After 5 years of long term travel, what’s next?

Soup

My father and I were on the phone a few days after I arrived in Vietnam, chatting about what I liked here and how it differed from elsewhere.

Jodi, I’m just trying to understand what you do every day? Is there a routine?

I eat soup.”

What?”

I eat a lot of soup, Dad. This country has a lot of soups to try, and I’m trying them all.”

Wait, what? You’re eating soup all day?

Here,” I said, sending him a photo of my favourite bun rieu near my apartment, “how delicious does this soup look? It looks delicious, right? It’s possibly the best soup in the universe.

I could hear my dad laughing and could almost visualize him shaking his head at me.

Jodi, I love you very much but sometimes your life confuses me.”

Join the club.

Long term travel involves many bowls of soup
Mmmm. Soup.

At the beginning of my travels, I didn’t obsess over food. Soup was just a meal, but I wasn’t traveling for it. (Ha! Silly past-tense Jodi…if only I knew.) Now, soup — or food generally — has become the focus, so much so that it’s off-putting to many people I meet.  The extreme fascination I have with what people eat and why has totally changed the way I see the world, has changed the direction of this site, and has changed the way I plan to live my life going forward.

In a strange circular fashion, I left to travel the world but now I want to stay longer and longer in each place. I want to scratch under the surface and hug the things I find tightly, so I can keep an imprint of them with me somehow. Food, the universality that it is, has become my tool to connect with people and learn everything I can. It could be a different tool, but principally it is the curiosity to learn through food  — and all the wonderful people I’ve met through it — that makes this life choice so rewarding.

* * *

A new life of long term travel

Today, April 1, marks five years of having quit my job and taken off for a “one year” (whoops) RTW adventure. Five years! How did this happen?! In the strange time-space compression of soup-filled days I’m flabbergasted by this unfolding of years. I can still remember my first weeks on the road like they were yesterday. I’m thankful for this site for many reasons, but in part because it is a digital record of what I have trouble digesting: that somehow I took a love of living the world and I made it my day-to-day work.

I try to keep the blog about the travel and food stories, but for my yearly “State of the Union”- style anniversary piece, I get more Jodi-centric. The About page talks about the site and my livelihood, but the psychology behind it has been ignored. What I’m saying is: my dad’s question was a valid one, and I think a question many of you have as well if your emails are any indication.

(My days do involve soup, by the way, but generally I have a routine of mostly work and then time with friends in the evening.)

Given the many email questions from readers about what’s next, both professionally and personally, I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about the goals I have for both in this year’s anniversary post.

Long term travel involves many bowls of soup
Mmmmm… more soup.

Work Goals

My goals are, understandably, different from when I set out in 2008. I thought I would take a year to see the world, and thereafter return to lawyering. Given that I was still traveling after two years, I then focused on supporting myself with freelance work – I did not want to eat into my savings, nor did I want to advertise or accept sponsorship on this site. Now, things are shifting once again. I want to take what I have learned and do more with it. It’s not that I’m bored with travel, it’s that I’m more excited by the idea of creating a business around the things I’ve learned, instead of just moving from A to B. Whereas I left New York because of a deep (some might say destructive) restlessness, I now want to refocus my energy into building something more stable. But I want to do it from places I love.

Last year’s goals included getting better at public speaking and writing my book. A big and exhausting year! But the book is done (yay!) and somehow I spoke at over 10 events (ahh!) without throwing up on myself with nervousness.

For the next few years, my work goals are:

