2015 Travel Plans

gai yeng chiang mai

Hello 2015! It’s been a crazy last year, from a bustling beginning in Saigon to a blue-drenched month on Syros, Greece, to last summer in London, Berlin, New York, and San Francisco. Several weeks of family time, followed by a ship across the Pacific, from Vancouver to Toyko. Three weeks in Japan, a conference in Bangkok, and then two months in my home away from home, Saigon. Oh, and the photo in the header is from Chiang Mai, where I ate a lot of grilled chicken. You can see why when you look at the picture. It was blindingly delicious.

Given the snail’s pace with which I post on this site, I’ve still got plenty to share from 2014, especially from Syros as I’ve been excited to write about it since I left. These posts are coming, fear not. But first some 2015 plans and where I plan to travel in 2015.

Where to Travel: My 2015 Edition

Before I dive in: I’ll be completely offline for 12 days time starting tomorrow. No phone, no laptop, no internet. It’s unprecedented for me, but I’m curious to see if my brain eats itself. I’ll resume posting later in January.

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This is one of my favourite photos from my beloved Saigon, a place I just left for the next many months. I would like to think that the realization of return would be sufficient to maintain my happiness levels, but it is never the case. Christmas in Vietnam was spent in great company, eating and smiling. I rang in the new year sucking down snails on the streets of District 3, with spicy lemongrass clams, coconut snails, and my favourite, scallops grilled with pork fat and scallions, served with peanuts and Vietnamese coriander. I was melancholy leading up to leaving, and I am readjusting to clean air, quiet, and lots of birds in New Zealand while still dreaming of soup.

I always say it’s a privilege that we location independent entrepreneurs can build a life like this, a privilege we should never forget. To show up to Saigon for two months and have them brimming with work meetings and food meetings alike is a special thing. And to leave for a place like New Zealand is a lucky thing indeed. I am always sad to depart from a place I love, but I still feel grateful that I’m able to leave it if I so choose.

Or my health chooses for me.

As I said in my long Japan post, I left Saigon because the air was proving to be an issue for me, my lungs sputtering in protest. But many of you have written to ask where I am heading next, and for later into 2015.

I tend to update my Instagram very frequently, but given the emails I thought I would share them here. It is the year of returns, visiting places I got to only briefly prior but now circumstances are bringing me back.

January to Early April – New Zealand

piha new zealand
Walking the beaches near Auckland with my friend Craig during my last New Zealand visit.

As you may recall I spent two weeks in the North Island of New Zealand last February, a fairly last minute trip to help my friend Jana celebrate her wedding on Waiheke. I am back, but this time for three months. Two weeks was insufficient and there was only a small part of the country that I tasted and saw.

For this visit, more weddings and time with friends. I’ll be in the Bay of Islands for the next while, and then heading to Wellington to visit Meg who just moved here. We met in New York, then crossed paths in her new home of Turkey and then she went back to the US only to move with her husband and daughter to Wellington. I’m excited to add a new country to our ‘ate here’ list.

I’ll head to the South Island toward the end of my visit, but it seems quite possible that I will need to come back again another year to keep exploring.  While egregiously lacking in soup, this country is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

April – Portugal

Douro valley grapes
Porto grapes

From New Zealand, a hop to one of the most antipodal of places: Portugal. I’ve been invited to keynote at the 2015 World Food Travel Summit in Lisbon, and will be making my way there near the beginning of April. While the conference starts on the 6th, a few days to adjust to jetlag seems prudent if I don’t want to fall asleep on stage.

I plan to spend the rest of the month in Lisbon, as I have never been to the city.

Early May – Lloret de Mar, Spain

Girona at night
A different city in Costa Brava: Girona

Near the end of the month I will hop over to Costa Brava, in Spain, to speak at the TBEX Europe conference. I have previously spoken at TBEXes (TBEX-i?) but not during the last year as I took a hiatus from travel events to focus on food and entrepreneurship conferences.

We’re still ironing out the specifics, but I look forward to re-visiting Costa Brava and seeing old friends in the travel world who I have not crossed paths with in the last few years.

Rest of May to Mid June – Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal
Douro Valley, Portugal

After TBEX, it’s back to Portugal I go! I would be remiss not to get as much time in this country as I can. For the rest of my visit,  I will likely find myself a beach and a low-season rental apartment to write, walk, and eat.

Mid-June – LA

venice beach, california
From my LA visit two years ago


In Mid-June I cross coasts again and fly into LA in order to attend my cousin’s wedding. I’ve missed a few of the other cousins’ weddings this winter, so I wanted to be sure to show up at one of them. Thankfully they are all on the same side of the family so, while not a substitute for missing out, I still get in hugs as many of them attend this LA extravaganza.

