This Woman Has Been Traveling the World for 10 Years Straight — and She Says it Saved Her $100,000
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Nora Dunn, 40, doesn't travel around the world. She lives around the world.
Having sold her financial planning practice and all of her possessions in 2006, Dunn has written several books about financially sustainable travel and blogs about her lifestyle as The Professional Hobo.
INSIDER caught up with Dunn as she was house sitting in Cuenca, Ecuador, with a cat in her lap.
In 2006, Dunn sold nearly everything she owned to follow her dream of living a travel lifestyle.
"In that process of working with other people on their financial plans and ultimately helping them design their own lifestyles of their dreams...I realized somewhere in there I'd forgotten about my own dreams," she told INSIDER. "And my dream has been, since I was 9 years old, to really travel the world, more than just taking vacations."
She's saved over $100,000 in accommodation costs by finding free places to stay and live around the world.
She even wrote a book about it.
Dunn tracks her spending meticulously.
"Well, I'm forever the financial planner," she laughed. "I started tracking my expenses and I was amazed to discover how little it actually cost me to travel full-time. In fact, it cost me significantly less than it ever cost me to live in one place."
She forgoes hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs, opting for immersive cultural experiences.
"It really has been an amazing gift, not only because accommodation is the single biggest expense you'll incur when you travel, but also because it's a brilliant way to experience a slice of local of life," she said.
Sometimes, she couch surfs with locals.
She emphasizes that lifestyle travel is not a vacation.
"In addition to whatever you might be doing to generate the income to financially sustain your travels, there's also the work of every time you move, every time you change location, you're finding a new place to stay, you're figuring out how to get around, you're figuring how to get the basic necessities of life, and that takes a lot of work," she said.
Because of the extra work involved, and the fact that lifestyle travel has no expiration date, Dunn enjoys taking her time in each destination.
"It allows me to delve a lot deeper into the intricacies of a different culture, of a place where I'm living, of the language, of the pace of life, of the food, and to really sample what it's like to live in that place as opposed to merely pass through it."
Dunn calls herself "a girl with champagne tastes who lives on a beer-drinker's budget."
"I don't make a heck of a lot of money, but I am judicious about how I spend my money on the road," she said. "When I get to enjoy things like free accommodation, and when I travel slowly, my expenses are inherently low."
"When I want lobster, I eat lobster," she said. "I wear nice clothing. But I'm also not part of the consumer lifestyle because everything I own fits into a bag."
Not every part of her journey has been easy.
"I'm currently putting together the outline for my next book," said Dunn, who has survived three natural disasters and contracted various illnesses during her travels. "The working title is 'This Ain't A Travel Blog: Stories From 10 Years of Living Abroad That No Travel Blogger Would Ever Publish.'"