  • Start a community and resources site for other celiacs who want to travel, since there is a need for it in the marketplace. There are some sites for travels without gluten but they are primarily domestic or European, and I would like to have a forum for people to ask and answer questions as well. This will not be my primary focus but it is something I want to get off the ground. 
  • Get more serious about social media consulting work. I’ve really enjoyed building out this aspect of what I do, and truly believe in the power of social when coupled with authenticity in branding. As I’ve said time and time again, no one should be putting anything out that they haven’t read and are willing to endorse. Brands – be they small brands or big brands – can use social media to create a real personality around a corporate entity, but also to engage their customers in an authentic way. Helping strategize and run their feeds has been an unexpected but rewarding line of work for me. I went from advertising lawyer to digital advertising consultant. Who knew?  (For more about my thoughts on social media, see my podcast with Dan from Tropical MBA.)
  • Start food tours. I’ve been testing this ad hoc in HCMC during the last few months, taking roving bands of readers and friends to places around town and asking for feedback. I want to do tours that are not structured around restaurants or general eats, but hyper-specific to a theme to learn from. Example: to take people on a chili tour of a city, from markets to restaurants to cooking techniques, culminating in a chili-based meal, talking about how chili even came to Asia and when it is used. Themes seem like a great way to teach people about the origins of the food, a big part of what I love to research. These will not be a thing to see / do in a particular city, but will instead be based around what cities I am living in at the time.
  • Continue with speaking. I’m getting less and less nervous about the speaking, but still want to throw up on myself when I take the stage – I’ve just gotten used to feeling like I want to throw up on myself. Hopefully more speaking will beget less nervousness. Career transitions, social media and food history are topics near and dear to my heart.
  • Continue to share stories on Legal Nomads. This site is not a basic chronology of my travels – it is more about stories, so I do not follow a linear timeline at all times.  I’ve loved sharing narrative here and meeting with readers as I’ve travelled. (For readers in Chicago, Toronto and Montreal, I’ll be posting reader meetups on my Facebook page during the summer months.) This site remains a joy and not an obligation. Regardless of other work, I have no plans to shut down Legal Nomads.
Long term travel involves many bowls of soup
Me on the floor of a kitchen in a local temple, in the middle of Cai Rang district.

That’s a lot to work with in a year or more, and I cannot get started right away as much of 2013 is mapped out. I’ll be heading to England first for my brother’s birthday, then Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Portland and more this summer.  I’ve also been working with G Adventures for several years as a Wanderer in Residence, writing for their site and occasionally hopping on a G tour. This fall I will be taking my mum to India with me on a G tour for her birthday. She has always wanted to go. I’m beyond excited about this trip as I have not travelled with my mum since I was 20. To say the least, It’s going to be quite the adventure.

My aim is to return to Vietnam again when I can, but stay here for 8 months or so to work on the above ideas. I’ll be working on them in part before, of course, but specifically for the food tours I’ll need to be in one place. The day after I got to Vietnam I was bowled over by my love for the quirks and daily surprises in this country. It seems like a great place to base myself for a while – more than the 4.5 months I will end up spending this year.

Happiness

A long time ago, I told a friend that I would never be happy in life. That my brain was too whirry and too busy thinking of all the things I could/should/will be doing and never able to focus on the present. How can someone be happy if they’re thinking of something else all the time? In the last few years, however, I came to accept the fact that this overarching, fuzzy idea of happiness couldn’t be my goal. It was unrealistic, and I felt that I was failing  – people were writing to say “oh, you’re living the dream!” — but internally I was struggling with what I was doing and why I was doing it.

What I was feeling made sense given that I got here by accident (as in, I didn’t quit my job to be a travel writer or seek happiness), but I still needed to parse through my thoughts and also take stock of who I had become after many years of travel.

* * *

I use the term “building a life” a lot lately. It’s become my preferred expression to discuss my choices because there is such weighted agency in it – I, Jodi Ettenberg, chose this path. It has been a fallback to say I got here by accident — factually accurate, no less — but relying on kismet or coincidence also lets me off the hook for the hard and very damaging decisions I made in leaving New York. I left a place and people I loved, and a career that was going well for me.  It’s true that I didn’t do this to “be” happy or because I was burned out. But regardless, I did it because I wanted to see the world, and the pull of that otherness – not just to see it on a short vacation, but to live it and get my hands dirty – it drew me in. It became bigger than me, a restlessness that corroded. It grew and it grew until I had to act on it; ignoring it was just hurting people around me and myself.

When I left for what I thought would be a year, I found that the restlessness dissipated. I wasn’t looking to travel around the world indefinitely. That’s never been an aim. However, the restlessness was replaced by an extraordinary curiosity for just about everything I saw. I wanted to build a life around that curiosity. All of the work I do – the consulting, the food writing, the blog – is to facilitate that, and to enable me to see and experience more of the little things in life. In acknowledging this shift away from restlessness and toward learning, I came a long way to accepting more of where I am today. I’m making choices only for me, which is not something everyone has available to them.