Rest of June to Mid July – New York and PDX

New York Graffiti
One of my favourite graffiti signs from a NYC visit.

It wouldn’t be a summer in North America without time in NY and Portland. Plans as of yet uncertain, but it’s on my calendar.

Late July – Toronto

The last two weeks I will spend in Toronto, writing out of the G Adventures offices. I’ve been working as a brand ambassador with them for several years now, and it’s always more effective to have in-person meetings than via Skype. With a flexible summer, I thought a few weeks in town would be good. Plus! More cousins in Toronto (other side of the family), as well as some seriously good Vietnamese food and people who love to share it with me.

After that, we’ll see! Montreal for at least several weeks to see my parents and friends.

Back to Asia come the fall, likely just at the breaking point between “total withdrawal from bun rieu soup” and “might make it if she gets soup in the next few weeks.”

* * *

I never post these kinds of summary plans here but I realize that the nature of the site has changed and a few things have been altered with it. What used to be a place for my mum to see photos has turned into a great wider community, one that still does include my mum, but also over a million others who come through each year. And while I update my Instagram daily — just, uh, not during the coming 12 days — I realize I rarely demystify the nitty gritty. If your emails are any indication, this is something you are curious about too.

I constantly say that my life seems completely unstructured but in reality I merely build it around anchor points of weddings, conferences, family time, and soup. As you can see from this year’s schedule, that’s not inaccurate! I do love that I can write from anywhere, which makes maximizing time with family so much easier than many realize. And while I joke here about eating soup all day long, the truth is that most of my days are spent working hard, but I can pick the hours and the place.

I get asked often if I miss having a home, but I feel at home in so many places. Suffice it to say that I have nothing to prove by continuing if I did not want to; were I to tire of this flexible life I would see no shame in standing still. The lack of ‘a home’ in the traditional sense is thus not a lacuna, it is just an option I choose not to take right now.

It has been almost seven years of Legal Nomads, and every year feels like a brand new experience because of how much I learn during the last one. As with all of these life choices, they are deeply personal. For me, the thrill of structuring work around places and people and food has remained. I have truly enjoyed meeting those of you who have come through Saigon on a food walk, and learning about your own stories. I have also been working on some bigger projects for the site. Soon I will be posting to hire someone to help me here, and will also announce the full shop for my typographic maps.

It looks to be an exciting year.

Thank you, as always, for being a part of it.

Back in a few weeks time!


86 thoughts on “2015 Travel Plans”

  1. Wowzers, a whole year planned out ahead of time? What is the world coming to? :)

    And when are we going sky diving together? I need a trusted expert to go with (& some amazin food after wouldn’t hurt).

  2. Love it Jodi and can’t wait to be part of your 2015 adventure :) We’re aiming to finish this long drawn out ‘Asia’ part of our trip in NZ but much later in the year.

    And after reading so much about soup and Vietnamese Phos on your blog, we finally FINALLY get to experience this first hand in March :)

  3. Hey Jodi!

    If you’re looking for things to do in New Zealand while you’re here, we have heaps on info on our website and YouTube web series if you’re looking for recommendations! Also if you’re in Wellington and want to meet up let us know!

  4. what a lovely year you have planned. I definitely feel your angst with the health issues, after a year of living in China I’m questioning if my lungs can handle a second year but I hate to leave this country. I’ve been eyeing new Zealand as a new home and it seems a good place for us asiaphiles to clear out our lungs

  5. I love hearing the details of where you’re going and the bit about building your work around people and places and food.

    Just reading your post makes me feel inspired!

    Enjoy your 12 days off.

    Happy New Year!
    Carla :-)

  6. I’m really excited to see you visiting Portugal! It’s one country that has fascinated me lately. I have recently been to Goa in India, and there are so many Portugese influences in its old buildings.

  7. Hey Jodi, to be honest, I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago. But I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog, and if one day, I could live a life similar to yours, I’d be the happiest person on earth! Enjoy your days off technology, that’s something I really should try aswell. Currently, I’m in New Zealand until July, so if you find the time during your travels in NZ, I’d love to meet you and annoy you with thousands of questions .. cheers, Lilly :-)

    1. Thanks Lilly! Send me an email using the contact form on the site, and let me know where you’ll be during your NZ months. I am happy to answer questions via email too, though I did write an FAQ post from last year so perhaps check that first. Glad you like the site! :)

  8. Nice work on planning out a year of travel ahead of time!! We can generally only manage a week or two in advance! :) I just found your blog, your photos are amazing!! Happy New Year, and enjoy New Zealand and beyond!!

