My name is Nathan Aguilera and I’m from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I set out nearly three years ago on what I initially planned to be a six-month trip around SE Asia. In that time I’ve visited fifty countries across four continents. I don’t have a set route or plan. I tend to return to SE Asia during the winters and Europe over the summers although next year I plan to visit S America for the first time! Follow my adventures on www.foodieflashpacker.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
1- What inspired you to decide to live this nomad lifestyle?
We were doing some volunteer work in Kenya and had a few days off for personal time. My friend and I decided to go to the beach town of Mombasa. It was the first time I had ever stayed in a hostel and also the first time I had ever met long-term travellers. There were people there traveling for six months and even one person that had been traveling for more than a year. The concept blew my mind. I became obsessed with the idea. I returned home and began obsessively reading travel blogs and trying to put a plan in place.
2- Is a travel lifestyle as glamorous as people think?
Far from it. I tell people all the time that it only looks glamorous on Instagram. I’m constantly online researching where to go, what to do and where to stay. Where to stay is a big one for me. I get a bit obsessive trying to find the perfect place. I also obsess over finding the cheapest flights. Both of those take up a ton of time. People also don’t see the long bus rides, terrible train rides and some of the incredibly sketchy hotels I’ve slept in!
3- What keeps you motivated to keep on travelling?
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) for sure. There’s always somewhere you haven’t been, a festival you haven’t attended, a place you missed or the next “it/undiscovered” place people are talking about. But in all honesty, if people are talking about it, it’s already been discovered.
I’ve changed continents to attend a festival and backtracked an entire country because I was told I missed an incredible dive spot. It’s ironic because the more countries you travel the longer your list of places you want to go becomes. People will always tell you “if you liked ___ then you would love ___” and just like that you’ve had to add a new destination to your list.
4- What do you love most about long term travel and what do you dislike most?
I say this every time and I know it may sound cheesy but the best thing about traveling like this are the people you meet along the way. I’ve met some of the coolest most interesting people from all over the world. People that are doing incredible things and have fascinating stories. I love the sites and the food and everything else but hands down the people I meet along the way are what this trip is about.
Easily the thing I dislike the most is being away from my friends and family for so long. I have truly amazing friends and family that I miss a lot but they’re all really supportive and I’m in a really happy place when I do get to visit them. I once read a quote by the great philosopher Winnie the Pooh that said “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” That really sums it up for me.
5- Have you had any major troubles on your travels?
I wouldn’t say it was a major problem but I did have to visit a doctor in Morocco after suffering a direct attack to the face of what I assume were some mutant bugs from outer space. You can read about that here.
6- How can you afford long term travel?
I have money invested back home that I get returns from. It’s not a huge amount – if you notice I tend to stick to countries where the dollar is strong. Places like SE Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. The blog is (finally) leading to some moneymaking opportunities so hopefully those pan out.
7- Where are you now and where are you going next?
Now I’m on Corón, an island in the Philippines. I’ll be here for a few more days before spending a night in Manila to fly to Thailand where I’ll base myself out of for the winter.
8- Of all the places you’ve been, which one would you recommend for digital nomads and why?
Of course everyone knows about places like Chiang Mai (which I love) but if I had to name a place people don’t yet know about I would say Lviv, Ukraine. Feels like Western Europe with some of the lowest prices in Eastern Europe. Fast wifi, good food and friendly people. That’s all you need!. You can read more about it here:
9- What item/gadget don’t you travel without?
My iPhone. I’m completely addicted to it and constantly on it. I know it’s not exactly a hot travellers tip that the iPhone is handy but I use it more than my laptop.
10- What advice would you give to someone who is about to start long term travelling?
Just go. I know that sounds cliché but the idea of leaving is scarier than actually leaving. If you want me to be even more cliché I could say “everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear” or something like that but really just go. If you don’t like it you can always go home and at least you know it’s not for you. But in three years of traveling I’ve yet to meet anyone that was cutting their trip early to go home but I have met many who found ways to stay. Give it a try, maybe you’ll be like me and leave for six months and decide indefinitely actually suits you better.