Life Goals

I’ve gotten angry emails from parents telling me that I’m contributing to their children’s irresponsible behaviour, and from people asking me why I am doing what I’m doing – what am I trying to avoid? The reality is that I’m not trying to avoid anything. Driven by curiosity, I’ve followed it to where it leads. Doing so has definitely damaged important relationships, but it has also created new and important ones. Unmoored from the normal anchors that stabilize, I’ve turned instead to think about exactly what I want my life to look like at this point in time. I can understand why outwardly it would seem like running, since it is certainly a strange life path. But if anything, I am moving toward the things that hold more and more value.

It has been calming to re-think happiness and dig around it to see what it means for me. Essentially, I stopped focusing on “happy” as a term of art and started thinking of practical, tangible things that I could institute and wanted to be a part of my daily life, in the hopes of being more mindful.

I’m sure you’re shocked…. but I made a list.  :) In no particular order:

  • Street food, and people who also loved street food and wanted to eat it with me.
  • Friends with whom I can have great, existential discussions about life and everything in it.
  • Working on projects that provide value to society and were not self-serving.
  • Learning something new every day.
  • Practicing gratitude daily and taking pleasure in the small things in life.
  • Time in Southeast Asia at least some part of the year.
  • Working on an acceptance of me, and being more comfortable in my own skin. (As the kid who won “most easily embarrassed” in high school, talking to people isn’t always easy, even if I pretend it is.)
Jodi Ettenberg in Saigon after 5 years of long term travel
Enjoying the sunset over HCMC yesterday evening.

YMMV

We can only do what drives each of us to live our lives to the fullest.

For many that means a round-the-world trip then a return to what everyone else deems normal. For others, it means drifting and drifting and seeing and seeing, without a plan to stay put. For most people, it means finding a partner and a home and a family that fulfills life goals. For me, well, I’ve had a huge amount of time to think about this in the last years, and have some answers for myself for the first time in a long time.

My answers are not your answers, of course, nor are they a path for anyone else’s life choices. “Your mileage may vary” is what I always say. The aggregate of my years of lawyering, travel and more have made me into who I am , and led me to value the things I value. There’s a reason I never write posts saying “Stick it to the man and quit your job like me” and that’s because I don’t think it’s the “right” way to be. I just know what worked for me, and in the hopes of helping people parse through their own choices, I’m sharing that process. But I do not begrudge or think less of people who don’t want the things I want in life; those differences are what makes the world interesting.

Back to the Soup

soup in Saigon
Back to regularly-scheduled photographic programming – soup.

I was on the phone with my mother last month, breathless about my short trip to Vung Tau with friends. I regaled her with tales about banh khot and lessons I learned in the three days on the beach. (For example, do not, ever, get your grilled squid from a different lady from the lady you are renting chairs from unless you want to start a long protracted screaming match between them, resulting in a significant crowd of locals gathering at the edge of the fight, watching attentively.)

It sounds like you really love Vietnam” she said slowly.

Yes yes! I love it. I’m going to cry big tears of pho when I leave. I have to come back.”

Laughing gently she replied “Jodi, you say this about everywhere you live, without fail. Every place moulds to you, and you to it.”

She’s right, of course. Over the last five years of travel, you could make a supercut of phone calls like these.

Ma, Ma MA…. I LOVE Beijing! I want to stay there forever!” and then, a year later “Mum, I know I got tear-gassed and caught up in the riots in Bangkok, but I LOVE it here!

I suppose it’s just a testament to doing what I love that I’ve been so affectionate toward almost every place I’ve seen.

* * *

After five years of travel, what can I say? I think I like myself much more as a person now. Bit by bit, I am figuring out more about what brings me joy and what makes me sad, and I’m learning so much from the wonderful people I meet. I have worked at improving specific skills, and have others I want to improve on that scare me. But if they scare me, all the more reason to make sure I face them head-on.

Much of the things I am grateful for are not the travel per se. And really I am not truly a traveler any more, at least not in the way I was in 2008. Instead, I’ve focused on taking the time to fall for a new place by experiencing it firsthand, while at the same time doing work I find fulfilling.

bun mam in saigon
How good does this soup look?

If you’re still here after this sprawling post: thank you.  It’s been an incredible 5 years of ups and downs, of learning and sharing and eating. I keep talking about gratitude but I cannot emphasize that expanding-heart-feeling of being thankful for great friends, wonderful readers and a family who supports me, even if they think I’m nuts.

