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March 21, 2012

Vagabonding Case Study: Jasmine Stephenson

Jasmine Stephenson

Age: 26

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Quote: “Stop making excuses. You will find a million reasons not to go, a million things holding you back. It’s okay to be afraid, nervous, anxious, doubtful. It will all be worth it. Take the leap.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?

It’s one of those must-read travel/inspiration books, especially for people with nomadic aspirations. How could a traveler, especially a digital nomad, not hear about it?

How long were you on the road?

I’ve been traveling for roughly four years and am still on the road.

Where all did you go?

I’ve lived in Australia and New Zealand, traveled through Southeast Asia and Italy, and have been in Latin America for the past couple of years (mostly Colombia.)

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

In Australia and NZ, I did working holidays. Now, I write, do internet marketing, and own a couple of websites that earn me money.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

I worked in NZ and Australia bartending and doing office temp jobs.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?

Colombia is my favorite country by far. I love everything about it – the people, the landscape, the culture, the food. It’s the only country I’ve been where I feel like these are my people, and this could be my home. I fit there.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?

I went to Honduras about a year after the Zelaya coup. I felt it was a really hostile place, and the capital, Tegucigalpa, was the most dangerous city I’ve ever been to. The owner of the hotel I stayed at told me to leave everything in the room, including money, because people there would kill me for a cell phone (his words, not mine). Also, some drunk guy tried to grab my vagina in the central park. Luckily, I was able to push him away before anything happened.

Did any of your pre-trip worries or concerns come true?  Did you run into any problems or obstacles that you hadn’t anticipated?

I’ve been traveling for a while, so I don’t really have any worries about the travel process. Renewing visas is always a little anxiety-ridden but it works out in the end.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

Money belts suck. Sarongs are awesome.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Wow there are so many. The endless opportunities for learning is the biggest reward for me. Then there’s the cool people you meet, the places you see, the new experiences. I love it.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

You sacrifice being a part of people’s day-to-day lives. Your friends and family will start getting married and having babies, and you won’t be there. Other times, the relationships with friends that you make on the road can’t really progress because there are no shared experiences after you leave a certain place. And romantic relationships are extra challenging.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

I’ve learned tons. Be patient. Relax. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Open your mind and heart to new cultures and customs. The most important is that people are generally good and will help you if you’re in need.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?

I think in the beginning, my notions of vagabonding were more romantic… like every day would be filled with adventure and I would be doing amazing things all the time. Now, vagabonding for me is a lifestyle choice with its benefits and drawbacks just like any other way of life.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?

I would have told myself to try to adapt to the local culture ASAP and not be so stuck in my old ways. I learned the lesson eventually, it just took some time.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?

Stop making excuses. You will find a million reasons not to go, a million things holding you back. It’s okay to be afraid, nervous, anxious, doubtful. Emotions are temporary. When your plane is landing in that foreign and exotic destination, when you meet your first friend, when you first lay eyes on that amazing work of nature… it will all be worth it. Take the leap.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?

I’m still on it. I think travel will always be an integral part of my life. I’ll at least end up an expat somewhere cool.

Website: Twitter: jasminewanders

Are you a Vagabonding reader planning, in the middle of, or returning from a journey? Would you like your travel blog or website to be featured on Vagabonding Case Studies? If so, drop us a line at and tell us a little about yourself.

Posted by | Comments (1) 
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

One Response to “Vagabonding Case Study: Jasmine Stephenson”

  1. Dmitri Ivanov Says:

    Thank you for your story. It’s pretty inspiring!!

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