know, before they get out there and realize they should’ve known. (Say that five times fast).
I also host The Remote Work and Travel Show (YouTube) where I feature ordinary people who have extraordinary travel lifestyles and remote careers to get the real dirt on the work/travel lifestyle.
In addition to managing my online business as The Professional Hobo, I am a freelance writer on the topics of travel, personal finance, and lifestyle design. I am currently a columnist and spokesperson for NerdWallet Canada.
It started back in 2007 when remote work wasn't even a term. I was already traveling full-time, when it hit me that with a laptop and internet connection, I could earn a living as a freelance writer. From that moment forward I started developing my freelance writing career.
I also had my travel blog, but at that time travel blogs were merely online journals, and weren't yet something that people monetized.
Evidently freedom is a huge benefit, with the ability to work from anywhere (be that your living room or across the world).
Remote Work also saves the cost (environmental and financial) of commuting, and saves employers the need to manage (and pay for) office space.
Remote work is also changing migration patterns around the world. In places where there isn't sufficient infrastructure or jobs, young people have historically been forced to move away. With remote work that no longer needs to happen.
While I used to think that the camaraderie with colleagues and corporate culture would fall to the wayside with remote work, I've learned that needn't be so. When I interviewed Chris Dyer for my show (arguably the father of remote work), he outlined a number of processes that actually make the coherence and productivity of a remote team stronger than non-remote teams! (You can find the interview here: https://youtu.be/lfTqaU6xWE8)
I've lived and worked in over 65 countries. Each has their own appeal for different reasons, so it's hard to choose favourites.
I tend to set up my workspace wherever I'm staying (home, accommodation abroad, etc). That way I can create an ergonomically friendly space (with laptop stands, wireless keyboards, etc), and I don't have to keep moving it.
I'm looking forward to visiting Bansko Bulgaria this summer. I'm speaking at Bansko Nomad Fest, and the creators of Co-working Bansko have done an incredible job putting Bansko on the map as a digital nomad hotspot. I'm eager to see it for myself.
If you want to attend Bansko Nomad Fest, use code 'noradunn' (case-sensitive) for a discount!
My biggest challenge - and ultimately the reason I burned out after 12 years of full-time travel, was that I didn't realize the value and necessity of community. I started traveling when there was no infrastructure for people like me, so I instead went after super-local culturally immersive experiences. This was incredible, and to be honest those experiences were my motivation to travel to begin with.
But somewhere along the way I lost all sense of belonging, and I believe it's because I hadn't curated my own community of people with similar lifestyles. If I had it all to do over again, I would participate in one or some of these programs at least part of the time: https://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/best-coliving-coworking-programs-for-remote-workers-digital-nomads/
I never realized how unproductive (and insecure) my password system was, until I got LastPass. Now my passwords are not only super secure, but with auto-login, I save time entering in this info. It's a small thing, but when I log into dozens of sites a day, it adds up.
I recently incorporated, and I am learning the ropes with Quickbooks (I used to manage everything with spreadsheets).
The initial time spend to get set up on a site like Quickbooks is substantial, but I can see how in the long run, it will help streamline everything.
Ergonomics are crucial. If there's anything worth spending money on, it's a good mattress, and a good office chair.
Also, if your office is in your home, find a way to carve it out as a dedicated space. That will help you create a separation between work and leisure time.
Nora's Website: https://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/
Nora's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheProfessionalHobo
Nora's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theprofessionalhobo/
Nora's Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/theprofessionalhobo/
Nora's Twitter: https://twitter.com/hobonora
Nora's Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/NoraDunn