And of course, many many bowls of soup.

-Jodi

304 thoughts on “After 5 years of long term travel, what’s next?”

  1. Congratulations on five years.

    It sounds like you’ve set some great goals for the future and plus how can you go wrong eating lots of soup? :)

    I’m so happy that our paths crossed and I look forward to the next time they do. We’ll just have to make sure to make time for a meal together. We are overdue!

    Safe travels and keep on smiling.

  2. Shelley Yaremcio

    LOVE reading this post. Do you speak vietnamese? Just wondering how all that works. What is it the most (besides food) that you love about Vietnam and the asian countries you have visited? You may have mentioned this, elsewhere, but I have not read it.

    1. Hi Shelley, no I do not speak Vietnamese. Charades, food names and smiles get me by. :) I love many things – the chaos, the urban roosters, the food, the quirky pyjamas, the random air sirens to indicate lunchtime is over, all sorts of fun things. Too many to list, really! I wrote a post about 40 things i’d miss from el nido in the Philippines so I can’t imagine how many things the list would have if it was about Asia as a whole.

  3. Footnote: In being philosophical above I forgot to mention…I reside in the Southeast United States and have a friend who lives in New Orleans, LA-a foodie paradise if ever there was one-In the last 6 months a small Vietnamese Restaurant opened in his neighborhood and he claims he is eating Pho at least 4 times weekly, to the extent that he has begun to question his French-Canadian(“Cajun”)heritage. So see, it’s not just petite nomads.

  4. Hola Jodi, I am writing from Argentina, I just read your really long post about “life”, yours at least. I loved it. I just got your link from a client. I tailor trips in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay and also tours in Buenos Aires. You can check these ones on trip Advisor as BA Ouitngs with Loli.

    I was educated to be a chef in Buenos Aires, and did that job for a while, mainly when living in Aspen, Colorado. Eventually I got out of cooking commercially, and started managing hotels. While in Aspen taught skiing and snowboarding also, always worked to travel. My biggest passion are traveling and people.

    I could relate to your post a lot, as I find people and traveling the most inspiring, and I feel my greater learnings in life are from both people and traveling. I make a living of what a deeply love. 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac desease so if you get into kindly and generously sharing your findings in the subject with the world, you’ll have the most greatful fan here.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, if you ever come this way let me kniw!
    Loli

  5. Jodi,what an inspiring post,thank you so so much.Whenever i have doubts about my own travels your website and stories always inspire me.
    I am going to be teaching in Vietnam for 5 months starting in Aug,have you any tips or advice on anything Vietnamese???
    Again,thank you so very much for the inspiration and best wishes on your continuing journey both externally and internally.

    Barry Craig

    1. Hi Barry, not sure what tips you are looking for but happy to help if I can. If you could give me more specific questions, I’ll do my best to help you out. Thanks for the note and I’m glad the site has inspired.

      1. Hi Jodi,thanks for your quick response.It was just general questions about Vietnam to be honest.Where has been your favourite place? How have you found it living there? Will £5000($7500) be enough to last me 6 months or so? I would ask about the food but your clearly enjoying that! I can’t wait to sample some myself.
        I really hope you understand how inspiring your website and stories are Jodi.You are genuinley motivating and moving people from all over the world to embrace there dreams and passions,whatever they may be.You should be so proud at what you have achieved and what you are giving.

        Keep up the good work and again best wishes on your adventure.

        Barry

        1. My current spend is about $500-600 a month, but I live in a modest studio and eat mostly street food. Asking around to other friends here, the $500-600 is about what they are spending as well. For more upscale food/drinks, people are spending around $900-1000. Still, I suspect what you are thinking is plenty. As to favourite place, I’m loving HCMC but each of the country’s regions is vastly different so they should all be explored if you can! I’ve very much enjoyed living here – so much so that I was supposed to leave on 3 March… but i’m still here until mid-April.

          Thank you for the compliments and enjoy your time in Vietnam – you will love it, I am sure.

  6. Wow, 5 years! Happy anniversary, Jodi. :) I love this post. Must try that soup one day… Lovely read! You’re story telling skills are amazing. I just read the whole thing and would do it again anytime. Thanks for sharing!