  9. Exciting to see Canada getting a stop! Can’t wait to read the posts on Portugal as well. My husband and I just explored Saigon for the first time and adored it. We were maybe a little less brave on the food front, but took part in the XO Foodie Tour to get a bit of a taster. Crazy city but so energizing. Good luck in 2015.

  10. Wow! What a year Jodi! It sounds so freaking exciting. Can’t wait to read about it. I can’t believe you can plan so far ahead. I never can, haha. Maybe things being to get a bit more concrete as time goes on? I’m still on the “travel on a whim” phase perhaps :)

    1. Yes that was my phase for two years — enjoy it! But once this became more of a business, and as I’m at the age where people are all getting married, I’ve got lots of these anchor points to go by :) No complaints, they gave a skeleton structure that I could work within, and continue to do so :) Have fun and no need to add more than a whim unless you want to.

  11. I’m live in Portugal and I’m really looking forward to reading your take on the country. It’s been going through a boom in terms of tourism and it been well deserved, since this is really a beautiful country.

    I’m also looking forward to your posts on New Zealand. Such an amazing country.

    Have a great 2015!

  12. Looks like it’s going to be another great year! Might see you in NYC again during the summer. I’m looking forward to reading a review of your next 12 days offline :)

  13. What a year you have planned! I look forward to following along and reading about it, especially your time in Portugal.

  14. Looks like a fabulous year and a lot of diverse destinations. Can’t wait to see what you eat at all of them – especially Portugal – I bet they have soup there, right? ;)

  15. Oh gosh! I just found out about that food event in Portugal and I’m going to be there on those dates most likely. Sounds fun but dangerous for my blogger belly :)

  16. If everything goes well, my 2015 will be full of destination not visited before: Denmark (Copenhagen), Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), Luxemburg and I really hope to make it real and get to China (Beijing). Wish me luck!

  17. You have what sounds like an incredible year ahead of you. I also always love your relaxed tone about your life, work and travel plans. Did it always feel that way for you? You never seem antsy even though your nomadic.

    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for the note and for a question I think about often. I don’t think I’m relaxed as a person — I’m a Montrealer after all, direct and somewhat aggressively intent on seizing the world all at once — but these years of travel have softened much of the sharp outer edges. What is stressful I think is looking at all this travel ahead and hoping it doesn’t deplete me. I love the life I’ve built but I am very bad at taking Jodi time and not feeling guilty in the process, which is why I’m starting 2015 with this break. I am not antsy about it, no…but I do think “oh no I want to see THOSE things over there but I’m over HERE and when will I get there?!” That’s just general FOMO, which even nomadic entrepreneurs suffer from :-) To be honest coming up on 7 years I’m excited to re-focus on the site — to post more often, to get the shop out, to hire and build out more of the resources — because it’s been a wild ride but I’ve not tended to it as much as I would have liked. So in this movement is a clear goal of re-focusing energy back to Legal Nomads.

      Phew. More than you asked for I’m sure. Does that answer your question?

  18. 2015 sounds like it will be a great year.. so many diverse places! I visited Lisbon in 2013 and totally fell for it and can’t wait to visit other parts of Portugal. Loved the people and the music. Hope you enjoy your time there!

  19. Looks great Jodi! We are probably going to come out for TBEX in Spain too and then I’m waffling on what to do afterwards but thinking about a couple of weeks in Portugal as well (or Poland, or Morocco).

    If you can squeeze a quick visit up to Seattle when you head out to Portland, we’ve got a comfy couch and a ton of good eats in our Capitol Hill neighborhood!

  20. With family in Toronto, and work on the go, you may be busy, but if you have any downtime it would be fantastic to connect when you are here in July!

  21. Wow! It sounds like you have an amazing year ahead of you! Good luck with your hiatus! I think unplugging will do your mind, body and soul some good.

  22. Hey Jodi, so cool to hear you’ll be in T.O :) If you’re up to it maybe we can organize a fun get-together. Our Travel Massive meet up is also near end of the month :)

  23. It will be a busy year for you but it will also be exciting. I cannot wait to see your posts about all the places you will visit. I am sure that there will be lots of breathtaking pictures along with interesting stories.

  24. Wow impressive list of travels for 2015! I wish I was a good as planning as you! I very spontaneous and usually look my trips a few weeks or days before I leave. So for me it would not be possible to put up a list like this. I wish you best of travel, in 2015. And I look forward to follow them on your blog :)

  25. i love these types of posts! and find it interesting that so many digi nomads plan their travels around weddings & family events. it’s nice to see family is still a priority for people with a gallivanting around the world lifestyle!

    super exciting year ahead for you. that portugal photo is crazy stunning.

