This week we're chatting with Angie, who grew up in Arizona and knew from a young age after her first encounter abroad that she always wanted to travel. She's currently living in Southeast Asia where she recruits candidates for a TESOL training program. She's an advocate for women who want to pursue an unconventional lifestyle of full time travel.
When did you first know you were a traveler?
I first discovered I was a traveler when I was about 8 or so years old when I took my first trip in a plane! From that point on I was hooked. I wanted to go everywhere and learn about everything! I became obsessed with maps and fantasized about all the road trips I would take when I was old enough to drive and all the places I’d fly when I was old enough to have my own money. As I grew up, I developed a real desire to escape to foreign lands especially islands. The desire to explore and learn continues to be strong in my life and I don’t see this work/travel nomadic lifestyle cutting short anytime soon! My next long travel after Saigon is officially on the docket now! I’ll be moving to Koh Samui, Thailand this year!
Traditionally women have been taught to be grounded and settled, and be homemakers; but that is not something everyone finds satisfaction with so I set out to join other women in the pursuit to be what has been coined as a Digital Nomad.
Tell me a little about where you've gone so far. What are your favorite locations and most impactful trips?
I’ve traveled mostly in the US and now SE Asia. My favorite place so far is Bali! I really found great soul searching energy there and it was a great spring board into nomadic life. I spent two months there when I first moved abroad (March of 2018), and I learned so much about myself and what realistically being a digital nomad could look like. The journey is different for everyone and I am constantly growing and changing and being challenged in ways I never imagined. The community there is incredibly supportive and everyone I met was more than willing to help offer guidance or tips about the lifestyle to see you along. It was great and really helped me establish the same mindset in helping others I encounter interested in pursuing the same lifestyle.
What are your favorite items that you always travel with?
Refillable water bottle:
This is a must when traveling! Bottled water is not only expensive but all the single use plastic is horrible for the environment. It was devastating seeing all the plastic in the ocean in Bali. It broke my heart so I try to do my part and not purchase plastic water bottled water when as much possible.
Coconut Religion coconut body cream:
My favorite multiuse product that my friend Maggie created in Vietnam. It has so many uses and her special formula keeps from liquefying so it makes it easy to travel with!
Flat Sheet and Pillow Case:
I take out the filling of my U shaped travel pillow and fill it with a flat sheet and pillow case. When you no longer have a home, it’s nice to have your own sheet set at least. It adds a little feel of home as well as peace of mind in hostels that may feel not a fresh. Having my own sheet has come in handy as well when camping on the beach, etc.
Very nice to have to play music and watch Netflix so you can skip the ear buds once in a while and watch TV like a real person. Well, kinda!
This was a complete game changer as not only a traveler, but as a woman! I don’t know how I ever got along without one now that I’ve been using one over the last 2 years! It’s so much safer for your body and the environment!
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is what working from home looks like today! It’s not always glorious but it is amazing to escape the rat race. When you choose to have a career in Education, you commit to the fact that you will and are always learning, creating, studying. A true life long learner. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t taking at least some type of personal growth course or program. Right now I’m doing two online courses! It might be an illness actually. #levelup #workathome
What do you do for work?
Industry - Education Management
I Freelance as an Educational Consultant for educational companies for various vocational programs in person and/or online. My current contract is with a teach-abroad company based in Saigon, Vietnam. My role encompasses: recruiting candidates for a TESOL training program, offer in personal and online student support throughout their journey to move abroad, supporting the educational environment, monitor the learner/client experience, instructional design process, community management, events planning, and social media management.
Tell me about Wander Woman Travel! What is it all about? What are your goals and dreams with it?
Wander Woman Travel was born out of my desire to combine living and working while traveling abroad. I wanted to share my experiences with other women and promote ways how they can pursue this lifestyle as well. Traditionally women have been taught to be grounded and settled, and be homemakers; but that is not something everyone finds satisfaction with so I set out to join other women in the pursuit to be what has been coined as a Digital Nomad.
You mentioned you love what you do in Saigon, Can you tell me a bit about how it was when you first started, Was it hard to adjust to, and what kind of things were hard or unexpected?
The first month I was in Saigon, I was doing a vocational training to obtain a TESOL certificate so I was very busy and preoccupied with studying. Not much was too bothersome except for figuring out where to eat! I am a vegetarian so that was initially very frustrating when I first moved to Vietnam. The Vietnamese cuisine is very meat based, primarily pork and when I would ask for the dish with no meat, the street food vendors would not serve their dishes without meat. It was so bizarre to me and sometimes is still my biggest challenge living in Saigon. I’ve since adjusted from those first few weeks though and now have some of my favorite go to places. There’s always an adjustment period moving to a new place in general but to a completely different country/culture; that takes some moxie! I quickly found a groove that worked.
Angie is an advocate for meeting and networking. She's leading the way for creating opportunities, education, and fun events for women who live the digital nomad lifestyle.
Great turn out today for the DNG and MTT meet up collaboration in Saigon! Got to see some of my favorite homies and also welcome some newbies! Love these IRL meetups and opportunities to continue building an awesome community of empowered woman who praise and support each other all the way! Kick ass! #girlsgoneworking #saigonnomadgirls #mytraveltribe
Do you drive your own bike around Ho Chi Minh City?
I had my own motorbike in Bali when I lived there and loved riding around the island, but in Saigon the city traffic can be quite hectic! I had a bike in Saigon for about 3 weeks and barely rode it because I primarily work from home so I ended up giving it back to the rental company. They were great about it. They also provided riding lessons for my friend and I, but since I don’t really go many places while I’m in a location focused on work, I figured someone else would get better use out of it. Now I just take a Grab or Go Viet Bike Taxi anywhere I need to go and it is super convenient and inexpensive.
What's your favorite Guilty Pleasure about Living in Ho Chi Minh City?
Ordering Delivery with Vietnammm 😉
Tell me about your packing style:
I really believe in Less is More when it comes to packing and strive to maintain as much minimalism mindset as possible. When I set out to life this nomadic life abroad lifestyle, I sold all my belongings so the smallest amount possible in the smallest bag possible is always my goal! However when you do long travel, it can be a bit more challenging to pull off. I discovered packing cubes which was a real life changer to keep everything organized. If I can’t fit it in a packing cube, it doesn’t get to come along!
Do you miss anything about home in Arizona?
Yes! I miss hiking so much! In Phoenix, I was surrounded by mountains in every direction so that has been extremely hard to give up living in more metropolis area in Saigon. Oh! And TACOS, I totally miss authentic Mexican kick ass tacos from the southwest.
If you knew someone was visiting your home town of Phoenix, what would you tell them is a must do?
There is so much to do in Phoenix, but if you have a chance to visit; my number one must do is of course hiking. Check out the hundreds of hiking trails South Mountain National Park has to offer!
What advice would you give to a new traveler?
Making traveling about learning of the culture you are visiting, not about relocation of all the same things you do at home. In other words, get out of your comfort zone and practice tolerance! Oh! And always pack light!
You can follow Angie's journey on Instagram, @WanderWoman_travel.