  7. This was a real pleasure to read. Your voice comes across so clearly in your writing. Personal, thought-provoking, and hunger-arousing. :)

  8. Hey Jodi,

    I’m a Colorado girl living in Australia at about my two year travel anniversary. Just wanted to say this post really hit home for me and thanks for taking the time to write and share it when I’m sure there is soup out there in need of eating! Sending you good thoughts and support on your next steps. :)

  9. Glad to see that you’re enjoying your time here. Much like (a mighty sweet) onion, the Vietnamese culture has many layers to unravel (and after a year and a half, I’ve only but scratched the first layer).

    And sampling the plethora of tasty Vietnamese dishes? Well it goes without saying – THAT could take years, if not a lifetime! ;)

  10. “I’ll be heading to England first for my brother’s birthday, then Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Portland and more this summer.”

    Is that Portland, OR? The local NPR station has a radio variety show called “Live Wire” which includes interviews with authors and you’d be ideal (although they prefer guests with a Pacific NW connection). It’s available in maybe only a dozen cities but they range from Pittsburgh to Austin to of course Oregon.

    Livewire.org. Seriously you’d be a perfect fit to be a guest on the show. The interviews are maybe 12 or 15 minutes. I’m guessing they don’t pay the guests but you get to mention your book, blog, etc.

      1. Well if you get onto the show I’ll be sure to attend (they record each show in front of a live audience; usually the guests or their minions will be selling their books or CDs or DVDs or whatever in the lobby). I’ll mention you to them also, but I’m merely a member, I don’t have any connection with the program other than that.

  11. Hi Jodi, better long form here, than twitter, and have listened to the interview with Dan twice now, probably listen a few more times as you packed so much into that interview, many thanks, yes you have made me think about branding & authenticity or honesty alot, especially as I am at the start of this journey with my blog of 3 months, twitter & facebook of 6 months, plus a total techno numbptie. My wife & I have sold everything except the house, rented it to pay for the mortgage, & set off to jump the planet, from one spot to another.
    Vietnam, has been a favourite, with eating at the dirtiest street stall in Hanoi, and being fine, to eating at a 5star hotel for a friends birthday and being sick for days, my vote is for street food(Thai street food is also awesome).

    “Cry big tears of Pho” sounds sick I know, but this stuff is addictive, first thought is, Wonder what that would taste like? I hope you understand where I am coming from.

    Accepting yourself more, & being comfortable in your own skin, is the ultimate goal of knowing your not “nuts”, & not caring if others may think your nuts.

    Thanks Jodi for all your resources, they have been invaluable for preparation to jump! And you never know I may need your consulting services in the future?

    Campbell

  12. Thank you for the amazing post. And for basing it around soup. I love soup, especially with noodles and meats and seafood and herbs in it.

    will

  13. Adore your honesty, frankness & hilarity! I’m perhaps in that stage of ‘fall in love with every place’ right now. Just called home to announce I was extending my stay in Ethiopia! Feel selfish & have no grand plan but love the learnings along the way. Here’s to another 5 years! X

  14. What a lovely experience! I don’t even have the guts to be away for one year and there you are, been doing that for five years already. I’ve always wanted to be in the travel industry full time but I think I am too coward to take that leap away from the corporate world. My fear of the unknown prevents me from doing that. I hope someday I’d be able to find that courage to follow my dreams. Thanks for being such an inspiration. :)

  15. Great article Jodi – thank you very much for writing it with such passion and clarity. I’m about to celebrate my 3 years on the road – so its amazing how many issues are similar, no matter what ones age or country of origin are. I actually left Oz for a 3-4 year ‘travel the world’ concept… but since this is now going into my 4th year and l haven’t seen most of the world – l’ll have to keep traveling.
    I love your goals for the year and beyond – because l love setting goals so that l know where l’m heading – even if they’re long term goals with no immediate outcome. Many people don’t “get” that, so it was nice to read you do.
    Looking forward to reading many more articles and viewing many more photos of your travels with food – all he very best for the up and coming year. Safe Travels, Anthea W

  16. Amazing Jodi! I have been following your travel on Facebook & Instagram for 2 years now! Still enjoying it especially the awesome photos your took. Yummy soups!

