Vagabonding Case Study: Norbert Figueroa

Norbert FigueroaNorbert Hobbit

Age: 31

Hometown: Carolina, Puerto Rico

Quote: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St. Augustine

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

The site has some good tips on long-term travel as well as informative destination posts.  I actually bought the Vagabonding book for kindle a few months ago, but I have to admit that I’ve been a bit lazy and busy, so haven’t finished it yet.  Will do soon!  I promise.

How long were you on the road?  

As of today, I’ve been on the road for 3 years.  Still planning on going for as long as I can.

Where did you go?

It’s been 86 countries so far, in 5 continents, with the last couple countries being Thailand, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Malaysia, Maldives, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Laos.

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

For the moment it is my blog and freelance travel writing.  Apart from that, I’ve used my savings from my previous job as an architect.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

I’m a licensed architect in New York, so I’ve done a few small gigs on the road, but I’ve found out they are too time consuming, so I’ve stopped doing them for now.  Other than that, the blog is my passion and “work”.  Volunteering is still on my list.  In fact, I want to donate my architectural services to NGOs looking to improve their infrastructure.  I have one in mind and we are currently discussing the project.  Hopefully it will work out.

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

Really hard to pick just one, but I’ll go with Thailand.  It is the first country I backpacked solo and one that offers such a good cultural variety as well as so many different travel styles and beautiful places to visit.  Plus, their food is delicious.  As good runner ups I have New Zealand.  That country is extremely beautiful!!!  I can’t wait to go back to New Zealand!

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

Oh yes… India was the most challenging and it would have been my least favorite if I didn’t happen to travel to the Himalayas, which was the only part of India I really liked.  But, Ukraine for me was totally disappointing and probably my least favorite right now.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

It’s not exactly a travel gear, but my iPhone is the most useful thing I have right now.  I use it for everything!  Least useful would be my x-mini speaker.  Been carrying it for over two years and I can count with one hand the times I’ve actually used it.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?  

The freedom of doing what you really want and like and the immense personal growth through the challenges that do come every now and then.  You learn so much through different cultures and people.  I try to soak it all up like a sponge.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?  

One of the main challenges for me is the personal relationship with friends and family.  It’s hard to always stay in touch and be synched as before.  You make a lot of friends on the road, but only a few (at least in my case) are the ones truly make that “good friends” connection.  And well, making a living is hard too, so sometimes it’s a challenge to find a good place with good wifi where you can concentrate on work.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

To have a lot more patience and to understand better other people’s point of view and customs (especially when I’m in a country where things are completely different from what I’m used to).  In addition, I’ve learned to manage my money better or at least I think I did!

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

I used to travel faster in the beginning (I wanted to see everything!), now I go slower and go a bit deeper in to the country and culture than before.  I still want to see everything, though.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?  Why didn’t you do this sooner?

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?  Taking the leap is scary, but if you truly believe in the journey you want to do, don’t let anything stop you.  Things have a way of working out for you in one way or another.  If you’re scared of doing it, buy that first plane ticket to anywhere.  Once you have it, it will feel so much real and you’ll feel like you crossed the point of no return.

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

I’m still in this journey, so the next few countries I’ll visit will be mostly in South America, and hopefully Antarctica!


Read more about Norbert on his blog, Globo Treks , or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


WebsiteGlobo Treks Twitter@globotreks

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Posted by | Comments (1)  | September 26, 2014
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

One Response to “Vagabonding Case Study: Norbert Figueroa”

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