Vagabonding Case Study: Louise Lakier

Louise LakierMe-1

Age: 45

Hometown: is not an easy one to answer so I will give you the place I was born: Johannesburg South Africa

Favorite Quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” ~Anais Nin

How long were you on the road?

I have been ‘on the road’ since September 2012. I am traveling my way back to South Africa and eventually to Melbourne. But I am quite open and spontaneous and plans move, flow, shift, and change. Anything is possible. I am searching the planet for interesting stories, imagery and experiences.

Where did you go?

I have been up and down the Northwest coast from Vancouver to the Rogue River, Nicaragua, Dublin, London, Costa Rica, Panama

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

I have a photography and travel writing business. I used to write and photograph for an online design magazine and would scout out interesting homes wherever I roamed. I also wrote for a travel blog. Now I am focused on my own travel blog sharing stories of interesting and unique places to stay. My specialty is resort photography providing imagery updates for websites. My background is in architecture and design, so I come with a passion for creative spaces! A reliable source of income has come from selling images to print publications. My next few goals include revamping my blog to be an income source and pitching stories to print travel magazines.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

I work and volunteer on the road, sometimes for room and board, sometimes for stories and imagery, depending on the location and the situation.

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

One of my favorite experiences was running a 50k on Ometepe Island, Fuego y Agua, and volunteering to photograph their Kid’s Run. Another favorite was visiting and photographing the beautiful Casitas at La Loma Jungle Lodge in Bocas del Toro.

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

I find some areas where there are large communities of expats to be challenging. These communities tend to be a bit tightly-knit. Playa Gigante and Granada, Nicaragua were challenging in this way but the Nicaraguan locals I met in both areas were so warm. Working on the road can be difficult, limited internet, and often the wifi available is in a defined common area. These can sometimes be noisy and distracting or out in the elements. Bocas del Toro was a challenging place to hunker down and work, it was also quite magical and full of fantastic imagery.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

My rolley bag! I was so stubborn for so many years but lugging photography gear around just gets too heavy. I love my rolley bag.
My Loewpro Camera Bag backpack. It fits everything I need, is compact and comes with a raincoat.
My tripod. I roll it up in my yoga mat and carry the two together. Works really well and I always have two of my favorite things with me.
Least useful: Anything paper, as in reference books and notebooks. They get crumpled, moist, and moldy.
Heavy boots. I miss them. But heavy camera equipment takes precedence. I travel with my Vibram five fingers. They are light and take up very little space in my bags!

What are the rewards, as well as the challenges and sacrifices, of the vagabonding lifestyle?

The rewards of this lifestyle are the connections you make with people from all over the world, locals or fellow travelers. Every experience is different and new. There is always something to try you have never encountered before, a new fruit, a new language, a tribe of people you never knew existed, an animal or bird seen for the first time. The sacrifices are constantly packing and unpacking or living out of a bag, having to stay two steps ahead for planning, not having an address, and sometimes going days without someone with whom to share a meaningful conversation. The biggest challenge I have found traveling alone is getting sick and not having someone close to check in on me. This happened while staying at a Wellness Center! Friends tell me they are jealous I have the freedom to travel. I tell them the opportunity exists for them to have this lifestyle but they will have to redefine the meaning of home and let go of material things.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

Lessons learned: To always have a plan A, B, & C. To rely on myself completely. To cherish the kindred spirits. To listen to and follow the energy. To really let go of material things, moisture, dust and wear and tear from constant use will claim everything eventually, sometimes a robbery will too. If I am healthy and have access to the essentials, a good nights rest, food, water, the ability to communicate with the outside world, I am off to a good start! I tend to love spontaneity. The most important lesson I have learned on the road, is a little bit of planning, is a lot of self-care.

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

I started off referring to myself as a gypsy, now I refer to myself as a traveling freelance writer and photographer.

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

Buy a rolley bag. Browse sites like and for volunteer and housesitting opportunities.

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

I am not sure I will ever stop:)

Read more about Louise, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Website: Louise Lakier Photography Twitter: @LouiseLakier

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 Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Louise Lakier  | April 11, 2014
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

Comments are closed.