  17. This is truly an incredible blog. You mentioned “Street food” and one thing came to mind that I don’t think any traveler should ever miss. When my wife and I were younger we used to sneak off to Washington state and stay in those university district Seattle hotels locations *because they were incredibly affordable for a couple young kids!* and nearby was an open market called Pikes that had so much more than food. It had an atmosphere, it was an environment within itself. Everyone moshing around Pikes joins a community of the most laid-back and innovative food tastes you can imagine. If you want to happen across an unheard of award winning recipe, that is a super place to ask!

  18. Chris Consilvio

    Jodi,

    I love your site, particularly your posts linking your personal growth with your external experiences. Thanks for sharing. I think you should allow yourself to stop explaining why you are not returning to “a normal life.” I’m sure, on the road, you have met tons of people who never thought to ask you that question because the answer is obvious to them- if you’ve lived life in the moment, why would you want to live any other way? That’s what you’re doing now. You’re not really celebrating five years of travel- because Jodi, you’re not really traveling anymore. Yes, you move a lot. But no matter where you are living in the moment, you, like many others who understand the kind of life your’e living, can live in the present in any city in the world. Don’t be afraid because once you discover that perspective in life, it’s hard to lose it- even when you go back to “working for the man.” Keep writing because I’m sure you’re helping others take the plunge into living a more present life.

    chris

    1. Thanks for the note Chris. I have no issues explaining why I’m still doing what I’m doing – in breaking it down, I think it’s helped people see the relative benefits of this otherness, and that’s really the only way to show the other side. Few people do ask this anymore, but for those that do I’m happy to explain why I enjoy what I do :)

  19. WOW! I’m a non-lawyering lawyer who loves to travel. I have a more conventional life — kids, house, hubby with a career, but we travel whenever we can. In between, we’ve turned travel into a stay-at-home art form. I now package “staycation in a box” for other frugal, fun, family minded people.

    Kudos to you for following your heart, choosing to embrace all that life has to give. I pray you will grow in love, peace and contentment whether traveling or roosting.

  20. Congrats on the 5 years! I am leaving my job as a tax auditor in 83 days, we too were originally planning on being gone 1 year and now its 2-3 years. We are able to rent out our house on a 2 year lease, so that’s what helped make it longer! Hopefully we could make it 5 years! Love your blog! Maybe someday our travel paths will cross!!

  21. Absolutely gorgeous post. Congrats on 5 years! I loved reading your reflections on how your life has evolved through your travels over the years and your goals for the future. You made me smile the whole way through. My husband and I are about to embark on a lifestyle change of our own, going from being strictly expats to spending part of the year in our expat home in Germany and part of the year traveling and spending big chunks of time really digging into other parts of the world. We like having a home base but also crave travel and other cultures. As you said, there’s no one “right” way to set up a life. Hopefully the changes we’re making will lead to as much life satisfaction as you’ve found with the life you’ve created for yourself. Also, I really want to try all those soups!

  22. Jodi, I’ve enjoyed so much getting to know you through your blog. Your authenticity really shines in your posts. This one in particular was great, honest and introspective. It’s hard to step away from all this SM and really examine things, as to me it always seems like it’s spinning out of control. Congratulation on 5 years and figuring out where you want to move next.
    Alison

  23. Roxanne Rockett

    Jodi – THANK YOU. Your beautifully articulated, thoughtful, bravely open post made me smile, laugh & cry today in that “I get it” kind of way.

  24. Jodi,
    Thank you for your very personal anniversary posting. I, too feel that I’ve had those whirring and busy thoughts in my head about all of the things I could do/would like to do and also love to travel. I have been trying to figure out how to make it all work for me but have not had the courage you have to leave it all and just go (one difference for me, however, is that I have a spouse who is not as “foot-loose and fancy-free” as I and cannot imagine that kind of life). So, you see my desire is rampaging through my head with each birthday I celebrate but I have to find the continuing money source in doing this before I can get him on the same page. I love reading your blogs but they make me “itch” even more. Good luck to you in your travels and your future endeavors!

