About Nina Ragusa
Hi, I’m Nina Ragusa from Florida and I live the epitome of a nomadic expat lifestyle.
When asked about my future as a teenager, and even a child, I had the same answer.
“I’m not sure, but I know I want to die a happy and well-traveled person.”
For real, you can even ask my mom!
No dreams of being a ballerina, a veterinarian, or becoming an astronaut. I really truly have been curious about the world since I was young, and it’s always been my dream to see it.
… I was perhaps an odd child?
Fast forward through University (awesome time, I <3 FSU!), I was miserable. I wasn’t chasing my dreams because that wasn’t “normal.”
I finally had enough and like many others, I ended up moving abroad to teach English for a year. It seemed like the only sensible way to travel considering I’m, unfortunately, not a trust fund baby, heiress, or have been successful in growing a money tree in my backyard.
I saved up money by working three jobs, THREE JOBS, for two years.
On May 5th, 2011, I hopped on a one-way flight, alone, without a job waiting (not even a hotel reservation!), to Bangkok, that was on a continent I’d never been to before. Yeah…
Stupid or brave? Not sure which one. I’ll let you judge.
… and that’s where everything started … The full story is here.
My Travel Lifestyle
Fast forward a few years, and my one year plan has been left in the dust long ago. So far I’ve lived in three countries (Thailand, South Africa, and Australia) and traveled to many of the neighbors.
I have yet to experience the feeling of homesickness. No joke.
Now, I make my way around the world visiting exotic countries and places while mingling with locals and fellow travelers from around the world, often staying in places I love for extended periods of time.
This is the best part about my travels! I LIVE abroad, so there is never a rush to move around like I’m on a 10-day vacation.
While many are ticking as many countries as they can off their list at the speed of lightning, I’m doing the exact opposite. Sure I might go on quick jaunts here and there, maybe I’ll spend just a few weeks in one country, but a big part of my travels are spent really getting to know a place by living there.
It’s my nomadic expat life. I’m not purely nomadic because I do stay in places for a few months and possibly years at a time (with jaunts to new nearby places), but I’m not just an expat because I know I’m going to wander soon and make a new home elsewhere.
Living in a country, to me, is staying there for at least three months, usually more. (but visa issues sometimes get in the way)
I like to stay planted in one area to truly experience the country for what it is, not to mention, it makes traveling to the nearby countries easier and cheaper AND I get to have a home base.
My Travel Style
Most of my travels were solo between 2011-2015 and mostly on a backpacker budget.
My budget is more flashpackery now and I bagged me a hottie vlogger (Garrett) who adventures around the world with me. However, we still have a few solo trips per year and don’t travel together 24/7.
How Have I Been Living This Lifestyle?
Teaching English supplemented enough for living in Southeast Asia, freelance work online was great, I took advantage of working holiday visas, and I’ve learned how to travel cheaper!
There are many jobs abroad that can afford you this exact lifestyle. However, this blog is how I live this lifestyle now.
Check out my Work to Wander section which has more details on working abroad and remotely to travel more.
My extreme mission living this lifestyle is to live on all seven continents, yes, seven! That’s including Antarctica (idk—I’ll figure it out)!
I want to visit many countries, but I also want to live (and even work) in many of them, spending the time getting to know the people, cultures, lifestyle, and even the language.
Most people have seen and visited WAY more countries than I have in half the amount of time but I’m not in a race. I’m traveling pretty slowly and I love it this way!
I want to grow this blog into the ultimate resource for:
1. People who want to travel but need an expert AND expat they connect with to help them out with their epic journeys and…
2. Also, those who want to take it a step further and work and live abroad for a few months or indefinitely.
I started this blog by accident, to be honest. It started as a journal to let my family and friends know I wasn’t dead and what I was doing abroad. I started getting lots of questions from everyone’s mother’s, sister’s, dog’s, cousin…
“How do you live abroad?”
“Can you plan my trip to ____?”
“How do you find work abroad?”
And many more… So I started writing posts that were helpful so I could help others do what I was doing… A few years later, it kind of became my job. 🙂
What You Can Expect from Me Here
Clear, concise travel information, a dash of wit and sass, total realness (like, maybe too much), epic pictures, and of course, my stories living an unconventional travel lifestyle and how you can work abroad and travel more as well!
I’ll have many missions around the world to conquer and I hope you’re excited to follow along on my journey. I’ll be sure to lay out the details and the exact way I accomplished my mission on this blog, so sign up to my newsletter to be in the know!
A Super Quick Mini Timeline
Teacher in Thailand Days
I moved to Thailand in May and started teaching English. I made jaunts to the neighbors here and there and got used to my life in Thailand pretty quickly!
Found Work Online
I traveled around to more of the neighboring Southeast Asian countries while using Thailand as my base.
Around March, I had the opportunity to live in South Africa with my friend and to help his family’s business. I went! After three months my visa expired and I had to leave.
I went back to my old school and taught English again but I also found out about the world of online work. I found work teaching online and I started writing for money. I also started journaling and blogging for myself.
This year was more traveling around Southeast Asia but I was fully remote at this point. I had no physical job anywhere and I was making all my money online by freelance writing and teaching English online.
Later in the year, I made my first visit back home after 2.5 years abroad!
Straight SE Asia Chillin
I sure did fall in love with Southeast Asia! I traveled around some more, mostly lived in Krabi, Thailand, had a friend visit, worked online, found a love for hula hooping (I hoop dance, did ya know that? Weirdo, right?), and overall loved life and all the freedom I had!
Oh, Hello Love
This year I chose to spend a lot of time in Pai, my other happy place (Krabi and its beaches are my first love). This is the year I met Garrett and we immediately started traveling together. We explored more of Southeast Asia together, went to India, and for the first time ever, I visited the West Coast of the USA (Garrett is from Oregon) and I saw snow!
I started taking my blog more seriously around this time and started making money off it. Up until this point, I poured my heart out and spent all my free time on the blog without a dime coming from it. I did it for the love. But when I realized how much I loved it, and that making money (if you work really hard for it) is a possibility, I went for it.
G’d Day, Mate!
In 2016, we lived pretty much the entire year in Australia. My blog had to take the backburner as I worked my ass to save A LOT of money. Over $17,000 USD actually. Garrett saved even more. We lived in Melbourne and Darwin and absolutely loved living in Australia! We worked really hard so we could travel more. I had my first few real collaborations with tourism boards this year and I was super stoked the ball was rolling on the blog despite not working on it as much this year!
This was my craziest travel year so far. We flew everywhere. Denmark to Seoul to Portugal to Oregon… and so many more in between. We worked with a bunch of brands and tourism boards and it was exhausting.
We realized we really like the way we’ve been traveling so far, slowly. We took a chill pill in Portugal, went home for a visit, spent the summer in Oregon, went to a wedding in Iceland and adventured after… It was a busy and awesome year!
Oh, I also got LASEK eye surgery while in Seoul. Best decision EVER.
For Real Full Time
Finally a for real full time blogger making actual for real money. Woo! Fell in love with Morocco, did a bunch of US travels, went back to live in Thailand for a few months.
Van Life and South Am
Did about 4-5 months van life all around New Zealand, more Oregon road trips and adventures (even started a new Oregon site), another US road trip, and then FINALLY made it to South America for the first time—started in Colombia.