Vagabonding Case Study: Joya Anthony

Joya Anthony

Age: 25

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Quote: “I loved the freedom of doing whatever I wanted every day. I just woke up and did something new.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip? I didn’t hear about Vagabonding until after I had come back from my trip. I went to Book Passage’s Travel Writer and Photographer’s Conference (which I highly recommend) and saw Rolf give a couple talks at the conference and so I learned about his travels, blog, and books. Even though I am not traveling abroad at the moment, I love going through the resources page on the site as it has some tips for working abroad which I want to do again and also the blog posts travel writing contests from around the web that I like to participate in just for the exposure.

How long were you on the road? 8 months

Where all did you go? I spent 6 months in London and 2 months traveling through Ireland, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Monaco, and Greece.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey? The summer before I took off, I took any temp job I could get my hands on in San Francisco to save as much money as possible.

Did you work or volunteer on the road? I worked in London at a literary agency on a 6 month work visa I obtained through BUNAC.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite? My answer changes all the time because I loved everywhere I went but right now I would say Lisbon. It reminded me a lot of San Francisco. It has great seafood, the old town is beautiful, and the towns of Belem and Sintra were worth the day trips. The water is gorgeous too and I would love to go back during the summer and spend long days at the beach.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging? Paris was the most challenging for me which is ironic to me because it was the city I wanted to visit the most ever since I was a kid. Even though I was mesmerized by the beauty and loved the food, I sprained my ankle not long after I got there and it was raining all week which put a damper on things. I am so grateful I finally got to see the city but want to go back for another visit to redeem myself.

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 think I was most worried about running out of money. I thought I would have to eat less and stay in really bad hostels but you can still eat well and live comfortably on a budget. I just did my research to find good hostels and chose wisely when eating out primarily at food markets or finding grocery stores to make my own meals.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful? I didn’t travel with very much which I liked. I didn’t have a cell phone or laptop with me and as scary as that sounds, it was a blessing. All I cared about was having my camera and my travel journal to record my trip and I still treasure those items to this day.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle? I loved the freedom of doing whatever I wanted every day. I just woke up and did something new and didn’t have to worry about the ties to normal life back home. I also became braver. I wasn’t afraid to talk to new people or try new things such as food or activities that I wouldn’t have tried before.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle? You are not going to have all the comforts of home that you are used and will just have to make do with what you have. You will be surprised by how easily you can adapt. Also, you have to accept the fact that in some cases, whether you are traveling with someone else or engaging in a different culture, your way is not the right way or only way.

What lessons did you learn on the road? I learned that there is more out there in the world that is so much bigger than me, how to prioritize what is most important in my life, and that I am not perfect and to accept my flaws with humility.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip? My personal definition remained true from beginning to end of my trip and it was to enjoy the time away from my normal routine back home to gain some perspective on myself and those around me.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be? To say yes to every opportunity offered to you. There were nights I didn’t want to go out because I was tired or lazy but I wish I just went out and took advantage of my time in a certain place.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure? Don’t let anyone tell you traveling is too expensive or that you don’t have time because you can make it work and once you are out there, be open to all possibilities and don’t forget to take a moment to recognize how great of a time you’re having too.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey? I don’t know when but my next goal is to live in Paris for at least a year. I want to become fluent in French and immerse myself in all the city has to offer.

Twitter: joyaanthony Website:

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Posted by | Comments (7)  | May 4, 2011
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

7 Responses to “Vagabonding Case Study: Joya Anthony”

  1. Vagabonding Case Study: Joya Anthony | Travel Guide And Holiday Says:

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  2. Bobby Says:

    This is exactly what I want to do within the next year. I’ve already traveled to Australia for 8 months (I’m from the US), but that was because I have family there. I’m really excited to do the long-term travel thing without any connections though. That being said, I just finished reading Vagabonding and loved it. Rolf mentions staying in a beach hut in Indonesia for 3 months for what it would cost to live a month here. I know this was written years ago, but does anyone know where I could find a beach hut to live in that wouldn’t be like $100 a night and would be reasonable? I’d really appreciate the help. Thanks, Bobby.

  3. Ahimsa Says:

    Bobby, you can still find beach huts in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines (anywhere in SE Asia with a beach really) for less than 10 bucks a night, especially if you travel in the off-season.

  4. Rolf Says:

    I second what Ahimsa says. Moreover, those $10 (and cheaper) beach huts are common enough that there’s no real trick to finding them: Most beaches in that part of the world will have a super-cheap option. They have less amenities than fancy hotels, of course (usually it’s just a bed, a small bathroom, a sitting area, a porch), but you’re going to be spending most of your time there enjoying the outdoors anyhow…

  5. Joya Says:

    Hi Bobby, I hope you get to do long term travel in the next year. What did you do in Australia for all that time?

  6. Bobby Says:

    Sorry to be getting back so late. That’s awesome to hear! Honestly, just living for a couple months on a beach and living day-by-day has always been something I’ve wanted to do, but I always just assumed it would be ridiculously expensive. I definitely don’t need all the amenities that come with a hotel especially since I’d be doing this specific trip to kind of distance myself from everything mainstream (to some extent of course).

    Rolf, it seems like you recommend putting off getting your accommodations, so would this be an example of when I’d just show up and find a place? Say Indonesia, for instance. Would you recommend booking a longer stay (say a month to start) to get a better price?

    Joya – I can honestly say that after that trip, I have a bug and fortunately I have a job that would permit me to take time whenever I’d like so this will be happening. When I was down under I started out visiting family in Sydney and just used that as my home base. I met a ton of people (through family and on my own) and stayed with them a lot too. I went south of Sydney and all up the coast through Queensland and up to Cairns (Great Barrier Reef) where I stayed for about a month and met a bunch of cool people on one of the dive boats that ended up letting me go out with them on their overnight trips whenever I wanted, which was amazing. I did the whole Ayers Rock (Ulurru) and Kata Tjuta trip and then stayed in the Outback for a little longer with people I met. I didn’t get to go west to Perth, but that will definitely happen on my next trip there.

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