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May 2, 2012

Vagabonding Case Study: Lisa Lubin

Lisa Lubin

Age: 39

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Quote: “I loved the momentum and near-constant adrenaline rush, but at the same time, yearned for some roots and traveled slower and slower as I went.

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

My friend had it on her bookshelf and I borrowed it in 2006 once I decided I was going to go on an around the world trip. I honestly don’t remember it specifically, but I do know it was very useful.

How long were you on the road?

For about 2 1/2 years.

Where all did you go?

Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, NZ, AU (3 months), Hong Kong, Vietnam (1month), Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, Turkey (3 months), Romania, Budapest, Bratislava, Germany, Amsterdam, Spain, Sweden, London (1 month), New York, Chicago, Belize, Los Angeles, France (1 1/2 mos), Italy (1 1/2 mos), Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark.

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

Before traveling, I was a TV producer for 10-15 years. I saved a lot of money while working a ‘real’ 9-5 job. During travel, I started getting travel articles published, as well as finding jobs on the road (see next answer).

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

Yes. I wanted to do a variety of things that would allow me to immerse more in each place. I worked at a cafe in Melbourne. I taught English in Istanbul, I was a research assistant at the University of Cologne, I did Public Relations for an English-Immersion program in Madrid, and I volunteered with the homeless in London.

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

The toughest question.  I have several of course…The Galapagos Islands, Istanbul, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Stockholm to name a few.

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

This one is easier. My least favorite was Dubai. Not a very budget-friendly place. It was too expensive, with a lack of public transportation and also a lack of culture…or at least hard to find, non-imported culture.

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

None. I had no major issues of any kind and was thrilled with the warmth of people world-round.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

Loved my packable rain jacket for Central/South America. Loved my headlamp. And of course will not travel sans laptop and my DSLR.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Traveling close to the ground, getting more local, and meeting amazing people.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Sacrificing some comforts of home and getting used to sharing your space a lot more with others.

And of course, that feeling of always being on the move, has its plusses and minuses. I loved the momentum and near-constant adrenaline rush, but at the same time, yearned for some roots and traveled slower and slower as I went.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

Mostly, that I can go anywhere in the world and build a community of friends very easily. i find that wonderful and amazing. That internet is nearly everywhere. That people are GOOD.

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

For me personally, I liked to ‘switch it up.’ Sometimes I would treat myself  to a hotel to take a break from Hostelling and Couchsurfing. I was all about variety to me…to prevent boredom and burnout.

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

I had no idea I would be living out of a bag for four years (that’s when I finally unpacked and signed an apartment lease again).

Even though I traveled slowly, I would probably stay and live in some spots even more.

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

Just do it!  It is the best thing that I have ever done in my life.  Most importantly, get local and meet locals…it’s these connections that are way more memorable (and lasting) that my memory of seeing sights.

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

Nowadays, I have a home base, but am enjoying taking month-long trips here and there. I was in  Colombia for a year last year and recently spent 3 weeks in Portugal.  I would love to get an apartment in Buenos Aires or possibly Berlin next.

Website: Twitter: llworldtour

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.

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