  25. David Hennings

    Jodi, I stumbled onto your site somewhere and bookmarked it. I started law school in ’79 a few days after 7 months traveling thru south and central america(think trying to get a letter from home in Colombia..). and then took off again for s.e asia the day after taking the bar (camping on pulau perhentian hitchhiking there by itinerant fisherman and ko samui at 75 cents a night, lake toba on sumatra with the the bataks). I’ve kept up the travels with spouse and sons (burma, nepal, india and c. america dozens of times) ever since. Now at the other end of 33 years of heavy duty trial practice I’m looking to get back on the road even more. Your writings have helped to push the date earlier.
    Your blog is truly an inspiration for this old dog. Your descriptions, philosophy and style of travel are models for us all. Thanks for the motivation!
    David

  26. Hi Jodi. I relate so much to your post and we have a lot in common. I am so passionate about traveling too. Having been fortunate to have traveled to 48 countries, I have developed such an appreciation for other cultures and countries. You are so right in saying that traveling enables you to get to know yourself. Congratulations on your 5 years of traveling and wishing you the best in your future endeavours.

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  28. Hi Jodi,

    Wow. The soups look awesome!… Thought I would just stop by and say Hi. I heard about you from Dan and Ian on the Lifestyle Business Podcast.

    Eric Foster

  29. Whoo hoo! 5 years. That’s wonderful. I remember coming across your blog a few years back and being inspired (gee, I’m sure I’m the first one to say that!). Can’t wait to see where you end up in another 5 years. I’m a very picky eater, but still look forward to joining on of your food excursions one day. BTW – loved your line “tears of pho” ! Haha.

  30. Hi Jodi, just got time to read this and found your story very inspiring. Our journeys give us the opportunities to learn to appreciate the small things we find and love people sincerely despite differences. Experiencing how people live and how they get by is humbling. Thank you for your thoughts and happy fifth anniversary.

  31. Hi Jodi, Congrats on the five years. I recently came across your blog and I am completely amazed and inspired by what you have done with your life. And somewhat jealous, but that will hopefully lead me to push myself to discover more about the world. Thanks again for sharing all your great writings with us. Cheers

  32. This is the first article of yours that I have read, and well, what a read. You have such an infectious and entertaining writing style. Congratulations on making 5 years on the road, that is quite the accomplishment. Here’s to the next 5 years…!

  33. Jodi what a lovely and heart felt post.
    I have been on the road for almost a year and like you I feel the change and transformation within me churn and yearn for more. Your journey has no doubt being awe inspiring to most so I hope that you press delete to those that will never understand you. It is not your duty to make them understand you, so never feel hurt by their lack of insight. I am sure you know how to disregard such emails but just incase you need a helping hand at times, just get back to this post and look at all of those bowls of soup. soup jodi! who gives a soup about others lol….
    I wish you all the best on your projects to come and cannot wait to read your coeliac site …. a great resource to have. clink clink – (the sound of soup spoons toasting to you :)

  34. congratulations on making it to five years with the same thirst for new things and experiences. I need more roots and have chosen to live in different countries for 1-2 years at a time, couldn’t do the packing and going every few days or weeks after a while.

  35. Jodi, this is exactly what I needed to read to start my week. I have lots of praises for this post but I’ll just sum it up in two words: THANK YOU.

  36. That’s a pretty amazing journey! I share your love of soup and am looking forward to meeting you at Traverse at the weekend. I’ll be rooting for you and hoping you don’t throw up on yourself!! :)

  37. Jodi! I love street food too and feel instant affinity towards you for expressing this simple joy. Thank you for honestly and poetically sharing your life. Feeling inspired.

  38. What a great life you have and an inspiration to those of us also travelling. Goals are important and so is flexibility. Great work on both.

  39. Jodi, great post! Straight from the heart. I can really relate to some of the things you touched on. I adore food as well and have been pondering my life. I currently live in the US but am seriously considering quitting my job and just doing it. Thanks for the insight and courage.
    Cheers~Erin

  40. I took off traveling 12 years ago, and although I have a steady seasonal 9-month job, I get to travel 3 months each year. I don’t own a home and my two cars are worth about $3000 total. But I’ve seen the world and wouldn’t trade it.

    Keep traveling and sharing.

  41. When i first started traveling as an adult, it was always about the food. Back then I was so embarrassed to tell people why i traveled to certain places because I was always afraid that people would think i was insane. I love the blogworld that i live in now b/c i find so many of my kindred spirits – people who get me, people who are MY people.

    I’d totally go on a specific themed food tour if you started offering it!!! and especially to Vietnam – been dying to go for years.

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