Today’s interview is a real treat. Nora Dunn is very well established in the travel blogging world. She is exceedingly knowledgeable in the areas of getting cheap/free accommodation and travelling in a financially sustainable way. She is also a multi-book author. It is a real delight to introduce The Professional Hobo!
What is your name?
Nora Dunn, aka The Professional Hobo
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m from Canada. As for calling a country home, I’m still working on that one.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’m a long-term traveller, and I live/work abroad. I’ve been travelling full-time since 2007.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
With a laptop and an internet connection, I make a living as an international freelance writer and blogger. The magic of it still amazes me: I write words on my computer, send them off in an email, and numbers appear in my bank account. I still shake my head in amazement at the sheer simplicity of it all.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Growing up, my grandparents lived 650 kilometres away in the States, and I used to spend my summers there. I took the train there and back every year, which kindled my fierce love of trains – something that turned into a bit of an obsession when I started travelling full-time, and eventually a book about riding trains around the world.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
I try not to have many expectations of the places I visit, because expectations are usually bad news. Just like assumptions…..somebody once told me that to “assume” is to make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’ve never forgotten that, probably because it’s true.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Oh my, yes. Natural disasters, failed relationships, and near-fatal accidents come to mind as tops of my list of crappy stuff that has happened. If you’ve got an iron stomach, here’s the full meal deal of strange stuff that has happened to me on the road: Brace Yourself: Travel Isn’t All Roses and Lollipops.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
I have a pretty funny story I like to tell about having a working relationship with a big ugly huntsman spider who took up residence in my car when I lived in Australia. I don’t know if it was the spider or me who broke the deal first, but it ended in me giving the car to my ex boyfriend the next day.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
The only place I can think of that really didn’t do anything for me was Russia. I found both the weather and the people to be cold. Apparently the people are much nicer when you get to know them, but that doesn’t apply to the weather so it’s off my list of places to return to.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Travel is very contextual. The most gorgeous sunset in the world could be ugly as sin to you if you’ve just had your heart broken. My favourite place could be hell on wheels for another person, depending on where they’re at in their life and personal journey.
Having said that, my most recent favourite place in the world is Peru; I spent three months in the Sacred Valley and have fairly immediate plans to return for a while.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Just last year I committed my bucket list to paper (or rather, the internet version of paper). It’s a bit of an unconventional kind of list – here it is.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Nope. However my style of travel can change and evolve with life – as it already has, and will continue to.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I’m not good with rhetorical questions like these. But if I weren’t travelling, I guess I might still be running my financial planning practice in Canada (the one I sold along with everything else I owned when I decided to travel full-time).
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
The Professional Hobo
When did you begin your website?
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I started writing my blog as a way to reflect on my travels (I’ve had a lifelong penchant for the written word) and to share my adventures with family and friends without having to send mass emails. Shortly into my travels I realized I could make a living as a freelance writer with little more than an internet connection and a laptop, and while I was busy building my freelance writing career, people took an active interest in my site.
So I write for money, but I also write for the sheer pleasure of it.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
In my former life I was a Certified Financial Planner. As such I’ve parlayed my financial expertise into the world of travel, and I specialize in teaching people how to travel full-time in a financially sustainable way.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Funny you should mention! I penned the popular e-book How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World, followed by the recent release of my next book – Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
People seem most interested in my luggage and what’s in it. My most popular post is about Wheeled Backpacks and Why They’re the Best for Long-Term Travel, followed closely by The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Gosh, I have different favourites for different reasons. I will say though that I surprised even myself when I wrote an article about Ways to Earn Money While You Travel and realized just how many ways there are to make your way on the road.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Suffice it to say if I managed to write an entire book called Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination….I obviously like buses the most.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
The quickest most succinct advice I can give to an aspiring traveller is GO. Do it. You can’t possibly have all the answers before you leave, and the learning curve is half the fun.
However if you’re anything like me and unwilling to take that as an answer, then you might want to check out my free 2-week e-course on how to travel full-time in a financially sustainable way to give you the basics.
What has travel taught you?
Don’t make too many plans, don’t set too many expectations, roll with the punches, have an open mind, and engage the world – 99% of the human race are fundamentally good people who are just as curious about you as you are of them.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? First class. If I’m at the front of the plane, I’m happy. The airline is almost irrelevant.
Favourite country? Of the moment? Peru.
Favourite city? Amsterdam
Favourite beach? I don’t necessarily have a favourite, but the most memorable beach was the most dangerous beach in the world, in St Martin.
Favourite food? Toss up between ceviche, peanut butter, sushi, popcorn, dim sum, lobster, Vietnamese street food (anything), and (my famous) banana bread.
Favourite language? Spanish, which I’m desperately trying to become fluent in.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com
Twitter handle? @hobonora
Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/TheProfessionalHobo
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/112802151247061563080