  26. Great post and I was so happy when I read Portugal (my country)! I have been travelling for 5 months and still going (I’m in Chiang Mai right now wich is funny), and cannot began to tell you how much you inspire me and how important is your website. That being said just hope you have a great time in Portugal, I wish I could take you to all my favorite food spots… But if I had to choose one I would rent a place in Ericeira, by the sea, it has a great market and the best grilled sea fish. It’s going to be the first thing I’ll eat when I return in march.
    Happy 2015!

  27. Hi Jodi- sounds like you’ve got an exciting year coming up and congrats on taking a break from all things electronics!
    Just wanted to let you know, when you make it to Toronto in the summer, make the trek to Burlington (45 minutes from DT) and visit Kellys Bake Shoppe. They make the BEST gluten free cupcakes I have ever had. I’ve tried gluten free cupcakes everywhere I could on our RTW trip, but nothing will compare to Kellys! It’s worth the visit. :)

  28. Hey Jodi, in Portugal you are sooo close to the real paradise of Europe. Of course I’m talking about the Canary Islands, especially Tenerife. So if you decide to drop in I can show around and introduce you to other nomads.

  29. Some people make New years Resolutions, we make New Years Travel Plans!!

    You’re going to Portugal during my birthday month! Would love to be there during that time. I’ve been told my a few people that Porto is the most beautiful city in the world. I hope you get a chance to check it out.

    Jack Johnson

  30. 2015 does look like a great year, it’s just the beginning and its been great so far. We changed plans from heading to you beloved Vietnam and staying in the layover city… Taiwan! We enjoy it here, but we here fantastic things about Vietnam. We’ll have to head out there soon.
    TBEX Spain would be fantastic! Hopefully we can make it out there. It would be nice to meet everyone that we follow online.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  31. Wow that’s awesome that you’re organized enough to be planned out a full year in advance. I was reading that people today plan a trip on average of approximately 70 – 75 days in advance. That made me feel like a weirdo for planning our summer excursion 6 months in advance. This is a whole other league though haha. Great job and this is some serious inspiration

    1. Hi Nathan, don’t forget this isn’t travel for me – it’s also my life’s work :) So it makes more sense to plan it out in advance vs if I were in the initial days of backpacking just for fun. :)

  32. I just discovered your blog (so glad I did) and I can’t wait to read more of your content. I leave myself in late Summer/early Fall on my year long backpacking stint and your hilarious article about the benefits to having a safety whistle caused me to order on straight away. The monkey business is hilarious but also inspiring. Can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for you!

  33. Hi Jodi,
    We just spent 15 months in Asia, in love with Asian food and people. Yours was one of the first nomadic blog I read and checked back with…given our mutual love of food. We spent six years in Central America and 15 months in Asia, mostly Viet Nam ( the food, the food!) I am surprised to find myself now in Portugal amd see you are heading here as well. Prepare ypursrlf for European prices and amazing crispy little custard tarts and fresh sardines! I have recommended your blog to many and always enjoy it. Thanks for the nomadic travel and food inspiration toteo empty nesters on the road!

  34. Wow, looks like you’ve got a great (and busy!) year ahead of you! Hoping my year will be filled with just as many adventures.

    Glad to see you are having a lovely time in my little home country! I do miss it greatly but I know it will always be there waiting for me while I see the world.

    Emma x

  35. Dear Jodi.
    With all my heart I wish you luck. Please keep on sharing your experiences, it’s priceless. Thanks for your Saigon, for all tips about Vietnam. Looking forward to reading your story about Vipassana retreat experience.
    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Natalia! I just got out of the Vipassana and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I think a really valuable 10 days. Wishing you a happy new year also.

  36. I just found your blog and am loving it! So glad to see that you’re coming to my beautiful country – Portugal! I really hope you enjoy it (I’m sure you will). I live in Aveiro (a.k.a. the Venice of Portugal) and if you’re up for some counchsurfing my doors are always open! ;)
    Have a great year!

  37. You seem to have an incredible traveling year ahead of you. I wish you a healthy joyful 2015.

    The other privilege of traveling like that with open eyes will be to cherish the possibilities you have by default due to where you live and the opportunities you have in life as you’ve created them yourself.

    BTW, I’m new to your blog, but I like to hear from you about Iran. Have you been in Iran before?

  38. Sounds like a great plan! Although I’m dissapointed you are coming so close to Australia and not venturing over to Melbourne :-P. It has some truly amazing food!

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