Vagabonding Case Study: Rease Kirchner

Rease Kirchner  IMG_1341

Age:  27

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Quote: “[Her] goal in life was to be an echo

Riding alone, town after town, toll after toll….Remember to remember me

Standing still, in your past

Floating fast like a hummingbird.” – Wilco “Hummingbird”

(I even got a tattoo to honor it –

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

Honestly I don’t know how I found out about it, I think it was just word of mouth/social media. I just always heard other travelers mention it.

How long were you on the road?

Not sure I ever stopped!

Where did you go?

I moved in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2010 and stayed until 2012. I then based myself in St. Louis, Missouri (my hometown) for a couple years but ended up out of town for about 3 months out of the year. I recently moved to Fajardo, Puerto Rico which is my new home base.

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

Before I moved to Argentina I worked as a Bilingual Preschool teacher and Interpreter/Translator for the school. I loved it, but it didn’t pay very well, so I also worked at a YMCA daycare and tutored several students in Spanish so I could save up lots of money. I also did some CD accounts with portions of my savings so I could cash in on interest.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

In Argentina I did a lot of things at first, worked as an Au Pair, English teacher, and virtual assistant. Eventually I worked at an Argentine software company. Now I freelance in Spanish/English interpretation/translation, writing, tutoring, and social media.

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

I really adored Rosario, Argentina. It had a lot of the city-feel stuff I loved about Buenos Aires, but it was cleaner and cheaper.

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

Honestly my move to Fajardo, Puerto Rico has been very challenging! I thought that after doing a move Argentina, which was a whole different continent, moving to an island that is still part of the US would be fairly easy. I was wrong! It’s been really hard to set up my life here, everything from getting electricity in my house to learning how to drive more aggressively has been a challenge. It’s a beautiful place though so I know all the struggles will be worth it.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

I don’t use a lot of travel gear, possibly because I don’t camp or hike, I’d say my 3-way USB charger has been pretty helpful though, and also my inflatable neck pillow for long flights!

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

I get to meet SO many amazing people. I have made such incredibly life-long friends through traveling. The bonds you make through meeting someone while on the road can sometimes link you for life. I love telling stories like “Oh I have a friend in Toronto. I met her when I was living in Buenos Aires but she was just traveling through. We met up in Mexico last year, we’ll have to catch each other somewhere else next time.”  I feel like traveling has made me a more positive and loving person in some ways.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Well one unique challenge I have is my dog, Padfoot. I brought Padfoot with me from St. Louis, Missouri all the way to Buenos Aires, Argentina and then back again. I don’t take him on short trips, but when I moved to Fajardo, Puerto Rico the poor little guy had hop on a plane with me again. In Buenos Aires and in St. Louis I had friends who loved my dog and would always care for him when I was on trips, but now that I am in a new place, I have to find new people who will take care of my neurotic little guy while I travel around! Padfoot is such a huge part of my life that he has his own tag on my site!

What lessons did you learn on the road?

Missing your flight, train, or bus is not the end of the world. I’m pretty crazy about being on time and I still get to the airport with extra time (mostly because I always get stopped for “random” screening) but I have had flights cancelled and buses severely delayed and you know what? It was fine. I either roughed it up for the night in the airport, left and explored the city, or figured out something else. You can’t stress out about stuff you cannot change.

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

I guess I never really did the backpacker thing, which is what I always had in my mind as a “vagabond.” I prefer to base myself in interesting places and then take trips to explore new places as often as I can.

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

Learn the metric system. Oh man, I am still the worst. I swear even after living abroad for years I still don’t understand Celsius, I just use this rhyme: 20 is hot, 15 is nice, 10 is cold, and 0 is ice.

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

Save up lots of money! My move to Argentina wasn’t too pricey, but surviving until I could find stable work drained my savings. All those extra shifts I picked up really made the whole situation less stressful and more enjoyable.

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

I’m here right now! I moved to Fajardo, Puerto Rico in October 2014 and I’ll be here for a least a couple years! I can’t wait to explore the Caribbean and pop up to the East Coast more often!

Read more about Rease on her blog, Indecisive Traveler , or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Website: Indecisive Traveler Twitter@indecisiveRease

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)  | November 20, 2014
Category: General, Vagabonding Case Studies

One Response to “Vagabonding Case Study: Rease Kirchner”

  1. Roger Says:

    Way to go, Rease. I like your story, and how things have worked out well with your dog Padfoot for long term travel. And Hummingbird is one of my favorite Wilco songs.