Nora has managed to make herself location independent and is loving the freedom that comes with it. Sometimes she stays in a new country for an extended amount of time and sometimes she just travels through, experiencing the new culture, then moving through to the next. She tends to choose her destinations from the opportunities that arise, which has had her trotting the globe since 2006. As a professional writer her posts flow easily and are exciting to read. There is a mixture of informative and helpful posts, up to date news posts and friendly, fun posts on other tavellers and bloggers. The Professional Hobo is a great site with plenty of aspects to keep you entertained for hours.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Sure thing! My name is Nora Dunn, I’m originally from Canada, and I’m also known as The Professional Hobo. I’m a full-time traveler, and since selling everything I owned (including a busy financial planning business) in 2006, I’ve been traveling the world full-time in a financially sustainable manner.
Picture above is of me in Nepal with a cohort of mine. We were both on-camera and filming the pilot episode for a few television shows. (No news on the shows yet, but the trip – which included Paris and Nepal – was a blast)! The sadus in the background were happy to pose for the cameras and chat with us about their faith (for a tip, of course)!
Tell us a bit about your blog
Like many, I barely knew what a blog was when I started mine! I had modest intentions of using it to journal my travel adventures and to keep in touch with family and friends while I was away. I somewhat self-deprecatingly called myself The Professional Hobo, but people liked it and it’s a name that stuck! And it’s actually quite appropriate; I’m technically a homeless person who works as I travel. (I even like train travel, which is the characteristic mode of transportation for classic “hobos” of days gone by)!
As my travels picked up momentum, so too did my publicity and now my blog has evolved to become a resource for aspiring and active travelers around the concepts of travel, lifestyle design, and personal finance. I also use it as a platform to showcase the other places my work is published and where my travels are profiled.
Do you target a specific audience?
My main audience happens to be aspiring travelers in their 20s and 30s who want to break free of the lifestyle constraints of the “rat race” through long-term travel. But there’s also a contingent of readers who are in their 40s and 50s who are looking to redefine and reengage their lives with early retirements or similar lifestyle changes. And of course, there’s more than a few “armchair travelers” in there who like to read about my worldwide antics.
What got you to first start travelling?
I’ve traveled for most of my life, but mostly in a vacation sense – rarely if ever for more than two weeks at a time. And ever since I was all of eight years old, I craved to gain a better understanding of the world; how people think, what they eat, where they shop, and how they live. This is something that I couldn’t ever do on vacations; I eventually realized I needed a much longer time frame to “live” around the world.
That realization, combined with a certain level of burnout from running a busy financial planning practice, was the impetus to sell everything and start traveling full-time. I wasn’t sure how long it would last or how I’d make a go of it when I made the decision; I simply knew it was something I had to do.
Tell us about your travel background. What places have you been to?
I guess you could say my travel bug became official when I toured China with a ballet when I was 17 years old (I was in the orchestra). After that, I visited Cuba, Mexico, the States (lots), the Mediterranean, and South Africa on various vacations.
Since I’ve started traveling full-time, I’ve visited or lived in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Hawaii, SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of countries throughout Europe and the UK. About 15 countries in total…so far…
Here’s a summary of the first four years of my full-time travel adventures.
The picture above is a favourite of mine: Bracken, otherwise known as The Affectionate Kangaroo. He was a rescued kangaroo who had been rehabilitated to the wild at the animal sanctuary where I lived for a while in Australia, but he decided he liked me and followed me around, living on my doorstep for months. Despite his often annoyingly persistent amorous advances(!), it was an honour to have a kangaroo as a “friend”. (Click the link for a funny video as proof).
What aspects of travelling do you enjoy most?
My preferred style of travel involves experiencing a slice of local life for a few months. I do this (and keep costs low) by volunteering in trade for my accommodation (which includes anything from house-sitting, to caretaking, to gardening, to cooking, to managing hostels, to painting murals, to promotional plans) or even renting inexpensive furnished accommodation. My location independent writing career pays for the rest of my expenses, with little more than an internet connection necessary.
So slow travel is the aspect of travel that I really enjoy; meeting people along the way, seeing how they live, and being invited into their lives to learn how they eat, shop, celebrate, communicate, and ruminate.
What things do you always pack, regardless where you go to?
Everything I own comes with me most places, since I don’t actually have a home base! Here’s what I pack.
What is the most memorable travel experience you have ever had?
Aah…that smacks of the often-asked (and yet difficult-to-answer) question: What’s your Favourite Place? These things are so very contextual. Memorable for drama? For fun? For disaster? For people? For nature? For adventure? Here’s a long-form answer.
Where are you to heading next?
After finishing up my bi-annual visit to Toronto, I’ll be in Sweden by mid-August, then to Portugal in September to begin my next big travel adventure: the Ultimate Train Challenge! Myself and half a dozen other travel bloggers will be racking up as many miles on trains as we can between Portugal and Vietnam over 30 days, including the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Beijing. Given my love of train travel, I expect it will be a blast! Stay tuned to my site for updates.
Thanks Nora, it is great having you here. Happy Travels!